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Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/23/10 13:02 · For: Chapter 60 Parlour Games
In the beginning I was thinking "Oh come on Minerva--Harry could've died--I've been up with him all night--I can't teach class." But Remus is quite the trooper. The vision of Remus in jeans, the school boy's school robes, and a funky tie was too precious. I think I would've changed the dress code, if I were the Headmistress, just because he looked so cute:D I loved the idea of getting him a turtle tie. I can understand Ginny's anger. What if that had been the last time she'd seen him alive? Does Harry take the time to thank Severus? Excellent chapter.

Author's Response: I originally envisioned that Remus’ stunt (aided by Hermione, don’t forget) is so popular that students convinced the Headmistress to allow for casual days as special events, say before every Quidditch game. School robes and ties would have to be worn, but they were allowed to get creative. I couldn’t figure how to weave it into the story, though. All I was able to do was to have students eager to purchase eco-ties, a new notion among wizarding kind. Notice that they press Ginny about it since her brothers are in the retail trade, when it is really Hermione who will be able to supply them. I have no doubt that Hermione and probably the rest of her family, are quite accomplished at shopping online.

As in the past, any attempt to thank Severus was brushed off brusquely. Since time was of the essence, Snape was actually doing Harry a favor by telling him that no thanks would be owed if he didn’t survive the night. True to form, Harry will respond with his actions in upcoming chapters.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/23/10 12:36 · For: Chapter 59 The Longest Night
What a great chapter! I got so caught up with Harry's condition that I didn't even stop to wonder why they hadn't notified Remus--unless the theory was why disturb his sleep. How frightening for Harry and Hermione to go through this. The letter must have provided such a grim representation of reality. They had to think that it was very possible for Harry to die. One time I almost died. I had emergency surgery and recovering from that required a lot of morphine. I was hallucinating all over the place. I had lots of imaginary visitors and very strange conversations with my real visitors. I'm chuckling as I think about it, although at the time it was dead serious. Excellent chapter.

Author's Response: Sorry about the gibberish in my last response. That how the punctuation in rendered when I use my dinosaur computer. Couldn’t figure out how to delete it or re-respond, so I hope you were able to decipher the apostrophes and dashes. Won’t make that mistake again.

I envisioned the hallucinations as being a dimension half-way between reality and dreams. Harry was still semi-aware of his surroundings, his mind just embellished his visitors so he wouldn’t feel so alone and afraid. Seems that your first-hand experience was similar. Things always seem more amusing in retrospect; that’s one of life’s coping mechanisms that Remus does his best to instill.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/23/10 12:04 · For: Chapter 58 Unlocking the Locket
I guess that Harry's feeling that destroying the Horcrux was too easy was an omen. Call me superstitious but I'm always careful of what I say at certain times. To find a hole in your dragon hide gloves is so weird that I wouldn't even think of checking them. I'm sure Severus point hit home with a bang when he asked Harry if his affairs were in order and if there was anyone he wished to give his last words. I also think Remus may have something up his sleeve with all of the practice dueling together. Great chapter. Again, you've described events so specifically that I was starting to feel dizzy along with Harry:D

Author's Response: That was a very challenging chapter to write as I wanted to take readers along for the ride by putting them right into Harryr17;s shoes, but didnr17;t want to nauseate them by over dwelling on that section either. It makes Harryr17;s slow realization of what must have happened that much more harrowing.

When it comes to Remus, itr17;s always best to remember that he will always be a Marauder r11; and that it was not an honorary title.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/16/10 18:21 · For: Chapter 57 Infiltration
Once again, Snape was helpful. I did notice the reference to his current wife in the last chapter--but I think you're just teasing me at this point:D I hope they've found at least one of Regulus' old darts. And how many times has Peeves been useful. For once he was in the right place at the right time. I know this is more a story of Remus but Snape is also fascinating me as I said before. I can't wait to see if you let him survive. This was a great chapter. I think they're getting close to the end of destroying the horcruxes. Your method of destroying them is very creative--I don't think I mentioned that before.

Author's Response: I, too, find Snape intriguing. Since we know so little about him until the bitter end (which I am ignoring), I had lots of room to improvise. Although it’s true that Remus gets more face time and dialogue in this story, Harry’s dogged determination to come to terms with the events on the Astronomy Tower leads us to uncover much more about Severus than Remus when all is said and done. There’s lots more to come.

So pleased you like my take on the Horcruxes. That took a fair amount of thought as I didn’t want to make it too difficult (as in 20 chapters devoted to their search for the Holy Grail) nor too convenient (someone bequeaths them Excalibur). I wanted them to have to work for the answer, but in a plausible manner. If you’ve wondered why Dumbledore would assign such an essential task to a trio of schoolchildren, just recall that all the items were secreted at Hogwarts. Except for the locket, but Dumbledore was certain he and Harry had liberated that from the cave. It wasn’t discovered as a decoy until after his death.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/15/10 21:33 · For: Chapter 56 A Trail of Umbrage
Wow, two horcruxes went down, including Harry's photo album. I thought the death of the photo album would be very painful but it didn't seem to be--as it was with the other horcruxes. I loved Harry's essay. That was very witty and creative. For some reason I also loved Ron's litany of everything that was on his outgrown jumper. This story is getting better and more interesting as it goes along. I think it's all the painstaking time you took with laying the descriptive foundation. Your descriptions are so rich I see jewel-like colors when I read which gives a very pleasant feeling. Great chapter.

Author's Response: I envisioned the destruction of the photo album to be emotionally painful for Harry, having to once again sacrifice a piece of himself (his ties to his parents) for the greater good. But it’s also a growing experience as his friends dredge up new pictures for a new album uniquely his own. So in essence, he’s letting go of the past in order to grab the future – rather like a metaphor for shedding his childhood.

Glad you liked Harry’s essay. I always worry when I give a brief window into school assignments that those sections end up being too dull and ponderous. Ron’s sweater is a bit of business that crystallizes his character so well – not to mention illustrating how the workings of the male mind are so different from the female.

I’m glad you like the descriptions as they became increasingly difficult to do after the first Horcrux without repeating myself. I especially like the words you use to describe the sensation. Rather like when I get goose-pimples when they nail the high note.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/15/10 18:34 · For: Chapter 55 Tonks' Tea Party
I must say again that you are so good at coming up with party ideas and describing the parties. I can see all of the witches at the Hen Party, all with their own language specialty. I was so touched by your description of Harry and Tonks spending the night watching over the grounds, waiting for Remus to finish his transformation. I think Harry's idea to recruit Tonks to teach Ginny her speical Apparation move is wonderful. Ginny is sure to delight and awe if she does that during her test. This was an excellent chapter.

Author's Response: The tension level with a group of academics sitting down to play board games would have made the air crackle. All those hens are bound to be very competitive; I just wanted to give Tonks a fighting chance.

I can just imagine how helpless Harry and Tonks felt knowing that they couldn’t really do anything to help Remus directly. Which is why Harry’s brain churned out the idea for the essay while he sat the vigil.

Whether Ginny ultimately has the skill to pull off Tonks’ Apparition stunt remains to be seen, but at least Harry was able to give her a more mature way to channel her irritation than with a Bat Bogey Hex. Not to mention making her laugh in the process.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/07/10 11:37 · For: Chapter 54 The Circus Maximus
Once again you did a fantastic job of describing the scene and the costumes at the duel. I could see everything so well it was like I was there. II was especially taken with McGonagall's costume. t's really too bad that Ron and Hermione had to "lose" their duels. My heart broke for Severus when he had to relive the death of his wife. I could strongly sense Harry's despair--that if Voldemort would do that to one of his loyal followers what would he do to someone Harry loved. Excellent chapter.

Author's Response: Chapter 54 It may seem like Voldemort is exceptionally cruel, but true evil is never wishy-washy. Otherwise, he becomes a cardboard villain. There no doubt that Snape’s confrontation with his personal Horcrux affects Harry deeply as you will see in upcoming chapters. Snape, on the other hand, prefers to pretend it never happened – but he’s a man who equates vulnerability with weakness.

I had lots of fun thinking up the mythological personages for the faculty. The inspiration came from Minerva’s name itself. Remus is a Roman name, too, but I couldn’t work in a she-wolf that suckled the twin babes without causing pandemonium among the students and teachers alike!

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/07/10 9:43 · For: Chapter 53 Poisons
Thankfully Snape isn't as heartless and uncaring as some bellieve. His intensity is very valuable in this case. Also, it's a good thing Harry can do research. I'm babbling out of concern for Remus. It's so difficult when you're trying something experimental and you really don't know how it's going to affect you. And, when along with the positive effect you get something very negative that can't be avoided. There was something similar on the news this morning. Someone was taking an anti-psychotic drug and it caused them to gain a huge amount of weight. This chapter was very well planned out and written.

Author's Response: I was thinking along the same vein as that news story. Have you listened to all the side-effects to some of the “remedies” the drug companies are pushing on television these days? Truly, the original ailment is preferable!

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/06/10 13:06 · For: Chapter 52 The Contingency Plan
Another amazing chapter. It sounds like all of the student teachers did a great job in taking over classes--almost like they were competing to be the best. You know, there's no better medicine than laughter. I don't know how many times I've been in a hospital bed and been accused of having too much fun. Laughter is often somthing missing from a hospital room. I loved the buttons Hermione fashioned--I'm sure the Fat Lady doesn't need any encouragement to sing. I loved even more the dueling tournament scheduled at the end of the chapter. That was extremely creative. The dessert mentioned at the beginning sounded delicious. Anything with caramel is good by me. I'm sure the pumpkin taste is good too. Excellent chapter.

Author's Response: The students really enjoyed flexing their muscle for once. They just organized lessons in a way that they themselves would have found captivating. Kind of like in that children’s story I remember, If I Ran the Circus – or something like that.

Yes, even the Fat Lady gets her fifteen minutes of fame. She has a really cheeky interchange when Harry shows up for a date with Ginny in a later chapter.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 04/06/10 12:10 · For: Chapter 51 Pandora's Box
That was an amazing chapter. There were so many good parts I don't know where to begin. I was intrigued by how much Snape knows about what is immediately going on in the castle. Also, by what seemed to be his offers of help with the antidote to Remus' poisoning. It was great to see the interactions of the Tonks family and Andromeda's sharing of memories with Harry. McGonagall was quite fierce in her insistence of taking care of Remus and instituting the contingency plan. I loved this chapter. It was chock full of interesting things to think about.

Author's Response: With Snape it’s always the same: each answer leads to a new question. As for Andromeda, I really enjoyed thinking up a background for her and Ted as we are given next to nothing in canon (other than she looks remarkably similar to her evil sister, Bellatrix).

Minerva’s no-nonsense approach to mothering just seemed to fit her character. Notice that she’s not an tough on the inside as she is visibly shaken after witnessing Remus’ grotesque transformation first-hand.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 03/30/10 20:56 · For: Chapter 50 The Fires of Hades
Gosh, I'm so nosy about Snape's wives. I guess I've always been a Snape fan and any little extra bit of information is fascinating to me--especially since JKR finally presented his character as having only one love in his life, Harry's mother. I was very intrigued with reliving Harry's memories of the night Dumbledore died. I liked how you presented Snape as looking at both Harry and Draco in the same intense way that night. I think what I like best about your writing is the rich descriptions you give of the characters. They seem so much more human. Great chapter.

Author's Response: I, too, find Snape fascinating, perhaps fueled by the fact that we were given so very little about him until the bitter end. But I decided on the path I would take with his character before the publication of Deathly Hollows. The rich sarcasm of his words are a joy to type while Rickman’s velvety voice recites them in my head. (David Thewlis returns the favor for Remus, I might add.)

We really know very little about most of the adult characters in the series, so I’ve greatly enjoyed filling in all those blanks. It’s just another way in which Harry’s view of things matures.

I really enjoyed presenting the climatic scenes atop the Astronomy Tower from a different perspective – much as Harry feels when he reviews the events in hindsight.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 03/25/10 12:06 · For: Chapter 49 A Bit of Rain
Well that was strange. Poor Trelawney. It sounds like she still watches the sky from her tower even though she knows Ian is gone. It was also my impression that Snape still had a wife, not that he had one long ago and she already died. This is so interesting and so complicated. You also show a different side to Flitwick. We think of him as the little but powerful wizard and you've portrayed him as more of a man with a man's needs and desires. I'm sorry I'm such a slow reader but I haven't felt well lately so I haven't been up on my reading as much--also I've been busy at work. Great chapter.

Author's Response: Glad to hear you’re feeling better. It’s been an extra long and bitter winter here in the south, so I can just imagine how much worse it’s been where you are. Everyone’s been getting sick left and right here as well.

Couldn’t help chuckling over your reaction to Snape history; it was almost identical to Harry’s when he first overhears McGonagall refer to Snape’s first wife. He is speechless to think that not only is Snape married, but he’s been married more than once. You will find out more about the tragic death of his first wife; he didn’t remarry until a number of years later. All this explains why the adults accept Snape as the resident curmudgeon but not as the evil bat of the dungeons as the students do.

You really made my day with your comments about Flitwick. I feel that I succeeded in fleshing him out as a real person, not just a cardboard authority figure. Trelawney is more tragic than just pathetic, which I why Dumbledore is so incensed when Umbridge tries to kick her out.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 03/11/10 12:36 · For: Chapter 48 Moonlight's Spell
This was a wonderful chapter. The dinner sounded delicious:D What I found most interesting was Remus' plan for Harry--that Remus and Ginny would be his back up. I was kind of wondering where Remus was going with all of this dueling practice and not having Harry and Ginny duel each other and now that's clear. It was so nice of McGonagall to let Harry and Ginny spend some time in the library taking in the view. Also, very interesting was the discovery of another possible horcrux--right under their noses. Great chapter--better than my pithy comments would lead you to believe.

Author's Response: Remus takes a more “hands-on” approach to preparing Harry, no doubt about it. While Dumbledore empowered him by providing the background knowledge, Remus makes it clear that they will not be sending him out alone -- that there will be others who are committed to Voldemort’s downfall flanking him, not just waiting in the distance.

I really enjoyed writing the “cat and mouse” sequence with Filch. Makes you wonder whether Harry ended up in the trophy room quite by chance or whether the Horcrux had been calling out to him in some metaphysical way. Much more surprises involving the Horcruxes are in store, though.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 03/08/10 20:02 · For: Chapter 47 The Power of Silence
So, Robert and Ginny broke up. No one seems that disappointed. Robert didn't waste any time dating someone else did he? What I found interesting and something to think about was that Ginny and Harry seem to have some sort of connection--if she knows that he's coming or is there without even looking. And he seems to do the same thing. That reminds me of my ex when we were first dating so many years ago. I used to know he was approaching even if I couldn't see him. I almost became concerned when Harry bet the enchanted Galleon but I'm figuring he would get it back at some point. No chocolate this chapter?:P Great chapter.

Author's Response: Robert strikes me as a bit like Sirius in the old days: a lady killer with his good looks (I gave Robert a deep, sexy voice), but not too concerned about the trail of broken hearts he leaves behind. Ginny’s attempt to seek revenge on Harry by dating someone else sort of back-fires a bit, but you can tell her heart was never really in it.

I, too, felt an inexplicable connection to an ex-boyfriend as I could always tell when there was an (infrequent) letter from him waiting in my mailbox. It was almost an electrical feeling up my leg the minute my foot hit the first stair. He was not the man I married; though that is not intended to foreshadow anything in the case of Harry and Ginny.

You’ll have to wait until the next chapter for supper. But Tonks orders a different sort of dessert this time – perhaps in light of the late hour.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 03/02/10 20:05 · For: Chapter 46 The Center of Attention
Another outstanding chapter! You describe parties so well that I'm sure you throw a hell of a party in real life:D I almost felt kind of bad that Harry and Luna couldn't get together. They seemed so in tune with each other. I loved the password to get into the party. I'm glad that Harry sticks up for himself with Ginny. He could go the other way and just lay down and let her kick him but he doesn't. Once again, I absolutely love how you're writing Remus and Tonks. I can see her telling jokes and being the life of the party with Remus playing her straight man. Finally, I love how they treat Harry--with love and respect. You've also gotten me to eat more chocolate. I'm not sure if that's good or not:P Great chapter.

Author's Response: Parties are great -- if you have a house-elf to do all the preparations after you come up the ideas. As far as the chocolate fixation goes, you’ll have to blame JKR for writing Remus that way from the start. You don’t really think he had a bar of Honeyduke’s Finest in his coat pocket just in case they encountered a dementor, do you? The poor man had scraped his last pennies together to feed his cocoa addiction. Stands to reason this is something he would have in common with Tonks.

Harry and Ginny have similar temperaments in a lot of ways. He has a temper; she is fiery and determined (just like her fire lizard Patronus). That’s just one of the ways in which they instinctively understand one another. It also means that they tend to butt heads as well.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 02/27/10 20:07 · For: Chapter 45 Friends
What a surprise--I'm sure this is the first time Hufflepuff has won a Quidditch match with Slytherin. I just had a weird deja vue experience like I've seen this Quidditch match before--strange. I hope you describe the Hufflepuff party next chapter:D I'm so glad that Harry invited Luna. I was most impressed with the discussion at the beginning of the chapter over the photo album. You always have such creative stuff going on in your writing. I read in awe. Great chapter.

Author's Response: Slytherin is chafing a bit under the more gentlemanly rules that Slughorn imposes; in other words, they haven’t figured out how to manipulate him like they did Snape. (Besides, we looked in on a Slytherin party in the first part of the book, so it was Hufflepuff’s turn.) Don’t worry, I describe everything in detail; I can’t resist foisting another chocolate dessert to make everybody consider preheating their ovens.

The photo album as a Horcrux is gut-wrenching to Harry, no doubt about it. But it also helps him to remember what it is he’s fighting for. Glad you appreciate all the little details that I can’t help adding to the story; that’s what makes it seem real, at least to my way of thinking.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 02/25/10 19:32 · For: Chapter 44 The Treasure Room
Wow--there was a lot of interesting information in this chapter. I chuckled imagining Trelawney staggering through the Room, clutching her sherry bottles to her chest, fighting with an inanimate object because it grabbed her scarf:D I fully believe that she hides her sherry bottles but I've always wondered why she doesn't just throw them in the trash or send them to wizard recycling. Granted there are a lot of them but still there has to be a way to dispose of them rather than hiding them. I guess drunk people don't think very coherently though. I was a little surprised to find that the potions book was a horcrux. I wonder if Snape knew it was a horcrux. I mean, who really knew about horcruxes? I was very surprised to find that Harry's picture album was a horcrux and the painful thought that it likely represented James' murder. The actual using of the horcrux in the lead box as a sort of geiger counter is brilliant. Great chapter.

Author's Response: I suspect the house-elves empty out the trash bins, even in the teachers’ quarters. I’m certain Sybill has seen them gossiping over her sherry bottle collection in her crystal ball and doesn’t want word to get to Minerva. After all, it’s one thing to drink at faculty parties where everyone else is cutting loose and quite another to drink alone. Sybill always struck me as so funny and pathetic at the same time – what a perfect cover that would be for sinister intentions, don’t you think?

Glad you approve of the one Horcrux serving as a beacon to the others. I thought the trio located the Horcruxes way too conveniently in DH, so I wanted to make for a very plausible alternative. Snape knows a lot more than he’s letting on; bear in mind that he was Dumbledore’s chief confidante for reasons that no one can fully explain.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 02/23/10 20:34 · For: Chapter 43 Sunshine and Shadows
That was a wonderful chapter. I could totally sympathize with everyone's feeling about the weather. I don't remember what it was like to not have snow:D There were a couple of scenes that I particularly enjoyed. First, I loved the one when Harry was sitting on the rock by the lake and students gathered around. I was reminded of times when I spent informal time with professors and how much fun that was. I also remember being a professor and spending that sort of time with students. I think that was even more fun. Remus was kind of a buzz kill although I realize that he had to get Harry away from the students for their discussion. The second scene I really liked was Tonks teaching students more complex ways to Disapparate. This was one of those situations when your descriptions were so perfect, so creative, so magical. I could see Tonks disappear in a smattering of silver stars and Shacklebolt twirling as if he was Gregory Hines. Excellent chapter.

Author's Response: Don’t be so hard on poor Remus; he was trying to spare his wife’s feelings more than anything else. His methods of maintaining order hold no real malice, but the younger students have yet to figure that out for themselves. Never fear, you’ll get a chance to see Remus & Tonks cutting up with the students in a more casual situation in the near future.

We know from the start that Tonks is a bit of a maverick. But Kingsley is often portrayed as such an authority figure that I loved showing his playful side as well.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 02/22/10 12:44 · For: Chapter 42 The Prize or the Pawn?
You are so good at lulling us into a peaceful feeling and then all of a sudden bringing something up out of the blue. I guess I never thought about who's in charge of the Order now and Snape's analytic skills are so good that there's no reason to doubt them. I think it's kind of interesting that Snape wants protection from the Order. The legal arguments were fascinating--especially to consider that Voldemort might think of Snape as a prize. Great chapter. It gave me lots to think about.

Author's Response: What a relief that you didn’t find the legal arguments too dry; I really worried about that. In the end, you will see that Voldemort’s true motives are somewhat more sinister than either of them imagined.

There’s no doubt that Snape managed to paint himself into a dank little corner at the end of HPB. Right about now, he wishes he’d mastered the art of making friends while at school.

Name: Fynnsmom (Signed) · Date: 02/16/10 20:02 · For: Chapter 41 Searching for the Truth
Snape continues to intrigue. I should explain that when I ask questions about something in the plot--something that will happen in the future--I don't really expect you to answer the questions. They're just things I'm thinking about and I figure the answer will come later in the story. There are some things that really stood out for me in this chapter. Snape seems to still be in a teaching mode with Harry. That is something I will continue to wonder about and follow with great interest. I'm delighted with how Harry interacts with Tonks and how comfortable he seems in front of a class. It just seems like he's a natural teacher. I'm still envious of how teaching and learning is occuring for the 7th year students this year. It seems like they're colleagues and learning from each other. This seems the best way to go about teaching this group of students who have done so much already in practical terms. It would be pointless to have them sit in a lecture and rely on textbooks. Great chapter.

Author's Response: So pleased you find Severus as fascinating a character as I do. I definitely took him in a different direction than JKR did, but since he’s shrouded in mystery until the very bitter end (which I’m disregarding), he was pretty much a blank slate. Writing the free-wheeling confrontations he has with Harry were so much fun, it was almost criminal! It’s not everyday you get to be supremely sarcastic without having to suffer the consequences. It’s another lesson that he will unwittingly impart to Harry.

As an antidote to the unhappiness Harry expressed at the end of the previous term, McGonagall and Remus agree to get Harry involved with some of the other students. (You don’t see this scene since the story is written almost entirely from Harry’s point-of-view.) As the Headmistress knows, some students just need that extra push to get involved with those outside of their own familiar circle. McGonagall takes a more nurturing approach to her students than Dumbledore did. Of course, it’s ironic that society will not fault a woman for that, while the same actions from a man (especially a gay man) will be unseemly.

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