So... About me. I'm a... college student (defined in Fantastic Humans and Where to Find Them as a strange breed of nocturnal creature drawing life force from the computer... sounds about right).
I am a strong believer in constructive criticism. I'd like to know what you think of my stories, whether you love them or hate them. I want to know what I can improve on in my writing. That's what being in SPEW is about.
First two banners by the amazing Queen Hal, Until The Dawn banner by the wonderfully talented Noldo.
I really enjoyed this! Please keep going with it! Prof. McGonagall is my favorite adult character (Hermione and Harry do come first in my heart, though I am a H/G & Hr/R shipper), and (in my opinion at least) not nearly enough people work her into their stories. I'll be watching for an update!
Author's Response: Thanks! I love Minerva, she's my favorite character after Snape and Lupin. You should watch for my new fic (which will hopefully be validated soon!) called The Ancient and Dwindling House of Snape. There's a lot of McGonagall in that one.
I was so happy to see you've started another story! (especially since it's not a Severitus...) Keep it up, I'll be looking for an update.
Had I not read your previous two stories I would say that Snape was extremely out of character. But fortunately for me I have read them, so it made perfect sense and even brought a smile to my face as I remembered scenes from Sixth Year (particularily the one where Harry removes Snape's dark mark). The calming potion was a touch of genius— and Harry’s reaction amused me greatly. I liked the idea that Harry’s relatives could relinquish their protection through stupidity. Now, about that “‘You are not the first person to have lost your entire family in this war.’” Does this mean what I think it does (i.e. did Snape lose *his* family in the war)? As usual, your writing was superb and your storytelling riveting. I love reading your stories because they always throw me for a loop yet leave me feeling satisfied. I’ll be looking for an update!
You know I've been attempting to review this for weeks. And it just doesn't work. But somehow I've managed to cobble this together.
First of all, it's a great story. I'm not so into scandalous liaisons, and the thought of Lucius in a romantic sense makes me feel slimy inside. And yet I thoroughly enjoyed both of the first two chapters of this story. It's simply amazing how good writing can get me to suspend disbelief.Between your writing and your betas, I have very little in the way of nitpicking. But… you refer to the figure of a thestral outside as a dark horse. To be very technical, thestrals aren't horses. It would make more sense to me if it were a dark horse-like creature or something like that. I know it's not as smooth, but it makes more sense.
When Siobhan is reacting to Draco's note you have Unfortunately the attraction to her was a necessary malignancy, and so she would have to indulge his delusional fancy. I think this sentence would make more sense if you had his attraction to her instead of the attraction to her. I had to go back and reread this one to figure out what you meant.Enough with nitpicking. Time to move on to gushing. I love your characterizations. Siobhan is, of course, one of the best OCs I have ever seen. She's incredibly complex. She's a real person. Someone I know has conversations with her in her head (though I'll name no names). All of your characterizations were excellent. I rarely see Professor McGonagall done so well. Draco is a slimy git with raging hormones. Your Harry is right on, and Siobhan's reactions to him kept making me snigger as I read.
That said, there are a fair number of people who can do a good job portraying several individual characters, or even all of them. What makes your writing stand out is your portrayal of the relationships between your characters. You show us your characters through interaction, which makes for some very clear mental images for me as a reader. Siobhan thought to herself, eyeing the parchment with disgust and raising a condescending brow to Goyle. I have a very clear image of Siobhan with her eyebrow raised and her nose slightly wrinkled as she stares down (even though he's probably taller) at Goyle's idiot grin. It's extremely well done.I also love how you did the final scene. You put in just enough of Siobhan's fantasy; I as a reader could tell exactly what she was thinking about while at the same time focusing on what was actually happening and what Draco was-er-attempting to do. I'm commenting on that scene because it's the most complex scene and the one where you took the most risks. I can't say it's the best because they're all so good that no one scene stands out as better than the others.
Jenna, this is one of the best-written fan fictions I've ever read. You can be sure that I will keep reading as you go, even if Lucius does give me the hives. Your story is worth it. :: huggles ::
Author's Response: Well, I'm very pleased you finally did get around to reviewing :) All your comments make me glow - I do like to think my characterisation is so-so ;)
*grins sheepishly* Hello dear Nan. For some reason I feel naughty reviewing something which I beta’d, because I’ve already read this several times in several forms and it feels like cheating, but my excuse is that this is my opportunity to tell you what I really like, because for all the time we’ve spent discussing this chapter, only a small bit of it has been devoted to me telling you all the things which I think are absolutely wonderful.
I’m mostly going to skip nitpicking, hopefully you’ll excuse me on that one. I’m sure there are probably some things I didn’t catch (*waits for other reviews with her pen and notebook out*), but I’ve already combed through it enough times, and… hopefully you’ll forgive me. Marianne and Justine continued down the corridor without a break in their conversation; Tonks glared at their retreating backs. I still think that in this sentence it should be without breaking their conversation, but we’ve discussed that already and it’s really more a matter of personal taste than anything else.
Hmmm. One other comment that I didn’t make earlier, but upon reflection seems like a good idea. Angry as she was, she could hardly blame them; now that she looked at her argument herself it was paltry and unconvincing. Going through the chapter yet another time, I noticed that it is a tad bit heavy on semicolons. I personally am a fan of semicolons, but in this particular instance I think that a full stop would be better. Angry as she was, she could hardly blame them. Now that she looked at her argument herself it was paltry and unconvincing. While somewhat connected, the thoughts really are separate enough to belong in separate sentences.
Okay. That was definitely enough in the nitpicking department, even for me. My apologies in advance for any gushing that may follow. I really like this version of the opening. With every draft of this chapter, you’ve made Tonks, Charlie, Kevin, and Bill (yes, even Bill) seem more like the children they are. The tone of their conversation at the beginning is perfect. They’re joking, sarcastic, and natural. I went back and read the first six chapters this morning, and the opening here really shows what was stated at the end of chapter five: the growing friendship between Kevin and Charlie. They’re more accepting of her, and she’s sure enough of their friendship to push a little sometimes, even get mad at them. It’s a small enough change to seem smooth, but big enough to show character development. Brava!
Bill’s speech is greatly improved from the first time I read it; it no longer sounds like Dumbledore. I think I may have seen too much of its transformation process to objectively judge if it sounds like Bill should, so you’ll have to rely on your other reviewers to tell you that. But it’s much, much, much better. And while I’m on the subject of Bill’s speech, what exactly is the Mirror of Narcissus? I know there’s a chance it has absolutely no relevance to the story (or maybe not, given the mirror motif), but my curiosity has gotten the better of me, and I simply want to know. What is its story, and what does it do? I’m terribly curious.
On the same general subject, I really like what you’ve done with Old Magic. I’ve seen the idea used in several stories, but you use it both effectively and (seemingly) effortlessly. It’s clear that you’ve put a great deal of thought into what it is and how it works, rather than simply throwing it out there as a rather transparent plot device. You said once to me that sometimes a story can seem so real that it seems to become canon, so real that in the reader’s mind it becomes a part of the plot of the main books and they can never read them the same way again. Your “Old Magic” does that for me. Seriously. It fits so seamlessly with actual canon that I’ve had a hard time remembering that it’s not canon fact when reading other stories.
Your new transition into the next day works very well. Again, it’s very smooth. The laughter and the mood just sort of sail us over that awkward space of time where nothing happens and right into the next scene. It also takes emphasis off the run-in with Professor Snith, making it more likely that only your more careful readers will really take note of it. >.>
For all the earlier parts of this chapter do a great deal to advance the plot and are, in that sense, far more important, my favorite part of this chapter is the scene between Tonks and Ninette in Potions. We haven’t really seen the two girls interact in quite a while, and you give us a wonderful window into their relationship (if you can call it that). We’ve followed both of them by now, and we know how each perceives the other. They’re each such interesting mirrors for the other…
It’s amazing how you make both girls so sympathetic, even when one of them thoroughly dislikes the other. I think it’s because the reader knows that Ninette is not being snobbish at all, but overcome by shyness and concentrating on corrections and combinations from her ballet lessons, and yet we can feel Tonks’s frustration. I really love them both, you know, and care deeply for both of them.
I could probably go on to write a long, long essay on why I love this chapter, but I don’t want to kill your eyes. So I’m going to leave it at this. *Huggles Nan*
Amazing and polished as always, darling!
Author's Response: Do you ever have to apologize for gushing? I don\'t think so. :) Yes, I know, I\'m currently having a love-affair with semicolons; I\'ll try to restrict myself, but...we shall see. The Mirror of Narcissus? I needed something to fill a gap, and decided to put in something that I could pull out in the future. So I don\'t know exactly what it is (though I have a few ideas hovering in my head), but I could potentially be delving into that matter at some point. I\'m glad you like the Old Magic bit. I really wasn\'t sure where I was going with that, and it went through a myriad of dramatic changes, so I\'m very happy that it rings true for you. That Tonks and Ninette scene was entirely due to you - it was originally one line long. *huggles beta* Thanks, Lian dear.
I have to say, I was extremely skeptical about reading this story because I knew it included ballet. I grew up too involved in the ballet world to be able to tolerate inaccurate or cliché portrayals of the ballet world. I'm happy to say that you've done a good job with it so far, much to my great relief.
Tonks's character amused me quite a bit. Her obsession with beauty bothered me at first because I had never thought of Tonks as thinking that way, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. Depending on how far you take this you may want to show a transition in how Tonks values beauty, but that's up to you-- I could see it going either way.
I think my favorite part of your writing is your dialogue; you have a natural knack for making it seem real (something which I sadly lack). I especially liked Tonks' conversation with her mirror at the beginning of the chapter.
The biggest potential problem I can see is with Charlie. His reaction when he is sorted into Gryffindor is almost identical to Ron's. A little of that goes a long way. When he is interacting with the girls he is his own person, so I don't think it's a problem such as something to watch out for. Don't let Charlie become a caricature of Ron! You are a good writer so I'm not too worried about it, but it is a potential pitfall.
I really love what I've seen so far of this story. It is both original and well written. I'm curious to see where you take it in the next chapters (and I can't wait to see those tunnels)!
I'm so glad you overcame your skepticism - I really appreciate reviews from dancers. (Well, I appreciate reviews from everybody! but dancers who are good writers as well get a special place in my thanks!) I'm glad you think I steered clear of the cliches - please warn me if I begin to steer near them!
I love Tonks! Originally I wasn't going to have her interest in beauty parallel Ninette's, but then I wrote the mirror scene for fun - it wasn't until later that I realized that I had spent two pages on Ninette's theme during Tonks' chapter. Afterwards, I began to like the idea - I think the ability to change your appearance would cause one to focus a lot on appearances. And we did see Tonks debating over what color was better for her, pink or violet . . . As for a transition, I'll let you know now that I am a strong believer in character development - to whatever ends or purpose!
You're right! I didn't even notice the similarity between Charlie and Ron. I haven't read the first book in months - it must have been subconscious. That was somewhat of a filler - I got there and found myself stuck as to a transition, so I stuck Charlie in. Oops! However, I think he does develop a separate personality . . . you can judge that from the fourth and fifth chapters, though. I'm looking forward to the tunnels myself - but I'm still tweaking the ending, and all of chapter four (as you know all too well!), so it might be a while! Thanks for reviewing!
Hello, Nan dearest. Given that I recently spent five hours discussing this chapter with you (and by discussing, I mean nitpicking it to death), I think I’m going to dispense with nitpicking altogether. Shocking, I know. But the idea of doing it yet again … I don’t think I could. I’m also not going to give an “Oh, you finally posted this” review, which may be nice, as I expect you’ll be getting several of those.
So how can I justify reviewing you at all, you might wonder, besides the simple truth that reviewing is loving? Well, I may have gone back and forth with you about various points for an age the other night, but I’ve said very little about what makes this chapter so excellent. So that’s what I’m going to tell you now.
First of all, I think the point of view works really well. The first section seems to be from Tonks’s perspective, but we eventually realize that we haven’t actually been inside her head at all, and that we’ve been seeing everything from Ninette’s point of view. Lovely, really.
I honestly love both of your protagonists (well, and all of your characters), but Ninette is the one I relate to more. Partly it’s her dance. Partly it’s her drive for perfection. And partly it’s her insurmountable loneliness. I identify with all three. How often in those early years of school (before high school, to be honest) did I sit and watch the other kids, and wonder what it would be like they talked to me for anything other than help with their homework? How often (even now) do I have bitter and defeated thoughts? How often do I feel mechanical? How many times as a child did I imagine I was a doll?
And yet, much as I relate to Ninette, I know that she’s far more like you than like me. A very much fictionalized you, yes, with a totally different history. But in many essentials, she has so much in common with you. Including her inability (which is, I admit, even greater than yours) to appreciate her own beauty and grace. However, I digress. Ninette is so real, so pained, so internal… Watching it, she wondered if any of the laughing students at the other table would ever be willing to be friends –– and even if they were, if she would know how to be friends back. She knew even less about having friends than she did about making them. It’s the thoughts like these that make my heart cry.
It is very easy, I think, for a dancer to start feeling that life is mechanical. Because on the days when your soul is heavy and the music no more than beat and background, all the repetitions become very mechanical. It’s hard to make tendu and rond de jambe meaningful, especially with someone like Aunt Edris breathing down your back and demanding all the time. Very easily you slip into a familiar sequence of movement and mental commands: squeeze the backs of your thighs, heel forward, make sure your ribs are closed as you go ‘round to the back. Squeeze the backs of your thighs, heel forward, make sure your ribs are closed as you go ‘round to the back. Ninette approaches her lessons like a ballet barre, doesn’t she?
I went back and reread some earlier chapters today, and I was amazed by how visibly your writing has improved, mostly because I had thought it was excellent to begin with. It’s not that the early chapters are worse than I remembered –– they’re still excellent –– so much as that your style and flow have really matured. Sentence structure, word order, and that sort of thing. It’s really neat to read and see the differences.
I must say I love the plot development in this chapter. It’s put together perfectly, like a Swiss watch. I shan’t say anything beyond that, because I don’t want to give anything away (and reading your review page has taught me that at least a few authors read what I have to say –– poor them with this one and its rambling). It’s all just… wonderfully done. I may be capable (and that’s debatable) of beta-ing your story, but I would never, never, never be able to write it. *tuggles Nan quite hard*
P.S. Happy birthday!!!
Author's Response: The \"trick POV\"was a random idea that I had as I sat down to write the chapter; I needed a way to open it, and I thought \"why not have Ninette watching Tonks?\" It surprised me by becoming such a long scene in its own right, but I was quite happy with it. I love to hear your response about Ninette, because as much as I sympathize with her, I am not a dancer - I\'m always glad to hear that it resonates with you, who are. And yes, I\'m always amazed when I look back at early chapters, at how much my writing has changed. (Also to remember that they were unbeta-ed. ;))*hugs* Thank you!
As I was telling you before our conversation went off and became interesting (all on its own, with us just running behind trying to keep up!), I can't believe I can't find the hard copy I marked up on the last draft of it. So I'm starting over on this from scratch. You've heard what I thought needed fixing. So while I'm going to quibble over a couple of things, mostly I'm going to be going through and telling you what caught my eye as being especially good.
I still don't like your word choice on “quiet but cacophonous.” Cacophonous still implies loud in my mind. I would prefer, dissonant, but I know the musician in you could not sacrifice the musical meaning of the word. And when Edris is complaining about Clara's solo, the step should be chassé turns and not chassés. As a step chassés are fairly easy; it's the turns that make the step difficult. I think this is really my fault since I had so many problems trying to figure out the technical name of the step. But I thought I should tell you all the same.One line really stood out to me from the first time I read it. Ninette had practiced this dance in her room at home - with a pillow, for she had no dolls of her own. Not only does it sound beautiful and make sense, but it speaks volumes about Ninette. The poor child has never had a doll, never had a playmate. This line really brings it home on both a literal and a metaphorical level.
I'm not sure how I feel about your short little paragraph about the second act of the ballet. I know that you wrote it to bring the chapter together into a cohesive whole with the marzipan shepherdesses and the fairies of spun sugar, but I don't think you need it. I think it is already psychologically tied together, especially since you also have the metaphor of the Nutcracker doll.In general I like what you've done with Ninette watching the Morris' party. However, there is one place where I would ask you to choose a different word. You have She watched as Keith, the oldest Morris, held Lottie up to the window, their forms dark against the light background. Background is such a blah, nondescriptive word. You can do better than that. Maybe substitute 'the light of the room' or 'the light of the party' instead. Even 'the light behind them.' But background isn't very descriptive and it sounds like they're posing for a photo shoot, which suggests a lot of shallowness that I know you don't mean to be connected with the Morris family. Am I reading a lot into one word? Absolutely. But it stuck out like a weed among gorgeous flowers.
The scene with Ninette and Aunt Edris is incredibly powerful. It's incredibly real. Unfortunately I have seen some relationships like that between parents/guardians and children in the ballet world. You wrote it vividly enough that you had faces swimming in my mind. The raw emotion behind it-on both sides-is incredibly powerful. Edris is hard and certainly a piece of work, but she's also very real. I hope that we will be seeing more of her, because as a character she fascinates me. And Ninette… she's so vulnerable, so wounded, so unaware of how much she hurts. She has a lot of growing to do. I would hate to be Ninette, but as a character I feel for her and I love reading about her (even if you do think she can be a pain to write…).The ending is just … perfect. Especially having read the previous draft of the chapter ending, I have to say you did a great job with it. This isn't the way I cut it down (at least I think it isn't), but it works better than what I suggested. I'm glad you managed to keep the bit about her mother. It's really powerful, especially without the intervening images of Ninette walking up the stairs to her room and stretching. You kept it short enough; we don't lose the tension and suspense built up during the scene with Edris. But we also have some sense of conclusion, some idea of what's going on inside Ninette's head.
To quote you, I really love this “in case you haven't gotten that message yet.” I know that you were quite nervous about this chapter at one point. It's beautifully written. It's heart wrenching. Lovely work.
*Huggles Lian* Thanks for the absolutely wonderful review. *sends cookies* *sends more cookies* *sends pillow*
Um, anyway...I'm going to use my author's prerogative and stick to cacophonous. For now, at least. As for the chasse turns, I'll definitely turn them into turns. And I see what you mean about the background...I'll have to consider that one.
I'm really, really glad that you think Edris is real. Though she's undoubtedly an ogre, an evil aunt, and all the other things people have described her as, I see her as a struggling person looking for a way to win herself happiness and self worth. (And yes, we are back to our interesting conversation, but I won't go into it now.) I have yet to work out her exact role in the future of the story, but I promise not to let her drop out of sight!
My ego loves all the compliments, so I don't think I'm going to reply to them, but instead I'll sit here and soak them up and feel good about myself. Thanks once again for the beautiful review!
Another wonderful chapter! As usual your portrayal of the characters' emotions was superb. There were however a couple of things that bugged me. The first sentence, [i] he rest of the week, in the House of Black, did not go well[/i], is awkward, and it set me off on the wrong foot for a paragraph or so.
Hermione's reaction didn't seem to tally with her behavior in OotP. While Hermione might once have been so tactless as to say[i] “I hope everything's going well, Harry.”[/i] so soon after his relatives demise, she has grown more tactful in the more recent books and I don't think it's in character for her at the time this is set. I do realize though that I'm a huge nit-picker when it comes to Hermione!The tension was superb, especially between Harry and Snape during the Occlumency lesson. You also did an excellent job showing the interaction between Snape and Remus when Remus brought in the tea. The end of the chapter leaves me craving to know what happens next- take your time to get it right, but I can't wait for the next update!
I see you got it through! I'm dying with the cliffie, but it's lovely to see that you've started another fic! I'll be watching for updates.
Author's Response: Yes, it FINALLY got through, it was in the queue for such a long time. I posted the next chapter earlier today, hopefully it gets through quicker than the first one.
I'm glad you've updated! I felt like McGonagall was slightly OOC at the end-- I can see her getting emotional like that but I really can't see her calling Harry "my dear boy" to his face. That is, however, only my opinion. This is a great story and I can't wait to read more!
First of all I want to say that this was a really interesting idea. The idea of an epic poem telling the history of the world from the centaurs’ perspective is fascinating. I also really liked how you incorporated celestial bodies into their story, especially Moon. It reminded me very vividly of the time Hagrid told Harry that the centaurs weren’t interested in anything closer than the moon. So good job weaving the premise in with canon!
It seems to me though that some of the back story conflicts with canon. It was made pretty clear in OotP and then again in HBP that Firenze was exiled from the centaurs. We also know that centaur foals are very rare and greatly treasured by the herd. I doubt that the centaurs would have allowed any of the foals anywhere near Firenze after he went to work for Dumbledore. Firenze told Harry that he had been cast out of the herd and could never return to the forest, much less his fellow centaurs. That brings me to the other (smaller) problem with the premise. Dumbledore transfigured a classroom to be like the forest for him to teach his students in. I don’t think he would teach out by the lake; it’s far too near the forest. I don’t know if you intend to ever do anything with this piece again, but if you go back to it ever I think you should consider revising the opening. He could share the beautiful poem with them from the enchanted classroom…I only noticed one error in the poem itself. You have The star lent their timeless wisdom to gentle-hearted Chiron. Given the next line, I’m pretty certain that you need to make star into stars plural. Probably just an ‘s’ that didn’t get typed and that didn’t get caught by the computer because it was still a proper word.
The thing I liked best about the poem was the imagery. You have some beautiful phrases that give off vivid images. I particularly liked “Sun drenched skies” and “bones blanketed Earth” (excellent alliteration there!). Actually I noticed beautiful alliteration in a lot of places, but this review would just be a whole bunch of quotes if I tried to list all or even many of them.I feel I need to say again how lovely the idea for this poem is. The story is beautiful and dark, and it has a truly mythic feel. A fantastic idea! I’m so glad I took the time to read it!
Wow! Interesting idea for a story! I really love how you've used so many of the pureblood names mentioned in canon- it's a small touch, but it makes if feel connected to the “current day” stories.
It's a got to be a real challenge to write a fic set so far in the past. I'm sure you did quite a bit of research! In general I'd say you've done a good job of it, but you're dialogue is a bit too contemporary. I doubt the students spoke so casually in Albus's day, even in private. Some of the ideas they express are also quite twentieth (or twenty-first) century. I doubt any child would have said “Some people in this world have trouble accepting reality.” in the early 19th century world. You have done a good job of portraying (and creating) attitudes towards women (and muggleborns), and for that I commend you.I like how you've portrayed Albus-- I can see how this little boy could become the man we know 140 years from now. However, my favorite character so far is Isabel. She seems to have quite an interesting personality which is all her own. I can't wait to see more of her! Dragomir's character is quite good too, but less unusual than Isabel's.
This fic is tightly written with superb details. I'm really enjoying it and I can't wait to read more!
Author's Response: "Some people in this world have trouble accepting reality" was actually said by Professor Butler (she was referring to the Headmaster, whom she obviously dislikes). Thanks for the long review! As far as the rest of the dialogue, it's been very difficult to write, which is the reason why it sounds a bit more modern. The dialogue of the children is a bit more casual than that of the adults', and the reason they don't speak in such formal tones is because I'm trying to show a difference in class (a big issue in the Victorian era). Dragomir speaks much more formally than Albus, who is not terribly rich and comes from a farm, and Tom, whose family is very informal (as you will see in later chapters when Albus meets his friends' parents).
While this is not the most action packed chapter I have ever read, I have to say I loved it. The characters are at once intriguing and amusing and I want to find out more about them. Rosmerta didn't seem quite as cheery or dramatic as she usually appears, but we usually see her in the afternoon when the pub is filled with eagerly spending Hogwarts students. You managed to make that Tabitha woman creepy while still telling us almost nothing about her. Well done! I also really enjoyed the spunky Ravenclaw girl and the snotty professor who couldn't be bothered to be polite. Please keep going with this as I am enjoying it immensely!
Author's Response: Thank you, HermioneDancr. Prologues are always tricky because they are naturally slow in that they give a hint but not the full story. Rosmerta is a character I have never written before and I like to think she is fun and gossipy with the touch of the jaded landlady about her. The other characters are the inspiration of the other authors and I just introduced them. I hope I did them justice in this brief taster and I'm glad you liked it. The next chapter has been submitted and I know you'll love it.
CHAPTER 14 IS UP! CHAPTER 15 IS IN QUEUE!
I'm glad you've started the sequel! And I'm oh so honored to be the first to review!
I'm surprised that Harry didn't react more to Ron becoming both Head Boy and Quidditch Captain, especially considering how he reacted when Ron became a Prefect in OotP. I suppose that Harry's grown up a bit in the last year. That incident in the Caves might have done a lot to make him grow up… About their special sleeping arrangements: is Ron aware of this? Is he any part of this? I would think that he might take advantage of Ginny's absence to stay with Hermione. It bothered me somewhat that you didn't mention him.I absolutely loved Hermione's dilemma over the house elf! It's really a difficult situation for her, isn't it? She'll have to move in some direction over the issue, because I don't see things working out too well as they stand. Just a hunch: is Zeppie connected in any way to Lucius Malfoy? Maybe I'm just trying to make some sense out of the cliffhanger, but maybe not…
I liked how you did Mrs. Weasley; she seemed really in character and you didn't fall into the cliché of making her hug Harry once every seventeen seconds. I'd also like to know how exactly Harry and Ron are going to feel about Snape's presence at the Burrow. Their reactions are likely to be more… drastic than those of the rest of the household.All in all, a well done beginning to what I hope will become a well done story. You have a lot of grounding in canon and that makes your story really enjoyable to read. Keep up the good work; I'll be looking for that next update!
I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see that you’d updated this! Even though it was forever ago and I’ve read many fics since, I still remembered what was going on in this one well enough to be able to read and understand without having to reread. I think that says something about how much I like this story and how well it stayed in my mind.
This is a SPEW review and I am in love with nitpicking, so off I go. The grammar and structure was all pretty much rock solid, so I don’t have too much to say on the subject. The only thing that really stuck out at me was As Harry and Ginny straightened scattered books and cushions, Harry couldn’t help but think things were going pretty good. I think you need to change ‘good’ to ‘well’ since it’s acting as an adverb rather than an adjective.There. Nitpicking complete. As usual in your work, the chapter flows quite well. I really like what you’re doing with Draco and Luna’s relationship, and I can’t wait to see what happens between Draco and Lucius over the snake! I also really like what you’re doing with Morgan and I can’t wait to see more of her, especially (hopefully) some development between her and the four main characters.
I’ve always loved the twists and turns you put into your plots. There are many fics out there with cute moments and proposal scenes and Harry and Ginny/Ron and Hermione falling in love. But most of them don’t have the sweet moments side by side with riveting plot twists and intense action scenes. Nor do most of them have your creativity. I’m glad you decided to come back to this story, because I can’t wait to read more!
Author's Response: Oooooo....a nice long juicy review! Just as soon as my new chapter is out of queue, I will make the change you suggested. You're right, it will sound much better. This chapter was actually written six months ago and just not submitted during my months in the bottomless pit with no internet connection. All following chapters are freshly written. Thanks so much for coming back!
This was great! I especially loved the way you showed the centaurs at the beginning-- shaded with her prejudice. It really made Umbridge seem real as a narrator. You also did a good job of showing her nature to be both calculating and power hungry.
I also liked how you tried to show how she had become the woman she is. However, I think you could have heightened the effect by being more specific about her experiences at school. It's tricky to do because you don't want to disrupt the balance of the piece (which, by the way, is very good). However, I would have liked to see more about her transition from being used (at school) to being cast aside (after graduation). This could be a defining moment in her character. You moved right through it without stopping. I think it bothered me more because its proximity in the story to her relationship with Fudge (which was so detailed).I loved how you gave us her first impressions of Fudge and really showed how she had seen him as a pawn to get herself into favor. It fits perfectly with her character and it helps fit the story into canon (which you also did a great job with). It really made sense how she had latched herself onto him when it became clear to her that he was a contender.
I was surprised by the way you portrayed Umbridge's relationship with Harry. I'd always thought of her as having a personal vendetta against Harry. The way you portrayed her, she saw Harry as just another pawn on the road to power (please excuse the awfulness of that mixed metaphor above). I liked this; it fit so well with her personality. However, I would still have expected her to be angrier at Harry than she was. Harry made her look bad as Headmistress, regardless of Voldemort's return. With her thirst for power, Umbridge would probably hate him for it. She's always seemed rather adept at blaming others…My favorite part of your story was the ending. It was funny and well written and it explained the holes left in the book. Like the rest of the story, the ending displayed a great sense of humor. It tied it up neatly and led us straight into the passage we know from the book. You did a great job of the structure; it flowed well and made logical sense. Thanks for providing me with such a great read!
Yes, I did skip around a bit in Umbridge's life. I didn't really feel like going into her teaching experience much because seh was still rather dazed by the centaurs and such.
Wow. You managed to convey the joy and the sorrow of death after lives well lived. It was urgent but overwhelmingly calm. It was beautiful. You have a remarkable ability for portraying the depth of human emotion. I can see what you mean when you say this story came to you and had to be written.
The first few paragraphs could use some tightening up. While the descriptions are good, I think they would be more effective if they were fewer and tighter. The beginning doesn’t have the same tension as the rest of the story. I liked it though when you talked about all her memories—it really helped me internalize how much time has passed. I also liked her worry about the judgment of those she left behind; it struck me both as very real and as a very Maeve thing to do. There’s a part of me that wants to know how they felt and reacted, but I’m glad you didn’t include it; this is not their story.The bit about[i] “Death would win the wizarding lottery that night”[/i] jarred me a bit. It doesn’t seem to fit with the tone of the rest of the story. I’m being picky here, I know, but I feel that it detracted from the flow.
Nit-picky comments aside, this was a beautiful story and I could gush about it for hours. It rang true to my soul. Not many fics do that. Thank you for sharing this with us!
Author's Response: Well, the first part was slow because she was reflecting over what had been and what it was now. The sense of urgency picked up because she had made a decision and knew that she needed to act fairly quickly because her time was running out. So if you felt that about it then it worked. :-) I do agree a little about the wizarding lottery. I hesitated about putting it in and almost cut it out. I'll have to re-look at that part.
I'm pleased it struck a chord with you, it was quite emotional to write so, from an authors point of view, it's good to see it having that effect.
It's taken me a while to get around to it, but after reading your thread on Maggie I was curious to see her in your story. You've got a nice beginning here; keep going with this story, okay? I know you like to write a lot of different stories at once (or at least I get that impression), but this one is really worth your attention.
I found it really interesting that Harry and Ginny brought up their children at least partly in the Muggle world. For instance, Anne was clutching a flashlight when she went to Maggie's room. In many stories I might see this as an inconsistency, but you've written Harry and Ginny in such a way that it makes sense. They've retreated from the center of the magical world, but they haven't left it all together. It's an approach I've seen in many stories, but not all of them managed to make it convincing. My one word of caution is that you need to stick to what you've decided upon (and possibly explain it a little more) throughout the rest of the story.I didn't quite understand the “Greta-Lily” nickname. It didn't make sense to me and we were given no reference as to where it came from. It also would have been nice if you made it clear earlier in the story that they were leaving for Hogwarts in the morning. Maggie's conversation with her father would have made more sense in that context as would have her conversation with James. Their departure seemed rather abrupt; we knew school was on Maggie's mind, but that was it. She didn't seem to say goodbye to her home until she was already gone. Also, given her behavior the previous night I would have expected Anne to have a harder time letting go of her older sister. Aside from Anne creeping to Maggie's room, there didn't seem to be much affection between the sisters. Are they distant? Maggie's relationship with Anne seemed especially odd in contrast to her relationship with Harry.
In general, the writing could use some tightening up, but it's a good story with some compelling characters. I look forward to reading future chapters!
Author's Response: Wow, thanks. That's really helpful, I wish I'd had thought of those things before. My beta's mostly concentrated on grammer. The Greta-Lily thing was pointless, Harry just likes using the name since it's his mother's. I'll try and add something there. I'll probably go through and make some changes. I'm also working on chapter two, but you're right, I do start way more stories than I finish. You're right about Anne too, she probably should have been more upset about her sister leaving. Anne isn't very mature either. Harry and Ginny mostly only use magic for the necessary. They cook the muggle way and that sort of thing. Their children definately don't use magic at home.
I can't believe no one has reviewed this yet! In general I liked it, though there were a couple of things which I found either puzzling or confusing. I also want to commend you: I've read several "Snape at Hogwarts" stories, and most of them get bogged down in pointless romances, something which you have so far avoided. Thank you!
I found myself somewhat confused by the first couple of paragraphs after the Sorting Hat's song; it took me a couple of times through to figure out what was going on. It took me a while to understand that McGonagall had been scolding during the Hat's song, partly because it seems somewhat out of character to me (she wouldn't be that rude); I think she'd be more likely to keep them after the feast or yell at them before the Sorting. However, that's only my opinion.I was also puzzled by one of your sorting decisions. Ludo Bagman may not necessarily be good, but I simply don't see him as a Slytherin. Again, that's just one reader's humble opinion.
What I really liked was your characterization of Severus. He was lonely without being pitiable. You could see his older self that we know from the books, but at the same time he was still a kid. Curious, slightly sullen, and afraid. He's a real person. You put in just enough humor for the reader to be able to laugh at him, but not so much that the character gets swallowed within the humor.You could use some more editing/proofreading, but you've got the beginning of a nice story here. Please keep going with it! I look forward to seeing more.