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This story was amazing! I seriously could not stop reading! You really make the plot work and make sense. :) Good writing!
I am enjoying this saga, especially the way you have managed to keep the characters true to JK's world. Please don't be as long as she was in writing OotP!
Author's Response: I'm beginning to learn just why JKR took so long to write OOTP. The number of characters alone makes it mind-boggling, let alone the plot and all the emotion in it! Fortunately, I can post chapters as I write them, rather than having to complete the whole thing! Chapter 1 is submitted now.
You'll wright the 5th year, yes?
Author's Response: Yes, and sorry for not replying to this for so long. One thing or another has meant I've been away from the site for a while. I've finished chapter 1 of OOTP and am going to submit right now.
A great end to yet another great book. Poor Neville - he really has reached a new rock bottom. Really looking forward to the next one and I hope to see more of my favourite characters (Harry, Remus and Sirius) and I'm interested to see what place, if any the DA will have. Thanks and best of luck.
Author's Response: The sad thing is, Neville hasn't truly hit rock bottom for the series yet (he reaches that in chapter 14 of OotP, according to my current plan). Harry and Sirius, particularly Harry, are important characters in OotP; Remus is one of the characters I'm still unsure about (the sheer number of characters in the story is causing my head to explode at this point). There will be a DA in the fic, but handled slightly differently. Harry's main role in the story will be connected to the DA. I've got to make plenty of use of Harry, because of course at the end of the fic his status as the "might-have-been" for this universe is revealed.
Wow, that was a wonderful ending! Snape is very mysterious...and the bit with Moody was very nice. It's great Neville has someone to go to that he trusts and likes. I can't wait for OotP and hope you find some time immediately! And, as you said, I'll see you there!
Author's Response: There will be more of both Snape and Moody in OotP, they're very important characters. Since submitting this chapter, I have found time to straighten out more of the plan of OotP and have started on chapter one ("The Shadows on Preston Road") although I'm only a few paragraphs in. I'm coming at the chapter from a slightly different angle, as you'll see when it's finished.
You know, you got my hopes up for a second that Snape wouldn't come back. It's funny that even though a lot of things are the same in this series, enough is different (like Snape and Crouch) to keep the same edge-of- your-seat mystery. Good luck with OotP!
Author's Response: I did originally plan to not have Snape return until the story got to Grimmauld Place early in OotP, but having him return now was perfect for a cliffhanger to end GoF. The mystery of Snape will be explored more in OotP, particularly in a couple of chapters around the middle of the fic.
YES DOBBY! YES YES YES YES YES I LOVE DOBBY SO SO MUCH! I cannot thank you ENOUGH for giving him such a heroic role! If Dobby were a wizard, he'd be the bravest Gryffindor ever! You have truly done justice to the bad-assedness of house elves.
Wow, I did NOT see Barty Crouch coming. Very clever, hiding Barty Crouch in Barty Crouch. I'd been suspecting Sirius, because of all the help he'd given Neville with training, but I didn't really think that was it. Very cool.
Author's Response: Bringing Dobby in was the result of one of those fortunate random chains of thought I sometimes have. When I originally decided to have Moody be the real Moody, I needed a replacement for Crouch Jr to be. I knew Neville would need a lot of help in the Tournament, and then I realised Crouch Sr would be perfect, because he had a house-elf, and house-elves (as you say) are badass. Then I thought: how am I going to deal with the final confrontation? Who is going to be strong enough to take on a house-elf prepared to do anything to protect her master. Then it hit me: DOBBY!!
I wonder if anyone did spot that Crouch Jr was Crouch Sr. The clues were there (read back and you'll notice how Winky is always with Crouch, and a few times how he has a drink he got from her). I wondered if anyone might have got suspicious when Winky didn't get fired at the World Cup, and that Crouch was still around at the Third Task, unlike canon. Oh, and while making Sirius Crouch Jr would have been a killer twist, I couldn't have done it. Sirius knows about Lupin and is looking after him, so if anything happened to Sirius, it would mean problems for Lupin as well. I made Sirius Neville's other teacher simply because I needed him to be doing something in this fic! I didn't want him disappearing completely for a whole story.
Well, once again, you have brightened up a lousy day with an update. Yet again, you have managed to twist canon in subtle ways that are never the less thought provoking. Seeing the Real Moody in action: awesome. Transforming Dobby from a semi-joke into an elf who has now saved Neville twice (!): awesomer. House elf duel (!!): awesomest!
However, despite all the cool stuff in this chapter, I can't help but wonder about what this means. First, Barty Sr. here is solidly proved to be long gone--a servant of Voldemort has been working amongst the senior Ministry members for months, not just making a pawn of one of it's members. This could have all kinds of interesting fall out, depending both on whether Jr. still dies as in the original timeline and how Fudge's interestingly fragile psyche and overpowered ego takes the implications. Plot effects aside, I'm also intrigued by Winky's fate. She may not be fired here or at least she hasn't been yet. Jr is the last of the Crouch line, so does that mean she's free by default? How will Dobby react (I'm not sure he'll be as charitable as he was in the books)?
For me, the strongest points of interest in this story have always been not the overall story (though that is excellently plotted and written) but the unexpected and intriguing effects of the change on very personal levels. Things like Neville's relations with Ginny, Neville's rising confidence from Moody's assistance and knowing he is "a true Gryffindor" and a hero as early as the third book I never would have predicted just from the original concept. (Well, I might have guess the Gryffindor thing, but the way you did it was very original. I would have expected the Sword to do it, as it did for Harry; you didn’t choose the easy route because Neville wasn’t yet ready.) Finally, the larger number of allies Neville already has and his willingness to actively encourage and seek their help compared to Harry’s astounding reluctance to do so and the implications that has all intrigue me. I am beginning to suspect that while Harry’s “power the Dark Lord knows not” was love, Neville’s is going to be stalwart loyalty and friendship. Not as succinct, but I’d actually argue it’s far more important in the long run.
Anyway, keep up the fine work and I can’t wait for Chapter 20 and then Book 5. Order of the Phoenix was where all the cards were dealt for the final round, and where the shape of the showdown was set. Seeing how it goes for Neville will prove most intriguing.
Author's Response: Thanks for such a detailed and positive review. I feel I ought to try and give at least something of a worthy response. So here goes...
Crouch Jr's and Winky's fates will be discussed in Chapter 20, so we can probably talk about the implications then. I hadn't thought much about the overall effect on the Ministry, so you've given me something I might be able to use there! (and I've just thought of how: consider what the implications might be for Percy. I hadn't thought much about Percy in OOTP, I'll have to work on that.)
I'm glad you appreciate what the main point of this story is to me. For me, it's always been first and foremost about studying Neville's reactions to being in much the same situations as Harry was in canon: how would Neville cope (or not cope) with the same problems, how his personality informs the (often different) decisions he makes. So much of Neville's character is about his self-confidence; indeed, when planning this series out, I needed to plot out exactly how that self-confidence goes up and down with each event in the story (essentially over the seven books it goes: up, down, up, level, down, up, up (with fluctuations in between))
Neville's "power" will be love as well, but there are many different kinds of love, and like you I see Neville's as the inspirational and uniting kind. Harry is a leader; he goes it alone and tries to leave others behind. Neville brings people together, ultimately because he sees other people as far more important than himself. It's an idea that I hope will inform DH a great deal when I get there
Having said that, we're not going to see much of this effect from Neville any time soon, I'm afraid. OOTP is coming, the "out of character" story, of a kind. Harry became all angry and shouty; Neville's reaction will be quite different, and may end up being even more damaging, to him and to others. It's a dark tale...
Oh, poor Neville! He's going to blame himself. I loved Dobby! "You will not harm Neville Longbottom!" I could just picture it. Great chapter! I can't wait for more from you!
Author's Response: Of course Neville's going to blame himself, he always does. It's his greatest flaw: he always thinks the worst of himself. Writing Dobby like that was so much fun, I have to tell you!
Hay!!! another chapter! keep up!
Author's Response: Next one's just arrived!
I'm thinking this is bizarre.
Author's Response: Bizarre in a good way, I hope!
Wow...didn't see Snape coming. I don't really know what to think about him. He was pretty harsh, though. I guess time will tell.
I like how you did the graveyard scene. I was recently rereading the books, and you captured the mood without having to use too much from the book and taking less time to do it.
I also like how you paid attention to order and had Alice come out first. Tee hee.
Author's Response: Yes, I remembered the old 'wand order' problem from the GoF first edition, and made sure I got it right this time! Snape was harsh, and that was deliberate. I have to establish this is not the same Snape as canon. His telling Voldemort that he was happy to see Neville die will have far reaching consequences for the rest of the series.
Oh Snape! Snape Snape Snape, what are we going to do with you! That was a great chapter! I can't wait for more, now we get into the really dark side. I can't wait for the next chapter!
Author's Response: If I can get the "Snape: good or bad" debate started again, I'll have succeeded. "Dreams and Memories" made him look like he could be good, but this chapter certainly makes him look bad. It took some time after reading Deathly Hallows for me to plot out Snape's story for this saga, but I think I have something that will work well. Is he good or bad? Well, you'll just have to wait and see...
I'm just submitting the next chapter and, I must apologise, there is shockingly no mention of Snape in it! There's the matter of Voldemort's servant to deal with first. He will crop up in the chapter after that (the last chapter) though.
Great chapter! This Snape twist -assuming it isn't revealed to be an elaborate scheme in the next chapter - could put a real unique spin to this saga.
This chapter was well written and Voldemort was his usual egoistic and deranged self - well done!
Can't wait for the next one.
Author's Response: The Snape twist is a big part of the plot, and there was no elaborate scheme, I promise. When Snape said Dumbledore did not know he was there, he was telling the truth. The main point was to put the mystery of Snape back to square one, otherwise there's very little suspense in the later books. There's still a chance Snape can be good, but in nothing like the way he was in canon.
It was fun to let rip with Voldemort. My favourite bit (in a twisted way) was his casually threatening the Death Eaters with Nagini
CEDRIC!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow. Okay, so I have a little idea about who the traitor is, but I don't want to say it partly because I don't want it to be true, and partly because I don't want to end up looking stupid if I'm wrong...But wow. I love the ending. It would really and truly suck for someone to tell you that a person died because you're just that incompetent. As if Neville's self-confidence could use any more beating.
Author's Response: When I reveal the 'faithful servant' (in two chapters' time), let me know who you thought it was. I wonder if you have been able to guess. It's impossible for me to tell if I've been too obvious or too obscure with the clues. As for Neville, I'd like to say he has reached rock bottom at this point, but sadly Umbridge may have something to say about that when the time comes.
And so the darker half of the series kicks off. Really well written chapter, thought it very appropriate (and rather nasty of Tom) taunting Neville at the end. Great job again!
Author's Response: Perversely, I always get a kick out of writing Voldemort. Evil characters always get the best lines, because they have no scruples in anything they say, and the aura of malice and cruelty around Voldemort is always fascinating to evoke. The darkness does indeed begin here. OotP promises to be quite a bleak fic, the way I've planned it. Oh, and the next chapter has quite a shocking surprise, too, as you'll see.
Oh, poor Neville. That's horrible what Voldemort's telling, but then again, Voldemort's a terrible...man if you can say he's a man. It's very interesting how you managed to get Neville there. Because Neville's not as strong as Harry in some ways it's very likely he wouldn't have made it to the cup first. I think this is very creative and at the same time, a better indicator of Pettigrew's loyalties and such than when Harry was taken. In putting Cedric under the Imperius Curse, it shows a very dark side to Wormtail that is very effective. Kudos to you! I can't wait for the next chapter!
Author's Response: Yes, Voldemort is a right, erm, (expletive deleted), isn't he? The terrible thing is, of course, what Voldemort says has some truth in it, and it will have a serious effect on Neville later. For Pettigrew, I figured by this stage if he's prepared to murder and cut off his own hand, then he'd not blink at doing the Imperius Curse. He'd do anything Voldemort tells him. It remains to be seen whether he'll ever regret his actions...
My question is how Voldemort comes back if he got the wrong Champion. I guess he just goes with the lower-power version of the spell (it didn't have to be Harry's--here, Neville--specifically IIRC, he just got some side benefits). Or, again, perhaps something else happens so Nev ends up in the hands of the Dark Lord. Have to be a heck of a backup plan, though.
Author's Response: All I can say is, wait for the next chapter (which I am trying to write, I promise, but I keep distracting myself. Hopefully I'll have it done by the weekend.)
Wow, so Neville doesn't even go. That is an interesting twist, and I can't wait to see what happens as a result. This will be really interesting. Honestly, it's probably better for Neville not to go, so he won't be depressed about Cedric. This is the turning point, everything's going to get darking now, I can presume. I can't wait until you write, post, and get the next chapter validated. This one must be coming to a close, now that the Tournament's over and we can see how Neville deals with this. But, if Neville doesn't go and give the drop of blood, does that mean that Voldemort won't be in his 'human' form, like he was when Harry went in the books? I can't wait for more!
Author's Response: The next chapter is definitely the turning point, as you say, and the darkness is coming. I've almost been dreading writing the next chapter (and I postponed doing it over Christmas), but now there's no escape, it has to be done. Surprises and shocks are in store...