I think that a story written as well and as convincingly as this one has been deserves some kind of award. And since I have no other award to offer than to leave a nice review, that is the reward I’ll give, small though it may be.
Really, I thought this story was amazing. I’ve never much liked Umbridge (surprise, surprise – that seems to be the general consensus and with good reason), but in this story you have made her a complex, interesting, and understandable character – and you haven’t changed her character from what we know of it in the books, which is a herculean feat in and of itself. In stories where the author sets about to redeem a character seen as irredeemable, it seems to be so tempting to change the character, make them really the good guy who is misunderstood by all. But in this story, you’ve kept Umbridge a flawed person – a biased person, a power-hungry person – a person who could do the things she did in the book willfully.
As for Moody, I’ve thought of him as a Slytherin for awhile now, so that wasn’t such a shocker to me as it seems to have been for other reviewers. And I always thought Umbridge to be a Slytherin. So, your bringing them together through their house made perfect sense to me. The only thing I was a little hesitant about at first was the age difference. I imagined Moody as being in his sixties when he died, like you had him, but I imagined Dolores as being late fourties, early fifties by the seventh book. Moody just seemed so much older in my mind. But, I suppose, being battle-scarred does tend to age one, haha. So I quickly got over that.
Altogether, I think this story was one of the most superb non-canon pairings I have ever seen, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great job!
Author's Response: Wow. What a thorough and flattering review! Thank you so, so much. I wrote this story a while ago, but I must admit it's a personal favorite of mine even now. I've always enjoyed writing about the "baddies," and even though I've always detested Umbridge, this fic did make me detest her a little less. So it's very awesome to see that readers have had similar reactions. As to Moody -- hurray! I personally think they both are Slytherins to the core, though, as you can see, we're in the minority there. ;] Regarding their ages . . . hmm. I see your point, but since wizards/witches live for longer periods than Muggles, I think individual years lose their meaning after a point. So whether Umbridge was in her fifties or sixties at the time, it wouldn't make much of a difference to her, since witches live into their hundreds at least (well, I mean, it'd make a difference to my story, seeing as they wouldn't have attended school together . . . but that's not my point ^^;). I hope that made sense, haha. Anyway, thank you again for leaving such a detailed review! It's greatly appreciated. =D
You set yourself a difficult challenge in attempting this story. I chose to review after i finished it. youve nonetheless succeeded in writing compassionately and convincingly about a pair where I cannot think of an odder odd couple. They remind me of myself. I too was sorted into Slytherin and astonished because I only saw their penchant for evil and I much preferred the warmth and honesty of Gryffindors. However Ive come to realize the traits can, and often do, manifest differently in different people. Such as these two. Your explanations of the motives behind Dolores' actions shows her to be human like all of us, making her a much more likable vulnerable person.
Author's Response: Wow, thanks for such an awesome review! They definitely are an odd couple in what could be seen as an odd situation (what with what Houses they were Sorted into, I mean), but sometimes, oddities and oddness just ends up making sense, when put together in the right order. =] You're very right about the Houses too -- traits do manifest differently in various people, and sometimes it's not so much about what we are as what we strive to be, in my opinion. Anyway, I'm quite proud of this story, so it makes me cheery that you enjoyed it that much. Thanks again!
I like how you describe the power that the horcrux has over her. That made the story more meaningful to me because I can sort-of understand some of the things she did and for what reasons. You should consider writing more stories about Umbridge, because you can portray her in a very unique way.
Author's Response: Oh, I'm glad you liked the descriptions of the Horcrux's power -- those scenes were difficult for me to write, I wasn't sure if I could really convey what she was going through. Thanks very much for your nice words. And I did have a good deal of fun writing Umbridge in this story, so who knows? Maybe I'll write about her again someday in the future. :)
*Round of applause for both you and your beta*
That was great and I admit it, you have convinced me that Dolores Umbridge is in fact a human being, and succeeded in bringing tears to my eyes in the process, that in itself is unbelievable. I absolutely loved this fic, you've turned both of them into real 3-dimensional characters as opposed to the one-sided image we get in the books, and you've done it brilliantly. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and interesting story with us. :)
Author's Response: I'm sorry that I brought tears to your eyes, but it pleases me emmensely that this story made you feel that much emotion. Thank you so much for your praise and reviews, they've really meant a lot. =]
I've never wanted to believe that there was any sort of story behind Dolores Umbridge, I didn't even think her capable of real emotions...and then I read this and my opinion changed. You write this pairing so well, and I must admit it's good to see a bit of romance in Moodys life. At first the idea of Moody being in Slytherin, didn't sit right with me but now I completely get it. Can't wait to see more of this, great job. :D
Author's Response: Yay! I'm so pleased that people are thinking of Umbridge as more of a human now. I used to absolutely loathe her before writing this. I was never a huge Moody fan either, but there's got to be more to him too, eh? And oh, you like the Moody in Slytherin too? That makes me happy. :D I really think he'd have done well there. Anywho, thank you so much!
This definitely shows a different side of Umbridge; I've never really thought about her being a nice/normal person. I really enjoyed this chapter, and can't wait for the second to be out!
Author's Response: Well, I don't know if I'd go so far as to call Dolores 'nice', but I think she's definitely more human than she might first appear to be in canon. :) Thanks so much for your review, chapter two should be posted soon!
I don't really see Moody in Slytherin. He's never struck me as ambitious. And Delores has a bit of unbelievability. I don't believe she's that sympathetic to the Order.
But if I forget the "facts", this is an interesting story.
Author's Response: Yes, my beta didn't think Dolores was so concerned about the Order either . . . but in my opinion, she likes to be in control. The Order refuses to let her control them even though she wants to, so in order to gain such control, she might 'twist' things in her head. As to Moody, I think there's several ways you could interpret his actions in the books. I personally think he's quite ambitious and driven, not just to do his job, but to do it right. Though I suppose you could always see it as pure courage and a sense of justice, which is much more Gryffindor.
I'm just rambling now. :) Anyway, thanks for your review, I'm glad you like the fic so far despite disagreeing with a few things.
I didn't expect to like this, to be honest, as I loathe Umbridge and Moody's not a favourite of mine either but I'm pleased to say that you proved me wrong.
You've made Dolores into a fully rounded character and not just the boo-hiss archetypal villain. Moody is excellent too. I love the thought of a 13 year old saying "CONSTANT VIGILANCE" - that tickled me. I could not work out how on earth they'd ever be in the same house either but now it makes total sense.
Author's Response: I felt the same way about Umbridge and Moody myself, pre-writing this. Now I've grown a lot fonder of both, but writing about a character will often do that. ;) I'm so pleased that you think I've managed to show them both in different and believable lights! And I'm also quite glad you think it's plausible they were both in Slytherin. That one seems to have gotten me into a bit of trouble. I think it makes perfect sense, but then, I'm the author. ;) Anyway, thank you so much for the review!
Squeee! I suppose this makes two of us who think Moody is worthy of romance! You've made me feel a litle sympathy for Dolores, which is pretty incredible, considering... Although I don't see him as ruled by his head. I think he uses his head, but is ruled by hisheart. But then,m I could be wrong. :-)
Author's Response: I've always hated Umbridge, frankly, so at first writing this was a bit of challenge . . . but hey, no one is all evil, and I'm glad that I've got you feeling a little bad for her! As to Moody. You know, despite the fact that he's sort of always 'around' in the HP books, we don't know a whole lot about him. I see him needing to be ran by his head -- he's definitely brave, but he's also very calculating. This is, of course, not to say that he doesn't have a heart, or that it doesn't occasionally overrule his brain, but for the most part I think he's very logical and clever. That's my two cents, anyway. I do see what you're saying though. Glad you're enjoying the story, and thanks for the review! :)
Wow, I have no idea how you've made this pairing work so well. It's amazing. At first I was a little concerned about them both being placed in Slytherin, and I still disagree that they would have been. But honestly, you've made it so easy to look past that detail. I'm in awe of this story, and I can't wait for more.
Author's Response: Yes, it's certainly an unusual pairing, but I, for one, think it's a very fitting match! Glad you're liking it too. :) My beta also expressed some concerns about both of them being Slytherins (she wasn't sure if Moody had been), but I'm quite hooked on the idea, to be frank. Anyhow, thank you for the review, hope to see you again for the next chapter! :D
I really enjoyed this chapter and I can not wait to read the rest of it hope it turns out to be just as good.
Author's Response: Wow, thanks! I hope the next chapter is just as good too now that I've gotten that sort of praise. :P