Overall, I thought it well executed. Not only did you tell it from Peter's POV but you managed to imbue so much life into Bellatrix and Narcissa. Your descriptions were amazing and the analogies were fascinating. Peter is a person that i don't like reading too often because he is cowardly and beneath my shoe, but how he is portrayed here in the beginning, he's got some loyalty. There's the underlying grossness to him, but still some loyalty.
I did find one typo: [waring] the most prefect of disguises - wearing
Peter's fascination with Bellatrix poked at me. It was a thought I'd not thought before but one that stuck with me. Because she would be the type of person he would be fascinated with--someone with power. Narcissa and Severus, that implication mind-boggled me too!
In terms of something that would pull this together more than it already is? The ending got a little muddled. I hadn't realized that Bella had picked Peter up and I wasn't sure if Peter was being tortured in the end when he, I guess, decided to join the "bad" side? That's all I could give you on that.
Other than that, the suspense you kept me in was brilliant and I really mainly chose to read this one because you had the Master on the banner :P Otherwise, Peter and I don't get along too well :) But as always, I love your writing style!
Author's Response: Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! It isn't the average kind of story, and certainly not everyone's cup of tea, so it means a lot that you still liked it. :D Peter is an incredibly difficult character to write because, even though I don't hate him and want to give him an equal chance in fanfiction, I still can't hide a slight disgust for him. His animal was a rat - that can't say too much in his favour, unfortunately, because we're too hard-wired to see rats as a plague and harbingers of death. JKR purposely makes it hard to see the good in him, which of course makes Harry's defence of Peter all the more extraordinary, making Harry more of the hero.
Thank you for pointing out that typo, by the way, and also for discussing the ending. It's been the sticky part of the story for me, and I've struggled to decide whether to be more explicit and increase the rating, or keep it abstract and mystify readers. I have now made the edits and upped the rating so that readers can more clearly see how Peter broke his silence. He's not strong enough to withstand Bellatrix and he knows it, that's partially why he's so drawn to her, like the moth to the flame.
She has enough similarities to Sirius in her reckless, impassioned behaviour, so if Peter is drawn to Sirius, then in my head, at least, it makes sense that Bella would also be an object of his interest. I'm glad that part of the story stuck with you. ;) Being able to include the two sisters in this story made writing it so much more interesting because I'd never done much with them before, and here, we get to see them not only together, but also in private.
I don't even know where to begin. It's amazing. This story is so brilliantly told, the characters grasped so well, the description so perfect-what can I say?
Your word choice is amazing, and the way you thread the words together so smoothly, one simply leading to the other as if it was the most obvious choice, is an envious trait. There are published authors who can't write as well as you.
I think it's brilliant-I don't know why it wouldn't feel right. I love it so much, you've done an awesome job!
Author's Response: Wow, thank you! It's wonderful that you think so highly of this story, its characters and its description. I really tried with the latter to create this atmosphere of opulence and dread - a strange combination, but it helped to have Dobby there exploring the room, as Peter wasn't capable of seeing much. Then the two witches - I really liked writing them! I should do it more often - they're fantastic characters with a lot of complexities that are fascinating to explore. :D
*blushes* That compliment is amazing and I don't know what to say other than a giant thank you in loud, squeeful tones. And I can't thank you enough for enjoying this story as much as you have. ^_^
Hey! I got round to reviewing in the end :)
This was such a fantastic one shot - I always secretly love Peter stories, because I feel like although he has depth in the books not enough attention is paid to him. But this - I really think this did his character justice, because I felt so sorry for him and reall sympathised with him towards the beginning, and even though by the end he was questioning himself, questioning the good guy/bad guy aspects and threatening to change, I did still feel for him. You've made him so much more human, not just the little rat that sold Lily and James to Voldemort.
Your actual language, though, was astounding. I could write and write and write about it for ages because writers like you take my breath away! You could have written a fluffy one shot and I'd still be amazed with the way you play with the sentences. You'd still leave me feeling like, 'wow!' no matter what tone/mood you'd tackled! Right here: 'The house elf retreated, disappearing into the tapestried wall behind a landscape of emerald woods and strange, long-forgotten creatures whose eyes mesmerised and slackened jaws salivated, tensing to pounce, waiting for the kill. ' GAH! You're describing a tapestry and yet I could take that segment away and write a novel on it. Beautiful! Okay, I'll stop with the over-excitedness.
Your portrayal of Bellatrix and Narcissa was really quite striking too, because often they're both written as weak characters but here they came across as really quite strong. I liked it - it's added more to them for me, so when I read the series again (like I probably will do 100 more times over haha) I'll keep that in my mind.
This was really lovely! I don't think you needed anything more at the end, because your use of punctuation really highlights the hesitation in his mind over this. I thought it was actually really rather effective :) Nice work!
Author's Response: Wow, this review!
That would be a highly unsatisfactory response, but it's all I've been able to come up with for a while. My apologies for making you wait on the response and hopefully now I can say something worthwhile to not only express my gratitude for such a fantastic review, but to also discuss your points. ^_^
The thing about this review that made me speechless was how much you enjoyed this one-shot. It's a strange one for me because it was started a few years ago, perhaps even 4 or 5 years ago, and, finding it again, I thought the premise too interesting to miss. The result wasn't quite what I wanted, but responses like yours to it really help boost my confidence in this story. :D
I loved being able to put Peter in the spotlight, but I didn't want the story to really redeem him for his betrayal of the Marauders, and that ended up being a fine line on which to balance. I'm really glad to hear that he was well-portrayed and even sympathetic (which is a bonus) - it's wonderful to have been able to do that with a character like Peter, who is so complicated and grey, even more so than Snape.
Oh gosh, you liked my language and style! *faints* Now there's a compliment I could frame on a wall (speaking of which... *runs off to the forums* this review has found its way into the "reviews that made my day" forum). Thank you, thank you for your wonderful words. I had a lot of fun with the Dobby sections, playing around with words and the images they can evoke - it means a lot that you enjoyed those parts, especially that one with the tapestry, which was actually a late addition (so knowing that it fit right in is fantastic!).
Okay, that's great to hear about the ending! I still may add a few words to make the action clearer (as he's being tortured by Bella there, but I didn't want to have ratings issues, so I made it very abstract, perhaps too much so). I appreciate that you enjoyed this story and took the time to leave it such a lovely review! ^_^
It was a game of survival of the fittest, and he was the furthest from "fittest" that one could get.
I love this line! I really think that this is an interesting way to portray Peter, and I love the parallels that you draw between his character and his rat characteristics. You create a slightly different Peter here from how he's often portrayed, less cowardly in some ways, but he still comes to the same choice in the way. You make his internal struggle really interesting, the struggle over himself which he loses, both when fighting not to transform, and presumably when he tells the sisters what he is doing and switches to Voldemort's side. You create a really interesting situation here, where Peter doesn't set out to betray his friends, but his survival instinct overwhelms his sense of duty.
I really like your characterisation of the two sisters as well. The differences between Narcissa and Bellatrix that you explored were really interesting, as was the exporation of Bellatrix's blind devotion to Voldemort. And I loved all the subtle digs at one another, the relationship between them was really well written. The characterisation in this piece overall was very well done. And it felt so strange to see Dobby in not exactly a villain's role, but he is in some ways the bad guy in this piece.
This review is incredibly rambly, but hopefully I've got some of my thoughts across. The writing style is, as always, absolutely incredibly. Your writing doesn't read as if it has been written, which makes it flow really nicely and makes anything that you have written very easy to read! Although, sometimes, you get a part of the story so truthful or well constructed that you just have to admire it, such as the last few lines. It conveyed really well Peter's fractured thoughts and his mix of emotions, and the really powerful final decision that he makes.
Author's Response: Thank you for this, Secret Santa! It was a wonderful surprise to see this review, and I want you to know that I really appreciate it. ^_^
I'm glad that you like that line - it was perfect for the title and summary, though figuring out how to express that idea in coherent grammar was a challenge. :P I love playing with words and cliched phrases, so I couldn't resist making that the central theme of the story. I had Darwin on the mind for my research at uni, and the whole idea of Peter appearing in most of the story in rat form gave me the idea to make survival the central theme here - the key issue in this story is that Peter chooses survival over everything else, and that's a very natural choice. Not the morally or ethically right choice, but the one that is followed by instinct, something that can't be controlled by society or reason. It's fantastic that you caught that, too, that his choice is one made on a very fundamental level, and while it makes his choice problematic, it offers one explanation as to how/why he became a spy for the Dark Lord.
The sisters in this story ended up stealing the limelight (though Dobby might have, too XD) - they were way too much fun to write, especially together as they are, quibbling and trying to outwit each other in typical sibling fashion. :P I'm glad that their characterizations turned out well because I very rarely write them, particularly not in starring roles like this, so it means a lot to hear a compliment about them. ^_^
Rambly is good. Just look at this response. XD Queen of the ramble over here is extremely thankful for your wonderful present. It means a lot that you liked this story, even the ending (which may need some extra words still, but I'm really glad that you liked it!). Thank you! *huggles*
Hey Susan! I'd been meaning to read this for a while (hooray underloved characters!) but just hadn't found the time :)
This is an interesting take on Peter. I see the desire to prove himself, which has come up in fanfiction I've read before, but there's a new dimension in your emphasis on his Animagus form. The comparison is typically that of a rat to a traitor, but here I see him as someone who is proud of the form he chose and in despair over the fact that no one else sees its merit -- and thus, his merit. You've given him all new depth here.
I could see all the tiny comparisons between Peter and the others here, and it was so fascinating to witness. Did I detect a tiny parallel between the conversation about Snape and the presence of a traitor hiding out right under the girls' noses? (Perhaps that's merely my Snivelly senses tingling. Hah.) I did like the attention to the comparison between the sisters. It's the first time I've really seen a contrast between Narcissa's comfortable life and Bellatrix's endless "dirty work" depicted in fanfiction, and I think it's quite accurate. I enjoyed watching them turn on one another subtly, with Bellatrix's needling about Narcissa focusing on the enrichment of the "next generation" of Death Eaters and Narcissa's train of thought about Bellatrix's boring, unloving home life. It's a nice change from my typical vision of Narcissa, which shows her as being almost wholly submissive to Bellatrix until the end.
The suspense here was really tangible, too. While I enjoyed the conversation between the two women and the running train of Pettigrew's thoughts, I couldn't help but continually think, "oh no, he's right there, Dobby will catch him!" Hah.
Wonderful! Glad I finally got a chance to check it out :)
Author's Response: Thank you for coming to review, Amanda! It's always a pleasure to hear your opinions. ^_^ Although this story is a "meh" one for me, I'm still glad to hear what people have to say about it - either it's not so bad as I've convinced myself, or they'll mention the one thing that it's missing, even a by-chance reference can inspire Merlin-knows-what. :D
Peter having the rat form is a fascinating thing to me - I know that on a basic level, JKR is using it to reflect his characteristics as a Death Eater, but there has to be something more to it too. Not only is she very deliberate about such details, but Peter had the form chosen for him - I wonder what it is inside a person that leads them to gain a particular form. It's very like the way that the wand chooses the wizard - instinct and personality are both very complex things, and details that may seem just like details have to have more meaning to them. But in this case, instead of merely seeing the rat form as a negative thing, I wanted to capitalize on its positive aspects - small size, quick movements, an animal that people don't like to notice. It makes him the perfect spy, for either side, and thus makes Peter useful. :) I'm glad that you like the depth he has in this one-shot - I didn't feel like I had enough grasp of his character while writing, but it's great to hear otherwise!
No, you're right about the Snape connection - Peter sees that, socially, he could have been an outcast like Snape had he 1) not been sorted in Gryffindor or 2) not been accepted by James and Sirius as a friend/follower. Had they chosen otherwise, Peter would have been another Snape.
I'm really glad that you like my portrayal of the Black sisters. This was my first major foray into their characters and I really enjoyed writing them and fleshing them out. It's all based on canon information, but I wanted to give a new perspective on them at the same time. After HBP and DH, Narcissa became fascinating for me - not just the pretty/petty wife of Lucius and spoiling mother of Draco, but someone with considerable strength of will and personality - definitely a force to be reckoned with! :D
Thank you very much for such a lovely review! Wow, it means a lot that you were so positive about this story - I'm very pleased that you enjoyed it!
This was a great story- the plot was so unique, and I loved the way you built up character.
I like the way that Pettigrew was a spy, taking advantage to his animagus form being a small rat. Basing a story around that was good. :)
The conversation between Bellatrix and Narcissa was also really good! You thought of some really interesting topics for them to speak about- and it was so realistic.
The one piece of advice I can think to give you is that you should tighten up the idea at the end. I assume that Pettigrew is being tortured/attacked by various curses? You could rewrite that, or add a sentence, to make it clearer.
Great story! :) Happy Birthday, again!
Author's Response: Thank you very much! It's lovely of you to have left a review and I really appreciate that you did. :D
I can't remember how I came up with the spy idea, but it makes sense that he would use his animagus powers in that way. While at Hogwarts, the Marauders used his small size and quickness to operate the Whomping Willow, so he should be able to use those same abilities as a spy - it would also explain why he was able to build up so much trust for both the Marauders and Dumbledore. Not that he was planning on becoming a turncoat from the beginning (I kind of hate it when writers make him like that), but instead finding a way of becoming useful, so useful as to be "needed" rather than being that hanger on of James and Sirius.
That ending still bothers me, too! I know what I want to have happen, but getting it to work without having to up the rating is what's giving me trouble. I'll give it another look and hopefully I'll be able to flesh it out a little better - it might only need a couple of carefully placed words to do the trick. :) Thanks very much!
Happy birthday! I am so jealous of you, you're such a talented graphics maker that it's so unfair that you're also such a talented writing. This was just so good!
Author's Response: Thank you very much! I'm glad that this story actually turned out well, as it didn't have the right feel to it (but I posted it anyway because otherwise I may have tossed it aside for another few years). It means a lot that you like my work, both with words and images. ^_^
javct45 from the forums, here with your review!
Great story :) It was very original, and brownie points for writing a fan fic about Peter - not many people would try it.
Your characterisation was brilliant, especially with Narcissa and Bellatrix. The way they spoke to one another was perfect :) Bellatrix defiantly seemed to dominant the conversation, which is very, well, Bellatrix. And Wormtail; he was brilliant as well :)
The imagery in this story was really good. I could honestly imagine everything that was happening. You wrote it perfectly and just left a little bit to the readers imagination, which most authors don't seem to do. They just give you black & white, while a small amount (you included) leave some grey for whoever is reading it to interpret (in this case, imagine the surroundings)
The ending, however, confused me a little. It made sense right up to "It's Pettigrew. One of Sirius's friends", then, you lost me. I got confused as to what was happening.
But apart from that, the story was amazing :)
Author's Response: Thank you very much! It's great that you enjoyed the story and found that the characterizations were successful. That alone is a great relief because these characters... so not in my comfort zone, especially the Black sisters for some reason. I find them fascinating, but writing them is a challenge because Bellatrix is overpoweringly villainous while Narcissa is a very "grey area" sort of character, which makes it difficult to place her, especially when she's in a scene with her sister.
Oh, that's a wonderful compliment about the descriptions! I just try to write what I see in my head, which is hazy around the edges with certain objects or details showing very clearly - like the pattern on the rug that Peter's sitting on, for instance, which he notices because he's so close to it, while things further from his sight remain unseen. I never like to describe too much, though, as it tends to get in the way, and as you said, it also does too much "telling", leaving little for the reader to do but passively read - it's a pet peeve of mine as a reader, actually. XD
Thank you for isolating which part of the story starts losing control. At that point, Peter has literally lost control of his form - they recognize him, then I wanted it to imply that Bellatrix starts torturing him, but me rushing through it and trying to avoid getting this story tagged as Mature made it too unclear. I'll have to work on that more. I really appreciate your help there! :D
Your story is amazing! And so are you!
The characterisations are amazing. You captivated the characters we knew from the books and not many can do that. I like the way you made an argument between Belllatrix and Narcissa about Draco's 'future'. And of course, as always, Narcissa's maternal instincts went on.
The descriptions are very very tense -in a good way. The words kind of sink into your mind and then you just imagine that you're in the corner or something watching Dobby look for Pettigrew/the rat.
The flow was great and I didn't really think it was weird when it came to the ending bit. The way you ended the story was interesting, you kind of left the word 'yes.' hanging in the air and leaving the rest of the events for the reader to imagine. (yes, I know how confusing of me.)
The pace was fine, I couldn't comment on it as much as I would love to since there's no second chapter but if it did I'd say that your story pace is balanced.
I like the way you gave that kind of 'tense' situation in the story.
Love the story I think I'll favourite it,
Author's Response: Whoa! Now that's a way to start a review and give a wake-up call to the writer! Thank you very much - I don't know how else to express my wonder and gratitude for those compliments. They are very, very appreciated! ^_^
It's great to hear that Bella and Narcissa turned out well - I don't usually write characters so often featured in the books these days, not to mention ones on the darker side of the equation, so I wasn't sure if I'd captured them right, even after I'd referred to "Spinner's End" a few times (then again, it's fun just to read that chapter over again :P). They're a challenge to write, but amazing to write together!
Ooh, I like that about the descriptions drawing the reader in that much - watching the whole thing going on before them, not necessarily from Peter's point of view, but somewhere similar, watching him, watching Dobby, watching the witches - there's a lot of watching in this story, I just noticed that now.
I'm glad that the ending didn't seem off in any way - I rushed when I wrote it and just wasn't satisfied with how it turned out. Yet again, this is a story that sounded much better in my head, and didn't execute so well on paper, but it's just me again, over-criticizing myself. The only thing I liked was having "yes" as the last word, and I'm so happy that you commented on it! Readers are meant to ask "yes, what?" - what is Peter agreeing to? Certainly one of the things is to give information, but it's not actually said. I love leaving things hanging a bit on short-stories, mostly to get readers thinking, and I'm glad that it worked here. ^_^
Anyway, thank you again for the fabulous review! It means a lot that you liked this story, even enough to favourite it!
Hi, thank you so much for asking me to review your work!I do not know why there are only two reviews... I believe that should be illegal, period. You’re writing style is beautiful and there is this way in which you communicate that is like I just bit into a piece of soft black forest cake. It’s gooey, rich, and everyone knows that everything bad in the world is completely counteracted with a piece of black forest cake :P. I think that’s the best way I can describe your wording. It’s so lovely and a breath of fresh air to read.
A couple things that I felt took away from the flow was James with Lily with their newborn son, maybe James and Lily with their newborn son or James with Lily and their newborn son would have flowed better together. It’s tiny eyes bulging at animal instinct took over. Should be- bulging AS animal instinct took over. Nothing big, just small little interrupters. One last thing was when Dobby was starring at himself in the silver platter. I loved how you described Dobby as he was chasing after the rat, the poor guy, but that part jolted me out of the feeling I had while reading and I think it was because it felt like there were two different, unconnected actions getting placed together. Bella waiving her hand, and then suddenly Dobby. But maybe that is what you wanted.
The relationship between Bella and Narcissa is palpable and I love the interactions. You have written them very realistically and I loved that you choose to explore their relationship in this story in such great depth. I loved their great differences and how in such subtle wording you brought those differences to light. How Narcissa touched her jewelled neck or her grace while Bella was all passion and is like a wound up jack in the box just ready to spring. I also think that this was the perfect setting to set Peter’s transformation. I can see why Peter would admire her, probably because she had the passions and convictions that he lacked. Peter reminds me of sponge in this story, he spent all his time in Hogwarts soaking up the convictions and passions of his friends and now since they are gone, his sponge has run dry and as he’s sitting underneath Bella he’s found the passions that he believes he doesn’t have, he cannot help but let his sponge start filling up again.
I also really love the dominance Bella has in the relationship and yet Narcissa does show this dark power in how she scorns Bella with doing her dirty work and yet isn’t sitting where Regulus is. I’m not sure why but it brought me back to the scene in Spinner’s End where Narcissa is refusing to tend to her sister’s counsel and goes her own way to insure her son’s safety. I feel like this scene was a perfect build up to that, how Bella always seems to hold this ascendancy but in the end Narcissa never quite seems to be alright under that and I think that you captured the tension between the sisters wonderfully.
Ah! Need to cut short my ramble of them, this is a story of Peter, I must remind myself, I just found them so fascinating. Anyway, there was something about Peter’s transformation I don’t know if it quite got there for me. There was something missing and I’ve read the story multiple times trying to figure out exactly why I’m left with a question mark in my mind. I don’t know if I have it yet or I just don’t know how to transform it into words. I mean, it makes sense mostly, but I feel like there is a critical point that is missing that seals the deal. I’m not sure if I’m making much sense here and I might be the only one who still has a question, I don’t know. I liked though the whole idea of how only the strong survive and to survive and to show the world that he was strong he switched sides.
I felt though that you had his insecurities and how he always felt like others looked down on him written brilliantly though. I feel like those same thoughts would have been running through his head and wonder if he’d ever be able to prove himself and pull himself from out of the shadows. I also liked your repetition of rats and how that really was what Peter saw himself as. I really loved the line ‘nothing worth the price of redemption.’ I felt like this really captured everything, how Peter had nothing and no one really knew what it was like to feel like you had nothing to give to the world and nothing that would show one’s worth.
There were a couple things that I did notice though and questioned. At the beginning you did mention how he was the most trusted Order spy. I feel as if this was so, would this not give him the confidence in his own abilities and take up the spot the Marauders’ had filled in Hogwarts? Or is he forever fated to always have low self worth and feel undeserving of such trust. Also, you mentioned later that the whole Order looked down on him, and saw him as nothing without his friends. To me, those two thoughts in his head together didn’t make sense. If the Order looked down on him, would they think of him a trusted spy? With that, I felt like maybe there should be more of a transition from the man who they trusted to the rat they looked down upon, a rat that was desperate to be strong and saw that the only way to strength was to switch. I did however love that you made him useful in the Order and that he was indeed needed for something.
I did like this story though, and there were so many details in it that just loved, your writing is truly very lovely and I always love reading it. I think I should stop my extremely long ramble that I’m not sure if I got anywhere with. :P
Author's Response: This review is insanely detailed - far more than I ever expected to get for this story - and it's had me flabbergasted since you left it. Although I made the changes as soon as I could, I've had a lot of trouble thinking of how I would respond in a way that this review deserved. It deserves something brilliant, to be sure.
Thank you so much for reading the story and leaving such wonderful constructive criticism. It's not a story I had any hopes for, but just wanted to get it out there, and you've made me glad that I did. My writing has not yet been compared to chocolate cake, but gosh, I love chocolate cake, and the image of my writing as equal to that is too amazing for words. ^_^
The presence of Bella and Narcissa in this story is very strong, and while it is a story about Peter like you said (and like I've advertised it), it says almost more about them than about him. Perhaps it's just my inability to write him as completely as I would have liked, but nonetheless, it was still fascinating to take a look into the two Black sisters and their lives during a period in fanfiction that usually focuses on the Marauders and the Order. I did base most of it off that first scene in HBP, and I enjoyed going further with JKR's snapshots of how these two very different sisters interact. One is the mother; the other an anti-mother. One is light; the other dark. Both are Blacks through and through; only Bellatrix carries the Black's ideals to their extreme while Narcissa thinks things through very carefully, weighing her options, even when she's emotionally involved. She may be the quieter of the two, but I think she's the more clever and calculating as opposed to Bella's fiery, uncontrollable temper. Ah! Now I'm rambling on about them, too! There's just something about them that, when written together, makes for a great spectacle, a scene that, even if it was limited to dialogue, would be intense and exciting to watch.
There is something missing at that point near the end, but I can't figure out what it is. I had this image in my head of how it would look, and it's impossible to force it into words. I'm still hoping for some lightbulb to go off in my head and give me all the answers, or better yet, for someone to come along and tell me the secret. It's awkward to describe that transformation because Peter's resisting it, but also wanting it at the same time so that he can "reveal" himself and take credit for his work as a spy. He's so contradictory - that's the problem, and I don't know how to fix it.
Thank you for your very kind words and lovely compliments - they're definitely "make my day" sorts of things, and I'm really glad that you liked this story as well as how Peter turned out, characterization-wise. This is the first time I'd written him in years, and although I'm a supporter, so to speak, of including him in fanfics, it's harder than I thought to write him! It was surprising to realize that. Anyway, thanks again! I appreciate the time you took to read the story and write this stunning review. ^_^
Excellent stuff, it's good to look into Peter's mind.
Author's Response: Thank you very much! :D
Amazing, youre writing is just that. I think that I always felt a little sorry for Peter and I think that you captured that beautifully, especially with the bullying part. You are an amazing author and I hope so see some more stories soon :)
xox Beauxbatonsgirl :)
Author's Response: Wow, I was expecting such praise for this story, and it means a lot to hear it. It's great to hear that I captured Peter correctly - it's hard to find that balance between making him too much of either a victim or villain. Thank you for taking the time to read and review! ^_^