Oh, I've been waiting for this fic to be updated and I'm glad it was! :) I really love your characters and I love the fact that even though they are trying to assemble this broom, they also realize that they have school and Hogwarts Quidditch to pay attention to. You are writing this so convincingly and I'm enjoying every moment of this. I can't wait to see what happens next! :)
Author's Response: Thanks so much! (And thanks for still reading!) Yeah, it's fun getting back into the swing of things. I should have my next chapter finished soon — if I do a better job of applying myself, haha! I've spent the last year traveling with elite teenage tennis players, so I'm hoping that has translated into a better understanding of Duke and Ivan. Hopefully.
This is a really good fic. If you carry on like this I have a feeling this story is going to be epic! I'm not sure about if I like Clio but as long as she doesn't turn out TOO perfect or detract from/take over the plan then I'm sure she'll grow on me. I really like the idea behind this - it's believable AND interesting.
‘Every store was crowded as wands, spell books, potions supplies, pets flew off store shelves.’ There should be an and after potion supplies.
I don’t like the repetition of ‘store shelves’ throughout this paragraph, it makes it sound really bland. Try and think of something else that could be used instead to make it a bit more interesting.
‘...going with a friend by themselves to a match...’ this sentence too sounds a bit awkward, the by themselves bit doesn’t really fit. I know what you mean to say, perhaps using ‘without adult supervision’ would work better.
‘After all, how many adults were speeding around the countryside on brooms?’ I would imagine quite a lot. After all, plenty of adults enjoy a kick-about in the park, or a quick game of rugby or tennis, why should it be different with Quidditch? Also, students are likely to visit it only a couple of times a year, the only times they are home are during the summer, and at Easter and Christmas. Now, I don’t think a business would survive living off the trade from students alone. Remember, not everyone at Hogwarts loves Quidditch, just as not everyone in the real world loves football.
‘Wimbourne Wasps and the American Sweetwater All-Stars match...’ cliché alert here. In America, Quidditch isn't the main sport, Quadpot is, so having an American team over and having it be a big match is unlikely. Also, I can find no plausible explanation as to why the Wasps would play the All-Stars, as there is no American-European Tournament, unless it’s the World Cup, and you just don’t have enough build up about it for it to be that. I’d either change it to the World Cup and have a bit more hype about it in those opening paragraphs, or change the team to a European one and have them competing in the European Cup.
‘The American teams always bring loads of flying merchandise...’ why wouldn’t the British have flying merchandise? After all, it is a sport that involves flying. To say something like that, you’ve got to back it up, or else it just sounds like you’re trying to big America up.
“But I’m not so much worried about the match as I am what the vendors are selling...’ This sounds inconsistent with the character you’ve built up so far. I highly doubt that someone who was Quidditch Captain and had six broomsticks would care more about the merchandise than the match. The paraphernalia would be a bonus, but not the highlight of the day. I also have some qualms about the match being the day before the start of term. I highly doubt that their parents would let them come in danger of missing the train for a Quidditch match, it just isn't plausible. I’d switch the match to perhaps a week before, then, the characters can worry about a week long match causing them to miss the train, but the parents should be confident that the match will be over by then.
‘While Ivan wasn’t quite as obsessed with broomsticks, Deucalion knew it wasn’t for lack of trying.’ This sentence doesn’t make sense to me at all, especially with what comes after. The following sentences make it seem like he’s just as obsessed as his friend. I’d ditch this sentence unless you can put something in to back it up.
‘Ivan wasn’t quite as obsessed with broomsticks, Deucalion knew it wasn’t for lack of trying. The two of them could have drafted a better copy of the current Which Broomstick, and they had admittedly spent most of their free time last year testing the top speeds and capabilities of Hogwarts’s old Silver Arrows rather than studying for OWLs.’ I like this part, it’s a good bit of characterisation for the both of them. Well done. Though ‘Hogwart’s’ should be ‘Hogwarts’s’.
I don’t like the name March for Deucalion’s father, it sounds like a girl’s name, and too American at that, even for a wizard.
‘...everyone was trained to keep secrets and maintain silence.’ Eesh, it sounds like you’re over-evilling Slytherin. When in the books has there ever been evidence of the Slytherins being trained to keep secrets? Malfoy blurts and brags about everything! And where would they have been ‘trained’? Why does he like the fact that they can keep secrets? Slytherin is not predominantly evil, think about the qualities that Slytherins possess, they are cunning, clever and all for self advancement. I imagine that they’d only keep a secret if they would stand to gain from it. Watch how you describe the house, not all of them were jumping at the chance to join Voldemort. These two weren’t, I’m sure.
So far, you’ve got the beginning of a good and original plot. Your writing isn't bad, I only spotted a few little mistakes which can be easily fixed. What you’ve got to watch is your characterisations, and a few Americanisms. These, I can forgive because you can’t know everything about a country that you don’t live in, but the characterisations you have got to watch, and be careful that things actually fit into the story. But it is a good start, and I’m a little nit-picky.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review. I think most of the your questions are answered pretty extensively in further chapters, though I have probably reached a point in the story that I need to go back and tighten up some of this older material. Of course, I do need to fix the typos at some point. I certainly hope you'll read more of it to find out a few more "whys." It was terribly hard to find a starting place for this story, as I recall. I picked this premise to begin the Quidditch match story arc, which carries through the end of chapter three. I imagine Quidditch to be organized much like football is on the global scale. First off, Quidditch, like football, is bound to play lots of "friendlies," which means an English team or a German team or even a tiny, terrible American team (that loses by hundreds of points in chapter three) will travel around the world and play exhibitions against other teams for practice's sake (or money's sake). There have to be many more matches played outside of tournaments, and this would certainly be the case. The game is not important because of the matchup, which is anything but exciting. The match is important because it's a home match, and no one has seen the Wasps at home for a long time. I had to pick an American team, and here's why: one of my oft mentioned, "off camera" characters, an American wizard sportswriter, needed to attend the game on his newspaper's dime. What can I say? I wanted a character with the same real-life job description as myself. I realize that Quodpot is the most popular sport of America because the game — and a particular broomstick — plays a significant role in the most recent chapter as you will see if you continue reading. I've all but memorized Quidditch Through the Ages. It has been most useful in writing this. When talking about abundant merchandise, I was really making a dig at America's sports commercialism. There's no end to the junk that can be bought at exorbitant prices. Deucalion and Ivan, as is apparent in the following chapter, are constantly purchasing and building Quidditch equipment. The main draw of attending an otherwise terrible match is because there will be lots of stuff to buy. So for the two of them, it's the stuff that's the highlight. Duke spent all summer playing on the junior national team and grew up watching Quidditch every day to the point that watching matches has become more of a chore than anything else (as is apparent in chapter three when he keeps meticulous statistics). These guys aren't like Ron and Harry when it comes to watching Quidditch. There's no cheering. Just business. I too grow tired of Slytherin characterization, so if you bear with me a few chapters, you will see something you'd like, I think. The undercurrent to the whole story is the year: 1966. Things are changing. Slytherin is changing, and not in the way every student appreciates (as evidenced in chapter five). Lucius Malfoy and some of the would-be Death Eaters are rising through the House and gaining influence. Duke and Ivan embody certain characteristics of Slytherin, perhaps better than most, but following Voldemort? Far from it. Of course, Duke has a thing for "over-poeticizing" the qualities of the House, a place where he is essentially lord of the manor. There's no place he and Ivan would rather be. Their ambitions and abilities are well-suited for the green-and-silver. Also to note that Deucalion's view of the world is not always correct. His "always" and "everyone" should not be taken as such. Since he loves Quidditch, he has that gut assumption — which I've seen many times with sports fans — that everyone else is obsessed with it too. As for the name "March," I used it because it was a month name derivative of the Roman god Mars. I wanted something fiery and energetic, though Mars/Ares was a bit of a wimp when it came to epic battles. Most of the characters names are pulled from mythology, largely because those names seem to be widespread in Slytherin. Again, as I recall from months ago, it was tough picking a name because I needed something short to contrast with "Deucalion." A lot of what I wrote in the first chapter is referenced later; most everything is very purposeful to the entire arc. I think in chapter one, I wasn't quite sure how it would fit together, but I think it largely has worked out well into the main story now that I'm finishing up chapter seven.
What an enjoyable read! You've got a great cast of characters, an interesting, original plot, and a wonderful way with words. I'm looking forward to more!
Author's Response: Thank you very much! I'm just wrapping up chapter seven. Barring the horrors of schoolwork, I hope to get up the next block of story in a few days.
Wonderful chapter as always. I always enjoy when canon characters are referenced in an OC story, so it was nice to get a peak at Molly and Arthur and Amos, with a little mention of Gideon.
It really seems as if Ivan and Duke are getting somewhere with their broom idea. It should be interesting what advice Duke's father has to give on broom flying, and I love how Duke's mother is a Healer; very fitting.
And am I sensing some romance in the midst? Ah, Slytherin/Gryffindor, my favorite pairing. It'd be nice to see Duke and Clio get together, but I could very well see her helping out with the broom project if they don't. You've definitely done your research on everything Quidditch, especially with mentions of Quodpot as the American alternative. It's nice to see the international side of wizarding sports,seeing we don't have much in the series (other than the Quidditch World Cup).
I really enjoyed this chapter and I can't wait for more.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for yet another review! Between moving to a new house and summer writing challenge season, I had to put this story on hold for a few months, so I was happy to dive back in with this chapter. I don't usually have my chapters planned too far ahead, but I at least know where the next one's going. This chapter became a whole lot longer when I decided I should throw in some like-age cannon characters, especially Arthur and Molly. They're both kind of one-dimensional in the chapter, but then again, Duke hardly knows them — except for when it comes to teasing. It was also fun having Professor Binns still alive, though barely. My copy of Quidditch Through the Ages will probably fall apart by the end of this story as much as I've had to reference it! Thank goodness JKR decided to write that one. As for Clio joining the design team, well, she'll have a role to play. That's for sure.
I really enjoyed this chapter. It was a great introduction to how life at Hogwarts is for Duke and Ivan, showing all the elements of a typical pureblood values along with showing the progression of ideas in the making of the broom. It’s also nice how you don’t just solely focus on the broom making, which can be a trap while working on this kind of fic, but you also integrate other elements and other points of importance. However, the creation of the broom is probably the most exciting part to see, seeing how life influences the boys in their decisions (even though they don’t realize it sometimes). One of my favorite parts was when Duke had to watch Ivan choose one of his brooms, which was probably painful to see, given his love for Quidditch and brooms.
I can’t imagine Hugglepuff ever being good at Quidditch. They’ve been just miserable ever since we started school.
“Hugglepuff” is actually “Hufflepuff.” There were a couple times where you put otherwise, but that wasn’t the reason I brought this sentence out. I wanted to mention how I liked that you showed not only Slytherin pride, but a side of arrogance, which is natural for them.
Selwyn was always clung to blood status as the all-important factor in judging people, and apparently his friends had joined the obsession.
Once again, a nice characterization of Slytherin nature. But also, it was a great way to bring it up, with the use of the book and judging the blood statuses of even their own House members. It’s something you don’t normally imagine Slytherins doing, but at the same time it is very understandable.
“I’m just saying there’s a movement going on that will finally purge those . . . unworthy to use magic,” Selwyn said. What was that look on his face? Satisfaction? Glee?
Again, this was a nice way to bring up the fact of blood statuses, but I loved how you mentioned this, especially given that the War is soon approaching. It’s always interesting to see the reaction from the other side and how even members of Slytherin are uneasy about this.
I love your characters. I find them so believable and so entertaining to read about. In this chapter as well as others, you points out some really great character points with Duke. It was interesting to see his disgust with the idea of killing Mudbloods, as well as Ivan’s. “Slytherin has changed, Duke.”—this part was particularly interesting since many want to believe that Slytherin has always been wanting to kill of Muggles/Muggle-borns, when that is not always true. I think another interesting point was Duke’s ambition, when he joined potions just to be on Slughorn’s good side. It shows a true mark of a Slytherin, more so than the destruction of less than pureblood. However, there is one thing I wanted to point out. It seems to be that Ivan is more enthusiastic about the idea of creating the fastest broom, more than Duke, even though Duke was the one with the idea. Ivan, in this chapter, was bringing out all the books and he suggested about using Slughorn’s generosity and bias to have time to work on the project. I don’t know if this was done on purpose, but I just found it odd.
As the progression continues in the story, we see developing points as well as new ones cropping up. Of course there is the central plot of the creating the best broom ever, but there are other points that Duke finds important, which is really great to see. I really like how Duke’s focused on the Quidditch team, knowing which players he likes for their skill rather than personality, and how he wants to use Slughorn in order to book the pitch and work on the project. The introduction of the upcoming First War was also really important to see, as it will probably have some effect on the story.
Overall, really great job again and I’m excited to read more.
Author's Response: Thanks, Mercy. You've given me a lot to think about, and I really appreciate the time you've put into these reviews. I think a lot of this story will incorporate the turmoil within the Slytherin House as students individually take sides (though I think by the time Snape joins the crowd, we know which side wins over the majority). Having characters in Slytherin has been interesting because I don't consider them "bad guys," but it's been interesting to find ways to have them remain true to the House's character profile. Duke and Ivan have been a lot of fun in that regard. As for Ivan's upbeat outlook, I'm addressing it in the next chapter... which will hopefully be finished soon. Hopefully being the key! (Heehee! I still can't believe I wrote "Hugglepuff" not once, but twice! I must've been thinking about Muggles at the time or something and just glazed over it during editing.)
Wow, what an original story idea! I've never seen anything like this--can't wait to read more!
Author's Response: Thanks! I hope to add some more chapters soon! ...I've got the ideas, but now I just need to sit down and type them.
Oooh, I like this story so far. Your characters are great--I like Ivan. I'm interested to see how they'll go about inventing the Nimbus. Please update soon!
Author's Response: Thanks! I'm certainly glad you like the story so far. I'm hammering out the next chapter, so it'll get updated soon.
This was absolutely brilliant! This story is still one of the most fascinating to me, with how the Nimbus came to be (I really liked the part of how the owl was named Nimbus). It was hilarious how Duke has a group of admirers and that they are completely fascinated by him. I also liked how he likes Sigrid and she doesn't notice him, even though he is well known. Overall, very well written chapter and I absolutely loved it!
Author's Response: Thanks again! I'm still really enjoying writing this (hope the next chapter gets finished too). The admirers were pretty fun to do, especially the young Lockhart cameo. I think it's interesting to parallel how Duke takes the praise of other students with the way Harry often sneaks away from it in the books.
Yet again, you have another wonderful chapter. I liked how Ivan agreed to Deucalion's plan, but was still wary as to whether they can actually build the world's perfect broom. I really liked the mention of the Malfoys and how Lucius' father was doing the exact same thing that he would eventually do to his own son, but this time, the captain didn't take the bait. This was very well written and I really liked the chatper. I can't wait for more.
Author's Response: Once again, thanks for the review! I really appreciate it, and I'm very glad you've enjoyed my story so far. I'm nearly finished with the next chapter! When it comes to the Malfoys, I figure Lucius learns much of his attitude and, uh, underhanded philanthropy skills from his father. The whole family seems to be caught in a cycle of history repeating itself.
Very well done chapter. I loved the description of the Quidditch game, but more specifically the merchandise available. You did a good job addressing that and the introduction of new brooms. I loved seeing both boys looking for the "perfect broom" and how Deucalion came up with the idea of them building it. Really well written and can't wait of more.
Author's Response: Thanks, very much for the review. I'm having loads of fun doing this story so far. And really, I'd love to own some real Quidditch merchandise. T-shirts with revolving messages and who knows what else!
Bravo for your venture into untraveled territory! The story begins with a bang and has very nice imagery and characterization.
A couple of points that puzzle me - I get the impression that Duke's family is well off and Ivan's family is not. Yet it is Ivan's father who picks up the tab at the bar. It does set up a little rivalry between the boys, I think. One which I am sure that you can use later.
While the story flows quite well, I think that there are a few awkward areas. You say "Clearly, she only considered him responsible only in dealings with broomsticks" where "Clearly, she considered him responsible only in dealings with broomsticks." would be better. You could probably have picked that up if you had read the sentence aloud (something I do with my stories - if it sounds awkward and hard to say, it probably could be rephrased). And you refer to the "posts" that Duke receives from league teams. You mean owls, surely? :-)
All in all, very good work, and I look forward to the rest of the story!
Author's Response: Thanks for the review! I'm having a lot of fun exploring a part of history not usually discussed (i.e. the years just before the Marauders hit the Hogwarts scene). Your insights have made me think a lot more about Duke and Ivan. With a cast of mostly original characters, I'm quickly finding that it's hard to keep everyone consistent. :) As for Ivan and money, I think the Berdahls have money by the nature of their profession as wandmakers. However, unlike Deucalion's folks, Ivan's parents are much less willing to give Ivan gold to spend on games and broomsticks — things they view as sort of childish. I think that's a theme that will probably flesh itself out later.
Very interesting premise. Especially with characters we never heard of. Good luck.
Author's Response: A belated thanks. The next chapter should be up soon. Hopefully!
This sounds like a very interesting story; I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. A great beginning chapter and I'm excited to see what happens next.
Author's Response: Very much belated, but thank you very much. I've been away from the keyboard for way, way too long. I hope to get the next chapter out pretty soon.