Reviews For Follow the Leader
Reviewer: Dory_the_Fishie
Date: 03/22/08 16:30
Chapter: Follow the Leader

Despite my intense and unsympathetic feelings towards Peter, I decided to click on this. And I’m glad I did, because I thought you did a great job giving a little insight into Peter’s character, a character so often written not very well in fanfiction.

I have to give a little nod to the title, because it’s fabulous. I just really love it, and it so perfectly matches with how you crafted this fic. I’m always a fan of great titles.

Of course I have to talk about Peter’s characterization. I liked it and I didn’t like, to be honest. In the beginning, with the four of them in the dormitory, I thought perhaps Peter was a bit too timid, too small, too about-to-soil-his-pants. I think, though, that you can get away with a bit of that when he’s younger; but, still, I wasn’t crazy about his characterization there. The end of that beginning part was nice, though, about shining one day. I liked that line.

I liked Peter’s characterization a lot more in that second section. All of his thoughts about being as powerful as Lucius – rather frightening, but great. He’s already planning a traitorous future, really. I don’t know if I would have had Peter feeling so ambitious and…evil, I guess, that early on in his life (that’s still first year, right?). I don’t know that he would have been thinking about that then, when he was so young. It’s almost like Peter seems really childlike up above in the first section, and then down in the second section, he’s plotting and everything. I might’ve toned down the power-lust a bit, but it still works. It still creeps me out and makes me so angry about what he does. So, I suppose, job well done there.

On another note, I really liked the other Marauders’ characterization in this. I love when Sirius ‘attacks’ the bed in the beginning scene, that’s just a fantastic verb choice there. I love when Remus tells Sirius not to be stupid when he clearly wants to fight back against the Slytherins. I think you really conveyed the close-knit relationship between them well, and you did it in a short amount of time/space. Kudos for that, because I don’t think that’s an easy thing to do.

Finally, I have to say I wasn’t overly fond of the first person choice for the narrative. I tend to not love first person anyway, but…well, I don’t know. I’m probably just being overly critical (-eyeroll at self-). But I would’ve liked to see this in a third person narrative, or maybe even a second person one. I feel like with third person, you could have done a little bit more ‘deep’ digging (that is, you could have said things someone probably wouldn’t say themselves, if that makes sense). First person can be good for letting the reader get inside the character’s head, but I tend to think that second person does that job while also allowing the reader to identify more personally with the character. But, that’s just my opinion, and the first person is of course perfectly fine.

Overall, I thought you did a really nice job with this fic. You had a good handle on Peter’s character, and all the technical stuff was great, which always makes me happy. Keep it up!

Reviewer: GringottsVault711
Date: 03/13/08 19:16
Chapter: Follow the Leader

I admittedly don't read a lot of Peter Pettigrew. Perhaps because most stories about him seem to be some sort of character study that doesn't really go anywhere. *shakes head* But this summary intrigued me (of course it had nothing to do with Lucius.)

I was a little thrown off by the opening thoughts. It sounded sort of like a 13-year-old-girl being excited because a cute boy looked at her. Also, I don't understand how James and Sirius were so popular after one whole day of being at Hogwarts -- except it wasn't even a whole day, it was just the evening. It seems to me that there are certain kids who know one another -- parents work together, or they come from old wizarding families -- but I don't think it's enough so that two eleven-year-olds can walk through the Entrance Hall and instantly be the most popular kids in their year. (Especially since I doubt Sirius got much popularity for being a Black, because anybody who would have liked him for that would not have been pleased with him being a blood-traitor or a Gryffindor). Basically, I think that was just a little off-putting, as far as believability goes. I could see him being excited because it seemed Sirius and James were confident and capable of making friends, and he saw they had potential. But, calling them the most popular boys in his year was sort of jumping the gun.

That said, I thought that Peter's characterisation was excellent. From day one he was plotting. At the same time, I just hated him. He's put down his family and lineage ("...and bring the Pettigrew name from the shadows and the muck and into the history books?") and he doesn't seem to have any desire to actually have friends. He's just a slimeball. Which is great because I have no need to discover a sympathetic spot for Peter Pettigrew.

I do have to feel a little sorry for him on the first night when he sort of gets poked fun of by Sirius (and James' snickering bedcovers). But, at the same time, eh. If he had been a little less obsessed with saying something to win their affection, I might have had more sympathy. But I have this inability to feel bad for people who get made fun of because they're trying hard to impress who they think they should impress. Maybe if it was more of a 'I just want to have friends' think and not a 'Popular people, I must say something fabulously witty so they think I'm awesome!'

I think it was a great addition to the chapter though. It was a nice view of how he wasn't exactly given warm, consoling comfort from his dormmates; but at the same time, it's not like they rejected him or were cruel. They were just being idiotic adolescent boys. (You write that aspect excellently, might I add! It's not overdone to the point they're stereotyped, but it's definitely present in their characterisations.)

Lucius was perfect. Mwaha. That's all I have to say about that. Hopefully it will be enough of a compliment ;)

Also, something I really liked specifically from Peter's PoV, was when he was imagining himself in Lucius' position -- replacing his cold, malicious countenance with my own rounder and more inviting face. I don't even know what to make if that. It's such a complex thought. I don't know how I should feel about that. That, in his own mind, he puts himself above Malfoy. That he wants to be him, but better. And he has this image of himself as warm and inviting. The reason I don't know what to make of it is just because it's so complex. I think it's amazing; it's says so much about the characterisation you've attributed to Peter.

The story does leave me at loss as to why he was ever in Gryffindor. The Peter here seems to be a complete and total Slytherin. On one hand, it's the most competent I've ever seen Peter in a story (and yet, he is still utterly incompetent at the same time; love it), but I really am left wondering why he was sorted the way he was, and that does bother me a little.

Reviewer: wewillmissyou
Date: 11/22/07 21:53
Chapter: Follow the Leader

Oh, this is excellent. I love the banter between the marauders in the beggining. Great story!

Reviewer: GreyLady
Date: 09/15/07 13:36
Chapter: Follow the Leader

What a perfect title, Beth! This is a really great one-shot. You did a good job of portraying Peter's pathetic but power-hungry character, his need for acceptance. It's at once pitiable and disgusting--in the best way. ;) This lacked some subtlety in the way your presented it, but it's still excellent.

Reviewer: kumydabookworm
Date: 08/22/07 9:42
Chapter: Follow the Leader

You have a gift of making me understand characters I love to hate, Beth. From Percy Weasley to Peter Pettigrew, you never fail to surprise me and this story is no exception. I applaud your beautiful characterization – you nearly make me feel sorry for irritating little Peter Pettigrew with his never-realized dreams of “shining” someday.

I think the best part of this story is the snapshots you give us. In a few lines, we get an unerring sense for each character that is introduced, from Peter to James to Sirius *GUH for your characterization of him* and even Remus. We get a picture of where they stand in the social ranks of Hogwarts, and who they are instantly…that’s not something many writers can do, Beth, and you’ve made it a cornerstone of this story. It’s one of things that pushes this one-shot from good…to one of the best. :)

The first three lines throw you straight into Peter’s head with a directness that I’ve never dared to try in my writing but works perfectly here. Whether we like him, whether we want to or not, this puts us in Peter’s head.

Somebody, anybody, pinch me. I’ve felt like this at a time in my life, and I’m sure all readers of this story have. The fact that it’s because he’s rooming with two of the most popular boys of his year…that is the most dramatic characterization you could have written to set his character in stone from the get-go. The beginning was…in short, spectacular.

But beyond your characterization of Peter, we also get a really, really good look at the other three Marauders. From a few lines of dialogue in their dormitory, you get a snapshot of their characters. I mean, I know who James, Sirius, and Remus are, what they value, and what they enjoy after three lines of dialogue. That’s…unbelieveable. *bows down to impeccable writing*

In fact, the first way they refer to Peter – can you close the door? – also gives the reader a clear image of where Peter stands in this group. He’s not part of the conversation, he’s not really in the group – he’s the workhorse, the one they have closing doors behind them – an honest portrayal that cuts to the bone in the face of Peter’s dreams of power and popularity.

The owner of the bed on my left side smiles in response. To me, the character reference here is too lengthy. “The own of the bed on my left side” just sounds a bit bulky. This is incredibly nitpicky, but it’s something I notice after taking Mar’s NEWT Transfiguration class, so something to think about in a spare moment when you’re bored – if there’s a better way to say it, you of all authors will know how. :)

Now Sirius sits up and watches me with amusement. Great first impression, Pettigrew. “You just gurgled something.” This feels out of order. I feel like the second and third sentences should be switched. To me, that flows better and makes more sense as I’m reading.

James’ and Sirius’ laughter echo down the corridor just around the corner. Echoes, not echo, I think, is the right verb form to use.

Now, I’ve doomed myself to obscurity, all because I had decided to sleep in late. I feel like this would read better without the ‘had.’ It’s not wrong, necessarily, but…just something to think about.

Though their heavy-lidded eyes give me the impression they’d be no more intelligent than the average five-year-old Muggle, I keep my distance warily from their beefy, crossed arms. *giggles* This was perrrrfect. We see Peter’s cowardly side and we get a big laugh. I thought it a tad bit funny how Malfoy Sr. seems to mirror his son as well. *smirk* How lovely.

I love the fact that Peter respects power, no matter what house. It fits in perfectly with his ambitious nature. The thoughts of being like Malfoy someday, the dream of becoming Minister of Magic – this is all very, very good. You phrase it in a way that shows Peter’s young age…and yet, his innate sense of needing to be great. It’s even more poignant because as all readers know, these dreams are never realized…in fact, Peter becomes the antithesis of powerful.

Step on the ladder, Pettigrew. Guh. This is SO Peter. I have nothing else to say. Wait, I do. Perhaps, this is my favorite line in the entire story. I loved it.

We meet Sirius and James at the Gryffindor table, Sirius still scowling at his oatmeal. What a darling little image of Sirius. *fangirls* I love your use of detail here. It’s fantastic.

From this story, I can’t really see how Peter fits into Gryffindor. At the same time, this is a one-shot AND it centers on Peter’s hunger for power, so I totally understand and I have no complaints in that regard. I think the fact that you talk about “mustering confidence and courage” in the last lines plops him in Gryffindor – but the act he was mustering courage was so miniscule that we also see how very much weaker he is than the other three. (Though I dislike Peter, so that may be a bit mean and unfair of me…) *giggles*

Your final lines just bring to me a vision of a power-hungry, fanboy Peter Pettigrew. Watching from afar and dreaming – that is so what he is as a character. It makes for a very miserable life, I’m afraid, but I love, love, love, love your portrayal of him. I really do.

It’s a brilliant story. The epitome of who Peter is revealed in small moments – I think your understanding of minor characters and your ability to portray them in small moments and tiny, quickly mentioned details is unparalleled by any other, Beth. I truly enjoyed this story and three cheers for you and for the SPEW 007 project that brought it about! :)

Kumy

Author's Response: Thank you for your beautiful review, Kumy. I'll be sure to look into the suggestions you made :) I'm glad you like the way I portray hated characters. It's really a character exercise I like to do to try to understand why someone could do something so terribly wrong? Thank you for your beautiful and lengthy review! *gives you the gift of Sirius*

Reviewer: Biscuits
Date: 01/16/07 7:13
Chapter: Follow the Leader

I really liked this, Peter has a personality! So many fics show him without one, its nice for him to have one for once. It was a great characterisation of him, and paves the way for the type of person he'll become in later life too. Great story!!

Reviewer: Number_1_HP_Fan
Date: 01/07/07 3:58
Chapter: Follow the Leader

I enjoyed this.

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