Reviews For Tarot
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
Date: 10/11/09 8:10
Chapter: (XII) - 'The Hanged Man'

Well, after mainlining seven chapters, I have come to the conclusion that this fic is absolutely genius in the making! Ever since the introduction of the Felix Felicis in the Potterverse, I've known that something with such incredible benefits was sure to come with equally powerful downfalls, and weaving a story around that is excellent.

Your syntax and vocabulary selection are well played and easy to follow, which lends this fic to addictive reading, such as staying up until six in the morning, reading like there's nothing you'd rather do...like me, lol.

Awesome story, looking forward to the next installment!

Author's Response:

Thanks for the review. I enjoyed thinking up a backstory for Felix Felicis for this story, because I like to imagine that, if technology is like magic, then in some way magic must also be like technology - spells and potions have to be developed and tested and evolved over time. To wit, the magic in the Potterverse doesn't just work like magic, and that's one of the things I find so interesting about it. I read in the early days in the fandom a couple of stories that dealt with magic in a more technical way, like it was more a set of tools rather than any kind of mystical dogma, and ever since then I try to include that kind of mindset into my stories.

But as for the rest of the story... the seventh chapter is the end. If there's anything more to be said about this view of the universe, it's not for me to say. Sorry about that. But, you know, I have a couple of other stories uploaded here...

Reviewer: LuNaLoVeGoOdLoVer
Date: 09/11/09 23:22
Chapter: (I) - 'The Magician'

uh, I relly liked it. i love you r writing style, adn the story. But what happnede to Harry's old wand??? Don't tell me it broke.

Author's Response: Thanks for reviewing, good to know people like my work. About Harry's first wand, I've had different answers for that question every time someone's spotted it (he has it in a drawer at home and uses his other wand at work, he donated it to some manner of magical museum, it never worked quite the same after the last Horcrux was destroyed, etc.), but I've never settled on a reason I really liked. It's not broken or anything, anyway - it's just not as big a part of Harry's life as it was.

Reviewer: FlyingSkylarks
Date: 08/03/09 22:53
Chapter: (IX) - 'The Hermit'

Wow. I like it :D

I really enjoy reading your work, you've got an exelent skill and I look forward to reading more (:
I also really like the way that you phrase things, it gives the story a different angle from other 'books', and keeps the reader entertained ;D

Keep 'em comming (:
Sky

Author's Response: Thanks! I try my hardest to avoid sounding too much like other authors (of both 'real' fiction and fan-fiction) - we're all meant to find our own voice as authors, after all.

Thankyou for taking the time to review - hope you stay around to read the coming chapters.

Reviewer: FlyingSkylarks
Date: 08/03/09 22:44
Chapter: (IX) - 'The Hermit'

Wow. I like it :D

I really enjoy reading your work, you've got an exelent skill and I look forward to reading more (:
I also really like the way that you phrase things, it gives the story a different angle from other 'books', and keeps the reader entertained ;D

Keep 'em comming (:
Sky

Reviewer: LuNaLoVeGoOdLoVer
Date: 08/02/09 21:03
Chapter: (III) - 'The Empress'

the first chapter was really good! i agree with what everyone else said- the connection between the two, the detail,..... i don't want to bore everone, so i won't write it out again, but i was simply.......
...amazing.

Author's Response: I'm quite fine with boring everyone by going over what's already been said, but perhaps that's just my ego talking. Thanks for reading, and thanks for leaving a review.

Reviewer: Padfoot Patronus
Date: 08/01/09 14:09
Chapter: (IX) - 'The Hermit'

Till yet, this was my favourite chapter.

Draco gripped his glass and shifted it back and forth idly and muttered, "Maybe I'll eat those fucking peacocks." I was laughing and laughing at this line, at how perfectly it fit with who Draco is, the reasons he might be drinking alone in that bar, his childhood, his mounds of gold. It was nice to see the person Draco has developed in between the nineteen years and also a casual, personal, spontaneous reference to who he was in the past life.

The second part in the chapter is done brilliantly. It is the sort of internal banter I always expect from those filthy looking drinkers on the tv. The place where Draco is sitting was kind of hard to make out - it was was written it seemed with a very professional touch - but I had to reread it to get the idea.

Luna was unexpected. I have never read a Draco/Luna before owing to what just seems the sheer impossibility of it. But this appeared easy, natural enough. The way you narrate it, I don't question situations many of the times. Because the story just leaves you with enough details to give it substance and a body but there is no need it seems for anything more. I remember asking you to write a prequel to Iris explaining the background/history which leads to that moment, but I'm just getting used to this style of yours. I'm curious of the events that lead Draco there but I don't feel I need to read anymore to figure that out.

"I'm going to stand up and kiss you now," she said, "And then I plan to take you by the hand and lead you to my bedroom." Gee. That was a bit too straight forward, I thought. I never pictured Luna to pick random former schoolmates off the street and take them home. Haha. I dismissed my initial preoccupation about this with the easy 'It's Luna'. -shrugs- The old curious self is taking over me here a bit, so the question is, why Draco? Perhaps she was looking forward evenly to the confession she makes later. I don't think it is something she often shares with people. I'm not sure many people knew about her mother when she was at Hogwarts. But she told Harry that. I think she could really empathize with Draco.

And I know that if I keep looking, and if I find something that he believes in, that will be the thing that was lost. - That was so beautiful. Poignant. And beautiful.

Draco was about to ask what this had to do with anything and stopped himself. No, there was something there. He might have the logic of it... - I loved this chapter because I can't drop the feeling it has left, because I can't figure out what this last part meant. I am so lost. It is so Luna but it completely flew over my head. At the same time, I can't help but smile at how absurd and different and human this person Luna is. It's awesome.

-Akay-

Author's Response: That may be one of my favourite lines, too - sums up all the confusion and bitterness and unresolved everything Draco wants to direct at his father but can't, all while masquerading as a throwaway line.

I don't think there's any way to actually tell, but Draco is drinking at the Three Broomsticks, and it's Hannah Abbott pouring his shots. I did have some thought of mentioning it in the story, but it didn't really serve much point other than pointing out 'Look how interconnected everything is!'. So, if that explanation isn't to anyone's liking, they're free to make up one of their own, since the story itself has very little to say on the matter.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition Luna Lovegood. I'm not a big fan of writing where things are over-explained - especially when I've reached the conclusion a good deal of time before the author gets there - but I also can't stand writing that's being overtly cryptic just for its own sake - y'know, like dancing around a name in conversation or deliberately omitting who is being described doing something. Human beings are pattern recognition machines, we're built to sift through information until we can put it in a context that makes sense, so that's how I try to write. I expect everyone can keep up with the simple things like time and place and whatnot from context, so I can get on with writing my scene instead of rehashing everything that came before it - and if there's something to be hidden, it's better to just put it out in plain sight and direct attention away from it, rather than doing the literary equivalent of throwing a curtain over it and shouting, 'You don't know what's under here! Nyah!'

It is easy to dismiss a lot of things Luna does as just her being herself, but, you know, who is Luna? Xenophilius Lovegood's daughter, for one, so a lot of his views of the world get filtered into hers. But my version of Luna here is at odds with her father (at this point in time) - feeling betrayed by him and his belief in things that are untrue (while Luna's very open to alternate interpretations of the world, I don't think she'd ever support one that was proveably false), she latches on to the truth, things that she can verify herself as being completely true. No spin, no bias, just the facts. But, in this period of re-invention, Luna can't just sit back and let the truth come to her - she has to go forth into the world and grab the truth by the throat, and that means being on the inside of an experience to understand it, Hunter S. Thompson style. I don't imagine her as having had a one-night stand before, or re-crossing paths with someone she couldn't identify her emotional response to, and so what she does kind of kills two birds with one stone. She doesn't need to share a physical closeness with Draco, though, but an emotional one - she opens up about her relationship with her father to try and help Draco muddle through the troubles he's having with his. (How it is that Luna knows what has happened with Lucius, or even if she does at all, is anyone's guess.)

Useless bits of information - like 'drake' meaning both 'kite' and 'dragon' in Swedish - tend to stick with me until I can put them to good use, and between these two characters seemed like the obvious place. Luna's philosophy might be a little couched in symbolism, but there is some truth behind it. Draco feels he has to make the choice about what kind of man he is going to be - kite or dragon - and she tells him he doesn't need to choose: if he comes at it from the right place, he can be both. (On the subject of useless information, I did have plans to try and include some kind of double-reference to Stockholm Syndrome, but since it would have to have come from Draco's perspective, it was far too much of a Muggle concept to make it in.)

Reviewer: Padfoot Patronus
Date: 08/01/09 13:22
Chapter: (I) - 'The Magician'

This was an interesting chapter that in essence I took as an information filler of sort, but in some ways it is capable of standing alone on it's own. Tarot left me in awe of how strong you have made the plot essentially from very simple things from Jo's world like a staff or the luck potion. The story behind these items is remarkably original. It leaves the reader behind in a daze, because the possibility - your idea of the standard Auror's wand being made of oak and unicorn hair or going wandless without charms when necessary - is unbelievably fitting

I must say I'm not so fond of Harry using a staff, it makes him look much older in my mind, but like I said, it is an interesting idea. And it's certainly not something I have ever thought about.

The exchange between Ollivander and Harry is of the wow variety. One of the best things about DH for me was the line "... the idea of a dark wizard in possession of this wand seemed to enthrall him as much as it repulsed him." My personal opinion on this is that the best of a craft/skill/profession can usually do what Jo mentions here with regard to Ollivander's ability to feel 'enthralled' and 'repulsed'. Barty Jnr shared a similar characteristic when he insisted upon appreciating the worse of the unforgiveable curses. I'm going slightly off topic, but I notice in your writing a very consistent and incredible knack of pin pointing the major characteristics Jo used to describe her character and using it in your stories. With regard to Ollivander I felt it in the following lines:
no, it's not completely out of his eyes. He just managed to push it down a little

...Harry felt a lump rise up in his throat as Ollivander so casually mentioned two legendary wands that had both once been in his possession

I wasn't at the same time sure whether Ollivander was perfectly in character. You know he seemed too perky for my taste, I had hoped he would be a lot more somber after that whole celler imprisonment. But then I realised this is it about Ollivander - he would be the one to move on and be able to become his old self after a few years.

On the whole my amazement with this chapter still rests with how much potential you have given simple objects as staff and wand just imagination.

-Akay-

Author's Response:

I think there's a kind of structure to the magic in Harry Potter - we as readers just don't ever get told much about what its rules are. I equate it a bit to reading an explanation of how to solve some algebra problem, but you've never been told about the number five - you can maybe understand on some symbolic level about how a solution is reached, but until it's explained that there's a number between four and six it won't all click in to place completely and become clear. The magic in the Harry Potter universe isn't random and the result of a lot of hand-waving on the author's part (which is one of the things I really like about it and what sets it apart from a lot of fantasy literature, both good and bad), so there's a lot of it you can break down and come up with in-world explanations and origins for.

Take, for example, the staff. Wizards with pointy hats and wands is a well-worn fantasy trope, and it's one that Harry Potter co-opts. So why not staves, too? That's just as popular an image, if wizards like Gandalf and Saruman have had any influence over fantasy writing. HP universe wizards have to hide in plain sight, and so a small length of wood is easier to conceal than half a branch would be. But there was a time when wizards weren't so afraid of showing what they were, so could there have been staves then? If so, what way might they be different from a wand? Is there any reason for anyone to be using them in modern day? Does anyone still know about staff usage, and if so, who would they be? And so I answer those questions and the ideas come from there.

I love that Ollivander is possibly the only person to speak about Voldemort in shades of grey in the series. To everyone else he's either a maniac or a visionary, but Ollivander gives a view that's devoid of moral judgement and focused instead on raw power. It's the same thing that makes us obsessed with studying figures like Alexander and Hitler and Ghengis Khan - how just a single person can bend the whole world to their will. I got the impression that Ollivander, being a man who has studies the tools that shape magic (which is, in the end, just an extension of a wizard's will over the world, isn't it?), might be more interested in such things than most.

I see how he could be changed for the worse after his imprisonment, and I think perhaps he was, for a little while - he's no longer running his old shop, after all, possibly after realising his own mortality a little and figuring he needs someone to take over for him sooner or later - but I reasoned that moving on to specialised wandwork - projects that would be interesting, unique, challenging - would be excellent motivation fuel.

Thanks for reading and, again, thanks for leaving such deetailed reviews.

Reviewer: TheCursedQuill
Date: 06/27/09 13:43
Chapter: (III) - 'The Empress'

Ooh, I love Neville stories :) You did a really good job with this first chapter, and although I haven’t fully read the second one yet, I wanted to stay focused on this one for the review.

Your characterization of Neville was amazing. You showed him to be very mature and actually quite confident in himself at being a professor, “And it's not like, I don't know, it’s test or anything, where I think I'll forget everything halfway through. I know what I'm doing." I also liked the masculinity you put into him by the description of himself when he realises Ginny is there. Neville has obviously grown and is extremely different from his boyhood state, which you portrayed in this story wonderfully.

Ginny, too, was well done. I didn’t quite understand why she was at Hogwarts over the holidays though. Was there any specific reason? I know she says that she wanted to get Harry a plant for his office, but was this the main reason she went to Neville? Why didn’t she go to a flower shop if this is the case? A motive would make her character more believable.

I enjoyed the little Hannah/Neville relationship you had in the story. I’ve never seen this done, and it’s an interesting pair to experience. I loved the part when Neville was reminiscing his date with her, “These were living thoughts, vibrant but also impossible to catch. Neville knew that if he tried to put them into words, he would be constantly feeling like he was missing an important detail.” this line is amazing; you really did a good job at stating the indescribable love he has for her subtly.

Actually, everything was pretty subtle in this story. I think that the subtly is what makes it what is though. It’s very nice and shows a great connection between Ginny and Neville, especially with the line ”Neville thought Ginny might have some comment at this, but as he turned to face her she was only smiling” They’re very comfortable with each other and don’t need words to say what how they feel – they kind of know what the other is thinking. I also like how you described Ginny to be “swelled beneath her robes”, which is a nice connection to the quote about the Empress at the beginning. Ginny is obviously a symbol of this Empress, perhaps her visit to Neville represents that he too will have a child? He has already found love; will he go to the next step with Hannah? These questions don’t necessarily have to be answered in your story, but I’m just curious :)

There is just one more thing I would like to comment on, and it’s all the detail you put into your story. You spent the time to create a conversation that is believable and unrushed and touches on specific aspects of Neville’s life. I love how threw in the invitation to the Ghost Party, I found that quite amusing, especially as we see through CoS that a Ghost Party isn’t something everyone wants to go to. Also the little reference, ”for the student that would inevitably get jostled or sweep their arm a little too wide and crack the pot on the floor” was a good reminder of how clumsy Neville use to be. He really thought of everything that could happen while thinking of how many pots he needed!

Great job on the first chapter, I’ll definitely read the next! I skimmed through it a little, and saw that it was about Ollivander! Excellent, he’s a character I haven’t seen in a while! Keep up the good work and have fun writing the rest!

Author's Response:

I always saw Neville as a character who would, given time, grow into himself well. It begins when he joins the DA, but really notches up when he stops using his father's wand (the symbolism there is pretty obvious, right?). Originally I may have had some ideas about putting him in a situation he was less familiar with - his date with Hannah, maybe - but I think I like seeing him in his element better.

Ginny does have her reasons to be there, although they're more apparent in later chapters and even then aren't really stated outright. Part of it, which isn't in this story, ties in to the strong friendship she has with Neville that comes from them being guerillas at Hogwarts during DH - they have a strong and rather unique bond that can easily include (but isn't limited to) showing up unannounced after a while to just catch up on life and keep tabs.

I'm surprised that Neville/Hannah isn't more prevalent, given that it's part of that extra-canon information and that we know a bit more about Hannah than we do about, say, Astoria Greengrass or Rolf Scamander. I like that particular line a bit myself - not only does it show Neville as a bit of a romantic (although maybe too rooted and earthy to be a poet), but I also think that anyone who has ever been compelled to write something creative understands the fear of not being able to extract them image in their head exactly right.

I think subtlety is highly important in writing - it gives the reader something to look for during a second reading. In this chapter specifically, I set myself the goal of not saying in so many words that Ginny was pregnant, but having it be a detail the reader couldn't easily forget or ignore, so there's a number of elements in the chapter (both literal and symbolic) that point to it. I'm not completely sure what exactly The Empress foretells - I'm not an expert on the tarot by any means, and I get the idea that even those who are don't see exact details anyway -but if Neville were to get to work on a kid of his own, I wouldn't say it wasn't a sign.

I freely admit, I'm often much more interested in filling out the little details than I am in advancing the plot. If I could, I'd rather write stories that are just long true-to-life conversations (and have - sort of - in Iris) rather than constant high tension and drama. I like seeing the way characters interact during downtime - since high tension and drama are a dime a dozen, I think I like the boring and mundane parts a lot more.

Thanks so much for the detailed review - hope to see your comments on the following chapter(s) soon.

Reviewer: Padfoot Patronus
Date: 06/19/09 13:13
Chapter: (III) - 'The Empress'

Oops, what just happened! I'll continue shall I?

That smile was making Neville very aware of a few things, like that throughout the day he may have run a hand through his hair once or twice and gotten dirt in it, or that the shirt he was wearing didn't have any sleeves.
*giggles* I don't know why but I haven't read any Neville-centric fictions which hinted even slightly at Neville's masculinity. Yours was very subtly done. I really really liked the reference.

He had checked the roster of new students three times and had made neat little stacks of empty pots with the exact number, then after a moment of consideration added two for any potential mistakes (one for each class),
:) I love linking small bits of descriptions to what we have been told in canon. Neville breaking cups in Divination has a potential connection here. Dunno whether you did this deliberately, but it fits in nicely.

Will drop in for the second chapter soon! Another great piece.

- Akay

Author's Response:

I'll just tackle both of these together.

 I was very taken by this chapter the first time I read a few months ago. I really like how the description of Neville's greenhouse work is balanced with his recollections of his date with Hannah. The pace of the story was very slow but consistent. A very nice break from dramatic character explorations in which I'm often at the brink of skipping over lines to see what happens. Here its the opposite, I enjoy as you slowly make the points.

I'm not really a big fan of character study stuff myself, particularly the kind that's mostly internal reflections of a character (because, really, how often do real people go over their own thoughts and motives to such a degree?). I'd rather read and especially rather write about people just going about their lives - their character can come though just as well, and they get to do something in the process.

 "Empress" is also a really very reasonable take on Neville after Deathly Hallows. He grew up so much in his final year of Hogwarts and his increased confidence is well-portrayed.

Ginny is a bit foreign to me. But it is the sort of characterisation that will still be memorable because it's unique.

I view all of Neville's character as being tied to his plants - not just on a symbolic level where he blooms late and all that, but also that something he was very well-versed in at a time when he didn't think he was very good at anything becomes a source of security and confidence. He's obviously not going to remain the boy in the shadow of his grandmother his whole life, but that part of him won't just up and go away, either, so I think it's important with Neville to show that he has confidence coming from somewhere than just simply that he has confidence now.

Ginny, on the other hand, remains unknown to me. I'm not really sure I ever manage much to see inside her head - maybe I got the briefest glimpse when I realised that, in this story, she's a little worried about how good of a mother she'll be, but beyond that her motives are hers alone.

*giggles* I don't know why but I haven't read any Neville-centric fictions which hinted even slightly at Neville's masculinity. Yours was very subtly done. I really really liked the reference.

I tried to approach all the characters in this story with the idea that I had to find ways to show how they'd changed in seven years or so - the familiarity with Hogwarts beyond what the students have was one of the things Neville got. I'm completely certain that, when he first was an apprentice, he tried to keep his robes looking nice and never called any of the staff by their first names, but when a couple of years pass... I compare Neville sweating in the greenhouse in a sleeveless shirt to turning the stereo up when nobody else is home while you clean the house - fun and all, but you wouldn't do it if you knew anyone would be coming home soon.

 :) I love linking small bits of descriptions to what we have been told in canon. Neville breaking cups in Divination has a potential connection here. Dunno whether you did this deliberately, but it fits in nicely.

I see the adult Neville as being extremely 'measure twice, cut once' - he's done his share of dropping stuff and breaking things and it's always somewhere in the back of his mind not to do any more of it. I don't think he's clumsy by nature, though - unlike, say, Tonks, who just accepts the two left feet she was born with and moves on, Neville's clumsiness comes out of vicious cycles of being judged by authority figures like Snape and his grandmother. Take those figures away, or give him the confidence to stand up to them, and that breaks the cycle, but constantly being on guard to not break that cup or not mess up that potion will remain for a long time.

Thanks for the review - I had fun reading (and replying to) it.

Reviewer: Padfoot Patronus
Date: 06/19/09 13:02
Chapter: (III) - 'The Empress'

*rushes in*

Whew, had exams you know, so the review is delayed :)

First off, minor errors:

"There's been a number of studies showing they can respond positively to being spoken to."
Think 'There have been a number of studies...' would read better?

Similarly:
I made it a habit of going there for lunch while I've been here.
Perhaps: I made a habit of going there...

I was very taken by this chapter the first time I read a few months ago. I really like how the description of Neville's greenhouse work is balanced with his recollections of his date with Hannah. The pace of the story was very slow but consistent. A very nice break from dramatic character explorations in which I'm often at the brink of skipping over lines to see what happens. Here its the opposite, I enjoy as you slowly make the points.

"Empress" is also a really very reasonable take on Neville after Deathly Hallows. He grew up so much in his final year of Hogwarts and his increased confidence is well-portrayed.

Ginny is a bit foreign to me. But it is the sort of characterisation that will still be memorable because it's unique.

The ending was very sweet: Ginny asking for a pot for Harry :)

That smile was making Neville very aware of a few things, like that throughout the day he may have run a hand through his hair once or twice and gotten dirt in it, or that the shirt he was wearing didn't have any sleeves.
*giggles* I don't know why but

Reviewer: jayinski
Date: 06/11/09 16:35
Chapter: (III) - 'The Empress'

dosent make much since.

Author's Response: Does this count as irony?

Reviewer: decdraft
Date: 06/09/09 19:59
Chapter: (III) - 'The Empress'

I really liked this - it felt very natural and flowed really well. Was very comfortable to read - like getting a little glimpse into their lives

Author's Response: Thanks for the review. I try very hard to write characters (especially their dialogue) as naturally and realistically as possible, so I'm glad that came across for you.

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