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Reviews For The Chessmaster

Name: Auntie B (Signed) · Date: 09/30/08 4:25 · For: Chapter 1
excellent, well-written from an unusual angle. A very deserving winner in my opinion. Thank you

Author's Response: Thanks!

Name: Indigoenigma (Signed) · Date: 08/06/08 2:21 · For: Chapter 1
Rhi -

Oh my goodness. My jaw seriously dropped when I reached the end of this. To be more accurate, I suppose, it dropped somewhere in the middle. This story has utterly sparked a new interest in Trelawney for me. Amazing. I will attempt not to start entering a “fan-girl” mode, but it may be difficult. I was truly impressed by this piece.

I’m hugely fond of the idea that Trelawney wasn’t as she seemed in the books. She was simply too eccentric for me; she needed more of a purpose. Despite my tendency to agree with Hermione, I never doubted that she could See. I quite respected and believed her prophecies. One of the details that you included that fascinated me was how she changed her appearance for Dumbledore and the rest of the staff. She changed from what seemed to be a beautiful woman to someone eccentric and rather zany. Quite interesting, that. It made me wonder why she would have done that. Did she think that people wouldn’t suspect her of influencing the tide of the war if she appeared harmless and merely batty? If so, I would find it at least historically accurate that beautiful women are blamed for confrontations – look at Helen and the Trojan War!

I also really enjoyed the idea that Trelawney could change the tide of the war. It rather reminded me of the Butterfly Effect, where a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the globe could cause a storm on the other side. Essentially, it’s the idea that one person could change the world through a seemingly small action. At some point, Trelawney mentions that she cast a “small courage charm” in order to make Harry seem extremely good at Quidditch. That one small action dramatically changed the course of his life. He learned teamwork and proper flying skills which were, of course, utilized in the Triwizard Tournament. Although I am an amateur philosopher at best, the effect of one person on the world has always been one of my favorites to think about. I’ve always found it amazing how much influence one person can have. And, in this case, I was very fond of how Trelawney was portrayed.

If you are lucky, if you are very lucky, my silent hand may guide you all to victory.

This was my favorite line in the story, despite the fact that I was very impressed by the phrases throughout. I thought that this line combined just the right amount of haughtiness with the rather mystical nature that Sybill is known for. Although it doesn’t quite ring true with her canon description, it is exceedingly perfect for the Trelawney that you have described (which I like much, much more than JK Rowling’s version). She seems much more like a real person – a real witch, perhaps – in this story.

I like the “my silent hand” phrase. No one will realize that it’s Trelawney – a minor person, introduced and then forgotten. Her character just has so much potential.

The metaphor that really begins with the title is intriguing. I now have this desire to arrange the Harry Potter books as a chessboard. Voldemort and Dumbledore would be the kings and those who have died/sacrificed themselves for their respective causes would be the pawns. I’m not quite sure where I would put everyone else, but I like those positions. Chess was such an important theme in the Harry Potter books early on. It played an enormous role in the Philosopher’s Stone and made progressively smaller appearances after that. I like that you’ve resurrected this theme. It’s such an apt description of the events in this series. Every move is (usually) planned out so carefully and executed with the final strategy in mind. And Trelawney has the power to oh-so-casually pull a piece off the board.

I love it.

Seven years from now the world would be a changed place; that in itself was certain. Which of the two masters remained to rule it was something far more insubstantial.

Personally, I would have thought that Trelawney would have really cared about the outcome more than the process. I don’t think that Voldemort would have been as kind with her as Dumbledore was. She certainly can’t perform on demand and I really can’t see Voldemort accepting her. Although this is a completely minor point, it made me rather curious about the characterization. If, I suppose, that we see this through the chess allegory, it’s the process that requires the attention, not the outcome. Perhaps she figures that, as long as she works hard on the planning, the ending will work out well. Whatever it is, this just threw me slightly.

In that moment, she wished, just for an instant, that she could warn him, that she could save him.

I found it almost amusing that Sybill wasn’t above influencing Harry’s life, but wouldn’t warn Dumbledore that he would die. Knowing Dumbledore, he probably wouldn’t have acted any differently with the knowledge – he was too focused on getting the ring. (I do, though, share her sentiments and I do wish that Dumbledore could have lived).

Rhi, I adored this piece. It was extremely well-written, engaging, and thought provoking. I almost wish that I could see a continuation of this – perhaps later, when some of the chess pieces have been put in motion?

Thank you for writing it.


Author's Response: Oh my gosh, Kelly! I think my jaw just hit the floor! This review is absolutely amazing - thanks you so much my dear "squishes". I think I might just have to burble back at you, I have nothing intelligent left to say! But to answer your points - I do agree with you that Trelawney is an overlooked character in the books, and I also don't think JK really finished off her character. She's always seemed very one dimensional to me so that sparked an idea to give her a more involved purpose within the story. I just thought it'd be great fun to make her the one controlling the war, not the batty old professor stuck in the loft!

As to the 'seven years from now' point - I think maybe I phrased that pecuiarly. In fact, I remember doing a double take as I was writing that line and thinking that something wasn't quite right there, but I never found another way to phrase it. I actually meant exactly what you thought should have happened - that Trelawney did care about the outcome and was doing all she could to help Harry prevail, but as an unseen, silent commander from above. She was supposed to be looking into her crystal ball and 'see' that in seven years time either Harry or Voldemort would be victorious. However, because destiny is always changing and, as you said, every small action affects a much larger outcome, it was not clear to her who would win. The victor at the moment was inconclusive, insubstantial. (I think it was actually a poor word choice with insubstantial)

Anyway, that's what I meant to get across - that Trelawney would do what she could to make sure Harry emerged the victor. My bad.

So glad you enjoyed this though, my dear. Goodness I've missed you and your reviews! Thank you so much for just utterly making my day!! *huggles* ~Rhi x

Name: Laurelyn (Signed) · Date: 07/28/08 23:33 · For: Chapter 1
Absolutely brilliant. And with such great grammar, as well! The only thing I caught was "with professors their brother's", which shouldn't have an apostrophe. Great job with this. Your story really made me think, and you can't ask for better than that!

Author's Response: Thanks for that little mistake - I hadn't even spotted it, but glad you pointed it out. I'm glad I made you think, that was the intention with this piece so I regard it as a job well done! Lol, thanks so much for your review x

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