Another one for the review hot seat.
What a great story! Often I review as I read, but I just got so absorbed in this one I forgot to do that :P (Sidenote: I can't fathom how you thought this was rusty. It was anything but.)
So first let's talk about the variety of different sources you used and how they all put together such a complete story. It doesn't feel like it needs traditional narration at all - everything you need is there, and what's beautiful is that it's so subtle. No narrator is there to interpret what happens, you just present all the facts and then the reader themselves has to draw their own conclusions. And I love that. Especially the bit about Posy disappearing, and then Artemisia Burke just happens to visit Tibs' father, and immediately afterwards is arrested and then has an alibi. That's what is said, but there's so much more going on here that's never said. I love how epistolary writing - and especially your story - encourages a reader to look between the lines and see how Posy is behind all of this (with Polyjuice potion I expect? or something) Her escape was quite a bold move, I have to say!
As for the plot itself re: Tiberius - Most of the way through I was caught in this weird indecision, because I suspected that he would end up as a Death Eater, but his desire to take Muggle Studies didn't really fit in with that, and in fact seemed pretty genuine. I mostly believed it. There were some warning signs though, like his essay where he started to write Mudblood instead of Muggle-born, and the end of his essay: That's why I chose this subject. Because that needs to change. -- Clever. Because there are a number of ways that could be interpreted.
I was so surprised Tiberius' father was having an affair with a Muggle-born woman! It makes his disgust with Tibs taking Muggle Studies even more hypocritical. Or perhaps he was worried Tibs would find out about it?
What happened in the end though, that was such a great twist. I wasn't sure who the last voice was, telling that last story, but what an ending. It showed a lot about the other side of Tibs and provided a lot more of an explanation as to why he took the class in the first place - as well as indicating how twisted and manipulative he really was from the beginning (even from the age of 12/13 when he first signed up for that class!)
Really well done. I was so impressed by this story - it's wonderful. Nice job.
I'm still getting used to these expository stories. They are different to get into when reading. You had some interesting characterizations. I liked how Tibbs was using his new knowledge of Muggles to destroy them. That made it seem realistic and a fun read. There's all too many stories that make a tragic event that turns someone dark. I liked that he just seemed always bad. Good work.
You have a nice writing tone too that helps thread your story together. The characters that you have here seem true to the Slytherin spirit. I quite liked Posy and she had some interesting line and comments. I especially liked her reaction to Nott's father having an affair with a muggle.
I did find the narrative a little confusing - the "oops" bit seemed quite out of place. I'm sure it had meaning, but there was no indication of its importance? Unless I completely missed it. The note to Reg as well seemed a bit odd considering he played very little role in the rest of the story. There was quite a lot of skipping in time and for a story like this, it made it a bit harder to follow the plotline. The bit with A. Burke was a bit jarring. To jump to that moment to the next didn't quite work for me. Along with that there were other things with Tibbs and Posy and her possibly getting expelled etc. There was just a lot of different things happening and it was hard to keep track of everything.
There were times I thought that some points in the entries and notes that it would have been more powerful and clear if written without the notes, or entries. This is just my opinion though so take it as that. Perhaps if you focused on a shorter time period rather than trying to get so many years into it it would have helped with the clarity of the story. I understand you wanted to express the origins and how long a person will focus on a belief. In general I think it works, but tightening up on the narrative and entries could help with that clarity.
However, I think the premise of the story is interesting and you have some unique elements to it. Your writing style and tone, is as I remember, nice and easy to read. Expository stories are hard and there are some good parts that I liked. The diversity of the entries you've introduced (the detention slips, notes, letters etc) was a cool choice and thought you did well working with them altogether.
Thank you for requesting me and I hope that my review was helpful. Feel free to re-request if you wish :)
For HPFF’s Review-a-Thon
First and foremost, the beginning deeply saddens me. As an academic, I think anyone should be able to study anything they wish without judgment. I don’t think family should even been notified to protect the students from studying what they want. Also, Tiberius is just a baby! You can’t disown a second year!
I personally feel like Aunt Aggie’s advice was borderline useless, so that makes me feel even worse for Tiberius. I do think the work around of listing people that were more desirable and giving the reasoning of trade qualifications is a good idea.
Posy was very, very lucky not to be expelled.
I’m pleased, however, that all of these actions lead to a bit of freedom for Tiberius. No one should have to work that hard just to learn a subject. The irony that his father was having an affair with muggleborn all along is just too much. How dare he be so sanctimonious!
Tiberius is smart enough to realize you can’t just get rid of all of the muggleborns and muggles. Wizarding kind relies on them and their society is weaved together.
WHAT! THE LAST PART! Are you messing with me? NO. I don’t want Tibs to be a murderer. Why did you do this to me?
Overall, I loved the fic. I liked the way that you wrote with multiple sources instead of just notes in class or just letters. It made it much more interesting. I think an epistolary fic has a lot of opportunities to be boring or lack action or seem disjointed, but yours certainly didn’t. I loved it and I hope you write another epistolary fic because you’re quite good at it!
Author's Response: Hi Paula! Thank you so much for reviewing and helping to support the site! :D
I agree with you -- I think it's important that people can choose what they want to study. However, I've always thought that Hogwarts sent parents regular school reports so Tibs' subjects would've been mentioned in that (I know Harry doesn't mention any in the books but let's face it, the Dursleys would've binned them and he was probably more worried about staying alive ;)). Plus, when I picked my school subjects in high school, my parents were informed so I felt it would be realistic to have Tibs' parents be aware.
Aunt Aggie is based on reading far too many bad agony aunt columns when I was younger. :P Bear in mind she is a Muggle so probably can't offer much information since there was a lot Tibs couldn't tell her.
Posy was indeed lucky that her parents were able to pull strings with the Board of Goverors to overrule her expulsion. :P
Tibs' father and his secret affair with a Muggle-born was something that I felt necessary to include because it shows that you can't always know people's true motives. And yes, Muggle kind and wizardkind are inextricably linked. ^.^
I'm sorry. No. :( Tibs ends up becoming a Death Eater, and it was all part of the plan for him, no matter how many people he had to trample over to achieve that goal. *hugs*
Thank you so much! I did consider writing with just letters but felt this story was told better with multiple forms of documentation. And thank you so much for the lovely comments -- I do have another epistolary one-shot I'm working on at the moment, so thank you for the lovely compliments! :)
FOR THE HPFF REVIEW-A-THON
Rustiness? Are you serious? I was shocked when I read that in your AP because in NO WAY is this rusty!
The epistolary fic challenge has come up with so many many many formats that I've read over this reviewing spree. It's wonderful how that challenge has jogged people's creativity. I love that you have started with the timetable, and used detention slips and included Agony Aunt, and even included a conversation in notes form during class. That's a wonderful idea, and I hope you won't mind me if I use it somewhere :D
Worse still, the shock of receiving his letter has caused considerable distress to your mother, whose condition has deteriorated since and she is now confined to bed. - I laughed at this part. I mean, talk about overreaction!! And emotional blackmail much?
Haha! I'm LOVING Posy's voice in this so much. You fic has shown so many characters, and we have been able to get a grasp of everyone! You even took the time to include Slughorn and McGonagall, and spanned so many incidents and events, it didn't feel like an epistolary fic.
That part where his dad was having an affair with a Muggle-studies writer all along just blew me over! I guess this explains why he was so dead against Tibius taking the subject up - he was trying to overcompensate for his guilt.
That essay which Tibius Nott wrote - WONDERFUL!!! I especially LOVED how you managed to link up muggle events and wizarding events pointing out how wizard and muggle lifes NEED to coexist.
But the ending really took me by surprise. I mean, I did keep wondering how a future death eater was being portrayed as so accepting and I knew that a twist had to come somewhere, but I really didn't expect this. It shed whole new light to everything that he had been doing right from selecting muggle studies, and putting up a persona for others. Looks like Posy had it right about him being a mastermind. I didn't quite understand who the person in the last letter was, but the idea of a 13 year old child calculating and planning everything so immaculately is just. chilling! And SO fitting for a death eater.
Lovely one shot, and Good Luck for the Challenge!
Author's Response: Wow, Ysh. Thank you so much for saying this isn't rusty! ♥ And still more thanks for reviewing and helping to support the site! :D
teh's challenge was the best thing /ever/ I saw, because I absolutely /love/ the epistolary format so getting the opportunity to write it on HPFF was wonderful. (And I love the staff for changing that rule too!)
I wanted to write something original, and although I know the epistolary format is predominantly letters, I felt that wasn't the best way to write Tibs' story and went with various forms of documentation. Detention slips are my favourite thing to write :D
As for using those ideas -- go right on ahead! I'm pleased to have inspired you! And yes -- all that dramatic flair is indeed how the pure-bloods do things.
I love writing Posy's voice -- I'm actually working on a novel featuring those characters, although it isn't up yet because I want to get some more chapters done before posting, and Posy narrates that novel. I was thinking she'd let Tibs have his own one-shot, but no, she had to come hog the limelight :P Ahhh that's great, I'm so pleased you enjoyed everyone who featured here!
Yes! Tibs' father is indeed a hypocrite for having an affair with a Muggle-born, but one of the themes I wanted to show in this one-shot is that you can never truly know someone, nor their motivations for doing certain things. This is just one example of that. And I'm so pleased you liked the essay -- it was one of, if not the hardest part of this one-shot to write.
And the ending was always there in my head. Tibs aspires to be a politician, and no offence to any political people/supporters reading this, but politicians have a certain way of putting a spin on things to make them look in a better/worse light, and that is definitely Tibs to the very core. Posy is indeed correct in saying he's a mastermind. ^.^
The author of the last letter is kept deliberately ambiguous, because it /could/ be any of the boys in Tibs' dorm, but in my headcanon it's Regulus. And yes -- Tibs indeed is chilling.
Thank you for the review and the good luck! I'm just pleased that the challenge got me back into writing though! ^.^
Hi Isobel! I'm finally here, reviewing for HPFF Review-A-Thon!
This was such a cool story! The summary got me interested right away and I wanted to read it! Why would someone we know was a Death-Eater take up Muggle Studies baffled me. He was going against his parents' wishes and doing all in his power to get the permission to take up the subject. For some moments, I thought that maybe some tragedy forced him to follow dark magic. But then, he was also using words like Mudbloods and blood-traitors so he was not all that good-hearted.
Posy was a great friend. She risked her own expulsion to help her friend. Did she know about Tibs's real side at all?
Magda Gomez and her 'rendezvous' with Tibs's father added a whole new dimension to the story. I was waiting to know how will Tibs use that information. And the end painted Tibs Nott as a much more shrewd and ruthless person than I had initially imagined.
The part about Burke's arrest was a little bit confusing to me. I couldn't quite place what sort of falsification was she doing to the papers. Other than that, it was a GREAT story! The essay Tibs wrote for the Muggle Studies class was hugely impressive. The ways of the inter-dependence of the Muggle and Wizarding World was nicely pointed out. I thoroughly ENJOYED the story!
Author's Response: Hi Emm! Thank you so much for reviewing and helping to support the site! :D
Oooh, thank you! *runs off to shower Emily/BookDinosaur with love for writing such a great summary* Tibs actually is an OC, although I don't explore his family much here so that may be why it wasn't clear -- but he's Theodore Nott's cousin, although he was indeed a Death Eater. Tibs had a plan at a very young age, and Muggle Studies was just another aspect of it. He's a very chilling character to write, and personally it was so strange writing Mudbloods instead of Muggle-borns!
Posy did know about Tibs' dark side. I actually have an upcoming WIP about Posy, Tibs, Regulus, Walden, and Barty Jr, but it's not up on my page yet because I'm hoping to get a bit further into it before posting. Tibs' dark side is explored more in that novel.
Magda Gomez and Aurelius Nott's illicit affair did indeed throw a spanner into the works, but was wonderful for advancing Tibs' characterisation!
I'll have to go back and see if I can fix that part; in my headcanon, Artemisia Burke never went to visit the Notts, Posy was impersonating her, and enabled Artemisia to get away with breaking the law -- which is why she writes /oops/ in the one-shot. It wasn't mentioned because the one-shot is from Tibs' POV predominantly and he has no idea about that until much later.
I'm so pleased that you liked the essay; that was one of the hardest parts of this story to write! Thank you for a great review!
Hello! I'm here for the HPFF Review-A-Thon!
This was a really cool story with a premise that I've definitely never seen before. Your explanations of the wizarding and muggle worlds are very well-done and detailed. I especially like the details of muggle illness beginning to affect wizards.
The last section is especially telling and puts the rest of this story in a new perspective. So Tibs always hated muggles, did he? His future after Hogwarts with the Death Eaters is certainly interesting. Using his knowledge of muggles and muggleborns to trap and kill them. That's terrifying. And you can see how his studies only furthered his hatred for muggles. You can see that he sees them as monstrous and that by killing them, he's doing wizardkind a favour. The ideology is chilling.
Even in his first essay, I think you can get the sense that Tibs isn't who he says he is. He isn't someone who wants to further cooperation between muggles and wizards. The final section just onfirms that for us.
Thank you for sharing this great story!
Author's Response: Hello! Thank you so much for reviewing and helping to support the site! :D
Ooh! Thank you! I've always felt that magic influences Muggles and vice versa (in my headcanon, dragonpox and chickenpox are both the same thing but just have different names) so it felt natural for Tibs' mother to have a disease that the Muggles who are ahead in medical research have a name and medicines for it, but the magical medical community haven't caught up to it yet.
I love the last section! Yes, Tibs has always hated Muggles, but he's very good at manipulating the language he uses according to his audience. It indeed is terrifying, having a Death Eater who knows Muggles inside and out, but I felt that not all Death Eaters could be like Crabbe and Goyle -- there had to be some intelligent ones too and Tibs is one of them. I felt chills run down my spine while writing this... Tibs is scary!
Thank you! I was aiming for the essay to be politically correct but someone reading between the lines could deduce his real feelings and that seems like it came across to you, so yay!
Thank you for a lovely review!