Reviews For Breaking free
Reviewer: tatjanablack
Date: 09/09/08 9:27
Chapter: Breaking free

Wow a great story. Loved it.

Reviewer: lily_evans34
Date: 05/27/07 13:25
Chapter: Breaking free

This was a lovely fic, Ilka! Being one to write about Andromeda and her relationship with her family as well, I always love to read other fics about this subject. What I really adored about the way you wrote this was the way it was delivered in such an upfront manner. Like with lines such as: Andromeda loathed her family and wanted nothing more than to break free of them. It’s as though you’re telling the reader “this is the purpose of this story, and I’m not going to mess around in saying that.” This is a style that I always enjoy reading and writing; I’ve really come to appreciate short and sweet fics.

I really liked the tone that you opened this fic with. Just that first paragraph felt so…Bellatrixy. *shifty eyes* I can really picture her saying The stupid Mudblood actually had the audacity to tell me, Bellatrix Black, that I was wrong! in canon. I liked how you stayed consistent with her characterization throughout this fic, by her wanting to keep Andromeda away from Muggleborns. I can see her being protective of her younger siblings, if only to protect her reputation.

I also really enjoyed your characterization of Andromeda. Where I usually like to think that she’d always had some sort of relationship with her sisters, there’s really no right or wrong way to write her. I also think that her feeling alone and isolated is a good way of characterizing her; it certainly explains her infatuation with Ted. What I loved about the way you wrote her wasn’t that she was lonely and wanted friends, but that she wanted to break away from her family. I think that this really makes sense for her; it shows her as a character who doesn’t look at the big picture, but more one step at a time; she needed to break away from her old life before starting anew. I think this is a very interesting, but also rather accurate way to write her. /slight repetition

Un nitpick: Bella had ensured that she met many of the Slytherins but try as she might, she just couldn't bring herself to emulate their haughty behaviour. I think that the first she would be better suited as an “Andromeda”, just to clear up the fact that that line wasn’t talking about Bellatrix.

This was what kept her going throughout her years at Hogwarts with no one but a diary to confide in. That’s a really powerful note to end this fic on. That’s such an awful thought; having to go through school with no one to confide in, but it’s sadder yet to realise that a lot of people do have to go through this. I really liked how you wrote this story on a hopeful note; where Andromeda wasn’t content with her situation, she had a sort of “this will have to do for now” attitude, which I thought was great. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. You’re a lovely writer, Ilka! ♥

Author's Response: Wow, Rachel. Thanks for the awesome review! It's nice to see that someone else who writes about Andromeda liked my characterisation of her. I think I already said it in my duelling club thread, but I'm still torn over the question of Andromeda's relationship with her family. I'm not really sure I actually believe it was the way I portrayed it here, it just fit in with what I wanted for the story.^^ *hugs*

Reviewer: Sly Severus
Date: 10/27/06 7:34
Chapter: Breaking free

I loved it! Your opening line was great. It really sounded like Bella. I can't imagine her taking that well. Hehe.


I was a little surprised that you had Andromeda hating her family, but I guess it makes sense. Just a different way of looking at her.


Anyway, I thought this was really well done. Good Job! :D

Author's Response: Thanks. Andromeda hating her family was my way of explaining her marrying a Muggle and leaving the family; it just popped into my mind and wouldn't go away. *giggles* I'm glad you liked Bella's opening line, that's my favourite part of the story.

Reviewer: siriusly_ginny
Date: 08/10/06 12:43
Chapter: Breaking free

awww
poor andromeda
she was tonxs mum rite???

Author's Response: Yes, she's Tonks mum. Thanks for taking the time to review.

Reviewer: SPotter
Date: 07/30/06 16:26
Chapter: Breaking free

It was ok.

Author's Response: Thank you.

Reviewer: Emily_the_Poet
Date: 07/07/06 20:20
Chapter: Breaking free

Hmm... Not many (speaking relatively) choose to write Andromeda fics, but if more wrote like you we'd be set. I particularly liked your vocabulary and imagery. You also did a good job on description. My only complaint is that there wasn't more info on her friends on the train, and what they did.

Author's Response: Thank you. I agree though, there should be more Andromeda fics out there, she is such an unexplored and interesting character!

Reviewer: Insecurity
Date: 06/04/06 12:51
Chapter: Breaking free

*waves enthusiastically* Sorry I am soooo late!

The first thing I am going to talk about is the general structure of your story. I liked how you opened it up with a “typical night in the Slytherin Common Room” and then focused in on Andromeda, alone studying, and from that told her history. I do think, though, that there needs to be more of a reflection on Andromeda’s part in the opening scenario that then connects to her childhood memories. She could stop writing, look over at her sister, and from that begin reflecting back on her life. You say she can’t concentrate on her work, you could explain why this is… Is what Bellatrix is saying really bothering her? Making her skin crawl at the thought of the pureblood prejudices? From Andromeda’s reaction to the event, you could link it in with her history, by saying that she pauses for a moment to reflect back on her time at Hogwarts and her family. Also, at the end of the story, you talk about her aims for the future. This is a really good thing to conclude the story with because it leaves the reader feeling positive and aspired by her tale, but you could loop it back to her in the Slytherin Common Room. Having a small, concluding paragraph, explaining how she puts her head down, continues working and ignores her fellow Slytherins’ activities in order to do well in her exams, brings the story full circle. It shows how her future ambitions are affecting her behaviour as a teenager. I hope this makes sense. I am never very good at explaining this type of thing.

“Imagine that! The stupid Mudblood actually had the audacity to tell me, Bellatrix Black, that I was wrong! I made sure that she’ll never forget her place in society again.”
Great opening! It pulls in the reader and makes them immediately aware of Andromeda’s problem with her sister. Whilst it might be difficult to explain just how aloof and prejudice Bellatrix is, this small piece of dialogue displays it, making your reader immediately dislike her and then later empathise with Andromeda’s point of view. I especially liked the “me, Bellatrix Black” rhetoric – it’s very fitting of Bellatrix’s to use such an attention-seeking expression.

All her life they had taught her that being a Black meant that you belonged to some kind of wizarding royalty, that you were above most people and had to treat them accordingly.
This sentence is a fragment and a bit wordy. It would probably be better split into two. Wordiness is one of my biggest problems as a story writer; what I do is read through sentences several times and see if I can narrow down the word count without it losing its meaning.
Perhaps try this: “Throughout her life, her family had taught Andromeda that being a Black meant that she belonged to some kind of Wizarding royalty. This meant that she was above most people and had to treat them accordingly.”

When she had seen the teary exchanges between parents and children at the Hogwarts Express, she had longed to have the same. Instead she had received a stringent lecture about how she was expected to behave at school. After that, her parents had left without another word.
This bit made me go “Arwwww”. I imagined this young girl standing on the platform, waiting for her mum to give her a kiss but never receiving one. You manage to successfully evoke sympathy in your reader at this point. By creating a comparison between the other families and Andromeda’s, you show how she has been deprived of love and how she deserves better from her parents. It is a good way of criticising the methods of her family and I can see why she would want to go against everything that they had said in their “stringent lecture” because of the resentment she feels towards her family’s values.

She had felt utterly humiliated when the other students came out of their compartments to see who had caused Bellatrix Black’s feared wrath.
Again, I really felt for her at this point. Bellatrix is a character who should be feared, even in her school days I imagine her to be someone that most were intimidated by, and to be publicly humiliated by her on the first day of term would be dreadful. Andromeda isn’t given a welcoming introduction to life at Hogwarts and I can see from these events why she would end up alone and friendless. Without the chance to get to know the students she wants to, she won’t be able to interact or develop in a way a child should. You present these important issues very very nicely!

She had been sorted into Slytherin, but she hadn’t really expected anything else seeing as no Black had ever been sorted into any of the other houses.
Andromeda is older than Sirius, so this is before the Hat decides to break the mould. I find it interesting how JKR has put entire families into one House – like the Weasley’s – even though it is evident that they all have different personalities. Here, I like how you’ve shown Andromeda’s opinion of being in Slytherin and how it is more of a judge of her inheritance than her actual characteristics. But you could push it further and explain which house she’d have rather been in. Ravenclaw, perhaps, seeing as she likes her studies? You could also explain why the Hat did sort her into Slytherin. At the end of your story you explain just how ambitious she is and how she only studies to further herself as a witch. This is very Slytherin-like. But when she was sorted, she probably didn’t realise it.


She preferred it to the Slytherin common room, which seemed to radiate lifelessness with its continuous twilight, broken only sporadically by the open fire, a deficient number of candles, and dark furniture. Some people might think it had a mysterious charm but to Andromeda it seemed depressing and cold, whereas the library had a warm, compassionate air to it.
You’re description here is wonderful. I love how you connect in the atmosphere of the Slytherin common room with Andromeda’s own mood. It isn’t just description for description’s sake; it reflects Andromeda’s personality and how she wants more than the “depressing and cold” lifestyle of the purebloods. It certainly creates a lasting image for the reader, showing exactly why she chooses to reject her upbringing. In the end, you can’t help but respect that choice.

This is a very in-depth, well thought out character study that I have enjoyed reviewing. I would definitely encourage you to write more character studies because you have a knack for looking into people’s minds and working out what makes them tick. You could also use this to create a story of Andromeda’s life. It’s been lovely getting to know you this past month and thank you very much for the two reviews you have written for me. *huggles*


Author's Response: Oh my god, Laura! Thank you soo much for your kind words! *squee* It's been lovely getting to know you, too. I really don't know what to say to so much praise, but what you said about coming full circle with her going back to her essay at the end, I'll definitely look into this. Thanks again! *huggles*

Reviewer: Dory_the_Fishie
Date: 04/16/06 13:12
Chapter: Breaking free

Mmk, so I just wrote you this really long review and then I got logged out...so I'm going to attempt to re-write it and try not to miss anything...Ok, so first off, I really enjoyed this. I loved your portrayal of Andromeda. I tend to be fascinated by the Blacks in general, so I was, naturally, drawn to this fic.

I think the Andromeda you have here is somewhat akin to the rebel-I-hate-my-family-Sirius. And that's a good thing because I've always seen Andromeda as similar to Sirius. The wanting to get away, the longing to be of a different family. It's all very Sirius, and also very Andromeda. But you do differentiate between the two of them. For example, here: Although her blood was pure, probably more so than that of some of the others surrounding her, it didn’t matter to her. The part of this that stood out to me was the 'although her blood was pure...' I think it's kind of like she is wondering (even if subconciously) why she isn't accepted, especially since she's a pureblood. There's a small part of her that feels like she should be respected because of her pure blood. But then it doesn't matter to her. I love that. It's a very human quality, to say you don't care about something when you really do, if just a little bit. I don't know if you did that intentionally, but that's what it meant to me.

This line also caught my attention: She had been sorted into Slytherin, but she hadn’t really expected anything else seeing as no Black had ever been sorted into any of the other houses. To me, it's saying that Andromeda didn't think, at least not then, that she could be any better than the rest of the Blacks. It's a lot like how Sirius would have thought at that age, I think. They're raised to believe that anything other than Slytherin is unacceptable, and that in turn leads them to believe that they can't be any better themselves. They don't think they can separate themselves from their family and become better people. Eleven years old, afterall, is fairly young. It's an age at which they're probably not entirely sure of themselves and not quite independent yet.

I really like how Andromeda finds a safe haven in the library. Your descriptions of both the library and the Slytherin common room were very accurate, and also nicely contrasting. I think having Andromeda find solace in the library is showing her more bookish (perhaps even Ravenclaw-ish) side. I think in the books the Blacks are portrayed as intelligent people so it only seems fitting that Andromeda would be too and thus like the library. I've actually seen her characterized as a Ravenclaw before, so it seems we're on the right track here. And that brings me to another point: her house. I like that you put her in Slytherin. We tend to view Slytherins as evil and by placing an overall good person (Andromeda) there really helps to break that stereotype. But you also show her Slytherin side. You don't place her there and then not justify it. She is very eager (ambitious even) to attain her goal, which is a very Slytherin quality. So nice job there.

She preferred it to the Slytherin common room, which seemed to radiate lifelessness with its continuous twilight, broken only sporadically by the open fire, a deficient number of candles, and dark furniture. I just liked that sentence. =) It was worded extremely well and just helped to give the perfect image of the Slytherin common room. And finally, I like how you ended this. Throughout this whole thing, you've stuck with the main idea. You didn't go off on long tangents, but rather stayed with your point. In the last sentence, you touch again on her Hogwarts years, which just helps to recap everything.

I really enjoyed this. It was a great read and portrayed Andromeda very nicely. Keep up the great work!

Author's Response:

I feel your pain, this happened to me all the time so now I write my reviews in word and just copy and paste them on here. I hate writing my reviews more than once because I usually forget half of what I wanted to say.

I'm glad you think I managed to show w Andromeda is put in Slytherin. I worked really hard on making her different and 'nicer' (for want of a better word) without having to put her into another house, because I seem to remember that Sirius was the forst Black not sorted into Slytherin. Anyway, I'm glad you liked the fic.^^ It was actually supposed to be a drabble, but it became slightly too long, so I added a bit here and there and submitted it to the main site instead of entering it for the drabble contest on the forums.

Reviewer: the nutty imp
Date: 04/03/06 7:52
Chapter: Breaking free

You know I've always thought Andromeda was sorted in another house other than Slytherin ... recently I realised it's more of a fanon than canon. I don't think it was ever said that she was, most fan fictions just sort her in Ravenclaw, funny isn't it?

Nit picky things: (1) on the last paragraph there's a slight spacing error and (2) common room should not be capitalize ^_^ I know this for a fact because that's on of my errors in the PI test *grin*

Andromeda Black ... we know so little about her except that she was Sirius's favourate cousin and was blasted off the family tree for marrying a Muggle-born. I like your interpretation of her of being the timid one who hid her beliefs from her family well.

You have a great way of describing the atmosphere and shifting scenes from present to past and present again. It moved about smoothly as well. The ending you left open ended and I'm starting to time this is your writing style - given your other one shot :) *lol* for this and your Harry/Luna I had thought that there was a next chapter. But this sort of ending does give your reader an open berth to decide - what goes next. :) Wonderful piece Ilka and wonderful job on a character that we know so little about. The best thing about this is that you didn't succumb to the cliche idea of Andromeda, your interpretation is different yet believable.

Author's Response: I'll go fix those mistakes, thanks for pointing them out. I never really plan on leaving an open ending, it just seems fitting most of the time, I guess. Now that you#ve pointed it out, I can see that there's a definite trend towards them in my stories, they aren't planned though.^^

Reviewer: Hamstergeist
Date: 03/20/06 8:41
Chapter: Breaking free

Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!

Welcome to SPEW!

Author's Response: *huggles Hamstergeist* Thank you!

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