I really like this story, especially the little preamble or prologue that shows Neville's burgeoning interest in Herbology as a contrast to the young man he has become in the rest of the story. I'm glad that Greenhouse Seven has become a sort of refuge for the sixteen students who study there; it's a place where house affiliation--at least in Neville's group--doesn't seem to matter because what's important is the role each student plays in the research projects. I find it interesting that one person's remark could get Neville thinking about how the four plants could be used in war, as weapons in an arsenal, and his realization that Professor Sprout was quietly doing her part to get ready for war. I will definitely be coming back to read this story again because it takes a seemingly throw-away line in DH and shows the history behind the remark. Well done.
Author's Response: Yes, Neville has changed tremendously during the 6+ years that he has been at school, and I always assumed that House affiliations became less important during the final two years of NEWT classes because each class, being elective, probably included students from each of the four Houses and there may have been more interaction. During my Missing Moments class I wrote a drabble in which Neville and Wayne are feeling some sadness about throwing their carefully-nurtured plants over the ramparts to their doom during the Battle of Hogwarts.
A companion piece to this story is my 2014 Cotillion entry "The Crofter and the Snake", told from Tracey's point of view, and a work-in-progress is these events told from Howard's point of view. I'm glad you enjoyed this story.
Brilliant! I loved your incorporation of research methodology. I guessed where this was going when the students started to ask why they were working with dangerous plants and why so many. I loved it just the same. Every effort counted in winning the war.
Author's Response: Wow! I'm glad that someone (you) saw what was coming. You could get inside Professor Sprout's head and see what she was seeing. It must have been strange to be in her (and eventually Neville's) position, seeing the storm clouds gathering and knowing that she couldn't prevent it or run away from it. Just waiting for the bombs to start falling.
I like your writing style. I also really like that you showed Professor Sprout preparing for the coming war. The book doesn't show that, but I never liked thinking that they did nothing. Very well done.
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Sydney, for writing a review for my story. I'm glad you like my writing style; it's the only way I know how to write. I think of it as pretty much straightforward and direct, unlike the denser and more convoluted style of some other authors. Much of the joy of fan fiction writing is the opportunity to fill in the material that didn't make it into the books, such as what the professors did to prepare for the inevitable war. There is more about these characters in my most recent story, The Crofter And The Snake. The entire seventh year is a goldmine of untold stories. I am also enjoying your story, and I hope that you will keep it up to the end. (There are so many great but unfinished stories in these archives. :(
Of all your stories that I've read so far, I have to say this is my favorite one. Not only is your characterization of Neville excellent, the plot is extremely interesting.
At the beginning, you have a small snapshot of younger Neville and Professor Sprout. I think this really shows that he's always loved plants and also how he's changed over the years. He's more confidant, and considering how blundering he'd been years before, he now knows how to carry himself like a mature adult. I did like how you show that he's not quite and adult yet Thoth, but tries so hard to be one for his friends' and his own sake.
I read this story twice, and the second time what stood out was a bit of foreshadowing, if you will. Sprout has them plant a hundred seedling, explaining the advantage to having more rather than less. Later, she explains to Neville how they need every resource they can get to fight in the coming war. I really liked that.
It struck me as very sad how Howard, who was such a dynamic person in the beginning had to become quiet and reserved so as to not draw attention to himself. Just another horrible side effect of the Carrow's regime I suppose.
Anyway, another brilliant story, Vicki. Keep up the amazing work.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for this review, Georgia. I think we probably all love our stories as we write them, so it is so gratifying to know that someone else likes them too! My scientific background was an influence for this story, so that might make a reader either like it a lot, or else not at all. It grew from my Missing Moments class last summer, and I developed a head canon for it which was much too large for the one-shot final exam, so I had to extract just this little part of the story for Greenhouse Seven. But I went back to that head canon for the 2014 Cotillion Challenge, which is my story The Crofter and The Snake, the first chapter of which is on my author page now and the last chapter of which is in the queue, hopefully to be validated and posted any day now. Be sure to read it too; you will like it. (My two closest critics, my son and my daughter, say that it is my best story yet.) I am looking forward to seeing some new writings from you too!
You take the growth of a character and you illustrate that on a page. I wanted to look at both your poetry and your prose here. You take a professor, the adults who might be perceived as more formal or detached and you give them like. Professor Sprout, in particular, who again, I never really thought of. Neville goes from a curious little boy trying to find his niche and be good at something to standing on his own two feet in his later years; that was brought out in the books, too, and really, I had taken Neville as a fluke, a skipped generation or something before the DA. Here, you weave the greenhouses into a functional, practical use and this reminds me of "The Battle" chapter, where Rowling taps into her resources. The only thing that sticks out to me is the timing that this "transfer student:" arrives on the grounds. Given that this is the seventh year and Voldemort controlled the castle through Professor Snape, i don't see them accepting new people because they relied on the traditional, old families and clung to those family trees. I love how you give life to the adults. Really, here, you shift Neville into adulthood as he takes responsibility. Neville wasn't a fluke, as I thought up to the sixth book, he was a late bloomer. You highlight the leadership.
Author's Response: Hi Jenn. Thank you for writing a review for my story. I enjoyed writing it for many reasons: the scientific research, the development of Professor Sprout's character, the blossoming of the young researchers, and the question of whether Greenhouse Seven could be simultaneously a research laboratory and a munitions factory; this leads to several moral questions. Canon tells us that in the fall of 1997, all eligible students, including previously home-schooled students and recent drop-outs, were required to attend Hogwarts. (This does not include Muggle-borns, who were going into hiding). That is why Howard and the other five "transfer students" were there. It seems that the new regime wanted to indoctrinate all the members of the younger generation by exposing them to the revised curriculum of Hogwarts. Surprisingly enough, there is little or no fan fiction written about this group of students. I also enjoy writing about the adults because, being of that generation myself, I find it easy to identify with them and what they are thinking, and hard to remember what it was like to be an airhead pre-adolescent.
Wow! Neville is something else, a quiet hero, an astute student who catches on to something most of us miss. Well done!
Author's Response: Thank you for the compliment. I hope the ending came as a surprise to you -- it was meant to be. There are questions left unanswered, of morals and of reality, and I am not sure myself what the answers are.
I can just see that as being true. Well written.
Author's Response: Thank you for reading my story. My inspiration came from the lines in Chapter 30 of DH: "But we can hold him up," said Professor Sprout. "Thank you, Pomona," said Professor McGonagall, and between the two witches there passed a look of grim understanding. These lines reveal to me an insight into Professor Sprout's character, and I have tried to portray her strength in this story.