Reviewer: HermyRox12
Date: 03/18/06 16:42
Chapter: A Lesson in Darkness and Light

Very good! I like your explanation for Dark Magic. I'll probably never look at it the same way again. Bravo! My only suggestion is that when Septimus is talking to Severus she uses the word Dearest to much. Other than that I couldn't find anything that needs fixing. 10/10. Yeah, Light Magic does seem like it is on a diet. Well, see you. This is on my faves. HermyRox12

Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad the story is still interesting, even if canon has overtaken it. Thanks for reviewing! -S.

Reviewer: Avenger_of_Dumbldore
Date: 10/01/05 13:53
Chapter: A Lesson in Darkness and Light

WOW, that was a very well thoght out and inspiring fic. I loved the way that you talked about the balance between evil and good, black and white, ying and yang. I also liked your discription of snape as a boy. One question, how did he do the magic to hide the book at the begining. it dosent really matter I guess. I am also making a SNape fic, but it is still with the mods and you could pm me if you want to take a look at it. I have another question. when you were talking about the sacrafice and how it had to come from you, were you thinking at all about the flesh, bloos and bones potion, because all those ingredients were taken from other people, not volamort. Keep righting , Avenger Of Dumbldore

Author's Response: About the book: he doesn't do it by magic :-). He just covers the book in the same paper as his school stuff...

As to Voldemort's potion and sacrifice, I wrote this story before HBP and thought that Voldemort's terrible appearance was influenced by the fact that it took bits of other people to resurrect him - that he couldn't be beautiful because the magic that brought him back was evil. Now, of course, we know his inhumanity comes from something else.

Thanks very much for reviewing! -S.

Reviewer: BlackClaude
Date: 05/02/05 0:59
Chapter: A Lesson in Darkness and Light

Excellent story, very dark and well thought out. You've written a nice characterization of young Snape, both innocent and creepily dark, kind of like the children of the corn. :) "The pictures were nice there was one of a man with his head inside out." That was especially creepy; nice job. And it was interesting to read a story where his mother was the dark influence, and not his father. I loved the way you wrote her, and her rationalization of why the Dark Arts are "misunderstood." It was fascinating to read her reasons; amongst the more questionable opinions, there were gems of real wisdom such as "One truth does not exclude the possibility of another." You almost made a believer of me, although I think, in practice, the Dark Arts are a touch... darker... then she makes them out to be. But the way she talks about them as an art form, you know that's truly how she views it. Your writing was nearly flawless. I might try to take a few hyphens out of "an ankle-length version of the then-fashionable waist-less mini-dress," but that's about it. This was an incredible story that really gave me something to think about. Great job!!

Author's Response: Oops, the hyphens! Yes, you're right - I blame it on my Victorian reading. I'm the only person in the world who writes "no-one" with a hyphen, I guess, but at least I no longer copy Wilde's "to-morrows" ;). I'll see to it.

Thanks so much for reviewing! I'm happy you appreciate the slipperiness of Septimia's ideas. I considered rating this story R for dangerous thoughts :)... Septimia is very much an ivory tower intellectual who wouldn't dream of using a perfect Dark theory to further herself or harm anyone, and fails to understand why another Dark wizard wouldn't hesitate to do just that. And Severus - well, we all know he ended up with a creepy tattoo... -S.

Reviewer: Lovely Fatima
Date: 04/24/05 7:10
Chapter: A Lesson in Darkness and Light

At the vehement urgings of Magical Maeve, I have read your story. Now, I am so glad that I have. Your use of language is brilliant, and you have quite a way with dialogue and description. I was able to immediately see the young Snape in my head, and his mother's voice was clear and distinct - perfectly in character. The boy's questions fit his age beautifully and said more about his intelligence and determination than descriptions of that kind ever could.

My favourite part of this story has to be the explanation of the difference between Dark Magic and White Magic (which terminology, incidentally, I had no difficulty with). As a real-life, honest to goodness, card carrying Witch and Priestess of Wicca (or la Vecchia Religione as it is called in my family), I was pleased by how accurate Septimia's lesson was. Magic, indeed, does not have good or evil characteristics. There is only energy and intent. I've always seen the Dark Arts as being that sort of magic that is done more for the immediate and specific personal gain of an individual than for his/her general good or wellbeing. You are correct in that there is sacrifice and that what makes people fear "Dark" magic is the idea that some would give up a great deal for the gift of knowledge and power. Likwise, I loved how you addressed the idea of Karma or the three-fold law: everything you do bounces back to you. Another distinguishing factor of Dark Magic is being prepared to accept responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

I felt the gift of his grandmother's cross was a bit odd in this respect. So often, well...at least in American Christianity, Christ is seen as a scapegoat and His followers are notorious for misinterpreting His willing sacrifice as a free license to do or ask for whatever they want in His name. Either Septimia and her mother understood the true nature of Christ's sacrifice, or they are very enlightened Christians indeed! Nonetheless, I liked that you did give her a foundation of ethics and morality - boundaries as she calls them - that have their origins in mainstream religion. It would have been very easy to make her Pagan or non-religious as is the case in many other fics. I'm glad you made the more interesting choice.

That young Snape didn't quite understand everything his mother said rings true and ominous. We know the man he becomes, and the ending of your story leaves us pondering whether or not he heeded his mother's advice. Sadly, his involvement with Voldemort as a Death Eater already shows his temptation to lose control, and yet I still get the feeling that redemption is possible for our Potions Master somewhere down the line. A fic that makes me think long after I've finished it is a rare thing in the HP fanfic universe. I commend you.

Author's Response: Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful review, Lovely Fatima! I am very glad that the story made sense to you as a Wiccan. I tied a lot of things together while writing, drawing on both my Christian background and my reading about Wicca and other religions. I find that the three-fold law has its equivalent in Christianity, and that opened up an interesting line of thought for me. It also helped me to make sense of the difference between Dark and White magic, which in canon remains to be explained.

As to making Septimia and her family Christians, I had several reasons for that. The first is very pedestrian - namely that it seems reasonable to assume that some British wizards should be Christians, the majority of British people being Christian; and I have read so many fanfics in which wizards and witches are all Pagan. Call it wilfulness on my part :). The second is that I see a lot of Christian themes in canon, and from the moment I started writing Snape, I knew he'd be Catholic - it made sense to me, and confession was the key. The wonderful thing about Catholicism is that you can be forgiven and start anew - provided that you are truly penitent. I think that opens perspectives for Snape.

Finally: yes, some people will use Christian beliefs as an excuse to get away with anything, but I think that is true for most beliefs. However, such abuse does nothing to deminish the value or beauty of the religious core, and it does not *have* to be like that. Septimia is in some ways 'enlightened' and tries to pass her comprehension on to her son. In other ways she is very flawed, and unfortunately Severus is a bit unlucky when it comes to what he has received out of the gene pool...

- But enough rambling. I'm delighted that you liked the story, and your review has made my day! -S.

Reviewer: Magical Maeve
Date: 03/09/05 7:00
Chapter: A Lesson in Darkness and Light

What a wonderfully different story. You use language beautifully and your word choice is excellent. There was nothing I didn't like here. The twist, for me anyway, is that it is Severus' maternal line that is steeped in dark magic and his father that despises it. I have always pictured it to be the other way around but you have me convinced! I love the relationship between mother and son, you have portarayed that so well. We can feel the bond between them and it gives us a perfect explanation as to why Severus knew so much Dark magic when he arrived at Hogwarts. Your names are fabulous! Septemia DeQuincey is perfect, I wonder if Thomas de Quincey was an ancestor! Your explanation on the balance between light and dark was so well executed. She spoke to him in a way that was understandable for a child of his age but she never spoke down to him. We can already see that Severus is an intelligent and inquisitive child with a thirst for knowledge and that seems to come from his mother. My only quibble is with the use of 'White' magic as a contrast for Dark. I'm not sure the term White Magic has a place in the Harry Potter world, but that's just my personal preference. If you were to use White I would naturally have assumed Black to be its opposite in the same way that Light is the opposite of Dark...but I can see the problem with describing magic as Light...it conveys a whole different meaning. But it's a small thing when overall the story is so interesting. I think you get carried away with commas in some places but don't we all, apart from that I couldn't fault your grammar and spelling...which always makes a fic a joy to read. It's brilliant, well done... I'm off to read Mirror,Mirror now.

Author's Response: Hi Maeve! I think you managed to write the longest review I've *ever* had, and look: I have finally figured out how to reply to it. (I'm the Neville Longbottom of fanfic writers...) White, Light and Dark... Well, I understand what you mean; but believe me, I already had a hard time keeping Good, Bad and Wrong out of the discussion :). Yes, White magic is probably more naturally opposed to Black, not Dark; but Light magic sounds, to my simple ears, a bit like magic's diet version ;-)... So this is what I opted for. I'm glad you like the names, by the way. I was indeed thinking of Thomas de Quincey, whose name has always fascinated me; as to Septimia, I can give you a teensy bit of info that's probably never going to make it into any story. She's called Septimia because her father's name was Septimus, and his name is the result of his being the seventh son. The DeQuinceys are singularly uninventive, and called their seven sons Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quartus, Quintus, Sextus and Septimus. I thought it was a nice contrast with all those wonderfully creative names JKR churns out and of which I am really jealous. And I like topsy-turvydom - which is why I changed the Snape parents' allegiances. When I read the "Seen and Unforeseen" chapter in OotP, it immediately struck me that a man who shouts at his wife is not necessarily an evil wizard, as fandom usually pictures him. But more about that puzzling man in "Mirror Mirror"... Thanks a lot for reviewing! -S.

Reviewer: Vocalion
Date: 03/03/05 12:33
Chapter: A Lesson in Darkness and Light

Just passing through to welcome you to Mugglenet! This is one of my favorite young Snape stories. All of your work reads like canon. Better, actually, as it delves into the psychological motivations behind the choices Snape has made. Thank you for filling in all those delicious missing moments from Snape's past, which is what JK should be doing instead of focusing on Harry.

Author's Response: I'm in two minds about what JKR should and shouldn't do with Snape's story ... One reason why you won't find me writing about Harry is because she tells us *too much* about him, which leaves no space for my imagination... So the only thing I'd ask of JKR as that she keeps teasing us with Snape fragments, and leave us fanficcers to do the rest ;-). Thanks, Vocalion! -S.

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