I just read this fic straight through... (I really should have been doing other things, but I was totally hooked!) I loved how you took such a minor canon character and created your characterisation of Tracey. I love how you show that everything she does is completely defined by what Roger does - it sort of makes me think of Regulus Black and the way he is forced to be everything that Sirius wasn't... in the same way, Tracey wanted to be everything Roger wasn't, but for the opposite reason. If that makes any sense :P. Anyway, you summed it up really well at some point when Tracey couldn't decide what to spend her money on or what her career would be because she would have to see what Roger did first, to rebel against it. I'm glad she finally learnt to be her own person at the end. It's terrible how her insecurities drove her to the point where her own family (symbolised by Susan) no longer trusted her.
I loved how you mixed in normal elements of human life - namely jealousy - with something 'big' like the war, because in the end, Tracey was easy to relate to. Being in the shadow of an older sibling isn't exactly unique... look at Ron!
Though what Tracy did was despicable (I mean the way she sucked up to the Slytherins and pretended to agree with them), I'm glad that she finally discovered herself, because she was really better than that (although, isn't everyone, when you finally hear their story? Malfoy, admittedly, was a coward, but had he not been born into a purebloodmanic family, would he have been different? Crabbe and Goyle aren't particularly intelligent, but was that their fault? Most of the Slytherin kids seem to become the way they are 'by default', because of the way their parents are etc.) Anyway... that was a long tangent.
I loved how Tracey ended up valuing Cecilia in the end, and how she felt ashamed for only wanting to be her friend to be in the 'pecking order'. (That whole idea was also extremely realistic). And I loved Theo - not the brave/rebellious 'Sirius' type, just the silent dissident. All in all, I think you did fantastic characterisation of all the Slytherin kids. Also I liked the alienation that Tracey feels from the rest of the school - and the "Potter lovers" - because of being in Slytherin.
The beginning of the whole fic set the mood so perfectly for what was coming up, and how from then on, Tracey would always feel hard done by, even when people didn't mean to spite her.
Sorry about this exceedingly long and rambly review... main point is BRILLIANT STORY as usual :).
Author's Response: Thanks for liking this story so much and for taking the time to tell me so! It's a risky theme - the unsympathetic protagonist - and I know most MuggleNet fans are here to read about the Trio. As you say, Tracey is not at all nice, but there is a reason for her malice. ~ Thank you too for saying that stupid people can't help it. They can't. Crabbe and Goyle are not nice, but were they capable of seeing beyond their families' values? At least Tracey and Theo had brains on their side, so you would hope they could think their way out of Slytherin. Let's face it, Ron had sibling troubles, but he didn't turn to crime, did he? ~ People who over-react to misfortune can set themselves on a very deviant path - witness Regulus Black! - so thank you for caring whether Tracey would be redeemed. I love your long and rambly reviews! GhV
this was such a good story and definitely going on my favorites! i loved every chapter and every character and just about everything in the whole story! it was wonderful! i hope to see another story by you again soon! =D
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I know it's risky to write about an unsympathetic main character, so I'm glad Tracey's adventures appealed to you. GhV
Ah, even though she's not one of the bad ones, Tracey is a true blue (er, green, I guess) Slytherin, because she managed to make a potions accident and a Muggle textbook turn her into a gazillionaire. Cunning and ingenuity were Salazar Slytherin's strengths and his love, which Tracey has proven to have in spades, so brilliant for her!
I really like how you made her friends with Theo, who I thought was not a bad guy, just a guy in a bad situation. I'm also really glad nothing bad happened to her family and she could finally get over her hangups about Roger and move on with her life.
In essence, her dislike of her brother ended up giving her everything she ever wanted, because that=her Slytherin sorting=the potions accident=finding out about the attack on the cobbler=her reading that chem book=Tracey making diamonds from almost nothing. Wow, that's a long equasion, lol.
Well, in closing, I think this was a very good story, and you brought life to a background character about whom most would not have given a second thought, and you did so brilliantly. Thanks for writing, and I hope you've got more stories cooking in your head.
Author's Response: Thank you for all your support throughout this story, Jess. Tracey knows where her real friends are, she has got over Roger and she's going to be rich - so I hope you think that's a happy ending. ~ I didn't think it was realistic to turn her into a saint, so she's still selfish, but she has chosen not to be evil. Same for Theo, of course - his coldness and selfishness were caused by his father's bad example, but now he's chosen to get over it and will be morally normal. ~ I think Tracey might have worked out the diamond formula even if she hadn't been propelled by her resentment of Roger and the influence of her Slytherin friends, but I've no idea HOW it would have happened. Her story would have been altogether different. Did you notice the only chapter in the story that did NOT contain the word "diamond"? That's a clue to how Tracey's mind was working all along! ~ I did wonder whether it was worth publishing this story, given that Tracey is neither a major HP character nor very admirable. Thank you for letting me know that it was the right thing to do. Best wishes, GhV
Argh, poor Tracey. Her desire to stay in with the Slytherins is finally catching up to her, even forcing her to talk to Roger. It was good of him not to take the mickey out of her for even knowing about it.
Awesome chapter! Good work, and I eagerly await the rest.
Author's Response: Dear Jess, ~ Yes, Roger believes better safe than sorry where Voldy is concerned, but Tracey isn't quite ready to appreciate him for it. ~ He is completely desensitised to how she feels about him. A line that didn't make it to the final draft of this story is when Roger tells his friends, "Tracey's a little grouch but she wouldn't hurt a fly." And Tracey fumes that she could hurt twenty thousand flies if she felt like it but she doesn't usually feel like it because she's all sunshine when Roger isn't around to spoil things... ~ Anyway, she can't possibly want to stay in Slytherin at this stage... Can she...? ~ Thanks for reviewing, GhV
Your characterizations are superb, and the pecking order between the Slytherin girls and boys feel very genuine (and genuinely unpleasant). Also, your observation that certain people omit to perceive human relationships in a like/dislike category feels to me a very apt one. School in particular seems to necessitate the formation of alliances that we would not otherwise bother to create.
I'm a little puzzled over the "Hoots" and "Toots" reference in chapter seven; do Daphne and Pansy's owls have vying names? I thought Toots at first might perhaps be a house elf.
I laughed aloud over the lines "The lesson was boring because we didn't actually see any magical creatures at all: Hagrid was conveniently claiming to show us invisible beasts. Theo pretended he could see whatever-they-were but Theo always does have to claim he's one better than the rest of us." The continuity is just excellent.
Poor Tracey. It curious how her deficient relationship with her family has defined so much. I once watched two grown men weep talking over how their parents reinforcement of the "good child" role had entrenched them further apart. This was somewhat different, as good child was bewailed against the binary deficient "bad" one. Tracey's relative neglect is more benign, and her brother is fundamentally decent, even if unobservant and revoltingly preening.
She's so perverted by hate that I both hope and fear for her attempted conversion, as the realist/nihilistic streak seems to have become so entrenched. I will at any rate continue to follow with interest.
Author's Response: Dear Charles, ~ Thank you for such a detailed and interesting review. I love JKR's characterisations, which just lend themselves to character-driven fanfic. I take it as a huge complliment if my characterisations work for you. ~ "Hoots" and "Toots" are a little back-story that just didn't fit into a work of this length. You need to know that Pansy and Daphne are cousins (Pansy's mother is the sister of Daphne's grandfather) and, given the nature of pure-blood snobbery, the girls have had their friendship imposed on them all their lives. Their owls were bought as a pair when Mrs Parkinson took them both on the Great Diagon Alley Shopping Trip the summer before they first started Hogwarts. Hoots and Toots are siblings from the same clutch of eggs, and of course it was Pansy who decreed their names. Daphne resents Pansy's dominance, but she is far too aware of the advantages of being Pansy's best friend to dare to complain. ~ The truth is, I believe very few families are highly functional. Most of us have to forgive our parents for some aspect of inefficient nurture AND learn what to do to make up the deficit. Roger is exactly what you say - a show-off but by no means malicious; their parents are not consciously aware of how they have overlooked Tracey; the loving grandparents, when they try to help, have simply no idea of the real nature of the problem. But Tracey's jealousy and resentment are out of all proportion to her problems. She doesn't act; she only reacts. She will make any moral sacrifice to fit in with her friends (at least THEY think she's a Somebody) even though she knows they are bad friends. ~ And, no, it is not too strong to claim by now that she is "perverted". As you correctly summarise, the all-important question in this narrative is: Can she be redeemed? By this stage, it would obviously require a much bigger prompt than a simple decision to snap out of it... ~ Thanks for writing in. Best wishes, GhV
Hmm, poor Tracey, being stalked by Roger's legacy, even after he was long gone.
She really seems to be adapting to the Slytherin lifestyle, which she's properly using to her advantage.
It is unfortunate that Susan took her words as callousness and mean-spiritedness, because I really think that Tracey was just trying to paint a picture of better things for her cousin, whi didn't take it like that at all.
And nobody to love? That supremely sucks for her, because she couldn't love her brother for all the misery and neglect he had caused for her, and her parents lost her favor because of their adulation of Roger and their omission of her own achievements. Hopefully, she finds someone with which to share her life, not just someone who has visions of Galleons dancing in their head.
Author's Response: Yes, Tracey is by now utterly Slytherin in her approach. You're right, she was genuinely trying to cheer Susan up; but a more empathic person would have recognised that talk about money was a ridiculous strategy. Tracey is not happy about what happened to Aunt Amelia (unlike, say, Millicent), but nor does she greatly care. As for whether she loves anyone... Nobody springs to her mind at present, but perhaps she's overlooking something or someone? Tracey is not yet evil, but she has reached the stage where her habits and her environment are making it increasingly difficult to change her course.
Well, it was an evil plan. But it did not really work out anyway...
So, I'll just congratulate the evil genious... Even thought she meant awfully What can I do??? Trace just won my heat!!! The evil minx!! Be nice and reform!! Come to the Good Side Tracey, we have cookies!!! ^_^
Author's Response: Dear Kaiserin, I'm amazed you're still cheering for Tracey after what she just did! Thanks for writing in; I'm afraid it's downhill a little more next chapter. GhV
Ah, brilliant girl! It's nice to see her back in the fold, so to speak.
One thing that most people forget is that the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws were not nearly as enamored with Hagrid as the Gryffindors. They didn't hate him as the Slytherins did, but there was not a whole lot for our inestimable half-giant.
At least they didn't like Umbridge...that would have been unfortunate. They merely recognized the need to be in her good favor for the sake of their social statuses and future career opportunities. It's hard to fault them for that, not to mention the desire to never seen the wrong end of that black quill.
In conclusion, after quite a bit of pedantic rambling, I thought this addition was brilliant.
Just a few minor issues. You mention Draco being attacked by the hippogriff 'last year', but it was the year before, in Third Year. Also, in this sentence: "I stopped thinking about the Firewhisky crate and focussed instead on the books stacked beside his bed", I believe there is only one 's' in focused.
Anyhoo, that's enough of my jabbering. :D
Author's Response: Thanks, Jess, ~ I don't have a beta reader so a few mistakes are slipping under the radar here. I can't remember why I said "last year" for the hippogriff incident - possibly because the execution date was only 18 months ago, hence "last calendar year". But if I need to make a more serious revision of this chapter, I'll correct these points too. ~ No, I don't believe the Slytherins LIKE Umbridge! I don't think it occurs to them to perceive human relationships in those terms. Does Draco like Vincent and Gregory? Does Millicent like anyone? I feel that Daphne frequently resents Pansy, yet she still describes her as her "best friend". ~ Thanks for your continued support. More follows soon. GhV
hey, so sorry. I have been seeing this show up when I click on most recent, but it always looked kinda boring in the info, but today I gave it a shot, and it was really good. keep it up, this story is way better than a lot of them out there. it's a really good idea, and you execute it well. I feel really bad for Tracey, but I don't see why she cares so much that her brother gets to dance with Fleur. She has a date (which she didnt think she would get) and she really likes the guy and can be herself around him instead of conniving. It actually makes me kinda like Smith (I hated him in the books, probably becuase JK said I was supposed to, hehe). Anyways, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to the next chapter.
Author's Response: Thanks for taking the trouble to review! ~ I'm glad you feel for Tracey's problems. To answer your question: Tracey is prejudiced against Roger. She is so jealous of him that EVERYTHING he does annoys her, even when it doesn't do her any actual harm. Her perspective on life is by now completely lopsided. ~ I don't like Z Smith much either, but I've tried to provide a reason for his attitude (he is creeped out by his family's obsession with death so he wants to rebel and live). He and Tracey have a lot in common, but it's all the wrong things. ~ The story is finished so I'll be updating quickly. Tracey's behaviour will test your loyalty, but I hope you'll be with her to the end. Best wishes, GhV
Oh!!! C'mon girlie!!! Cheer up will you!?
You got a date for the Yule Ball. AND you smelled Zabini's trick without making a complete fool of yourself! That ought to mean something, right?
I think she just can't help but blame Roger of her every missfortune, even when she doesn't really have any!! She had a great time!! (which is far more than what some girls can say from the Yule Ball *cough*Padma-and-Parvati*cough* Why, I say, why can't she see the glass half full, for a change!!
I am no prophet, but I foresee this lovely girl going down a very very nasty path!! I HOPE I'm wrong!! I really do! C'mon Trace!! I have faith in you girlie! I know you'll see ha light. No matter how obnoxious and self-centered, it's quite clear Roger cares for you!! Give peace a chance!!! ^.^
As usual, Grace. Lo-ooo-o-oo-ve-ly chapter!!!! Keep 'em comin' an' I guarantee happy readers and merry reviews!!
Author's Response: Dear Kaiserin, ~ Thank you very much for such a "merry" and detailed review! I am so glad you understand my story. Yes, Tracey has chosen to hate a person who means her no real harm and she has decided to blame Roger for every little misfortune in which he played no possible part. Her Slytherin "friends" do nothing to improve her attitude, which by now is harming more people than just herself and Roger. ~ So it's really very impressive that you can still remember the overlooked child she was and still like her enough to hope she turns back from the "very very nasty path". But I think you know by now that it would take something BIG to reset the course of Tracey's life. She certainly isn't going to turn over a new leaf just for the fun of it. ~ Thank you very much for your support. There will be more in a couple of days. Best wishes, GhV
Hmmm, I'm worried for Tracey, because Smith has always been a shady git, and if he hurts her, I'll kick him in his e-giblets!
Okay, enough of that, lol. How like Blaise and Draco to bet with people's feelings. I'm just glad that she found another date so it didn't make her look pathetic or anything. I may be reverting to my prior ill feelings toward Roger, but in that sense, I am mostly at your mercy!
Author's Response: Dear Jess, ~ Save your kicks; there's nothing more about Z Smith because he is definitely the wrong man for Tracey! ~ The full story of Draco and Blaise's bet is told in "Turning the Corner", which was the first HP novella I ever wrote. You can read there how many girls accepted Blaise's offer, and who finally won the Galleons. ~ Everything is against Tracey at this point: Roger, her fellow Slytherins and her own immaturity. So hold on for a steep slide down the moral precipice while we ask the all-important question: Can Tracey be redeemed? ~ Thanks for your support. Tracey will thank you if she grows up. Best wishes, GhV
Ah, now I dislike Roger slightly less, because he helped her stick it to the Slytherins...but he's still a jerk, lol. I guess buying back favor is a tradition that extends to all the Houses, considering her Bones (Hufflepuff) Grandmother offered it.
Congrats on getting them to push your story through the queue so fast, I wish I could get them to do that for me.
Author's Response: Hi Jess, ~ I'm glad you saw a better side of Roger here. He just doesn't see the impact he has on his sister; he has no idea that she has so resentful, or what he contributed to the problem. ~ I don't know that Hufflepuffs would "buy back" favour; it's more a question of being nice to people regardless of what they have done to you. I actually think Tabitha Bones (nee Twillfit) would have been in Ravenclaw, where the perspective would be that wise people always try to neutralise their enemies and make as many friends as they can. I doubt that Tracey understands the differences between these three points of view; she just knows that "buying" people like Pansy costs more than she can afford to pay. ~ Thanks for reviewing. More to follow soon. Best wishes, GhV
Author's Response: Thank you.
Ah, another reason to not like Roger. I know he's a 'good guy' and all, but drat, I believe I don't like him. Poor Tracey, stuck for the next five years with a House full of people that hate her, but I believe she will do her utmost to either rectify the situation or get them all back.
I'm seriously getting into the Slytherin POV. Keep it up!
Author's Response: Dear Jess, The ease with which one can learn to think like a Slytherin is woryring, isn't it? Imagine what it's like when you live with them all day long! Roger didn't mean any harm (after all, the vast majority of Ravenclaws DON'T care about blood status) but of course Tracey is now in the mindset to blame her brother for everything that goes wrong. Obviously she'll have to stop blaming and start using her Slytherin cunning if she wants to improve matters. Don't worry, I promise you she will! Best wishes, GhV
Tracey, Tracey, Tracey... that is not the most convenient way of regaining your friend's favour, is it?
I mean, considering how smart she is... she could have suspeted that spiting nasty family rubbish at your (so-called) friends won't make them any more prone to forgive past faults... Specially in the middle of the common room.
Regardless how much I like her... she SHOULD have known better. I do hope, however, that this developments show her that she really did not have friends in those silly girls that allow Pansy to treat them as pawns...
On a side note next time she should consider blackmail. With Slytherins it might be a much much much more useful way of using such information!!
And Roger should probably have kept his TRAP shut!! Still dislike him feverishly. The pinhead. Love of limelight or not, he should realise his little sister is being stoically overlooked!!
Anyhow.... I find the story extremely interesting. And your insights on the cannon characters seem awful accurate. The way you tell us the story through Tracey's eyes is lovely and I really like it.
Last but not least.... THANKS A LOT for the quick update!! Keep 'em coming!!! ^.^
Author's Response: Dear Kaiserin (after which Empress have you named yourself??), ~ Thanks for writing such a detailed, engaged and engaging review. I'm really touched by your willingness to identify with Tracey's problems. ~ Yes, Roger and his friend were stupid to confess their family backgrounds in a public corridor at a time of emergency, but that doesn't excuse the Slytherins' hateful reaction. Tracey just wasn't prepared for how fickle her "friends" would be, leaving her far too hurt and angry to think sensibly about her problem. She tried to debate her equality (a Ravenclaw strategy) instead of employing a Slytherin cunning to make them WANT to be friends with her. ~ Tracey, stop sulking and start thinking! You're the most intelligent girl in your class... and Kaiserin has already given you a strong hint... ~ Best wishes, GhV
Ufff!! Again... Pooor... pooor Trace!! It's just not right for parents to do stuff like that!
I noticed, you jumped a GREAT deal of time in between. What was her parent's reaction to her being a Slyth? I mean... thye must have said something!! And Roger? What did he say or do? Pester her, pretend she did noy exist? Arrgghhh!!! Too many questions!!!
Great chap anyway.... I like the ideas and the scheming of the Slytherins and how we got to know what was going on in the school while Harry was enduring his usual end of the year Hospital Wing stay!!! Hehehehe....
Author's Response: Dear Kaiserin, ~ Thanks for reviewing. I was wary of makaing this story longer than its interest-value, so about 9-10 months will pass after each chapter. There hasn't been room to give more than a hint of her parents' problems: they are short of money; they are worried about the Muggle grandparents' health' their lifestyle is a constant effort to hide their magic from the Muggle neighbours. So, no, they don't even notice that they pay more attention to Roger. They won't make a deliberate comparison between his exam results and Tracey's, but Tracey is sharp enough to notice that they will be more pleased with Roger. ~ Roger and the parents were shocked that Tracey had ended up with the "bad house" but they went out of their way to pretend it was all right and they didn't mind (which pretence, of course, Tracey saw right through). Roger didn't tease Tracey, but he did annoy her by stopping her in corridors to ask if she was really, truly all right. And this motivated her to BE all right, just to show him! ~ Anyway, Tracey has managed to make friends in Slytherin - if I could paint, I'd paint a picture of them all sitting and scheming together at that Quidditch match. But there will be a major test of those friendships when Slytherin's Monster appears on the scene next chapter... ~ Thank you for writing in. Best wisehs, GhV
This is a really good and interesting story! I really like the Slytherin perspective! Please update soon!
Author's Response: Thank you. The story is finished, so updating will be fast. I just hope you have the stomach for the Slytherins' sick frame of mind.
So I usually don't bother with OC stories but for some reason I did with this one and now I'm hooked! The characters are very believable and I can picture Tracey in Rowling's Hogwarts, trying to be invisible but resenting it the whole time. The characterizations of the Slytherin girls are spot on also - they remind me a bit of the fake-nice, judmental type like from Mean GIrls, who would of course be put in Slytherin.
Keep the story coming!
Author's Response: Dear SBH, Thanks for taking the trouble to review. I've definitely known my share of mean girls but I hope in this story I was exaggerating a little. Technically, Tracey isn't an OC, since there is a "Tracey Davis, Slytherin, half-blood" on JKR's list of Harry Potter's classmates. We probably know just as much (i.e. little) canon information about her as we do about Daphne Greengrass or Miss Runcorn. In this chapter, Tracey has almost slotted into a niche, but it still isn't clear whether she'll keep it or whether it's even a niche worth keeping. The story is finished and the remainder is to be posted in short order. GhV
Ah, poor Tracey, second fiddle yet again!
I hated it for her that she had to cheer for her brother just because everyone else was. It sucks, having to appease everybody to fit in, which is why Luna Lovegood is such a fascinating character, because she doesn't care at all. Tracey is almost the antithesis of that, and not too many authors delve into the mind of Slytherins not named Malfoy.
Still enchanted, still reading, and still like Tracey. :D
Author's Response: Dear TBONTBAG, I thought your comparison with Luna was very perceptive. Luna, despite her fantasies, has a fundamental honesty that constantly shipwrecks the deceit of people around her. Tracey, who is firmly pragmatic, has a fundamental DIShonesty that will refuse any information that is too uncomfortable. It's telling that you can sympathise with her anyway; such character flaws don't erupt in a vacuum. Thank you for your support, GhV
I love how she tried to tell the Hat what's what, and it stuck her in Slytherin,as well as her reaction to her brother's dismay with her new House, as if he were shocked and ashamed.
I find your portrayals of the Slytherin girls believable and unique. Who would guess that big, brawny Bulstrode was really a semi-outcast and insecure?
All in all, I like this one as much as a first, and I'm looking forward to your future installments.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for understanding my story! I think Millicent has to be insecure because the Bulstrodes are an old, pure-blood line, but she is definitely listed as a half-blood in JKR's notes. She is not so much "outcast" as "knowing her place". She gets ahead in Slytherin by taking orders. You might say the same for Crabbe and Goyle, who are in fact pure-bloods, but depend heavily on the Malfoys' patronage. And, yes, despite your sympathetic response to Tracey, I'm afraid she is a true Slytherin. I'm just trying to tell the story from her point of view. So I hope you continue reading when she ceases to be likable.