Reviews For Deathsticks
Reviewer: iLuna17
Date: 01/02/12 22:54
Chapter: Deathsticks

Daniel-

I thought the idea for this piece was brilliantly creative. Looking at the sign in Diagon Alley above his shop, I also wondered how Ollivander, or Ollie, got his start. It was full of magic, and I thought your characterization of Ollivander was quite good. He was eager to learn, and he was bored and frustrated with ordinary tasks, quite like the Ollivander we see in the books. I also thought the first meeting with Malazed it perfectly with Ollivander’s character. He was not afraid to approach the man, simply because he was curious. It really added to Ollivander’s character.

Malazed was a marvelous character. Especially with this: You’re a wizard, Ollie “ you can do whatever you want! Something in that moment made him become very clear to me. In my mind, he was a happy man; one who wanted Ollivander to do well and also be happy, which he clearly wasn't before. I can picture Ollie's face lighting up, and any person who could do that is marvelous iLater on in the story, he is the one to bring Ollivander back down to earth. It was probably my favorite part of the story; it explains not only how Ollivander lived so long, but how he was carried with his magic.

I do, however, find difficulty in believing that Ollivander ‘created’ wands. Wizards had been using magic since ancient times; we know that from the Weasleys’ visit to Egypt. I think he could have revolutionized the wand, but I don’t think he created it. Also, I notice you tend to repeat things. I thought you explained who Ilea is a few times, and it seemed unnecessary. On a different note, some of the changing in times seems jumpy. Maybe you could make the transition in between Ilea's death and Ollivander's reemergence into the world a little smoother, to be specific.

My favorite part of the piece, though, has to be how it ties in with the Elder Wand. Ollivander had gotten carried away with his own brilliance. He wanted to learn and learn, to become as powerful as he could be. This reminded me strongly of Albus Dumbledore. And also like Dumbledore, he came to realize how bad the power was. The similarities between them are very strong, both with tragic pasts, both who sought out the Elder Wand. But Ollivander also reminds me of Voldemort, with his hunger for power both in canon and in your story. He's a very thought-provoking character, like a blend of Albus and Dumbledore, but with his own perks and faults.

Overall, I really enjoyed this piece. It was fresh and creative, and this piece leaves me thinking about Ollivander and his life, something I hadn’t done much more than vaguely wonder about before.

Ellie

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione
Date: 08/03/11 22:45
Chapter: Deathsticks

This was an interesting story, and certainly very creative. The idea of the 'time stop' spell was a new idea, and while it's not quite compatible with JKR's world (if it was, everyone would use it rather than making philosopher's stones etc), it did work in this story.

Ollie/Ollivander was an interesting character, and I could really see how you drew from the books in creating him. There are a few times when it seems that Ollivander finds great power fascinating in canon - for example when he says the idea of Voldemort with the Elder Wand is "formidable", and he doesn't really seem to fear it, but seems more excited about this possibility. His obsessive nature in this story really fits with that, particularly when his work in wandlore took over from any sort of personal relationships. In the books, it's hard to imagine Ollivander having any kind of friend - I'm sure he has aquaintances, but probably more on a professional basis - in canon. His selfishness at the beginning about the difficulty of his family fitted in with this - for some reason it reminded me of Ron, who always complained about Scabbers until he died. Anyway, that's a bit of a tangent.

Malazed was a wonderful character - I think it's interesting how a simple line such as You’re a wizard, Ollie – you can do whatever you want! completely changed Ollie's life. I also loved his line about being the sword - that was an excellent metaphor for magic.

The idea that Ollivander first came up with the idea of using wands is very interesting too, and I thought you put a lot of thought into the process of him figuring out how wands function best and creating them. I also liked the conflict it brought up between him and Malazed, who initially seems to be the perfect tutor and father figure.

Ilia was a wonderful character too. In the dialogue at the beginning, you really showed how what she loved about Ollie was his personality, not his magic or any of his abilities, but those things were more important to him, which is what drew them apart.

I loved the final scene - I thought it was a great choice to include Albus and I loved the parallels you drew between Ollivander and Albus. After all, Albus did confess that the hallow which most attracted him was the Elder Wand. The last line was also excellent.

I found that you often repeated lines in this story, for example you often introduced Ilia as the breadmaker's daughter - you only need to do this once, at the beginning - the reader won't forget who she is. There were other times when you repeated words or ideas. I also think some of your longer paragraphs could be cut down a bit - I think you fell into the trap of telling, not showing.

Anyway, I think this was a great idea for a story, but it would be even better if you edited this a bit and fixed up some of your writing.

~Katrina

Author's Response: i may edit it at some point, it was written in a hurry. Some of the descriptors are repetitive and perhaps I do tell when I should show. while i do like repeating words/phrases to recall details for the audience, i've found that not everyone does, so i will be careful about that in the future... i must politely disagree about the Rowlingability of the Time Stop - after all, there were many time-turners in the ministry at one point and not everyone used those. Plus, the Time Stop had dire consequences - everyone outside the room aged and died while time was frozen inside, so not everyone would be so quick to use it (and Malazed says in the story that it was not meant to be used for more than a few minutes). And really, I had intended that the magic that Ollie was using was old and lost to time - these are ancient spells, I worked carefully to make sure no modern JKR spells would be used. I wanted to get across that the wizards of old were MORE powerful than modern wizards, because we as a people had gotten soft and lazy. anyway, thanks for reading! i am taking your criticisms to heart whilst i prepare my second tale...

Reviewer: Kerichi
Date: 08/01/11 15:31
Chapter: Deathsticks

I believe the attempt to answer questions left a mystery in the books is one of the top reasons writers create Harry Potter fan fiction. Although yours may be "spurious" in that it's not canon, I found it genuinely plausible and truly enjoyable to read.

Ollie, later known as Ollivander, is an intensely driven character. He reminds me of Anakin Skywalker, the way he takes his mother always being there for granted and then is consumed with anger at her death. I think you use the shock and his reaction very effectively to set up his obsession with creating the perfect wand to stop death. 

The wizard Malazed is a vividly drawn character and catalyst that brings about change.  Your description of the children playing war games with the biggest and loudest being "Malazed the Great" creates a mental image as striking as "long, black hair matted against his hulking frame." I did notice that you repeated the description of hulking several times, which could be varied.

Another thing you could vary is the beginning of two back-to-back paragraphs near the end that start with "Angrily," and "Defeated,". I suggest cutting the first because you show that he's angry with his actions, and if the paragraph starts with "He threw a fistful of wands across the room" the next paragraph beginning--Defeated--will have more impact instead of being more of the same.

The dialogue throughout the story  serves the plot and reveals character admirably. When Ilia says, “No magic tonight, Ollie. Please?” she shows her feelings more effectively than when the reader is told Ollie secretly hates his family or you use an author insertion such as (incidentally, she was). My favorite line is when Ollie asks why Malazed doesn't carry a sword and Malazed says, "I am the sword." It's a great line, and it's a good thing Malazed is off screen, so to speak, for much of the story, because he's a definite scene stealer. :)

I notice details, and the ones you use, from Ollie's room being a corner of the hut, Ilia's gray robes, and her hair tangled in pieces of glass, to the well-fortified town in the Kingdom of England, establish setting and show illness, loss, and the passage of time. In the opening paragraph, however, it's hard for me to buy that most other children play in the meadows instead of doing chores equally as arduous as Ollie's work, given the time period, and it will help readers see the bakery shop (is it on the first floor of a house with the living quarters above? A separate shop?) and village if you give a few more descriptive details.

The tragedy of Ollivander's eternal quest tugs at the heartstrings and makes the ending (with the literal tugging of heartstring) even more poignant. 

The Rip Van Winkle effect of the time stop spell came across, and I hope inspiration will strike you again, and you write another story giving readers another possible explanation for another aspect of magical history. ^_^



Author's Response: thanks! i agree with some of your suggestions, i may fix them at some point. i wrote the whole thing in less than 24 hours, so it didn't have tons of revision. i made Malazed to answer what i thought would be an essential of wizarding history - that wizards would be without wands for centuries or even eons, and that wizards in biblical times would be seen as great warriors/warrioresses. Malazed - i took from Mal meaning "bad" and Zed the last letter of the alphabet - for someone who would meet a bad end. Now, he doesn't die in the story, but his ending with Ollivander is bad enough I suppose. Thanks again! It's so weird that a random stranger (or two!) have now read my story.

Reviewer: MadEyeMaddy
Date: 08/01/11 14:10
Chapter: Deathsticks

This is a really creative and interesting idea. I'd never really thought about this before, honestly. It does explain a lot, but I do find it very unlikely that Ollivander would live for all that time, but you never know. Great job, you should keep writing!

Author's Response: my thinking is - we never see his family, dude's supposedly really old - does he have a first name? all of this leads to "maybe he's been the ONLY owner of Ollivanders', and the shop is enchanted so while in it, he doesn't age." thanks!!

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