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Reviews For Hearthlinks

Name: dspotter (Signed) · Date: 07/31/11 17:59 · For: All the Gold in Gringotts
Warning: this review contains course language and may not be suitable for all readers.
Cressida is a right bitch! Gosh! I just want to punch her non-existent face!
This is such a great story so far! You did a great job on the characters! Very well written!

Author's Response: Feel free to punch away! Sally-Anne would never do that, so she needs you as her champion. Thanks for writing in.

Name: The_Real_Hermione (Signed) · Date: 03/07/11 22:47 · For: Happily Ever After
Once again, this was fantastic. I really do love your writing!! It's quite ironic that I like this fic so much, as I said that these characters were my least favourite in "Magic in my Tree", but I think you gave them so much more depth here and it was very interesting.

I loved how all three girls dealt with - and avoided - their situation in different ways - Sally-Anne just found a job which needed doing, or rather which made her feel like she was needed, Ella-Jane avoided going home and still pretended to be rebellious and Molly-Rose read. I really loved it when Sally-Anne has her realisation that a lot of this has been about here - after all, there's something strange in human nature that we want to be needed, particularly if there's a situation where we can hold a family together or something.

In the earlier chapters, you spend a lot of time describing Sally-Anne's hardships at home and her difficulties at her father's house - I wondered if perhaps you could include her having fun with her friends at school or something to provide contrast. Also I was interested in the relationships between the five of them, and I know you developed them a bit with the DA and all that, but I sitll felt like they could have had more presence.

I loved Terry, and I think it's very interesting and fitting that he and Sally don't have a "happily ever after" or even become friends again. You made him a really interesting character in this, and I really liked him.

Coming to Cressida and Flavian - it seems that Flavian is lazy and prefers to pretend that reality doesn't exist because it's more comfortable for him, but I do wonder why he married Cressida. Was it her money? And why did Cressida marry him? After all, he wasn't rich and had to associate with Muggles in his profession... As for Cressida, I wonder why she is so mean to the Perks' - I understand her forcing Sally-Anne to do all the housework/cooking/looking after Xavier, as she's too lazy to do it herself, but why all the extra? She seemed a little like the Dursley's, but I'd always assumed that they treated Harry the way they did out of previous spite towards Lily, fear of magic, fear of a loss of their reputation etc. Anyway, just wondered about those things.

I was very intrigued by the character of Jeremy. I know one of the chapters in "Magic in my Tree" is from his perspective, but I'd love it if you had time to write a whole story about him and how he assimilates with the magical world and the kind of feelings that that brings.

I think one of the most interesting things about your writing is perspective, as all your fics seem to be compliant with each other. For example, in "Dagger of Doubt", we see a different side of Cecilia - lazy and gossipy, yes, but caring in the end.

I think it is so fitting that Sally-Anne ended up working in cleaning products!! So appropriate.

Another question - Ella-Jane was in Gryffindor and seemed like the rebellious type - why didn't she join the DA? She was in the same year as Dennis Creevey, wasn't she?, and he was a member (though there is the canon error that he went to Hogsmeade for the first meeting despite his being a second-year...).

I love the detail you give to minor characters, such as Aunt Odette, and also how in this chapter you explained everyone's futures. You're very creative at coming up with jobs! Often people, when talking about professions, say Auror, Healer, or vaguely 'working at the Ministry', and I loved how you expanded on the other things which would be required by the wizarding world to make it self-sufficient.

I also think it's interesting that you cover religion in this fic, without presenting a biased opinion about it at all. I think that's very clever, as our own opinions often come through in our writing, and I wouldn't be able to tell at the end of this what you personally believe, just that you are open-minde to others' beliefs.

One last comment - I love that Sally-Anne and her family chose to fight in the end, it was a great end to the story.


P.S. By the way, how did Cecilia end up with Stan?

Author's Response: Dear Katrina, ~ Thanks for such a staggeringly long and detailed review of this old story. I’m so flattered that you’ve thought up so many and such pertinent questions. It’s a sure sign of your involvement and identification. ~ It’s interesting that you’ve suggested padding out the early chapters. Although I wanted to explore the relationships among the Hufflepuffs, I thought most readers wouldn’t be interested in that, and I deliberately raced ahead to the Yule Ball. But several people have commented that I raced too fast and that they would have been interested. So perhaps I will go back and write those chapters after all. I began a vignette from Sally-Anne’s second year in which the Hufflepuffs all send valentines to Gilderoy Lockhart. The other Puffs do indeed deserve more presence. ~ And a whole story about Jeremy? I hadn’t thought of that, although his wife is such an interesting character that the story of their courtship might well be worth telling. It sounds as if the MimT episode makes most sense to someone who already knows the characters from Hearthlinks. I’ll bear that in mind: perhaps the MimT setting was too complicated to translate well to a short story. ~ Sally-Anne never really found out why her father married Cressida, but I do know the backstory. Albert found out about Cressida’s Squib grandfather (Marius Black) and made her home-life unbearable. Cressida didn’t have the courage to leave without having somewhere to go, so she was pretty well looking for an affair, and Flavian was easy to seduce. She would have liked to marry money, but of course there aren’t so many wealthy wizards around, so she had to settle for a man who was good-looking and weak-willed. Albert (whose father is the Diagon Alley fishmonger – quite a working-class family before Albert is promoted at the Ministry) found out and threw her out. Her parents made sympathetic noises but made it clear they had no spare money to help her, so Cressida’s only hope was to work hard on Flavian to abandon his family. He recognised that Cressida would be a vindictive and implacable ex-lover, while Julia would be a relatively compliant one, and that marriage to Julia would become somewhat uncomfortable once she knew about the affair, so being phenomenally lazy, he decided to move in with Cressida. She didn’t have money or similar to tempt him, but he probably was attracted to the dramatic temperament, and she took more care with her looks than Julia did. ~ Why, apart from plot requirements, is Cressida such a wicked stepmother? She is a person who generally lacks empathy; she is very insecure and she feels better about the world when she has made some weaker person feel even worse than she does. Over and above this, I think her stepdaughters are a particular threat because they are possible rivals for Flavian’s love. She has to make sure they don’t become too close to their father, so she carries tales about them before they can carry tales about her. She can usually set it up so that the tales are more or less true, e.g. SOMEONE painted those walls on their first evening together, and of course the guilty parties are going to lie. ~ Yes, I’m afraid I played the birth-order stereotypes with a vengeance: the firstborns are hyper-responsible (except Ursula, who is simply bossy); the second-borns are rebels; the thirdborn withdraws from the cruel world. ~ Cecilia is always somewhat in Ursula’s shadow. She is shallow and spiteful but she probably doesn’t hate Sally-Anne as much as she seems to – she’s just absorbing the general atmosphere of the family because she doesn’t bother thinking for herself. The fact that in her final scene she wants to confide in Sally-Anne rather than in Ursula is rather telling. (She has already chewed off Tracey’s ears about it, of course.) To be honest, I haven’t yet asked Cecilia how she met Stan; I suppose anyone who rides the Knight Bus can meet him easily enough. I’ve always seen him as a pure-blood, and I thought she’d be happier with someone without too many brains. ~ I think Ella-Jane would have liked to join the D.A. but she had no-one to invite her. She wasn’t close friends with Ginny or Colin (who were a year older) or Dennis (who was actually a year younger). I did once write a short about how he sneaked out to Hogsmeade to attend that meeting illegally. I couldn’t post it here, though, because its effect depended on complex formatting that Mugglenet won’t do. ~ Sally-Anne had to fight in the end, otherwise she wouldn’t truly have repented of her limited approach to life. She had made “family first” an excuse for “family only” – even when the family had problems she couldn’t possibly fix, when the family didn’t need her time and the D.A. did, when “helping” the family was a disguise for the need to be needed, and when her basic motive was her utter terror of having anything to do with Voldemort. Once she had recognised all this, it was only natural that she should take action (she certainly isn’t lazy!), and that her mother, having similar faults, should improve herself in a similar way. ~ I’m very interested in your remark that the religious themes weren’t “biased” because I actually thought I told the story rather blatantly from my own perspective of right and wrong. For the record, my personal beliefs are in my user-name, and they are rather clearly propagated in the other story by Lucy Boot. Of course, being respectful of other people’s beliefs is a part of my own belief, but I think it’s possible to respect people and still say they are wrong. Sally-Anne’s mistake (from my point of view) is to assume that she’s pretty good and can be proud of herself, and therefore God ought to be proud of her too. She’s completely blind to the reality that nobody is good by God’s standards, not even people who are obviously better than their stepmothers, and we all ought to spend a little time saying sorry. Notice that when Anthony reads the Bible, she’s very uncomfortable with the subject of personal sin; she only likes the “nice” passages. Terry, on the other hand, laps it up; he doesn’t mind being reminded that he’s done things that need forgiving because he is so confident that God has already forgiven him. He said as much to Blaise at the Yule Ball, but of course neither Blaise nor Sally-Anne could process that remark at the time. ~ Some readers have criticised Terry for not telling Sally-Anne why he was breaking up with her; but, of course, he was under a magically-binding contract not to mention the D.A. to anyone. An older boy might have managed it more tactfully; Terry is only fifteen. I’m glad you liked him anyway! ~ Yes, I do try to be realistic about wizarding careers. There needs to be enough secondary industry to support the economy. Hogwarts, St Mungo’s and the Ministry are all supported by the wizarding taxpayer, and while Gringotts is probably a primary source of capital, there needs to be trade and industry too. So if my characters are entering the tertiary sector, they need to have a very good reason. ~ Thanks for reading and thanks for writing, ~ GhV

Name: rambkowalczyk (Signed) · Date: 10/08/08 10:07 · For: Breaking the Spell
Well written chapter. It gives Terry Boot a personality other than just being a nice date for the ball. Terry presents his reasons for standing up to Umbridge in a forceful yet polite manner. More importantly he makes it clear that Sally has to choose although at this time Sally is unaware of this.

I think you presented Sally's arguments about not joining the defense club as reasonable.

Author's Response: Dear R, ~ This is the chapter that I found most difficult to write, so it's interesting that you think it succeeded better than the previous one. Sally-Anne and Terry are both being reasonable, but neither understands the other. Sally-Anne simply doesn't have time to convey the magnitude of her family situation, especially as she is somewhat self-deceived in her motivations. Terry is honour-bound not to discuss the D.A. So they miss the point. I'm glad that you didn't miss how seriously incompatible their goals are at this point. ~ Thanks for reviewing, GhV

Name: rambkowalczyk (Signed) · Date: 10/08/08 9:40 · For: A Prince among Youths
I'm glad I waited until you finished this story before I added my comments as I can now make them more coherent instead of wondering where you are going with this. I had expected that the story would wrap itself up at the Yule ball and was initially confused as to how it would continue.

I thought the bible reading scene was awkward because in my mind it didn't seem believable that students would pass up a trip to Hogsmeade to in essence read 'a book'. You handled this well in the story: 1 Sally has no money and felt uncomfortable about this, 2 The weather wasn't all that great for a walk to Hogsmeade. 3 Even Sally noted the unusualness of teens doing this. Still it didn't feel right.

Obviously 'a book' is not just a book but something very important and perhaps you wanted to establish that sometimes there are more important things than wandering around Hogsmeade. The choice of Anthony's first passage is very important to what happens in later chapters.

I wonder if it would have been more believable to have a Christian Club that tackled such weighty issues as Do centaurs have souls, Do we need God's forgiveness in today's world or Do wizards and witches even need God if they are powerful? Having Sally join such an organization would further establish that Sally is a dedicated and growing Christian. (You already have the foundations for this idea).

What also wasn't believable (or should I say incomplete) is that teenagers would just read the Bible without commenting on it. You do establish that Sally is disturbed by Anthony's first reading. I think more dialog is needed. I know in the next chapter Terry makes a comment on the need for Sally to forgive her step-mother. Sally could ask the question of how she can forgive someone when that someone hasn't asked for forgiveness.

I see this chapter as a bridge between two stories. In the first she has a fairy godmother to help her with her problems. In the second she has to rely on something different to deal with the stresses in her life. Your bible sequence perhaps should be a little bit more to further reflect the differences.

Author's Response: Dear Rambkowalczyk, ~ What wonderful, well-thought-out comments. I hardly know where to begin. I was trying hard not to make the Bible-reading scene didactic. My basic point in writing it was to demonstrate clearly that Sally-Anne is NOT a Christian. She has completely missed the crucial point. The first reading (from Psalm 32) bewilders her. She likes the second one (from Psalm 36) but only because she is hearing it from a position of false confidence. As you noticed later in the story, that confidence does not carry her through once she is face to face with herself as she really is. However, the summary of what you have written is that I wasn't writing clearly! ~ There is actually a Bible-reading club at Hogwarts, but you have to remember that this story is set in Britain. In a school of 280 students, only about 7-10 would be actively involved with such a club. When Sally-Anne mentions that she occasionally "went to the chapel with Terry", it is to this club that she is referring. But it didn't really engage her interest because she didn't understand most of what was going on (and didn't realise that Terry would have gladly answered her questions). ~ As to the general metaphysical questions you ask about centaurs, magical powers, forgiveness, etc.: I think Terry would regularly discuss them with Anthony, Michael and Padma. It seems a very Ravenclawish thing to do. But there wouldn't be a formal club for this kind of discussion; and I think a Hufflepuff would find it even more bewildering than a Bible-study club. ~ So it's interesting overall that you want more dialogue. Perhaps a few more lines of interaction would clarify that Sally-Anne is completely out of her depth. My experience (I'm a teacher and I was once a schoolgirl) is that there will always be a few students whose idea of having a great time is to sit around a Bible and listen to what it says. However, most of them are not good at articulating their "real" questions. Even when they do ask something, I have to work hard to understand what it is that they really want to know. ~ Thank you for working so hard with your comments. Regards, GhV

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 09/06/08 8:58 · For: Happily Ever After
Aw, it's over! I'll really miss this fic.

I'm sad that Sally-Anne didn't return to Hogwarts, and that she and Terry didn't become good friends again. I suppose that's understandable, though- not all couples in HP last forever.

I think you tied up all the loose ends quite well. But did any of Sally-Anne's friends besides Sophie (well, and Hannah) get married? It doesn't say.

Ella-Jane and Molly-Rose certainly named their children interesting things... I don't remember who Luke is, but I assume he wasn't too bad.

*sniff* This was a great story, but now that it's over, do you have anything coming up next?
PS- Whatever happened to Mr. Runcorn?

Author's Response: Dear PnP, ~ What great questions! Responses like that really make me feel the story was worth writing because they show how involved you were in all the characters. ~ Sally-Anne's not ending up with Terry was the "twist" I promised in the summary. She regained her shoe when her identity was known (like Cinderella), but unlike Cinderella, it was not a romantic identity as someone's love-interest, but a moral identity as an opponent of Voldemort. She and Terry were not to be because of their spiritual incompatibility; and I deliberately left open the question of whether that was ever going to change. ~ Yes, I had complete futures mapped out for the other Hufflepuffs, and I'm so flattered that you want to know! I think Hannah and Neville would have propped up the faltering house of Longbottom by producing three sons: Frank (2006), Brockley (2008) and Alastor (2008). Susan married a Muggle kitchen designer named Mark Pavelin, and he helped her break into the Muggle market. Their children were Edgar (2010), Amelia (2012) and Basil (2015). Megan married a Welsh wizard named Rhodri Lewis, who had been a few years ahead of her in Gryffindor. He worked with her in the ice cream parlour whenever they weren't busy with their Welsh nationalist campaigns, and their children were Tesni (2006) and Iorwerth (2009). Sophie and Ernie added Lachlan (2004) and Katharine (2006) to the ever-multiplying house of Macmillan. Ernie worked for the Ministry of Magic and eventually became Head of Social Security. Stephen Cornfoot and Zacharias Smith both expected to work in their family businesses (the Cornfoots own the wizarding toyshop and the Smiths have the funeral parlour), but neither of them did. Stephen was tortured to death by the Carrows in his final year at school; and Zacharias developed such a horror of death that he became an accountant for Nimbus. He married Stephen's younger sister and kept her busy bringing up their four children, so the toyshop had to be passed on to a nephew (a younger brother of Morag MacDougal). Justin had no need to work for a living, but his family transformed the spare wing of Finch Hall into an adventure holiday centre for deprived children, and Justin was very involved with that project. He also learned to fly a Muggle helicopter with magic (no need for fuel) and frequently flew to Burkina Faso to drop off supplies for Terry. He married a Muggle aristocrat and had one son. I'll withhold the details of what happened to Wayne Hopkins because that might be my next story. Oh, and Morag became a Mediwitch and married a Healer. Is that everyone? ~ Luke Brocklehurst is actually the younger brother of Mandy. But Mandy wasn't at the Christmas party because she was at Hogwarts for the Yule Ball. Their mother is a widow, and I like to think that she eventually (after the war) married the father of Hannah Abbott. Luke worked in his grandfather's shop, making & selling camping equipment such as those magical tents that are larger inside than out. ~ And Mr Runcorn? Well, he's a canon character, so I suppose JKR has the last word on whether he was bad enough to be sent to Azkaban after the war, or whether he just carried on making himself obnoxious at the MoM. He got away with blasting Flavian's staircase because the damage wasn't permanent, he had a legal right to claim his daughter, and Flavian didn't have enough money/influence to challenge an important MoM employee. Cecilia had to spend her summer holidays and the following Christmas holiday at Albert's house, but she turned 17 on 28 December and she returned to Cressida the next day. After that she only saw her father occasionally, when she wanted money. ~ I have a couple of ideas for a new story. I might write something about Tracey Davies, or perhaps about the two "missing" Gryffindor girls. The problem is, I don't really have the spare time to put fingers to keyboard for hobby writing! ~ Thank you so much for all your support through each chapter of this story. I've really appreciated your reviews. ~ GhV

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 09/03/08 8:49 · For: Known by a Shoe
It's interesting to read Sally-Anne's story, because her perspective is so different from other female characters (such as Hermione or Ginny). I'm glad you had her be late to her exams- I've always wondered why she was never there in canon.

The only nitpick I have is the line, It’s too large for Millicent, too small for Pansy, too narrow for Daphne and too wide for Tracey. Now, it implies that the shoe is too big for Millicent, and too small for Pansy. Shouldn't it be the other way around? I mean, Millicent is described as a large girl, and Pansy is petite. Do you get what I'm saying?

The chapel was a good idea; not a lot of stories have religion due to controversial issues, but I think you wrote it well. And her letter to Terry made me sad- she has to return to school!

I hope the next chapter is up soon (it usually is ^_^) and we'll be able to read what happens next!

Author's Response: Dear PnP, ~ I think fanfics avoid religion because JKR avoids religion. And now we've read the ending of DH, we know *why* she avoids religion! But I've always assumed that wizards would have the same range of religious beliefs/unbeliefs as Muggles. In this story I had the chance to highlight three young wizards (Sally-Anne, Terry & Anthony) who are all spiritual, yet all have different beliefs. ~ I'm glad you picked up on the magical properties of the shoe. Yes, an ordinary middle-sized shoe would be too small for Millicent and too large for Pansy. But this shoe is the other way around, because it is deliberately making its point about only fitting its true owner. Similarly, Daphne's foot is narrow and high-arched, while Tracey is wide-footed and clumpy; and the shoe actually hurts the Runcorn girls because they have been unkind to its owner. ~ The final chapter (really only an epilogue) is now posted. It answers all the questions that I think are important, but if I forgot anything, you can certainly ask! ~ Thanks for reviewing, ~ GhV.

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 08/31/08 8:29 · For: Back to the Kitchen
Wow. Quite the action-filled chapter, especially at the end. Runcorn, Cressida, and her dad all annoyed me... and how can she feel bad for Cressida? Her husband's a jerk and all, but Cressida's not much of a fairy princess herself.

Another good chapter- I hope Sally-Anne will make it to Hogwarts in time!

Author's Response: Dear PnP, ~ Now we reach the real conflict. This is Sally-Anne's whole future, not just a ball! As to whether she makes it... Well, don't you remember that she was msising from the Charms exam in canon? ~ I agree that Cressida's child abuse and spouse-stealing are inexcusable; but Sally-Anne is finally finding them understandable. Cressida has lived the last eleven years in terror of Albert Runcorn's vengeance, with minimal help from her own parents and a financially irresponsible second husband. She feels she has to look out for herself because no one else ever will. Obviously Sally-Anne (who also has to look out for herself) would never treat other people this way; but she now has a glimmer of sympathy for Cressida and her daughters. ~ So now we march on to the climactic question: Will Sally-Anne grow up? Thanks for reviewing, ~ GhV

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 08/28/08 9:01 · For: The Enemy Within
Hmm, things are getting interesting. So Sally-Anne unknowingly turned down the DA? I really liked this chapter- it's good to see things from a new perspective.10/10 ^_^

Author's Response: Yes, Sally-Anne turned down the D.A.! Sometimes only a small "wrong" decision can have big consequences. Thanks for reviewing, GhV

Name: Prisca McKnott (Signed) · Date: 08/28/08 8:24 · For: Sororal Devotion
Wow, it’s a real satisfaction to come back to my PC after a couple of weeks to find that the readable part of your story has grown so much!
You are getting better and better with these flash-backs you have begun so many novels with: in TtC it wasn’t exactly a flash-back and it just lasted a chapter and in the MC it was gorgeous in itself but so long that integrating it with the main plot-line must have cost you some effort, but here it runs so smoothly that it even feels elegant besides being informative. So “Once upon a Time” really was a teaser trailer!
Is your Flavian going to show himself even worse than he already has? In the latest chapter, rather than being just the absent-minded sort of father we are used not to see in Cinderella and the lazy, selfish and narcissistic man you have already introduced us to, he has been so shockingly hypocritical that it was really telling about Sally-Anne that she didn’t sometimes shout at him: I was especially floored by “your great cooking hobby” and Ursula’s stained dress – to me it woul have seemed offensive rather than inappropriate. All parents I know seem after all to care whether their children are happy or not, besides finding a way to convince themselves that they have a clean conscience. On the other side, he is also surprisingly ready to take Cressida’s snubs silently (her reference to the “pasty-pale Perks girls” should actually have offended HIM), so maybe the situation is a bit more complex than my teen-agerish mind woul picture it.
It’s also sad that Sally doesn’t manage to make friends with Xavier (many boys who don’t turn up to be that bad have a fancy for disgusting beasts...) but now I’m curious to see how the insertion of a male off-spring will alter the relationship between Cinderella and her wicked step-sisters: no matter what, it will be a shared experience.
Molly-Rose leaving her books aside just long enough to uncover Ursula’s wicked plan was nicely Hermione-ish.
Actually, being informed that there will soon be a Yule Ball without reading anything about the Triwizard Tournament or the arrival of all the foreign students before is a bit surprising, or maybe it just shows the informed reader how far from Hogwarts Sally’s thoughts usually are...
I’m glad to see that you stick with your wicked-Zabini plot and also curious to see how it will further interact with Cinderella’s story: otherwise, Blaise’s invitation would end up looking rather pointless, wouldn’t it? However, you managed to describe the effect of the Silencing Varnish on Sally in a remarkably natural way.
I also appreciated Ella-Jane’s take about the dirty reasons beyond the Ball: probably not totally accurate, but endearing. No matter how unlucky Cecilia’s life can have been, I couldn’t help totally siding with Ella while they were quarrelling: that “choosy” word was really to much to digest. Does it actually exist or did “Miss Cabbage-brain” make it up for my personal disgust? Unlike her Hufflepuff sister, your tomboy doesn’t seem at all interested in the concept of “lying low”: it will be interesting to see how this difference will develop. I really liked that dialogue.
By the by: did you alter the first chapter on the Sugar Quill? I fancy I remember that it used to be somehow more direct and also more mysterious about the protagonist’s back-ground, but, as usual, I could well be making the business up.
I would never stop asking you more and more details about most of your characters, who always seem to have a life of their own, but for today I will try to respect your authorial right to choose what to show the reader and when to show it.
I can’t wait to read the rest! You really are a magician at making things believable; see you soon - Prisca

Author's Response: Dear Prisca, ~ I am so happy that you believe in all these impossible things! Floo networks and tame owls and autonomous knives and inflammable messages... You really have suspended reality! ~ I'm most impressed that you noticed my changes to the first chapter. I had feedback that it was too rushed and introduced too many new characters too quickly, so I decided to slow the pace. But I didn't think anyone would read it twice, let alone notice the difference! I've also been told that chapter 4 moves too fast. I'm toying with the idea of spreading the material out over 2-3 chapters, to show more of Sally-Anne's & Cecilia's first years at Hogwarts. I've written a scene in which all the girls send Valentines to Professor Lockhart, but I don't know if it's really what readers want to read: it doesn't have much to do with Cinderella. ~ And that, of course, is Flavian's problem. He is totally out of touch with reality. He believes what he wants to believe and ignores everything else. He doesn't want to know that Sally-Anne is the family drudge, so he believes that cooking is her favourite hobby. He doesn't want to know that he can't provide properly for his own daughter, so he believes that Ursula's old dress is in good condition and exactly right for a wizarding ball. He doesn't want to know that Cressida is a Wicked Stepmother, so he believes that her cruelties are "jokes" or "discipline" or even a figment of his own imagination. Of course Flavian wants everyone to be happy ... just not if it's going to cost him any effort. The five girls adore him because he is even-tempered and playful; they are too young to see what he contributes to the family dysfunction. ~ Xavier is still only eight years old, so he has time to improve. But I wonder WHO is telling him that there's no need to be nice to the Perks girls? ~ There isn't room in a story of this length to write about the Triwizard Tournament, which Sally-Anne doesn't find particularly interesting, but of course she knows it's happening. But, yes, Zabini's behaviour does influence Cressida; you have to remember that Cecilia fancies him. ~ Of course Ella-Jane is a biased observer. She has seen that romance, marriage, etc. lead to trouble, so she is opposed to the whole idea of family life. You could say that while Sally-Anne is desperately trying to repair the situation, Ella-Jane is rebelling against it, and Molly-Rose is trying to ignore it completely. (Books are a great escape for a granddaughter of Mr Flourish.) You will definitely see more of Ella-Jane's assertiveness. ~ I don't know if you'd find "choosy" in the dictionary, but it was quite widely used a generation or two ago. I thought Cecilia (the Cabbage-brain) wouldn't have the vocabulary to describe herself as "selective", especially as she is lying - she hasn't yet been invited to the ball, and she probably will accept the first boy who does ask her. ~ Ask as many questions as you like! Some will be answered in the following chapters, but I certainly didn't have room to write down everything that I know about this tortured group of families. ~ Thank you so much for reviewing. ~ GhV

Name: Aryssa Hope Melody Deavon (Signed) · Date: 08/25/08 22:44 · For: A Prince among Youths
please update!!! this is one of my favorite stories!!! i need to know more!

Author's Response: Dear Aryssa, Thank you! I expect you can guess what's going to happen really, but the update is due on Thursday. Best wishes, GhV

Name: rambkowalczyk (Signed) · Date: 08/23/08 22:26 · For: Until the Stroke of Twelve
I like some of your deviations, the magic attached to the shoes, how the dress was transformed, and how it reverted back at midnight and Terry just threw a tablecloth around her and complimented her for the charm work.

Author's Response: Thank you! I had to find some explanation for why the other men at the ball were queueing up to dance with Cinderella. And I couldn't imagine Terry minding that the robe was a fake. Regards, GhV

Name: rambkowalczyk (Signed) · Date: 08/23/08 22:12 · For: Sleeping with the Ashes
excellant godparents. :)

Author's Response: Yes, two traditions merged!

Name: rambkowalczyk (Signed) · Date: 08/23/08 21:53 · For: Invitation to the Ball
Just a small nitpick that doesn't in the least affect the quality of your story--I know it was McGonagall who announced the ball in GOF and then told Harry he had to go, but I think she did it because she was the head of house not because she was the deputy head mistress. It seems to me that it would be Professor Sprout who would be telling the Hufflepuffs about the dance. Of course by this reasoning it would be Professor Snape telling the Slytherins and this is hard to imagine.

Author's Response: I think you have a point. I decided to be consistent with a previous story, in which I had McGonagall rather than Flitwick tell the Ravenclaws. I imagine that Sprout's way of announcing it would be very different! Thanks for reviewing, GhV

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 08/22/08 8:46 · For: A Prince among Youths
I feel bad for Sally-Anne! Her father's a real idiot if he can't figure out what his wife's doing to her.

It was good to see a bit more of Jeremy in this chapter; I rather like his character. He seems rather smart, with the whole running away business...

What is St. George's Day? I've never heard of it; I'm assuming it's a British holiday...

Another awesome read; you know how to suck a reader into the story! And I'm sure the next chapter will be just as interesting.

Author's Response: Dear PnP, ~ I never said Flavian was clever! But I was trying to imply that Jeremy is. ~ St George is the patron saint of England and his Day is 23 April. It isn't a holiday (in Britain, this word means "day off work") but it's become popular in recent years. I thought Ella-Jane might want to assert her English identity, since she didn't go back to England for the Easter holidays. But the real point of that little episode was to show how she "runs away" from her family problems; she doesn't go home for Easter, and then she tries to make Sally-Anne think about something totally random like St George's Day. ~ Thanks for reviewing, GhV

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 08/19/08 9:04 · For: Until the Stroke of Twelve
You write wonderful dance scenes, my dear! This was the best ball in a story that I've ever read.

My favorite line in the chapter was, “Can’t,” said Terry cheerily. “I’ve already been assigned elsewhere."

The losing of the shoe was unexpected- I wonder what will happen next? I mean, Terry knew about her shoes, but... *shrug* Guess I'll have to wait and see!

Author's Response: Dear PnP, ~ Thank you! I think the secret to writing a ball well (especially the Yule Ball, which has been done to death) is to use it only as a setting. The real story should be about something else; the dancing is just fitted around the plot points. ~ I'm amazed you don't know what's happened to her shoe. I didn't think my sleight-of-pen had been all that subtle. But needless to say, we haven't seen the last of it! ~ And I'm so glad you can laugh with Terry. That's a man with total assurance of salvation, so why would he be upset by the likes of Blaise Zabini? ~ Thanks for reviewing, GhV

Name: rambkowalczyk (Signed) · Date: 08/17/08 9:04 · For: The Badgers' Sett
I thought this chapter gave some insight into Cecilia and Ursula. If they can't get love they will settle for money.

Author's Response: Dear Rambkowalczyk, I think they interpret money as a sign of love, although they wouldn't express the idea this way. Because they dislike their own father, Flavian's love is all-important, and therefore the Perks girls are an ever-present threat. Thanks for reviewing, GhV

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 08/15/08 18:38 · For: Sleeping with the Ashes
Ooh, very Cinderella! I love how Odette's the fairy godmother, and how hte girls change her robes. Good job!

Author's Response: Dear PnP, Thank you for liking my attempt to combine two different versions of the Cinderella legend! Odette is the fairy godmother from Perrault's story. The dorm-mates as they dress her (and also her two sisters as they help with the tasks) represent the birds who help in the Grimms' version. I felt the glass slippers were qualitatively different from the ball gown, coach, horses, etc., as they were conjured rather than transfigured, yet (contrary to the system in the Potterverse) they were the only items to outlast midnight, so it made sense that they were produced with a different kind of magic. Anyway, we are now off to the ball! Thanks for reviewing, GhV

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 08/13/08 8:52 · For: Sororal Devotion
Ah, poor Sally-Anne. At least she's got Terry to go to the ball with! Another entertaining chapter- do you use a beta? Because I can't find any mistakes ^_^

Author's Response: Dear PnP, The thought of going to the ball with Terry would cheer up most 14-year-old girls, don't you think? I did use a beta; her name is TDU. She's quite cluey, but then, my English is quite good too. So we are a great team. Thanks for reviewing, GhV

Name: Prisca McKnott (Signed) · Date: 08/10/08 12:06 · For: All the Gold in Gringotts
Hi Grace! This story keeps on looking intriguing. What’s wrong with SQ? Whatever it is, I guess you are not glad of it. Mean as it may sound,I am, because FictionAlley’s queue seems to move so much faster... :P My first review was long because your first chapter, being a lovely teaser trailer, had teased me to no end, and I felt the need to steady my mind through chatting it out – now I feel fully justified about chatting ahead again!
It’s strange to find that in your Potterverse-fairy-tale everything spins around money; somehow, I don’t see Sally’s problems being resolved by a wand here – or should I? Actually, all this is way too realistic to sound like a fairy-tale at all, but the same affirmation applies to everything you write - not to mention everything JKR writes! – so, who should care?
I’m also curious to see how this not at all lonely Cinderella will turn out – after all, she doesn’t only have a living mother, but also a nice step-father, two step-brothers and two really believable sisters to worry about! Since Sally doesn’t seem to be especially pretty, you probably will end up answering my own big question about Cinderella: why on earth are her step-sisters envious of her?
I’m surprised that the Perks girls don’t spend more time with their maternal grandparents and uncles: in my experience, when a marriage ends badly and children are for some reason neglected by one of their parents, most of the caring-connected activity ends up being supplied by their extended family... I don’t think stepmothers as a category would feel offended by your story: Cressida may well be horrible (while her name is...lovely ;) ), but Jeremy and Christopher seem quite happy with Julia... Flavian doesn’t really look like Slytherin material to me; neither really ambitious nor cunning, only quite narcissistic and unabashedly selfish, but in a childish, unsistematical way: it seems to me that Cressida is the one “using” their relationship for her own good.
Sally’s thoughts about God-related business are both believable and smartly funny – since she is to interact with your own flamboyant Terry, I look forward to see what he will make of her very down-to-earth approach.
I can’t wait to see who will play the god-mother: maybe Aunt Odette? She did provide the eight tickets... I loved that last line: horrible trick for Cressida and smart writing-scheme for you!
The very first part of “Stepping Away” was also especially well written, as much as the dialogue between Ursula and Cecilia when they first meet Sally. I am awed by your ability to depict children talking: I won’t buy that “having reared three, you would know”, for not even mums are usually admitted to this kind of conversation!
I will not shun repetitions: excellent chapters! If you are over with this, have fun with whatever you are writing now. Always waiting for your up-dates; regards - Prisca

Author's Response: Dear Prisca, ~ And another wonderful dialogue with you! ~ I think the Sugar Quill has collapsed due to overload. I don't think any new stories or fora will appear unless they find a techno-wizard to move them to a new server. ~ I agree that money is almost a "character" in this story. It is in most fairy tales (the heroine needs to marry a "prince"; the hero needs to "seek his fortune") but it isn't spelled out so blatantly. However, Sally-Anne's basic problem is not going to be solved either by winning the lottery or by waving a magic wand. Her basic problem is being a child (children are vulnerable to whatever their adults throw at them), so the only solution is to grow up. She has family and friends who love her, but they are, or have chosen to be, powerless to help her. The real drama is not "Will she marry the prince?" but "Will she grow up well?" ~ I think Ursula and Cecilia are envious because: (1) she is the competition for Flavian's love (they don't like their natural father, remember); (2) she atttracts friendship effortlessly, while their Slytherin friends are unreliable; (3) she is the kind of person who can earn her own money - she won't rely on some man to marry her. She isn't beautiful, but she isn't ugly either, so they also worry that she might one day prove to be the competition for some man. (They know that Ella-Jane has made herself unattractive and that Molly-Rose is too young to be in the race.) ~ I decided not to make the extended family a big part of the story because that would give too many characters. The girls do visit the Flourishes, but they are are busy full-time with the bookshop, so they don't have a lot of spare time for babysitting. Julia has only one brother, who is also involved with the bookshop. ~ The name Cressida literally means "daughter of gold", so it ended up being doubly appropriate. I know she is slightly over-the-top, but I do know some real stepmothers (and stepfathers) who are almost as bad as she is, at least when I've only heard the other party's side of the story. Flavian probably is ambitious; he is just too lazy to work to achieve his ambitions! ~ Keep an eye on Sally-Anne's spiritual life. So many of my students have been just like her at that age, and she doesn't yet realise how different her views are from Terry's. ~ Thank you so much for letting me know your thoughts. Best wishes, GhV

Name: PadfootnPeeves (Signed) · Date: 08/10/08 8:57 · For: Invitation to the Ball
Zabini? Oh, my, this should be interesting ^_^ I love your portrayal of Megan; especially the line “That’s because I do know him." It made me laugh.

This was another good chapter, but then again, they all are. You update the fastest of all my other favorite stories, so I don't need to tell you to get the next chapter up quicker!

Author's Response: Dear PnP, Thanks for taking the time to review! The full situation with Zabini is described in my other story, "Turning the Corner", which is set in the same universe; but you don't need to have read it to follow what is happening here. Yes, Megan surprised me with the way she sprang to life! I have finished the story, so I hope to keep the quick updates coming. Best wishes, GhV

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