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Reviews For Replaced

Name: majestic_ginny (Signed) · Date: 09/13/12 19:20 · For: Replaced
Meg, this was a wonderful story. It exudes a sense of nostalgia and sadness, perfectly expressing Petunia’s feelings about Lily. I loved every bit of it.

Petunia, I think, is a very complicated character to write. Balancing her love and her hate for Lily is very hard to achieve, but I believe you did a wonderful job. Every now and then you show how much she misses Lily, but then you make her dismiss it again, forcing herself to believe that she doesn’t care - this, I think, is what Petunia struggles with the most, and it brings out her character really well. All we ever see in the books is the bitterness inside her, and I found your expression of Petunia with a miserable side fantastic. It makes me see that she still had the capability to love and to feel, and that’s the reason she was so upset at being replaced. It is extremely like Petunia to enter Lily’s room carefully, fretting whether anyone saw her, because I believe it took her years to build the façade that she didn’t want anything to do with her sister. I expect she didn’t want anyone to think otherwise. From this line:“This upset her, although she wasn’t certain why”, however, you managed to show that, deep down, she still loves Lily and that she resented being replaced by James.

Petunia didn’t like James at all, as seen in the last couple of paragraphs (especially her glaring at him and her thoughts about his messy hair), and I think that this was one of the main reasons that she never came to their wedding. This was a very good insight into that tiny detail! You took that single line from the Prince’s tale and wove an intricate story around it, and that too from Petunia’s POV, explaining fully why she didn’t go to their wedding. In the books we see that she despised him for being a “freak”, but you explained why she actually hated him - for taking her place in Lily’s life. You really managed to show how wounded she was by this, and her behavior towards Lily and her scornful feelings for James really managed to express her true feelings. That was very, very well done.

I noticed the contrast between Lily and Petunia in the part about the planes, where Petunia’s plane was perfectly made and Lily’s one was crumpled and resembled Petunia’s one. I loved the two things it showed us: the first the stark contrast between their habits -- that Petunia was always just perfect and Lily not much so, and also how much Lily looked up to Petunia that she tried to imitate her work. It was ironic that, in the Prince’s Tale, we see the exact opposite (that Petunia was the one trying to follow Lily and go to Hogwarts). I think that is why Petunia grinned: it reminded her how everything used to be before Lily went off to study magic. This insight was fantastic.

Your descriptions were brilliant, and I can actually visualize everything I read. I loved this line: “Petunia wiped the dust off a book’s spine with her finger and stared at the gold embossed title”. Even without closing my eyes I can see this scene as if it were a bit from a movie playing out. Other phrases, such as “messily scrawled”, “wiggled the desk drawer open”, “bright cotton patches” all have a similar effect: you know what you are supposed to see the moment you set your eyes on the words.

You wrote this story in such a way that, as the end approaches, the reader really feels sympathetic towards Petunia. I can actually feel why she felt so contemptuous, and I can understand why she grew up to be the bitter woman she is. I can understand her hatred for Harry - because Harry is a living reminder of her inability to do magic, as well as James replacing her in Lily’s life. The last line lingered a long time, because she really did try so hard to show that she didn’t care with that assertion. I felt that it was more of a foretelling, and this has a really long and lasting effect… like putting the last piece of a puzzle into place.

I only wished that it could be a bit longer, though. The ending came all too suddenly, when I was starting to really enjoy it. I reached the last line, and I wondered, “Finished already?” I think there is room for this to be expanded in order to give us more insight on what happened afterwards.

Overall, though, this was a fantastic and really poignant piece of work. Well done, SPEW buddy!


Name: Padfoot11333 (Signed) · Date: 03/03/12 13:29 · For: Replaced
Hello Meg :)

Firstly, I’m very sorry for taking so long to review this story. It really was lovely and I enjoyed it very much. We don’t get to see a lot of Petunia in the story, and we almost never see her in a positive light. The only example that comes to mind is in DH when she’s about to leave Harry for the last time. Even then, it’s only for a few minutes and we don’t get to hear what she was planning to say. This story made me feel very sorry for Petunia.

I do imagine that Lily would always look up to Petunia, even after she learned that she was a witch. I say this only because I know what it feels like to be the oldest, and your younger siblings are coming after you because all they want is to be like you. I thought it was a very nice insight that, actually, Petunia wanted to be like Lily.

I thought it was very interesting that Petunia would actually be jealous of James, for as she put it, replacing her. From what she spoke about him during the actual books, she always sounded like she had no respect for him whatsoever. I liked that you showed that disrespect as a sort of self-defense for her. I do feel like Petunia was always, for whatever reason, the “lesser” child in her parents’ eyes, if only because she wasn’t a witch.

I liked that you included that for a short time, Petunia actually craved to be a witch more than anything else. I don’t mean to step on toes, but I feel like that scene is what sparked this idea that Petunia wasn’t good enough to be a witch, and Petunia gets completely replaced by James, in Lily’s eyes and in her parents’ eyes.

I don’t think, however, that Lily and Petunia would have stayed very close after Lily went to Hogwarts, especially after the letter that Petunia writes and Lily reads (that still breaks my heart every time I read that section in APT). I realise I said above that Lily would look up to Petunia all throughout her life, but looking up to someone and being close to someone are two completely different things, as definitely proved during this story. I think Petunia would have been too jealous of Lily to really stay being her big sister while Lily grew up in this completely different culture that Petunia yearned to be a part of.

I think the ending was a little bit “rushed,” so to speak. I do the exact same thing in every story I write, but I feel like you could have expanded a little bit more on what dinner was like for Petunia, and how she reacted to it.

All in all, Meg, this was a wonderfully well written story that gave me a great new look on Petunia. It was a pleasure being your SPEW buddy :)

Lily xxx

Author's Response: I can't believe I haven't responded to this yet—and I was feeling so proud of how I was getting better about responding to reviews promptly… I completely agree that Lily and Petunia wouldn't have stayed close, and I wasn't trying to imply that they still were somehow close to each other. I think Petunia liked the feeling of having Lily look up to her and being older and more experienced and taking care of Lily. I was trying to show Petunia's regret over the loss of that relationship—and her denial that that regret exists. I imagine Petunia as viewing Lily, the witch, and Lily, her younger sister, as two different entities, and I wanted to show her struggling to accept that Lily was no longer the worshiping younger sister that she used to be. I had a lot of trouble with the ending. Originally, it just ended with Petunia sitting on the bedspread. I was struggling to end the piece (and get the word count into the range it needed to be in order to be submitted to the archives), and Soraya suggested that I add her meeting James. I toyed with expanding the scene, but I felt like adding more would have been redundant. I tried to give a fair idea of Petunia's emotions about the meeting, and I felt like I hinted a fair amount about what the rest of the dinner would go like (although obviously I don't have the most objective view of this). There also is the fact that I struggle with writing emotions, and so I try to use visuals to get what the characters across (this is why you probably won't see me writing much in first person). I could only think of so many ways to get how annoyed and how much she disliked James across… I'm very glad that you liked the story, and I greatly appreciated your review (getting SPEW length reviews always makes me happy)! I hope this made sense, -Meg

Name: Maple_and_PheonixFeather (Signed) · Date: 01/29/12 17:50 · For: Replaced
This is a really fabulous look into the mind of Petunia, and it was very enjoyable.
I really liked how you described Lily’s room. The words you use and the way you use them creates a vivid picture in the mind of the reader without being overbearing. This creates a realistic setting, which automatically made me buy into the story, as I am more likely to delve right into something that first gives me a setting then describes it. What I thought was very effective was how you first describe a certain object to the reader and then have Petunia’s memory of it. You really don’t leave any of the key objects without a story.
This is an interesting approach to Petunia, and I rather like it. What I like about it is that it really shows Petunia’s soft, loving, hurting side, a side I don’t think we see enough of. It reminds me of the scene in DH, where, for that one moment, we are given a different look on Petunia. I think that you really draw that part of Petunia out, showing her more as a hurt sister who is jealous of a boy rather than a bitter women. When the end approaches, we see the Petunia that the reader knows a little better, the one that knows Lily as freak. This Petunia, however, is shown in a new light, and thus the reader is more inclined to feel pity for Petunia, who has become second best to a boy, than Lily, who is almost shown as a dirty (she doesn’t care much for hygiene) and messy character.
While I thought that this story had a good contrast in terms of description, and action, I feel that it could benefit from a little expansion at the end. The ending feels a little rushed, especially in the last paragraph. I think that a few more sentences that perhaps showed a bit more of the alienation would really support the story and the alienation that Petunia is feeling.
I really like the contrasting of the two sisters. We see it first with the paper airplanes “ Petunia’s is perfectly creased, whereas Lily’s is crumpled. I think that this further emphasises the distance between them, for they appear to be opposites in every way.


Author's Response: Thank you! I'm really glad you thought the writing gave a vivid picture, because that's exactly what I was trying to do. I thought the saddest part of "The Prince's Tale" was seeing Petunia and Lily grow apart because of Petunia's jealousy. (I doubt that you agree with that....) I wasn't actually trying to portray Lily as almost dirty. I meant more for the comment about Petunia to be a snide remark. I hadn't even thought about the way you interpreted it. I really liked the airplanes too; they actually made an appearance in a short story I write for English in eighth grade, so I'm very glad you think they work! I really enjoy it when others come up with symbolism and meaning that I didn't intend behind things I've written, and thank you again for the lovely review. I greatly appreciated it (especially since I hadn't gotten much feedback on this story in reviews). -Meg

Name: LittleJM (Signed) · Date: 12/15/11 3:59 · For: Replaced
I really liked this! Petunia's unwilling slide into second was characterized really well, and I thought you did a great job keeping her interested in Lily's life, but not too interested at the same time.

Author's Response: Sorry about the time it took me to respond; I thought I'd already responded! Thank you so much for the complements. I spend a good deal of effort trying to keep Petunia interested, but not too interested in Lily's life, and it's lovely to know that I succeeded. Thanks, -Meg

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