Love it! Excellent. Very enjoyable.
Author's Response: Thank you! :)
Oh wow! Definitely left me at a cliffhanger - dang it!
Now I really want to know what is going on with Riddle and McGonagall! I wish I can just examine your brain right quick to know what you had planned for this story - and all your secrets! Haha!
I enjoy how well crafted your words are. You are an inspiration for me for graphics. You're truly an inspiration for me for writing too now!
If you ever decide to come back this, I'll definitely return to finish the rest! Thank you for writing this! :D
Hey! It's me again!
This story has caught my attention since I first joined TDA or shortly after HPFF. Which is now been 2 - 3 years now.
I finally have the mind and maturity to come read this. I knew before you were - no - ARE an amazing writer... but just reading this. I sucked this all in like a sponge to water.
I don't know how much or many times in different way that I can express how completely dumb-struck by your writing. This. is. a. classic. Original. I sorely wished that I was around when you were active. I will keep saying - even if you are tired of hearing it.
I know I am heading in for disappointment... disappointment of knowing when I read the next and last chapter of this story, that I'll be left hanging. It'll be worth it.
I needed something to read with such quality that one would even pay for it.
I wonder what about Minerva McGonagall that has Dumbledore bringing Moody into this. And Riddle too. I saw in your other story that involved with Tom and her, and I'll get to that fully when I am done with this. I just had to read this.
You set the mood and setting so damn well! I can cry. I love mystery, and it's been an incredibly long time since I've sat down and read a proper one. I thought to myself that if I am gonna read a story - particularly a mystery one - this story would be the first.
And I did. Come here. I enjoy every single paragraph - every single sentence, every single word, and every single letter you strung here. I definitely am going to read the next chapter - regardless of this story not being complete.
Off to chapter 2 I go.
Hello, I'm here from review tag! :) It was so hard choosing a story to review as all of your stories seem fascinating and I suspect I'm going to be lingering around your page quite often in the next few weeks to read them all! But since I loved your last Moody-centered story that I read so much I thought this would be a good one to check out.
I absolutely love how Moody is characterized here, and the descriptions of his leg and how he goes through the phantom pains. His and Dumbledore's understanding with each other, how Moody understands that he has to find answers for himself, is really fascinating. He's such a great character since he's sort of the underdog among the Aurors and a little rough around the edges, and Dumbledore choosing him to be the one to investigate is so very canon. It's quite interesting to see them still on last-name terms and before they were really friends like they are so far in the future.
Something I really loved was the portrayal of the castle itself as this living, dangerous thing which opposed him. And then there were these lines: They’d never wash the blood from the flagstones or silence the echoes of screams in the halls. which were so chilling and I loved the darkness of Hogwarts here. You really brought to life the darker side of Hogwarts and how dangerous and notorious it really is. It's so unique and fits with the mystery genre, and I adored it. The whole story has this sense of tension and being watched which was really perfect for the theme and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The lyrical, powerful description really enhances that. I especially appreciated the reference to Bluebeard's castle, which just thinking of adds to that whole creepy manner, and the subtle references to the word "riddle" is just perfect.
I don't think I've read anything set in this period before and I'm really excited to see how you continue to shape it. It's so unique to see characters like McGonagall and Moody and Hagrid when they were the young ones, and the mystery revolving around Voldy trying to get back into Hogwarts is brilliant. I enjoyed the little details like how Moody was in the war - the Muggle war - and how it affected him, as it surely would affect everyone who grew up in that time. Then the mention of the Hepzibah Smith case and Moody recognizing Riddle's name from that was a great touch, especially how Moody's thinking the elf was innocent really shows his character and how he's unique for a wizard and an Auror, especially in that time. I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and how Hogwarts and the HP world evolves and changes in other eras and I'm really intrigued to see how that will continue.
McGonagall and Voldy seems really interesting and something I've never actually read! I'm curious to find out how she is involved and what sort of a character she would be like as a young woman. I've wondered when I've seen Minerva/Riddle pairings on the site how authors fit them together and make it work so finding out that role in the mystery should be really interesting.
Great job with this, I can't wait to read the next chapter and find out what's going on! :D
Author's Response: Thank you for choosing to read and review this story! It's one I should really revisit because I still like the idea of it and the various themes it explores - of course, writing about Moody is something I also very much enjoy. He's a fascinating character to write about, perhaps because I'm able to expand on JKR's characterization, which is in some ways basic, more caricature than character, if that makes sense. He's a fighter, but he also has to deal with the numerous disabilities that plague him throughout the years - for instance, in this story, the loss of his leg frequently obstructs his ability to work, and he is still working at adapting to his new body.
I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed that description of the castle. It's one of my favourite things I've written - being able to take the magical castle of Hogwarts and place it within a film noir context was an interesting experience. It's easy to forget that it's a medieval castle with a disturbing past that includes bloody barons, a giant basilisk, and more recently for Moody's time, the death of Myrtle. It has the potential to be a terrifying place, just as many locations do - it all depends on how you frame the descriptions and what kind of lighting or filtering you use on the images.
It's probably my favourite Potterverse time to write about - these characters have so much to offer, as does the time period surrounding them. Thankfully JKR has provided just enough Magical history to provide a background for these characters and the darker world - post-War, pre-Voldemort - in which they live.
:O You've never read Tom/Minerva? It's what happens when you make Draco/Hermione more sophisticated, with a lot more potential for horror. ;)
Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! I apologize for the late response!
Hello! I know this is ridiculously late but I’m here to review this for the Film Noir challenge. I know. I’m stupid. I let work and summer get away with me and so I (sort of, maybe, ish) forgot about this. I feel very bad, and can’t apologise enough. Also kudos for the Orson Welles.
Your descriptive language really is incredible. The whole reveal of Moody was handled really well, I really enjoyed reading it. The fog just added a great sense of atmosphere to the whole thing. One thing I loved was the description of Hogwarts - it is a dark place. Although it is a school (full of lovely children and innocence and what not), just think of all the murders and attacks that happens (especially when Tom Riddle was there, and then again with Voldy enacting his revenge on Harry). Your interaction between Hagrid and Moody was spot on - their dialogue was very well characterised.
Again with your descriptive skills! You have such a nice writing style that fits the genre beautifully. You say this is your first outing in film noir, but I don’t believe you. Up and up, as though into the clouds, that hellish blackness that hung overhead, impenetrable, unyielding. He followed the staircases, halting only when they chose to shift their path, extending or shortening his journey at their weak, woman’s will.
I loved the whole Dumbledore and Moody scene. Your characterisations in this chapter are spot on. Dumbledore being kind but firm, worried for McGonagall and then his twinkling smile at the end. Moody’s deductions were awesome - the memory about Hepzibah Smith, his ideas about the note and the quill. All amazing.
And the ending? Bringing to a close with a mention of the fog that is probably still whirling outside. Well done, a totally awesome chapter.
Author's Response: Eee, thank you for reading and reviewing this! I was looking forward to your comments on this because this is my first time writing film noir and hardboiled crime fiction. It was a fantastic bonus to also win the challenge - I wasn't expecting that! ^_^
For the descriptions, I wanted to focus on how the story would look as a black-and-white movie, so there's very little colour unless it's fundamental to the narrative (or character), and there's also a lot more contrast between light and dark areas. Fog is a fantastic way to capture this style because of the way it obscures shapes in a strange, fuzzy light. As Moody's shadow emerges from the fog, it appears monstrous, menacing, yet he's also the hero - one far more clear-cut than most film noir heroes (while his methods for obtaining information aren't always by the book, he is firmly on the side of "good").
I love the idea of Hogwarts as the safest place in wizarding Britain, yet it's also a castle with many bloody secrets, including a basilisk hidden in the basement. It's an extraordinary juxtaposition and I couldn't resist emphasizing it here. :D
It is my first foray into writing film noir! The mysteries I've written so far are mostly humourous, somewhat playing off of film noir tropes, but they're never particularly deep nor complicated. I want this one to be a "real" film noir, with crazy twists and dualities. But I did watch a lot of film noirs before writing this for inspiration, and it looks like it was the right kind of research. ;) There's something amazing about writing very dark imagery, where anything commonly regarded as positive can be transformed into something hellish and twisted. The writing style is also something I'm having fun with because, while it's filled with elaborate descriptions, it still has to sound harsh and sharp. Finding the balance between concise, choppy sentences and intense imagery is a wonderful challenge!
Before I go on forever, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to have written something like this! It was a great challenge idea! :D
Hey Susan. Here to tag your story from the forums. I've looked around your page to see what's new and this little project caught my attention at once. I love how it started and I'm determined to follow it through as you unfold the mysteries that lie beneath Hogwarts' surface.
Admittedly I have no prior experience to 'the film noir', apart from some short information I read on the Internet, so I might not be most helpful on that field. However the little I've read has made me want to read this story even more. I've decided to find a movie or two in this specific genre so I might familiarize myself better to the layout and what defines a film noir, all the better to understand your story. If you have any recommendations it'd be lovely :)
Now on to the actual review! The start off of this story was well paced in my opinion. It felt pretty stable, not going too fast but not terribly slow either. Even though the action unfolding in this chapter only took place at one particular setting, namely Hogwarts, there was enough description of the surroundings which intertwined with Moody's dark thoughts and ominous premonitions made this chapter come alive in itself.
We have the ground base of the story: something horrible is about to happen if action is not taken. Moody feels that many things are amiss and he is determined to find out what, despite the elusive nature of the Headmaster's questions. If he doesn't answer straight, Alastor must know that expecting straightness from others is all but an illusion.
As to the characters you really have set a task for you. Moody, Dumbledore, McGongall. They are not an easy bunch but you have experience with at least one if I remember correctly (McGonagall?) so it might not be that difficult. Up until this point everything was OK with how you handled the characters. Moody is great to read about and I must admit I ravage any story I can find about him (more so if they're yours /blush). He definitely needs more love on the Archives!
I'm most excited to see how this will progress and what you have in store for the characters. Until next time!
Author's Response: Thank you, Debra! It's wonderful to hear that, of all the stories I've been working on, you chose this one. It's an unusual story, particularly when set among the romantic comedies that are ever-popular on this site, so it's interesting to see how many readers choose this kind of story instead. I've always loved reading mysteries (though writing them has proven to be far more of a challenge), so I find myself writing the kind of story that I'd want to read. It means a lot that you've enjoyed this first chapter and are intrigued by the mysteries of Hogwarts. :D
Film noir is one of my favourite genres, especially in movies, but "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiell Hammett and the stories by Raymond Chandler are the "classics" of noir fiction. They're very hardboiled, a precursor to a lot of today's crime fiction, but there's something interesting about the style - not only is it often confusing in plot, but it's just so dark and cruel, portraying an unforgiving world that's lost all sense of right and wrong. That's a difficult thing to apply to the Potterverse, particularly characters like Moody and McGonagall, whose loyalties are obviously on the side of good. Moody's ethics may be shady, but he's unquestionably loyal to the Order. Yet in this story, it can't be so clear-cut.
The descriptions are one of the most exciting aspects of writing this story - I love having the opportunity to make readers look at familiar things in new ways, and seeing Hogwarts for what it is in many ways - a Gothic castle with a long history, both good and bad - is fascinating. And Moody is the perfect character with which to explore these possibilities because he has this morbid, paranoid streak that sees the negative side of everything. It's one of the reasons why I love writing him. :D
Thank you again for the fantastic review! It means a lot that you're interested in seeing where this story goes next - I hope that you continue to enjoy it!
Hello Susan :) Stopping by from tag this time!
She would always be on the watch for trouble. It would make her a good professor. It would have made her a great Auror.
^Love this! Way to characterize her perfectly.
Ugh, your Moody is glorious. I feel like you must have watched his film depiction and read and re-read his parts in the series over and over. You just seem so familiar with his every nuance. He's got this great attention to detail, which I noted when he was recounting Minerva's career journey, and also an immense respect for his profession. Yet there is the recognizable callousness with which he ponders the new recruits and the lazy state of the Ministry. He's got all these facets that make him so intriguing, and you're captured them very well.
Speaking of the Ministry, I love that, too. Again, you get the sense of bureaucracy that I remember from the canon series; it's clear that the employees barely know what to do with themselves now that the crisis of Grindlewald has been resolved. It's even better to get to view it through Moody's eyes.
The chemistry between Moody and Minerva is electric, and they aren't even in the same room! You've brought out their anti-hero/femme fatale dynamic beautifully, hinting at it without making it... erm... come on too strong? Yes. It's so neat to watch him read her so well, and to imagine her in turn leaving these little clues for him to find later. I'll be interested to watch them interact in person.
Oh, and I also liked how you folded the tale of Hokey into this. Your description screamed noir in its simplicity and darkness, and I thought it was the perfect venue for the Moody-Minerva dynamic.
Another lovely chapter, Susan! Glad I returned! :)
Author's Response: Amanda! Thank you for reading and reviewing this chapter - it was a great surprise, and I really appreciate it! :D
You know, I think I have analyzed Moody's character far too much. When I was researching for "Out of Time" and a couple of my one-shots, I went over his major scenes and haunted his Wiki page. It's an obsessive problem of mine to want to do things correctly. This is likely one reason why I love writing fanfiction - it's not about being too lazy to create my own characters, but the challenge of writing someone else's as good as they did, if not better. Wow, it's fabulous to hear that I've successfully portrayed him here - he fits well into the film noir style, as though it was made for his character, that hard-boiled detective, always on the rails (he's like the male wizarding version of Helen Mirren's "Prime Suspect" character). He has a very set idea of what it takes to be an Auror and how the job should be done. Unfortunately, in the Cold War era, there is too much modernization and bureaucracy getting in his way - he can't be that rouge cop any longer, and this is what eventually drives him out of the department after the First War.
It's too easy for me to ramble about Moody and these historical interpretations of the Wizarding World. :P
I'm glad that you like the electricity between Moody and McGonagall already! That scene was a last-minute addition, but it adds a lot to both of their characters (though we can't be 100% sure that it was actually McGonagall standing up there - Moody imagines that it must be her). She's somewhat of a femme fatale, but then again Moody is only somewhat of an anti-hero, too. Her character is one thing I still have to work out before I can properly write the next chapter.
Thank you again for this review! It's been a wonderful treat! ^_^
Hey there! I'm here from TGS for the review exchange!
Now, this story is certainly the closest I've ever gotten to anything that is film noir but I truly enjoyed every bit of this chapter. From the very beginning, the opening scene was magnificent! The way you described things set the eerie scene perfectly and it made easier for the rest of the chapter to play out in my head like a movie. I suppose that's a very good thing considering the theme is 'film noir' and all.
Your imagery throughout the chapter was quite fascinating as well. There were sentences like this one:
"They were not the gates of heaven or hell. To some, the most accurate and honest, it was right in the middle." These are just pure genius and added so much to the chapter's rich theme.
The concept of the story itself is absolutely brilliant as well! I love how you're using all the facts we've discovered through Pottermore to put together such an interesting story. The characters you've chosen to focus on and all the canon facts that you've included show how well you've thought everything through and really makes me eager to find out what else you'll be including and what all of this will lead to. And that makes this a very gripping first chapter.
The characterisation seemed alright to me as well. Moody's roughness and his desire to just get things done was quite obvious in this chapter, keeping him loyal to canon. I love how he's still trying to get used to his leg and how he still considers it as a hindering factor; I suppose he gets over it eventually? I admire the way he thinks about things, especially Hogwarts, and I'm hoping to start to understand him a bit more as the story moves forward. Anyway, I can completely see why Dumbledore's chosen him for this 'case' and I can't wait to see what's going to happen and if we'll get to meet McGonagall in this story. And I thought Dumbledore was great too, by the way!
I am very happy I have gotten the chance to read another one of your stories and I'm hoping I'll get the time to continue on with this one because it seems to be insanely intriguing!
Author's Response: Hi, Manno! Thank you very much for coming to read and review this story - I appreciate it! It's even better that you enjoyed this first chapter. The opening scene was an important one to get right in order to best set the tone for this genre, so I'm glad to hear that it was successful in doing so. The style for this story requires a strange balance between heavy imagery and short, terse sentences, which is something I'm not used to. It makes for a unique tone that only film noirs have, and it's great to hear that I've got it right. :)
For some reason, Dumbledore has never been difficult for me to write. He's so eccentric that he's unpredictable, but at the same time, his voice and manners necessitate a very particular tone, almost ironic, but also whimsical and dark. He's one of the strangest characters in the Potterverse to write, which is probably why I enjoy it. :P Moody is more straight-forward, and here he's much younger, only in his thirties, I think. At times it's like writing an OC rather than a canon character with him. It's great that you liked how both characters turned out!
Thank you again! :)
Hey Susan, thanks for updating this story, I have been so excited about reading this chapter and trying to imagine what could possibly happen next. Minerva is being so mysterious, I loved how you had her stood almost as if she was watching him. This is almost a completely different side to Minerva, despite the fact we haven't read much of her. She's always been one about honesty now it seems she may have something to hide, I really like reading about her in this way.
The whole concept of this story and the way in which you write it as well, is just great. I usually try to picture fic's as a movie, and this works perfectly well, black and white with a sinister30's/40's soundtrack playing softly in the background from time to time. Okay so it's slightly odd that I'd picture that haha, though I have a lot of fun doing it and seeing a young maggie smith play Minerva. She really is my favourite character!
When I saw Tom's name I couldn't help but smile, like I can't wait for things to unravel so we can go deeper into this!
Oh and once again, you've captured Moody perfectly! Everything you write about him, and Minerva too I know that they would do, I can picture it. Your writing gives a great imagery, I love it!
10/10 as always,
Author's Response: Bex! Thank you so much for this review! I'm sorry that it's taken me this long to respond - it was wonderful to see that you'd reviewed, and even better that you'd enjoyed the new chapter too. :D
I'm glad that you enjoyed that scene with Minerva! It wasn't in the original plan, and it doesn't have much to do with the plot, but it has this strong visual quality that I couldn't resist. It was fun to portray her as a mysterious femme fatale type character, especially with the way that she appears here as nothing more than a shadow - Moody only guesses that it's her, and makes up a story to suit that hypothesis. It's an interesting way of constructing a scene, which is the best part of writing this story - it's letting me play a lot of tricks with narrative that I normally wouldn't attempt.
I'm getting to the point where I could write Moody all the time! There's something about him that leaves a lot open to interpretation, and it helps that JKR hasn't yet released any additional information about his history, so I don't have to worry about going against canon. It's fantastic that you like his characterization here!
Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story! Hopefully I'll be able to turn out a new chapter soon. :D
Hello, Violet. I'm here with your review. I did read through chapter one and will probably throw in some comments on it as I go, but I'm focusing in on this chapter since it was the one you were more concerned about.
Actually, I lied. I think I'll start at the beginning after all, though not in as much detail perhaps. I thought your opening chapter was really wonderful. By the time Moody was officially on the case, I was hooked. You have such a great talent for seeing the HP universe in an entirely new way - not just with this story but with a lot of your stories. It works with canon and yet always adds something new. One example in particular was the bit about the castle as you described it in the paragraph that started, "A place of magic..." It's so true; think about all the ghosts, the locked doors, the way the founders parted company. The castle holds a lot of darkness and yet I'm so used to seeing it as Harry's home that I never thought of it the way you described. Brilliant!
I try and make a habit of not reading authors' notes until after I've read a chapter, so as to not be influenced one way or the other, but even before I read yours at the start of chapter one, I thought "this is a film noir." Right away I'm thinking Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. I love that hard-boiled detective genre, so this is right up my alley.
Now on to your concerns for chapter two. Personally, I think the narrative voice is perfect. It could be a lot for the reader to take in, being in Moody's head. There is just the right amount of detachment here, one that lets you the author give us clues about the type of person Moody is without having him tell us directly - which often sounds forced. Who is self-aware enough to comment on the way the world views them? The only time (and this is so nitpicky) that I thought the voice "slipped" a little was:
A lesser detective would have leapt up those staircase to catch her before she suspected anything was up...
"Anything was up" sounds a bit modern to me, but really, it's just a single world. Overall, I love what you've been able to portray about Moody already. I think the line, "Hell, they made his life worth living too" tells us everything we need to know about him.
I didn't find the pacing to be bad either. I think there has to be some "slower" points in a story like this. If he was chasing after bad guys, wand drawn from the get-go, it would lose the slow build of a mystery novel. That said, if you are really looking for a way to punch it up (and this is obviously just a suggestion; it isn't bad at all as is), you could consider breaking up the chapter into two pieces, starting right after "vanished into the night." The transition was a little abrupt for me, so going for a full division might work. I might suggest then coming back in a bit further into the scene, when Moody's already seated, looking over the papers. It isn't the research that's slow (and I love the bits about the war you mentioned before that point), but push come to shove, you don't *need* to show his arrival at the Ministry, him walking through the offices, etc. I like the mental image of him being there alone in the dark, but you could still tuck a lot of the same info in, but more in another way, ie:
"Moody was sitting at his desk. He'd been there for hours, not anther soul in sight. It was like during the war..." Obviously that's a terrible couple of sentences, but you get the point. Jump more into the scene, then backtrack a little with the backstory. I think the magic parts were fine, and you did mix physical action, narration, dialogue, all of it to keep in interesting and moving forward, but there were a few parts you could cut if you're looking to move it along even faster.
The first half of the chapter is perfect and I wouldn't touch a bit of it. I love the idea of the McGonagall in her tower, both a character of suspicion and a potential "damsel in distress." And again, the pacing in the second half isn't bad. These were just some ideas if you were looking for a way to punch it up.
I feel like there is a lot more I could say, so much of it positive. I love the plot, the atmosphere, the way you cast the story. There may have been one or two extra 'fog' references over the course of the two chapters but that is about as "negative" a critique as I have to give. But I fear I'm running out of room. I hope this has been helpful. If so, please feel free to re-request when you post more chapters or for another story. I always enjoy the excuse to spend some time reading your work.
Author's Response: Very sorry for the wait on the response! But now I'm ready to devote the proper amount of time to both responding and making the necessary alterations to the chapter. I definitely agree that certain parts can be cut, and I really like what you said about how that can be done - it would fit the style of story to include such a lapse, and I've been thinking through how to do it. One issue I've had is that there's a moment in that long walk that's crucial to the plot - a bit of foreshadowing that will, in the end, explain a lot. That was what took me so long, just deciding how to best make it work (and getting back the right mood for this story - this genre takes a particular mood, very much like humour-writing does).
Thank you very much for this review! Your reviews are among the best on the site (you're easily up there with Alopex) and it's wonderful to get your opinion on things - it's very clear and honest, which is exactly what I want. :D After reading this, I've found it hard to actually want more reviews for this story - you've covered everything! Thank you for being so amazing (especially since you've already got a lot to do as a staffer).
I'm incredibly glad to hear that the story has that film noir feel even without you needing to explicitly hear that it's of that genre. While writing, I try to imagine the whole thing in black and white with those strangely-angled shots and heavy shadows. It's also a surprisingly slow-moving genre, with less dialogue and more brooding than I'm used to. That's what I was trying to include in this chapter, but it ended up not containing enough material - I'm planning on extending the action scene at the end and cutting the narrative not long after he steps out of the elevator. The part in the lobby is necessary, but him getting into the office is not - it became too detailed. Don't know why I let that happen, but it should be easy enough to fix. :)
With that line "anything was up", you're right that it's too modern, and I'll get to changing that when I do the rest of the edits. I'm pathetically tempted to instead make it "before she realized that the game was afoot" and it's likely what I will do. :P Can't resist a Sherlock Holmes reference when I get the opportunity.
Thank you so much for your compliments too, wow! They're fabulous to read, very inspiring, and it means a lot to hear them from you. I hope it's okay that, when I actually write the next chapter, to request you again (if you're still offering by that time, of course). Your feedback has really helped me better conceptualize the plot and narrative - this story has turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected, so I need all of the help I can get. Thank you again! ^_^
Ummm, did I review the first chapter? Yes? No? I might get back to it when I can.
Anyway, onto the story. What a great read! I've never actually read anything I this kind, never actually seen a film noir. I vaguely remember watching some with my grandma when I was little, and all I can really remember was smoking guy with hats, smart pretty girls and lots of fog. Needless to say, you've got it all!
Really, I'm loving the mood of this all, with the dramatic light descriptions and all. It seems that there's a much more complicated plot than in This Longing, which I guess could be expected since this story is oh so fresh and new. Did I mention I love it?
Anyway, I'm so glad you're writing Minerva as the 'misterious woman', and I definitely see her riddling an putting herself in danger for justice. I can't wait to see more of her (and her silhouette :P) and how she hides her tracks in bringing Tom down.
And it's so great you're writing Moody again! I absolutely adore him, this grumpy enigmatic quirky kind of figure whose only true passion is chasing dark wizards. I loved how he thought of the rest of the Ministry as silly people (except for those dealing with papers) (I also have a cocky Hit Wizard in my newest story xD), and how he hates his 'inefficient' side, wooden leg and difficulty in finding parchments.
Aaand it's canon! I know how tricky it can get to write canon Mineva (silly pottermore) and I think you already know that, so I applaud you! All those dates JK gave us (somewhat late ;) ) are a bit complex but I feel you have a great take on exactly how and why she left the Ministry to become a teacher and I really can't wait to read more. (crossing fingers for some Moody/Minerva, because it'd be hilarious and in a film noir they always get together *just guessing-remembers kisses I used to bleurgh at*.
I do hope you'll find the time to continue this with the same style and descriptions, I want to know what's going on!
Your faithful reader ;P
Author's Response: Wow, thank you for this, Val! It was a great treat to receive a review for this story - it's not exactly popular material for a fanfic, but it's the kind of genre for which I've always had a soft spot. Haha, you've pretty much got it in a nutshell - lots of hats, lots of fog, and femme fatales who cause all the trouble. :P The latter is insanely problematic (it's something I'm going to challenge with Minerva in this story - she's too much of a proper feminist to not resist such labels). I'm really glad to hear that you like what there is so far of this story! It means a lot to hear that. ^_^
There is more of a... set? plot than there is in "This Longing" (which I think of as my glacier story, moving slowly and painfully along an unknown course). I have a plan for this story, and I just hope that it works. Thankfully, the film noir genre is known for crazy plots often accompanied by loopholes and inconsistencies - it makes my job a bit easier at least. ;)
It's strange how perfectly the Pottermore Minerva fit into this story. It wasn't my original intention to include her in that way, but it's worked out for the best, especially in that she has worked in that department. The difficulty will be making a clear connection between her and Riddle - that part is still sketchy in my mind, and I haven't decided whether I only want Minerva to mention it, or whether I want to include an actual flashback of those scenes.
It's wonderful that you like Moody's characterization! It's slightly different from what I've done in other stories - he's more of a classic detective here, and I don't yet have a strong handle of his character (I have no backstory for him at all, and I'm hoping that it won't be necessary).
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this! Your reviews are fantastic and always a pleasure to read and respond to. ^_^
Sorry for the delay in reviewing this, I've been absolutely swamped by finals and life in general, but I'm here now! (; It's late, though, so I apologize beforehand for any incoherency on my part!
I can't believe I put this off for so long because this was absolutely gorgeous, dear!
Your imagery is drool-worthy. There is no other word for it, I wish I could pull something like this off. Just the first lines, which set the atmosphere are breathtaking. I've never read something with this strong imagery, it felt as if I were there. You established the setting flawlessly and powerfully.
I loved the setting; a dark, looming night at Hogwarts. Very film noir - which was probably what you were aiming for, I'm guessing. And your description of Hogwarts was spot on. It's so different from how people usually describe the castle, but this description rings true, somehow. The ghosts haunting the place, bearing witness to horror and dark secrets. It's a different take on Hogwarts; a darker one. But it's also a more realistic take. I loved it together with Moody and the misty night. It created a spooky and mysterious atmosphere and it all came together rather nicely. Also, the lack of dialogue at the beginning was very powerful, so Moody in a way.
Your characterization of Moody was spot on, I couldn't tell the difference from JK's Moody and yours, I loved how it takes place just after he lost his leg. There are so many things that confuse me, though. The letter, McGonagall and her relationship with Tom Riddle, the last sentence Dumbledore says to Moody. This is a great opening chapter; I'm definitely intrigued and can't wait to read more. Every passage flowed beautifully as well. This was a joy to read.
I also loved the references to different events we've read about in the HP books. A lot of authors skip these things as it takes research and effort to make it all come together, so I was really pleased to read this. The references to Hepzibah Smith's murder and the various times Voldemort seeks the position as a teacher made this entire piece very believable.
Overall this is absolutely gorgeous. So great job, my dear. I loved Moody and I loved the imagery - gorgeous, gorgeous. Well done.
Author's Response: Oh, no worries about the delay. I'm always slow in getting through my reviewing list, for much the same reasons as you - school is meant to eat our souls, I swear. But anyway, thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! I really enjoyed reading yours, and it's wonderful to hear that you enjoyed this one too! ^_^
I'm really happy that you liked the imagery and the setting. It was so much fun to write those and just go all-out with shadows and darkness - it meant for a very different perspective on Hogwarts, far darker than I imagined, but it helped get me in the right mood for the story. It's great that you found it realistic - I was worried that I was going overboard with the noir-ish imagery - but you're right that with the ghosts and the castle's history there's something real about this kind of description. Hogwarts can be a very scary place, and with this story, I want to explore that potential to see where it takes me. :)
It's fantastic that you like this portrayal of Moody. I've loved writing him for a while - it must be because he's a detective, and I read way too many mystery stories - so hearing that he's spot-on canon is a great treat. :D
Haha, so many questions, yes. That's the fun part (for me, not for readers, that is :P). Because this isn't going to be a long story, I have to pack more plot elements into each chapter, so there's very little introduction - the ball starts rolling as soon as Moody arrives. It is, however, a relief to hear that things flowed together to produce a strong opening chapter. I've got it right and just have to go on writing from here. :D
Thank you again for this review! These exchanges are wonderful ways of getting new opinions and reading new authors, and it's been a pleasure to hear from you. ^_^
Hello, review tag! So, let me start by saying I'm a bit of a chaotic reviewer. I read it through without thinking of the review once, then jot down parts of the story the next read through, then finally put it together as an actual some what readable review. I hope that's okay!
Let me just say your first paragraph is captivating, it already induces the feeling of anxiety, and makes me sit up a bit straighter.
Honestly, I was really surprised that it was the gates of Hogwarts he was entering. I should have had an idea when you mentioned that it struck wonder into the hearts of children, but there was still such an eerie feeling to it, I didn't expect that. You want me on my tippy toes, don't you?
It is so completely different to have Hogwarts described in such a dark, terrifying way. It isn't the warm, mysterious, inviting Hogwarts we usually read about. But a shadow filled, overly large, creaky one. It fits in perfectly with Moody's personality, I think. Your words are amazing, you use the most vivid of images to create this new way of looking at Hogwarts.
Why is he feeling so agitated? Why does he think it necessary to have his wand so at the ready? Is this simply Moody, being over paranoid, or are you dancing us into something more? Very, very intoxicating so far, m'dear.
He was like the moth unable to resist the flame. Perfect, perfect simile. It didn't take away from the sentence, it enhanced it. I see so many people using things like, 'her tears ran like a sink turned to high power, gushing away.' Okay, that's an exaggeration, what I'm trying to say is this slid right into your story without making me stop and have to actually think about it. I have a black and white picture in my head of the two sitting face to face, Dumbledore messing with something on his deck, Moody unable to really sit still, his eyes glinting at the excitement of this mission.
The writer of those note or Riddle? - this
Alastor Moody would have go get used to with this case. - I'm curious if the 'go' was put there on purpose. Just thought I would point this out :)!
Wow, I really want you to continue with this piece. You have painted such a mysterious, incredible image. I don’t know if you need to be told how in canon you are, I'm sure you know. But your characterizations have not faltered from that of JKR's even the tiniest amount. You seem to have aged them both well, or de-aged them, I suppose.
This is one of the best first chapters I have ever read. There is nothing more I would rather do than click on, oh wait, someone only gave me on chapter! I can't click on!
I was already expecting something great from you, but you blew my mind away. If I could make one of those little bald bowing people on this review, I would.
Amazing job, darling. I do hope you continue it!
Author's Response: That's a great reviewing style because, the first time through, you're not worrying about what you'll be able to comment on - you just enjoy the story/chapter for what it is, like a normal published text. This is why I love to have variety in my reviewers because everyone reads differently, and it means that different things get noticed. :)
It's actually exciting to hear that the beginning of this story is captivating. Beginnings are scary to write because one is never sure whether it will successfully grab the reader, so I'm very happy that I got it to work in this story. It was fun to write Hogwarts like that, to strip away the happy magic of the early HP books and make it somewhat horrifying. Because it is - it's filled with ghosts (many of them died violently, too), there's a giant monster living beneath it, and it has a strange ominous atmosphere about it, just like any ancient building. You're right, though: a lot of this perspective of Hogwarts is coming from Moody himself, his negative way of looking at the world tainting even a children's magic school. That description probably says more about Moody than Hogwarts itself. (And he is paranoid. I think I love writing him because I can make him overreact to everything. :P)
Yay! I can't describe how wonderful it is to hear that the similes/metaphors aren't overdone! It may sound silly to say that, but I include a lot of them in my stories, and I do worry whether I'm going overboard. It's something I've decided to work on, but all the same, I'm happy that that one fit so well into the narrative. It produced just the image I had in my own head while writing. :D
I've fixed those sentences - thank you for pointing them out! Those are the little things I always manage to miss when I'm editing.
It's definitely a story I want to continue writing, and it means so much to hear that you want to read more of it. It's a really interesting kind of story to write, perhaps because it's such a visual genre that's filled with shadows and danger, yet it's also often slow and quiet. One painfully waits for something to happen, never knowing when or how it will.
It's very good to hear that I'm keeping to canon. When writing characters at a much different time in their lives, whether it be a younger Moody or an older Harry, I'm never certain whether I've aged them properly - there's a difficult balance to maintain between canon personality and natural levels of maturation.
Thank you so much for this inspiring review! I have the story planned out and have started writing the second part - hopefully it won't be too long until I'm satisfied with the result. :D
Hey! Perelandra here from the forums. So sorry for the super late reply, but I'm here!
This was definitely an interesting read. I've never would've thought of pairing Minerva and Tom Riddle but seeing how Minerva is only 9yrs older than Tom I suppose it could happen. XD
Description here is amazing. I really, really enjoyed it for it puts me as the reader in Moody's shoes and sent to Hogwarts. When it comes to characterization, I think you got Dumbledore's secretive self and Moody's roughness just right.
I can't comment much on plot just yet as this is the prologue but this is definitely a story and ship to explore further into.
Thanks for requesting. Once you update, feel free to re-request if I'm open. :)
Author's Response: Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this! No worries about lateness - those reviews offered topics are hard to keep up with (which is why I admire anyone who manages it!). It's wonderful that you've taken the time to offer! :D
Tom/Minerva has a following of sorts - it's a curious ship, like the snob's version of Dramione. :P One of those unlikely ships that's still fun to play around with. But in this story, according to the Pottermore canon on McGonagall, the age range is the other way around - Tom is 9 years older than she is. It's different from what I've usually written in Tom/Minerva stories (where she's a year older than him), so I'm not sure where that's going to take me.
I'm very glad to hear that this first chapter worked out in regard to descriptions and characterization - those things are more important to me than the plot (which I usually manage to muddle, no matter how hard I try), so it's a great relief to know that the story's on track. Thank you again! I'd be happy to re-request from you once the new chapter's up! :D
Hi, sorry it took a while for me to get this review to you. I'm really happy you requested for me to review because this story has amazing potential. I'm really excited to read new chapters when you put them out :)
First, I wanted to say that you did a really good job of writing Hagrid's accent. A lot of writers attempt it, and not too many get it right, but yours is spot on. And it wasn't just Hagrid that you got perfect, all three of the characters were so true to how JK wrote them, and you've made Moody more interesting than ever.
I'm sure you've heard this a lot before, but you have an amazing talent for writing the imagery that sets your scenes. And the way you've slowly built up the intrigue in this chapter is great, really eerie and suspenseful.
I really have no criticism at all! Awesome job :)
Author's Response: It's no problem at all - I'm just happy that you offered to give reviews! :D Thank you for taking the time to go over this first chapter - they're always a challenge, but it's wonderful to hear that this one has started out on a high note. Now I only have to hope that I can keep it up!
Wow, thank you for that compliment! I'm glad that the characters were true to the books - I especially wasn't sure with Moody because this isn't the way I've usually written him. Hagrid's accent definitely takes time in order to "hear" him properly - he drops his H's in that old Cockney way, but there are other words that he pronounces strangely. It's great to hear that it turned out. ^_^
Thank you again for reading and reviewing!
I love your writing. It's just such genius! You deserve to a million dollar making bestselling author and not that stupid woman who wrote fifty shades. YOU'RE A GENIUS AND AMAZING!
Author's Response: O_O
Somehow, saying "thank you" here will never be enough for this sparkling cluster of compliments. If a publisher comes by offering a big cheque, I'll be happy to oblige. ;)
You're a dear for reading and reviewing this, for reading and reviewing anything of mine, actually. Thank you so much for your support! ^_^
Hi Susan! I'm super glad you stopped by to request a review for this story, because I've been meaning to read it ever since you posted it, and time just got away from me (as you know, it often does in graduate school). Anyway, I'm here now :)
Film noir is fun to write, isn't it? (Seriously, I had so much fun writing mine.) I think you've executed it beautifully here. As usual, your imagery is so powerful, and I could picture Moody clunking through the fog and shadow so easily that it was like I was watching him on screen in an authentic film noir piece. He seems like a natural choice for an anti-hero, what with his cynical attitude and mysterious inner self, and I think you've captured him really well and done a good job of keeping him in character while pulling him just far enough so as to fill the role of your film noir character. By the way, I love that he's just lost his leg in this story, or so I gather. Not only does it fit in well with the mood, but I think it's so like him to pass it off as something he's just got to get used to.
You did great with describing the environment as well. I think the paragraph toward the beginning about Hogwarts was my favorite in the whole piece -- your discussion of the tragedies living in its walls really struck me and helped to cement the setting of the scene in my mind.
I like the introduction of the Riddle-McGonagall storyline. I've always thought it would be an interesting ship to explore, and I think you've used it well to continue to keep up the mood of suspense. I love that Moody and Dumbledore both seem to know a little bit more about the situation than they're putting on, and I'm excited to see Moody begin to investigate further. My only minor tweak would be the ending -- it just has a little bit of an abrupt feel for me, and I think I would have preferred to see Moody make a subtle yet snide remark at Dumbledore (perhaps expressing the sentiment written already), turn on his good leg, and make his exit from the room. That's just a matter of my opinion, of course.
Very nice, like everything else of yours that I've read. I'm very much looking forward to reading more, so feel free to re-request later on, though I may well get to them on my own. The flow is very nice, the tone is perfectly mysterious, and you've set up a very intriguing little love triangle :)
Wonderful job! I hope this review was helpful, of course.
Author's Response: Oh gosh, Amanda, this review is amazing! It's definitely worthwhile requesting reviews from you, and I'm so glad that I was able to nab a spot in your thread. :D Thank you very much for offering them again!
Film noir /is/ fun! There must be something wrong with it if it's this fun. :P Even now that I'm planning the next chapter, it's so easy to create scenes with just the right atmosphere and characters that just suit that atmosphere. Maybe the problem is that I've seen too many film noirs, but I'm glad that this story includes the right kind of imagery for the genre. It's very clear in my head, but one can never be sure whether it translates onto the page for others to understand. That description of Hogwarts was my favourite to write - it's the kind of thing I can imagine in a voice-over (from Moody's point of view, of course). It's a very different view of the castle than one usually hears, but hints of it are present in canon, especially in CoS and the PoA movie, so it was interesting to emphasize that darker aspect of the castle. :D
It's wonderful that you like how Moody turned out here. He's a great character to write, and in this story (as opposed to Out of Time), I can really explore his cynicism and his Auror instincts. I have added one more line to the ending that will hopefully help give more closure, and it also gave me inspiration for where to start the next chapter, so thank you for that!
I will definitely re-request once I finally kick myself into writing the next chapter (of this and of P&P, another one I'm behind on). It's so easy to get swallowed up by graduate work, but I'm getting back into writing again, and your review has definitely helped inspire me to continue. ^_^
Wow! This is excellent. I've never read anything like this. I've never even ready a Moody-centric story, let alone a mystery, film noir one. I like it!
I love the way you've portrayed Moody. I think you've got him just right. The characterization is perfect and I love the dialogue. I love the mysteriousness and all the build-up this one chapter has created. One question though--this is set in 1956, correct? Roughly 40 or so years before Moody is introduced in the Goblet of Fire? I feel like he wouldn't have acquired all of his injuries and deformities by this time in his life (wooden leg, deformed nose, magic eye, etc). I'm not saying he'd be perfectly unharmed, but perhaps not quite so roughed up? It makes it harder to imagine him as younger, having acquired all the injuries already. It doesn't take much away from the overall story though, it's just something I noticed.
Once again, this is excellent! I'm adding it to my favorites and eagerly awaiting further chapters. :)
Author's Response: Wow, it's great that you checked out this story and that you liked it! It's exciting to hear from people who wouldn't normally read this kind of story, but who have taken the chance anyway, and I appreciate that you took the time. ^_^
You're very right about the injuries he would have had in the 1950's, so I've left the leg (because it will be an interesting thing for him and others to deal with, placing him at a physical disadvantage that would pose difficulty for someone like him - action-oriented, etc.). Thank you very much for pointing that out - I had gone overboard, and hopefully now that aspect of his characterization is more in line with the period. :D I'm really glad to hear that you like his personality. I've had time to develop him in other stories, so I'm building up from there, though injecting some darker tones to better suit the film noir atmosphere.
Thank you very much for reading and reviewing! I'm working on the next chapter and I look forward to your thoughts on it once it's up. :D
I am so glad you've started to write this now, when I first saw it I squeed with excitement!! I must seem like such an obsessive weirdo, anyway-
I loved the in depth description at the beginning and how you maintained a healthy amount throughout the chapter. The brief conversation that Hagrid and Moody had was great because you could just sense how awkward it was. I'm not too sure if Moody is one to do his homework but due to Hagrid being a victim to one of Riddle's crimes you'd have thought he'd be dropping hints here and there or asking questions relevant to what had happened. Yet the brief conversation worked well because I think it helped the chapter flow more.
Characterisation once again was brilliant all three of the characters were flawless especially Moody, you seem to know his character so well. I loved how he was still clinging on to the old case of Hepzibah Smith even in his youth it seemed so like him. Then I loved his thoughts on Minerva about how she's irrelevant well let's hope he changes his mind!
Author's Response: No, you don't sound like a weirdo! Unless fangirls are weird (the obsessive part is a given), and then we're all weird. :P I'm really glad that you popped into check out this story and that you've enjoyed it, too. It's great to hear that you've been excited about it (and haven't lost that excitement through reading it, lol), and I appreciate that you took the time to read and review. ^_^
My idea is that Moody doesn't know that part of the story - he doesn't even know that Riddle is involved until Dumbledore reveals that bit of information. Riddle's involvement in the death of Myrtle is, officially, that he turned Hagrid in - and since I'm using the later date of McGonagall's birth, I don't even think that crime will come into this story at all. It was originally going to, but then I changed the dates - the Smith murder will instead be the central crime (one can see Myrtle's death - an "accident" - as a starting point for Riddle from which his crimes have escalated).
Thank you again for your review! I hope that the next chapter of this story turns out as well. ^_^
Hello, Susan! I saw you'd posted in the new story thread, and it kicked my curiosity into high gear. Paired with your banner (absolutely gorgeous!), your summary, and my own writer's block, and the fact that I've really meant to head on over here anyway, there wasn't a thing that could keep me away.Hello, Susan! I saw you'd posted in the new story thread, and it kicked my curiosity into high gear. Paired with your banner (absolutely gorgeous!), your summary, and my own writer's block, and the fact that I've really meant to head on over here anyway, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to come on by. And I'm really, really, really glad I did!
Straight up, your writing style is to-die-for gorgeous. I can't think of a time when I've read lovelier -- each word seems deliberately placed, and I could get an instant feel for both the setting and your characterization of Moody from it. (You seem to see Hogwarts as your own, too, not just a movie rendition, and you've got no idea how much I appreciate this. From the onset, that made me even happier to read this than I already was!) I love Moody's internal thoughts, too -- calculating, cool, untrusting, but you can clearly see that he is an Auror, just from the way he thinks. It's that sort of characterization, showing instead of telling, that really sets writers apart. I cannot commend you on that enough.
Your plot has me HOOKED, and this chapter ended much, much too soon. I want to know more, immediately! All about that poison pen letter and how Riddle factors into it; why Dumbledore trusts McGonagall, and what her involvement in the plot is; how Moody's going to operate. Just thinking about it is making me really, really excited, in a very geek-ish sort of way, because I can already see these sorts of twisty things going down, spying and espionage and the like. The plot's perfect for a film noir-esque story, too, and if you win this challenge I wouldn't be surprised in the least!
I'm so glad I made my way over here -- as expected, your writing's as far from disappointing as it gets. And if you'll ignore the poor syntax in that sentence, you can get a feel for just how anxious I am for your update. (I've already added this to my favorites to watch for updates, because I am determined not to miss a single one!) This is going to be so good -- I can already tell! Fantastic job!
Author's Response: *jaw drops*
Oh my gosh, this is amazing! When I first saw this review from you, I read through it in a daze, and I don't know if I've quite gotten over that yet. I wasn't sure how people would take this story - of course I had hopes, but using a less-popular character not to mention a less-popular genre, I knew that it was unlikely. But hearing your praise about this story is truly amazing, and I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read and review. :D
What's fun about the stylistic stories I'm currently writing (this one and "Pride & Pestilence") is that they are very atmosphere-heavy, allowing me the opportunity to adjust the Potterverse to fit the story. So this one is "Hogwarts Noir", highlighting the darkest elements of the castle and its history, as well as of the wizarding world in general. It's fun to see it all in black and white, with lots of shadows and high contrast, and it suits Moody very well - I can definitely see him in a fedora and long coat, cigarette hanging from his mouth, talking tough and using his wand before asking. XD This is what happens when you watch too many movies - I just close my eyes, think of the story, and make images from all the film noirs I've seen fit the magical world.
This is pre-Mad Eye Moody, so he is rather more Auror-like than what we saw in the books, where he was more a caricature. He's one of those street-smart detectives, though now that I think about it, to become an Auror, he must have also done well in his classes (DADA would have been his best, hands-down), so I'll have to keep that in mind with him, too.
I currently have no idea how I'm going to make all of the plot points fit together. *hides* I've got my fingers crossed that they do, but if I miss something, I can use the excuse the film noirs usually left lot of strings hanging at the end. :P I have a great twist in mind, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing peoples' reactions to it. :D
Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story, but most of all for enjoying it so much. That means a lot. ^_^
I thought I would repay the favor, because your review was just so spectacular. I can't exactly measure up to feedback like that, but seeing your name on the Recently Added list was just too hard to resist.
Firstly, can I just say that your beginnings, in every story that I've read of yours, are magnificent. I think there's certainly careful crafting that goes into each one of them, be it subconscious or not. Either way, your opening lines and phrases, the way you describe the environment, are lovely. This in particular was just... lovely: "Even the sheep kept to their pens, huddling together for warmth, their thick wool steaming." Now, that doesn't necessarily conjure up a picture that somebody thinking of their happy place is going to think of, but the imagery you've created is especially powerful. I don't think I've ever read something about the sheep in their pens, their "steaming" wool, and it's delightfully refreshing.
And your flow is completely effortless. So many stories jump from place to place and paragraph to paragraph, and you spin your story so smoothly that I hardly notice the paragraphs passing at all. There are, of course, purposeful interrupters that you've stuck here and there, and they do their job of making the reader pause. It creates a wonderful rhythm, and isn't something that's common in many pieces (partly because, I think, it's very difficult to manage).
I'll just say it's lovely once more before I start rambling (more than I already have, anyway). Your writing and sense of style is absolutely superb, and I'm extremely jealous of your massive amounts of talent.
Author's Response: Oh Rin, you didn't have to! This story is nowhere near the quality of yours, making your praise of this a million times more amazing. Thank you very much for taking the time to check out this story! :D
I'm very glad to hear that you liked it, particularly its style. Because there won't be too much by way of a plot in this story, I chose to place more focus on atmosphere, capturing the style and look of the film noir without having to enter into the confusion of a plot, and film noir plots do get very strange and complex. My goal is to make this story "look" like a carefully-made film, including many of the technical elements that will hopefully translate well into people's minds as they read - I hope that they can "see" the story as well as I can. :D It's more fun to write the imagery, anyway, and it's wonderful to hear that it stood out to you. I want to pay a lot of attention to detail in this story because there will be a trick in it and I'm interested to see how many readers will pick up on it. ;)
Thank you so much for your compliments! Re-reading them now, I'm made speechless - it means a lot to hear you say these things and I hope that, once I write the rest of the story, that you'll enjoy that too. ^_^