I think that this chapter should be required reading for everyone on MNFF as a stellar example of the effective use of setting. Each location is so carefully and painstakingly described. The reader feels completely transported along with the characters. Every sight, smell, sound, sensation is recorded and utilized to not only move the story forward but squeeze every realistic drop out of every word.
More and more, the tension between Maeve's relationship with Lupin and her relationship with Severus just crackles. It is my favourite part of the story. I ached with Remus when he wanted to reach out and fold Maeve up in his arms. I felt Maeve's anguish as she realized she'd been a fool to believe Narcissa Malfoy's adulterous claims about Severus. There is a raw emotion to your storytelling that I wish more popular writers had.
Looking forward to the next chapter, I'm interesting in finding out how Regulus and his actions will fit into the growing tangle of complex plans to topple Voldemort. I'm also interested to see how Maeve and Severus plan to battle all of the suspicion raised against them. Great work!
It's the small details that make your chapters so enthralling to read! The portraits in Malfoy Manor, Narcissa's room, Draco's room - with the Dark Mark poster, Colly...all of it generates a richness that makes the story so much more substantial. I also enjoy your word choices, particularly in Maeve's dialogue.
As I said in my previous review, I think your characterizations are spot on! Narcissa's coming unglued in this chapter made complete sense. Likewise, the farmer's story about the bull who went a little "square in the head" was hillarious. But, again, I have to say that my favourite character thus far is Remus. His explosion over being accused as "a Ministry man" felt so honest and true. He's so wonderful that I just wanna smack Maeve sometimes for being so ignorant of his feelings! Now I must scurry off and read the next chapter before I go to pieces!
When I read your explanation at the start of the chapter, I thought I knew what I could expect. However, I like how you've managed to combine your story with Canon and make it flow together. Removing the murder from Hogwarts to Godric's Hollow seems like an interesting choice, and I'm curious to know why you did that. Is the impregnability of Hogwarts security critical to another part of your story, perhaps?
I don't normally read AU fics, but this one stays so close to the original tale that it's not quite so jarring to read. I loved your descriptions of Harry 's feelings and the comparison with Maeve's. Her heartbreak was palpable. I'm looking forward to digging in to the rest of the chapters, especially now that I'm wondering what's going on with Narcissa!
If there is one thing that you excel at, it is characterization. Narcissa, in particular, was so perfectly crafted in this chapter that I really forgot that I was reading about fictional people. Her words, her responses, her struggle between hating Maeve and needing information about her son were all spot-on accurate. I could feel every ounce of anguish, tension, jealousy. It was amazing.
I also like how you've introduced a subtle mystery. We thought Maeve and Severus were open with one another at the end of HPDoL, but now we find that he's hidden yet more secrets AND that Narcissa is involved with him beyond the Unbreakable Vow. Introducing that kind of suspense is difficult, and I applaud you for doing it so well.
The only thing that bothered me in this chapter was the re-appearance of Lugh and the way he seemed to ease Maeve through the difficult situation at the Ministry. While I understand that his presence was necessary to re-introduce the necklace and her bond to it, I really would have rather seen how Maeve managed to get herself back into the Ministry to explain things. Lugh's appearance was quite literally a bit deus ex machina for my tastes. Then again, I like to see my favourite characters suffer!
To leave you on a positive note, I want to mention the joy that I get from reading scenes with Maeve and Remus. I know that Maeve's heart belongs to Severus, but a girl can still dream that she might one day get together with Remus. He loves her so painfully, and I think that the reader feels that whenever she rebuffs him or pushes him away. Great job!
“I killed Regulus Black.” That simple admission was jaw-dropping - it's so simple but it carries so much weight. and the way Snape sneered at the memory ... well all I can say that it's very in-character for him to do this despite his remorse :)
I like the symbolic use of the ravens as well as all the imagery that went with it when she held the key.
Sometimes it just happens. Sometimes you find a book (in this case at the screen) and then it’s done! It doesn’t help to leave the screen—I’ve tried before, because of the sheer immensity of your chapters--, because the story, it clings to your mind and then bring you back again. Jan, your plot, your characters, your prose, it leaves me stunned each and every time and I can’t express myself eloquently enough on this matter.
There is sophistication, like a nightmare twisted into a fairy tail of dreams, in the telling of Maeve and Snape’s relationship. And it absorbs me. Somehow I love how the cantankerous Snape is touched by love and that a slow healing in his life has become a reality when Maeve steps into his life again. It is as with your poem—she melts his heart of ice with fire. What I think makes this relationship so touching can be summed up in three things: believability, caring for the characters, approached tenderly.
The interesting here is how those three thinks links together. It is made believable by how you approach it, and your care for the characters intensifies your desire to get them together. I also love how you use the characters’ past secrets as obstacles to get them together. They get together and separated and then together again, like a roller-coaster. And I can’t stop reading, just as I can’t jump out of a rollercoaster. It’s deeply written, deeply told, and the deepness of their relationship keeps getting deeper. You’ve managed to make me care for their relationship just as much as I care for their well-being. I would cry if something happened to disturb their love. Oh, and it seems as if you’ve managed to hit the nail with how love changes a person, that it’s not love received but love given that changes a person. Many tend to forget that and the difference in how you write a character- arc may then also change.
As for Maeve, who can’t love her? Her personality is so captivating and even though she has a few traits some would call ‘Mary Sue traits’, I only think they intensify her as the unique character she is. I feel sorry for Maeve for going through everything she does. Sorry for her and Snape, for their relationship. I am afraid these troublesome times may separate them, and I don’t want that—not at all! She was awfully in character in this chapter, but I am still wondering what her overall goal is. She’s got so many wants that I can’t figure which is her main driving force. I guess I just have to inspect this deep character some more, won’t I?
I also think you’ve captured Narcissa’s nature well. The interaction between the two women in your fiction is full of life, full of conflict, but it was touching to see a change when they embraced like old friends. It made me realise it is more to Narcissa than what we’ve seen thus far and that she’s able to love and respect other people even though she want to hide it. The embrace also seemed a very feminine and realistic thing to do between women after such a happening; they put their qualms besides, if only for a moment, to be comforted by the other. The Boggart also made me figure out how Narcissa’s real interpretation of Lucius was. Instead of loving him, she feared him, and I think Maeve got further empathy/sympathy for Narcissa’s life when she realised this. At least, it seemed so in the scene. Continue the nice work on those characters Jan—they’re creating drama and conflict, which in turn creates plot.
The plot points are many and well thought-out—they may be the favourite thing with the stories. Just when you believe the story will evolve this way, an unsuspected twist comes. It’s highly entertaining when the change happens so fast you don’t even have time to give doubts to it. Instead, you accept it as you’re continuing to read on, either happily or anxiously. The fact that only the heir could replace the stone on the sword is an example of this—you create further obstacles and make us get new sub-plots. If the stone had been placed on the sword, we would loose many plot-points—that there even is a Gryffindor heir and who he is. We also get questions out of it, which is a good tool to keep the reader’s interest.
Your prose is vivid, as usual. Beautiful sentence, complex sentences, moving sentences, you have it all. If I could learn to write this way I would die a happy man. I happen to love the way your nouns and verbs drives the sentences rather than adjectives. You also use linking words to make the structure of the sentences seem alive and different, which is always good. I especially like this for how beautifully you managed to string all those words into one sentence:
“Narcissa feigned a wounded attitude and placed her dainty tea cup on a saucer before sitting down at the table and delicately buttering some hot toast.” In this sentence I didn’t care if you used an adverb to show how Narcissa moved her hands—it added fluency to the sentence and this was one of those well-chosen adverbs. I also think that ‘feigned a wounded attitude’ seems a very realistic movement Narcissa would do, coming from the upper-class and all.
“The babble in the room rose and fell depending on the point that was being debated. Black-robed figures crowded round a table as they tried to give one voice to what it was they were trying to say.” The thing that struck me with this sentence was the contrast. ‘Rose and fell’ contrasted so well with each other that I could feel the ever-changing noise in the room. Although, shouldn’t it be ‘around the table’? I assume the table is round, though (somehow that’s how I envisage a table in a meeting—perhaps the Arthurian legend is influencing me). If that is the case, I believe they would gather ‘around’ the table, since they would be standing, or sitting, so they could face each other.
“As she tidied her bedroom, which really didn’t need tidying, she began to wonder about the rest of the house.” This sentence made me realise just how clearly you see a room or object. I loved the sentence for the mere fact that it told us she was bored and needed to waste her time with something, anything. This sentence also make us understand more clearly why she wants to inspect the house. And with understanding comes accepting. And accepting a scene or a decision a character makes will, at least for me, make me more attached to the character in question.
As for a general area where I think you could improve is your usage of adverbs. The frequent usage of adverbs in movements and dialogue are clear signs of telling something that should be conveyed. It is much better to imply the adverb without writing it. For instance, if someone has to spell out that something is being said 'angrily', that person probably didn’t try conveying that character's anger in the first place. (I.e., he should rewrite it.) When a writer uses a weak verb with an adverb to do the work of a strong verb, the writing becomes weaker. Instead, find a new verb, a strong verb. Instead of saying 'walked slowly'—the author could say 'ambled'. Use of precise words creates interest, while weak verbs and adverb create lesser interest. It seems as if things are told or re-stated as if the author isn’t sure he or she managed to convey the character’s feeling in the first place.
Many authors use adverbs to state the emotion in which way a character speak or acts, but it should be avoided. It is redundancy because it should be stated in the way a character behave and talk. A random example: Quote: ‘Don't call her a Mudblood!' said Hagrid, very angrily.
Here we don't need to be 'told' that Hagrid is angry. We know it out of the context. Of course he’s angry—he can even feel touched himself by that statement. As a general rule what's obvious doesn't need to be stated. The exclamation point itself is quite enough to point out that it's emphatic. Many authors insert adverbs after the action because they're afraid that the feeling of the character won't be conveyed in the context. But I believe you are more than able to convey it through dialogue and action, knowing your characters as well as you do and with your writing-abilities. Subtext is a key word. You will be surprised how much better the scene will be without the adverbs in most cases. It is as if the scene looses some of its redundancy.
Of course, there are times to break the rules--sometimes adverbs just fit; we cannot say absolutely that there is a 'right' or 'wrong' way to use adverbs--they definitely have their place, but as writers we need to understand the benefits and pitfalls of them. They should be used in moderation, or when they enhance the sentences and make the sentences flow or the rhythm fit with the beat of the action. But in most cases, they should be omitted, as Mark Twain states bluntly:
'If you see an adverb, shoot it!'
Yes, we all know that rules are to be broken. Rules indeed are made to be broken, but I believe that they are made to be known first.
In this chapter, here are two different examples that you may want to be aware of (the first good and the last supreme):
“Oh, you know,” Maeve said idly, “a little shopping, maybe lunch at a nice restaurant, meet up with a few friends for afternoon drinks… perhaps see the latest show at the Wizarding Playhouse…”
Here I just happen to know it out of context. We know it is sarcasm in her voice here because she can’t appear out into the street, in broad daylight, when her husband is a murderer. It’s obvious enough that we don’t need it—it is both telling and redundant.
However, here is a sequence where you’ve conveyed the person’s feeling so well, using strong verbs instead of weak verbs and adjectives. And the scene became so much better with it—powerful, moving, and entertaining, and it created an atmosphere. Out of their sharp remarks, I would’ve got the feeling something had gone miserably wrong even though I hadn’t been told:
You will have to try again today,” Severus hissed from between the forest of his beard and moustache. It had been most unfortunate that the man whose hair was providing his disguise had had a beard. Severus couldn’t understand how men coped with such unnecessary face furniture. “I need to return as quickly as possible.”
“Missing your bit of fluff, are you?” Filch leered at him. “Bit of all right between the sheets I should imagine.”
This conversation must be some of the best thing I’ve read in a long time. You’ve certainly managed conveying the character’s feelings. I also happened to like this conversation better than Maeve’s and Narcissa’s first. WELL DONE!
You leave me with questions through each chapter, Jan; instead of leaving the reader with an ending like ‘And then he drove home with the doleful expression of those who have long since lost faith with the world they live in’, your endings make me read on. I believe it’s partially because I’ve grown so enamoured in your story, how it develops and gyrates, but also because you either leave me with a feeling of ‘Oh no’, with new information that will become relevant in the next chapter, or because of questions. Sometimes a secret becomes revealed or we see when a character makes a major decision (Remus, for example, deciding to marry Felicia). In this chapter you left me with questions, questions, and more questions. How will Maeve react if she finds out? Who is the heir? When will he be introduced? Can the sword feel who is putting the stone back? Will Dumbledore leave us with more information? What is Rampton up to? Who is this Jenny? Why does she want Darcacre? As you see, you’ve given me enough questions to keep me in your story until it ends. Play your plot-cards right, and I’ll stick with the story until it end.
A delectable chapter!
Finally made it! I have to say that I’m enjoying this better than the Daughter of Light, and that’s surely saying something. I loved how you cleverly introduced Dumbledore’s death into the story. Your style of writing is something I enjoy and envy (in a good way), it flows so easily.
I love how you write Narcissa especially, you capture all her emotions very beautifully, and of all the others, I love Narcissa the best.
And poor Maeve, she seems to become a sort of magnet for Horcruxes, doesn’t she? Wonder why that is... guess I’ll have to read on to find out.
And I like the way you did Remus’ marriage as well, the poor guy needs to settle down, after all. And Harry’s characterisation is also great. I can just see him screaming that he doesn’t get to do anything, and his realisation that he needs Romance as well is good.
Back to Snape. He seems to be in a worse mood these days. What with the threatening from Lugh Lamfada and Voldemort setting him a task to kill Harry, and protecting Maeve in the middle of all these, the guy’s got more on his plate than he can chew. Hope he manages it. Anyway, after all that rambling, there’s one more thing I want to add: I loved the descriptions of the Black House you put in. Interesting. One last thing: Update soon! I’ll go read the Potions Master of Azkaban now! (Ignoring the angry looks from my mother)
Oh, I almost forgot: 10/10!
I absolutely LOVE the details about the attic. I wonder if Sirius had that "white" wing of the house or if it was just a nursery that the nannies and small children managed before Sirius and Regulus was old enough to bear the deppression of the lower house for long periods of time. If I were Maeve, I would sort through those chests. You never know what useful or interesting heirloom might be uncovered in the forsaken and forgotten corners of our little spheres. I was a bit sceptical when Maave thought about Harry 'respecting' Sirius. He respected him, surely, but I always thought he loved him more than he respected him. Quick thinking on Ron's part- very nice. And I'm glad Dumbledore still imparts his wisdom to those who need it, though Filch should probably pay closer attention. A very good chapter, Jan. I look forward, as always, to the next. ~Katie
That was another great chapter! I loved the boggart with Maeve and Narcissa! It is interesting to see their different reactions to seeing their husbands. Very interesting indeed. It was also fun having Rampton figure out that Snape and Filch are up to something!! Griffindors heir, hmmm, that should add something interesting to the story. I like how Dumbledore's picture awakens to tell a small piece of information, and then goes back to sleep. It is a very fun idea! I look forward to the next chapter!
I throughly enjoyed the scene with Narcissa & Maeve and the bogart. I was very reminisant of the troll in the bathroom. I'm enjoying the many plot-lines too.
So I go away from the Potterverse for a while to play with characters in an original fic, and what do I find when I get back? You've written a sequel to one of the most amazing stories I've ever read in HP fanfiction! I'll cut to the chase, because there was so much in this first chapter that I liked. To begin, I must say that I liked the way you started straight in with the disaster instead of waiting. We were left with such a feeling of satisfied happiness between Severus and Maeve at the end of Daughter of Light that I think we needed to see a bit of trouble in paradise to get us into the story. I know I was hooked from the first chapter. As always, your attention to detail is astonishing - the imprint in the bed, the scent of him on the sheets, the cold floor - all of it is masterfully rendered. I must say that your portrayal of Remus is one of the most three-dimensional I've seen. Here too is one struggling with conflicting feelings. I particularly liked the part where he selfishly speculates that perhaps Maeve might come to love him now that Severus is in disgrace. That was such a real emotion and it lended him such creedence as a character. Roderick! I love him! I always see Cillian Murphy's face when I read about him, so it was delightful to have him return. His blithe manner added just the right amount of levity to an opening chapter that was quite heavy and forboding. As usual, you make him an enigma (a description which he even coins!) and leave us wondering if he really knows more than he is letting on. Your writing as a whole is simply breathtaking to read. You have a way of using simile and metaphor in the most effective ways. That said, I found the prose to be a little too dense in places - almost like having too much of a really great chocolate cheesecake. If I have any criticism at all, it would be to balance your prose a bit more with lines that are more simple and straightforward, more in the line of Whitman rather than Dickinson. Finally, I must say that I love how you managed to encorporate the events of HBP into your story. As a matter of fact, when I read the book I think one of my first thoughts was, "Oh no! What's Maeve going to do!" I also like how this sets up a great deal of tension between Maeve and Harry. You are skilled at creating suspense and you've done so again with this chapter. I cannot wait until I have another free hour so I can move on to chapter 2.
Enjoyed the chapter, though very little in the way of action. Liked the wedding, and its contrast with Maeve and Snape's. Lots of strands set up I look forward to hearing more about- Snape's actions, Malfoy, Maeve and Narcissa and of course Ginny and Harry.
A lot of transitional things happened in this chapter. Having Tonks be upset at Remus's wedding was very in line with the story. Snape getting rid of the necklace will hopefully help Maeve!! Narcissa joining Maeve makes for a very interesting twist. You have definitely given her a much bigger part to play. I look forward to see where you take that. I'm glad that Harry and Ginny are back together. I look forward to the next chapter!
Very nice. This seemed to be something of a transition chapter as I read it, "a completely different kettle of Grindylows," as it were. Nevertheless, I suspect it holds several well-hidden clues and important information which I have probably overlooked. I liked the detail about Tonks and paused long enough to wonder if she would try to do anything to stop the ceremony. (I've decided against it.) I'm a bit surprised that Harry didn't recognize Snape, but you can hardly expect your former potions professor and wanted murderer to be roaming the streets in broad daylight. Still, I think Harry's gotten a bit thick. Wind's picking up again, meaning I may lose power so I'll have to contend with this review being somewhat shorter than I might like. Still, I want you to know that I liked the chapter a lot and look forward to the next installment of this intricate tale. Be careful this week. ~Katie
I absolutely love your stories, at first ... when I starting reading your first Maeve/Snape story ... I wasn't too sure about the whole Snape as a good guy thing, and lovable to boot. In reading them I found myself transported into the story and really connecting with the characters. You're doing a fantastic job!!! LOVE IT!!!! Surry
Author's Response: Thank you for the review! I'm so glad you are enjoying the stories. I know...Snape as a good guy is difficult to swallow post-HBP. But he was always my good guy...if an irritable/shades of grey type good guy!
I'm glad that another Horcrux is gone. Wow. I missed that the necklace was a Horcrux. I hope that Harry is as able as Maeve to deal with the Horcrux's. I also hope he gives in and lets Ginny get close to him again. It was love that pulled Maeve through. I would think that Harry will need the same thing. I can't imagine what Wormtail was doing at the cemetary, but I'm sure it was something important. I look forward to the next installment!
Author's Response: You are not the only one to miss the necklace. :-) And you know..I don't know what Wormtail was doing at the cemetary yet...but no doubt he will let it slip in time. ;-) And you'll have to wait and see on the H/G front...fingers crossed!
I'm so proud of myself! I knew it was Wormtail! But... I didn't realize that the key was a Horcrux or that it was the same key Albert gave to Harry (Maybe it was all the turkey I ate over Christmas... hmm). I also have only vague inklings as to while Wormtail would choose to visit that particular cemetary and that particular stone. I wish I could have been hiding nearby to insist Ron looked at that stone (because I think Ron deserves some glory). Honestly! Harry needs to stop tripping if he ever wants to defeat Voldemort, and I also think its time for him to track down another invisibility cloak. They are much too tall to be tying to hide under a single cloak. Besides, Ron and Hermione could use the second one *wink* and I'm sure Ginny would be more than happy to share the glory, battles, and first cloak with Harry *wink, wink*. As Maeve is concerned, I was extremely relieved that her good-for-nothing-except-spreading-mistrust-and-healing-his-wife husband FINALLY showed. But his love for her has made me forgive him, helped along by Lugh's chastising. All in all, a wonderful chapter. You should be very proud of it. ~Katie
Author's Response: Hee hee...the Invisibilty Cloak is magical...it has magical stretching properties...that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. ;-) Like your description of Snape...that's often how I think of him myself. And watch out for Ginny, she's always been a dark horse.
And tell me about all that turkey and chocolate!! I over-indulged rather a lot over Christmas.
Oh, dear. What an ending. I am very interested to have this story fill in the gaps between Daughter of Light and Potions Master of Azkaban. The latter fic actually drew me into your stories, I was so fascinated with the concept of Snape having a wife. I'm also a sucker for theories that exonerate him, as I don't want to believe he's evil. You've done a wonderful job with Maeve. She's such an interesting character that I'm starting to worry that I'll mix her up with canon eventually. :-
Author's Response: Thank you for the review, Occlumens! Well... PMoA, whilst it touches on and uses characters from this fic... it should not be taken as what will happen at the end of this fic at all. Severus may or may not be captured.... he may or may not go to Azkaban. PMoA really was a plot bunny that needed to be written and I borrowed from this.
And yes, I like theories that explain his innocence. We are going to get into his head somewhat in that latter half of this as he battles with himself and the people that would try to be his masters.
Wretched, wretched ending! Wonderfully artistic and enthralling, of course, but wretched to have it end with no new chapter to pacify me. The ravens were a proper touch, and I loved that they 'bled together'. It reminds me a little of your description of of Maeve and Snape (I'm angry with him, can't you tell?) as they danced at their wedding. The black and the white fused as if one as they swirled and spun.... Seperately, my suspicions have been proved true regarding my dear friend Remus and I become increasingly intrigues by Albert. He definately knows far more than any of us, humble readers though we are, have imagined. A wonderful read and another brilliant chapter. By the way, you mentioned once during DoL that you are also writing a book, featuring Maeve in a slightly different incarnation (I think that's the word you used). What ever became of it? I'm eager to read more of your work. ~Katie
Author's Response: The book has been started and I have masses of research to delve into for it. It's set in Ireland at the turn of the last century and Maeve will appear as one of a large family of republicans battling with the time they lived through. I'm happy now that it's underway, but it's a race top get this finished before I become totally absorbed in the novel.
Oooh, evil cliffie. i hope a new update is on its way soon.
Author's Response: Sorry!!