Summary: “Tom Riddle had measured the depth of his soul, and had found it was enough to live forever.”
Find out what drives the darkest wizard of all time, and how he became so evil.
I just had to read this fic; it featured our very dear Tom! And oh my, you do seem to capture the cold, dark character so well. I'd even go ahead and say that I love your 'dark' character stories more than the others, just because they seem to have this dark depth which is explored and analysed well, and so beautifully described.
This was no exception. The glimpses into Tom Riddle's head scare me at times, but somehow, I find them quite realistic. After all, the mind of a psychopath should be able to be explained in terms of actions and deeds-- one of which you've chosen to explore through this fic. =D As ever, I found that your description was right on target. It sets up the mood of the fic well, and functions as a refreshing change from the monotonous flow of Tom's thoughts which is the main part of the fic. Also, I found it interesting to see how you employ description as an accessory to the characterisation. The caution and the alertness that Tom possesses is one of the shining examples of how description aided the characterisation here.
I think I particularly liked the part when you describe Tom's reaction to the carcass of a dead rabbit, and what thoughts it brings to his head. You bring about his fear towards the force of death very well at this point, and how he wished to overcome it. Tom, as a character, is an enigma. One moment he reminds me of a domineering, pretensive character, and the next, we see his deepest fears that he so effectively tries to suppress. Small acts such as rubbing his ring to calm himself down, and glancing all around are just examples which add to his character, and I quite like the use of those here.
His relationship with his father, and what he thought of him now, was another point that created an impact. I like your take on that subject-- the fact that Tom decided to hate the emotion of love just because of his own little conclusion drawn about his family. It's a biased opinion, no doubt about that, but it's reasonable. After all, he did live his life without his parents.
One thing that I found a little irksome was the fact that the first few beginning paragraphs just refer to Tom as 'the young man in black'. After a few times, that reference gets monotonous, and I felt that 'Tom' could have been used a little earlier than you chose to introduce the name into the story.
The ending of the story, and the glee that Tom feels, despite coming there to perform what was undoubtedly a gory act was just bang on target. His dearth of feelings towards his father's home, and the absence of love totally does give us a clue of what 'older Tom' would be. He really was very much in character and in accordance with canon, a fact that I must appreciate. It's a difficult task to write characters that are completely in character and in accordance with canon, and I really admire how far you've come through in this case. It would've made a very good filler in the HBP, I think. =D
Author's Response: Wow thank you very much for this wonderful review. I really appreciate the time you took to write such well thought out feedback. A lot of people really seem to like the rabbit scene and the funny thing is, is that I added that in at the last minute. It popped into my head and I added it in. As for this being a filler in HBP, I could never ever be as good as JK Rowling, but I do really appreciate the sentiment! Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful words.
They say that just before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. But what does that really mean? How can a whole life be squashed into a few seconds?
Bellatrix Lestrange thinks she has lived a satisfying life. But it all comes back to earth when she's faced with her own mortality. She is forced to realise her wrongs, realise that she had never achieved what she had wanted as a child.
She is now faced with a question. The toughest one she has ever had to answer:
What could she have changed to make her life even better?
Her answer: everything.
Third place in the August Inter-House Co-Op!
The descriptive powers of both of you has never ceased to amaze me. Wonderful descriptions, especially that of Bella's death. The crude delight in torture that Bella liked, has been well portrayed in these lines:
"I put the laughter in slaughter! she delighted. That was a good joke, worthy of more laughs. And the more she let out this dark humour in her soul, the more it incensed her opponent! It was wonderful. That’s it, let it eat at you! Work harder now in your rage!"
Very effective, I must say.
The description of death in Bella's mind is something that has been approached to with marvellous precision. I was flabbergasted at the imagery in the words.
I have a few small nitpicks:
Cissy! Meda!’ she screamed, running when at last it was safe towards the two little figures.
I think this sounds better: Cissy! Meda!’ she screamed, running when at last it was safe to move towards the two little figures.
‘We were just dizzy, is all!
You have missed the word 'that' in the above sentence.
The characterisation of Cissa in these sentences seems a bit off.
“I cannot believe she’s gone,” Cissy whispered for the hundredth time. Bella couldn’t help but roll her eyes.
“It’s good that she’s gone,” she stated. “She is nothing but a filthy Mudblood-lover.”
Cissy’s head snapped up as if Bella had insulted her, not their sister.
I always felt that Narcissa would always side with Bella, especially when it came to the matter of Pure-blood supremacy. Narcissa was definitely in her concluding years of Hogwarts when Andromeda ran away with Ted. I believe that she'd have definitely formed an opinion on the matter by this age.
Other than that, Narcissa has never struck me as a person who would fight against Bella, she never seemed as one who was outspoken, one who would fight against her elder sister.
“You very well could have!” she shrieked.
The green continued to burn in her mind, blinding her. Bella shook her head again, but the memory of that green curse that had come close to hitting her was so vivid… so similar…
I think you are referring to two different scenes now. One in the Black manor with Barty Crouch Jr., and another in the Great Hall, with Molly Weasley. A paragraph break is necessary here to denote the change of scene.
Bella arced in the air and fell to the hard ground.
Arched has been misspelled.
Overall, the characterisation of Bella was marvellously done. I liked the vivd imagery and the questions that were going through her mind when the flash of green light came from Molly's hand and it reached her.
However, I do not think that she'd have had the time to think of all these events and the questions with that short span of time. Death seems to be instantaneous in the books, taking you suddenly by surprise(example: Sirius's death), but here it seems as though she had a lot of time to think of her whole life until the flash of green reached her.
Author's Response: Thanks so much for the review, HJP! And for all the corrections!
In regards to some of your comments...
With Narcissa, we learn in DH that she is a compassionate person who would do anything for her son and husband, even though she has a good mask to hide behind. We wanted to portray this in our story. Although Narcissa wouldn't usually speak up to her sister like this, she would know that Bella is headed down a dark road, and even though Narcissa has gone part of the way, she is not continuing with Bella. Narcissa loves her sister and tries to convince Bella to turn away from Voldemort, and after this doesn't work, she panics and pretty much begs her sister. We did this intentionally to show that Narcissa always was that compassionate, yet suppressed person she is in DH.
With the paragraph break, we also did this intentionally. We wanted the memory and real life to flow together with no discernible beginning. So that's why there's no break; it would just defeat the purpose
And with the 'instantaneous death' thing. The big difference with our story to the HP books is that we are writing from the point of view of the person that is dying - and I know that Harry died, etc. etc. But it's fanfiction! Also, the total span of the story would be a few seconds in total, but we slowed it down for the sake of the story. Because otherwise we would have only written about three words!
Once again, thanks for the review and corrections - I am always so blind in regards with my own writing. Thank you!
Summary: Sirius has spent ten years of his life locked up for crimes he had not committed. Hopelessness and despair seemed to be the only way out for Black, who has to face his worst memories everyday. Azkaban would have destroyed Sirius if it hadn’t been for James. See what comes of a person who survives Azkaban, and finds a measure of peace along the way.
A lovely premise has been explored through this story. Usually, Sirius' younger days are seen and explored in most fanfics, but you have broken out of the usual mold, and have written something very interesting and intriguing. The beginning of the chapter itself has been brought about in a very wonderful manner, and the first line was very descriptive. You've made great use of imagery, and in the dark and angsty atmosphere, there is a lot of powerful emotion which is brought out. The emotions have been captured very well, and I can truly see Sirius being on the verge of insanity during his first few years at Azkaban.
People went into the void, but rarely did they ever come back out. If they did come back out, they would never be the same.
This line, especially, created an impact on me, and I'd like to commend you on that.
There were 3,650 hash marks. Sirius couldn’t believe that 10 years of his life had slipped by.
Here, somehow, I can't imagine Sirius counting the number of hash marks on the wall, his character always seems to appear a little impatient to do such a thing. However, I can understand it if you want to portray Sirius' complete boredom through these lines. That could very well be a reason for his counting the number of hashes.
The ending lines of this story were really intriguing. In the paragraph before the last line, you've described very adequately what Sirius felt like, and how close to insanity he'd been.
Insanity had seemed like an easy way out for Black in those early years. Despised by his friends, feared and hated by the magical community, Black could have easily have been destroyed by Azkaban. He would have become just another number, another forgotten name and another person buried in an unmarked grave.
Very powerful emotions, yet again, and it was truly enjoyable to read his feelings written in such an eloquent manner. The last line, contradicted the entire paragraph before that, and just that single line made me sit up and wonder what you would come up with in the next chapter. Very good use of literary technique to build a suspense.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this chapter, and I feel that you've done an astounding job with almost every aspect of the chapter. Very well done!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the in depth review. I really appreciate all the feedback you have given and I'm sorry it took so long to respond to this lovely review.
NOT An Essay On The Life And Achievements Of Harry Potter by Goodbye_Earl
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 18]
Lily Luna Potter is given History of Magic homework to write about the life and achievements of one Harry Potter, and (being the abnormal weirdo that she is) she decides to write it in verse. Sadly, Lily is labouring under the delusion that she is a talented poet, even though her rhyming is almost as good as her mother’s (as exhibited in CoS)…
Well this is what she wrote! Professor Binns won’t know what’s hit him...
A millon billion trillion Thank Yous to lunirina, who saved this from the horrific state it was in!
You've summarised the entire series quite adequately in this poem, and have touched almost all of the major plot points. Commendable job on that! However, I do feel that there are some points which you could've included; especially a word or two about Mad-Eye Moody and the imposter. The ending of that paragraph seems to bother me a little.Another thing which could've been included was the Hippogriff bit, which plays an important role in Sirius' escape. The ending again, was unexpected, but you wrapped it up quite well.
Another thing which occured to me while reading this was a question regarding a point which you make here. Lily Luna seems to know all about Disney, but as she was brought up in a all wizard family, that seems a little weird to me.
McGonagall was strict, and Snape was a bitch,
But it all kicked off on the Quidditch pitch.
Malfoy stole Prof. Longbottom’s Rememberall
And flew off with it, breaking the rules!
In this paragraph, the order of events seems to have been reversed. The meeting at the Quidditch Pitch was after the incident wherein Draco stole the the Remembrall. By the way, Remembrall is misspelled there.
And in a girl’s bathroom a diary was found.
Tom Riddle? Sounds like a bad guy to me.
But the diary was stolen! Who could it be?
A message daubed on the wall in red ink,
Here again, the events aren't in chronological order. The writing on the wall appeared much much before Harry found the diary in Myrtle's bathroom. Another thing which bothered me about this part was the rhyme scheme. It seems to go off-tangent over here, especially in the last line. You return to the random alternate rhyme scheme which you utilise throughout the poem, but here, the last line seems to jut out, and that makes it go a little awry. Once small thing: Basilisk is misspelt in this paragraph.
Task Three was a maze worse than at Hampton Court.
Here, though you've compared the maze quite well, I still wonder if Lily would know about Hampton Court at all. As I mentioned before, she was brought up in an entirely wizard atmosphere, and according to me, she wouldn't know much about the Muggle world.
Had an adventure and found a locket
Which, for the sake of rhyme, Dumbledore put in his pocket.
I loved the way you've used Lily's wacky attitude over here. It is funny, well, to me atleast.
And, at the Lovegood’s, a narrow escape.
That should be Lovegoods'
Locked in a cellar that smelt like doom,
They escaped from what could have been their tomb.
In this case, spelt doom seems much more precise and well-fitting rather than 'smelt like doom'.
Overall, I feel that the poem could undergo a few changes to the chronological order of events, and a few technical changes, with regards to rhyme scheme and spellings. I did like it, but I feel that this could sound a little better with a few changes .
Author's Response: Okay, thanks for the tips!
Summary: The Greek breed of merpeople are known as Sirens, and have entranced many a foolish sailor to his watery doom by means of their fair singing. But in many cultures there are tales of Sirens who have succumbed to the same snare they have spun so many: love.
Hello Phia! =)
Hun, this was some amazing writing. Just so...emphatic. It's bursting with emotion, and the Siren's agony and pain is brought out so well throughout the poem. I think the rhyme scheme and the imagery just added to all of the emotion, and I could see how the world seemed so different from the Siren's perspective.
I think the first stanza just set the mood and feel of the poem. It was the choice of words, I think, that made it so powerful. The comparison to the ocean with tears of angels just spoke volumes of what was to come. Then again, we see how she felt that everything around her was mocking her, and as you so rightly put it, leering at her captivity. The world is what you wish to see it like, isn't it? The same gulls and mountains at dawn would arouse different feelings in a person who is happy. The perspective with which the Siren sees what she does was probably what told me that it wasn't a happy-ever-after existence.
I stand, caught on the precipice ‘twixt two worlds;
I might just be in love with this line. It doesn't really let go of that imagery and beauty of the previous paragraph, and connects it to the next one flawlessly. The allusion to dawn was something else that floored me. The paradox of sorts creates this really awesome feel. And might I chance a guess? If I remember right, it was the Greek Goddess of Dawn, Eos, who held Tithonus captive by the very power that's mentioned in your poem(love). Could there be an allusion to that? If you've done your research right, I'm pretty sure there is. I also get reminded of Tennyson's Tithonus when I read this.
And then we see the extent of the Siren's captivity. How she had sacrificed her life in the water for the love of a man, and how foolish she had been in thinking that it would last forever.
Entangled in infatuation, sacrificing all
So simply put, but so profound when you look at its meaning. It is just marvellous to see how you could put her whole web of problems in just five simple words. Articulate, I'd say. The clarity of thought was the first thing that struck me, and then there were these pieces of the puzzle, the clues that you'd begun giving from the very beginning, that put themselves together so perfectly. I loved this line for so many reasons.
The pain afterwards, and her unmistakable feeling of regret, was something else that captivated me. Her perspective, and how her world changed after she set foot on land, ensnared by the love which inevitably didn't last long, just brings the reader to notice that not all decisions turn to be right, and most often, those that are taken in haste are those that we regret most. Quite often, they're not reversible.
Sure I can't break, nor even resist his will.
His cursed seed within me, broken now I stand
I quoted the two lines for a specific purpose. The one thing that struck me was the use of the word 'break'. I couldn't help but notice it, so I'm rather sure that it was intentional. I just can't begin comprehend the beauty that these lines put together bring about. The same word, in two different contexts; two different meanings, two different worlds. Amazing, in a word.
Honestly, if there was really something that bothered me in this exquisite piece of writing, it had to be the rhyme scheme in the last two lines of the second-last stanza. 'Defiance' and 'dance' don't really rhyme that well when compared to the perfectly rhyming lines throughout the poem. That was my one and only observation which was negative, because this poem has to be one of my all-time favourites. It's just flawless on so many levels!
The use of 'Cold Dawn' was remarkable in the last stanza. I somehow loved the way you put across the last few lines of the poem. There's a feeling of hopelessness, despair and loss, and somehow, there's still anger at her own self, and a pang of grief as she hears that song again.The reminiscence and the thoughts going through her mind at that point of time is almost incomprehensible, and I love it when you leave it to the reader to try and understand it all. It was a perfect ending to a wonderfully written piece of work.
Author's Response: Oh wow, HJ. I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to respond to this amazing review, I haven't been on MNFF for so long. And I can't believe you picked that Greek myth that inspired me! Well, there are a few of that ilk, but I especially had that one and a Celtic one about a Selkie (the original ones, the seal women) in mind. Honestly, the amount of thought you've put into this review would have to be at least equal to the amount of thought I put into the poem! And thanks for pointing out the defiance/dance thing, it rhymed in my head but now that I read it out loud I see what you mean. I'll have to fix that. This review - left over a year ago for a poem I haven't read in as long - absolutely floored me. I hope you're still on MNFF to get this response, because I want you to know how thrilled and flattered I am by it. You've made my day. :) x
Summary: Remus never had much faith.
Oh. My. God. What a brilliant story! It's been a really long time since I've read such a series of scenes, and liked it so very much. I'm not a huge fan of tiny scenes of a single character that are strung together, but this was some amazing writing, and it's difficult for me to stop squeeing after having read this. *Favourites*
I think it was the description that pulled me in. It was so apt and drove the point so well. I think that you have a great skill for description- the metaphors, allusions, and personifications blended in so well with the flow of plot, and accented it beautifully. I also loved the reference to Lethe, by the way. Totally one of my favourite lines ever.
I also feel that the characterisation of Remus was beautifully brought out through his actions and thoughts. The reading of this story felt like a journey through his mind- a closer picture to what we know. The scenes that you chose to depict in this story, to me, are very relevant to Remus' life. First you bring out how his life shattered into pieces after the death of the Potters, and then you bring out how his life has become afterwards. The monotony in his actions, and his mindset which you picturise remarkably well with the references to sunrise and sunset. I loved how the war brings about a stark contrast between the second scene and the third, and how very different his reactions had become.
The ending, however, will remain my most favourite part. By Gods, it was magnificent. In the heartbeat before the darkness flies forth, it is not a shower of light, but something akin to that, something a little like love, or like happiness, that makes the heart burst and the throat constrict, something, he thinks – knows – fleetingly, a bit like peace at finding what he had lost. So, so remarkably touching. I could feel the emotions just bursting out through in these lines, and the thought process seems so realistic, like that of a person who is facing death. I liked that it was not memories/thoughts/emotions that are projected here, as they often are, but the description of what exactly the feeling of death is, more like. That is not something I see often, especially when I read stories concentrating mainly on the topic of death and the emotions felt at the point of time.
Overall, all I have to say is that I was literally floored by this masterpiece. Wonderful work!
Summary: We all have to make choices in life. Some decisions are harder to make than others.
Colin Creevey discovers this on the night of his death.
Julia dear! -hugs-
This was such a touching story, dear. You chose a minor character which hasn't been given much of a role in the books, but here, we get to see a new side to this character, and the premise you chose was in many ways, fitting, and really gave us a new perspective to the person we know as Colin Creevey.
The beginning, with its description and the commotion, was realistically done. It wasn't all heavy on description-- more like what Colin noticed alone. That reduced the clutter of describing all the simultaneously occurring scenes, and that made it easy for us, the reader, to see how he was extremely confused. His emotions and feelings are brought to the forefront, and I liked how the description merely aided it, instead of taking the front seat there. The feeling of confusion is one of the first things that I felt as I read through his being in the battle-- it comes across quite strongly.
The fact that you don't spend too much time on the description of the battle; instead, move on to the conversation soon, also played a role in my liking the story. It wasn't too long drawn, yet, it played its role in the overall picture. I liked the contrast that's brought about early in the story between how he viewed the battle scene as he was alive, and how he viewed the same battle scene when dead. We can see his confusion at the sudden peace and calm, and how he furtively hopes for guidance.
Nearly Headless Nick guiding him through the 'in-between', as I call it, was fitting as well, and I could sense a feeling of regret in Nick's voice as he spoke to Colin. Colin's first reply and his mental deliberation on the matter was remarkably well done, too. His emotions move from being that of being sure that he would stay on earth, to being irrational about it all, and then finally to accepting it and moving on. The transition is brought out slowly, but you substantiate it so well with examples, especially where he sees his body being carried away by Oliver. And we can see Colin's confusion and his irrationality for a moment in this line so well. I ran down the steps, and tried to go back into my body, trying to get my hand to move when I placed my translucent one on it.
The ending had a sense of finality to it all; it wrapped up the story so neatly, and there I understood how significant the title was. It was a choice; a really tough one, and I could totally connect with Nick's proud smile that you describe at that point of time. Also, it projected a sort of growth in Colin, something that's subtly brought out underneath what is actually written. Wonderful work, dear.
Summary: Sirius and Regulus steal themselves away and have an excursion towards the suburbs of London. What awaits the brothers?
I must admit, the title fits the story perfectly. The Bridge to Happiness...it connects to the story on two levels-- one of the physical bridge mentioned in the story, and second, the bonding between the two brothers. I liked the way the two brothers are still brothers, and not enemies of any kind, as many fics I've read portray them to be. The childhood boyishness and the spirit of adventure was caught spot-on, and there's this point where I just go "Aww" while reading.
While the story was really good on the emotional aspect, I felt that the style of writing it was clipped, or rather, in short sentences. As it actually originated from a drabble, that's understandable, but prolonged use of short sentences in narration affects the flow and doesn't really work at a lot of times, except for short bursts of emotion. I liked its usage at the end, but during the course of the flashback-- not so much.
There were also a few things which confused me.
I had no plan or even an idea of where to go, but as long as it was away from Grimmauld Place, presumably very far away, I didn’t mind where it would take us.
In the above sentence, what exactly is 'it'? As the first half of the sentence is in active voice, whereas the second half in passive, so I found it terribly confusing! And I'm not sure if it's grammatically right either.
‘With what did you pay?’ my brother continued questioning me, not listening to my request for him to sit down. ‘You don’t have money.’
I'd love to know what was Sirius' and Regulus' age when this occurs. Sirius' has to be less than eleven years I'm guessing, but then again, if it is so, Regulus would be around six-eight, and such young children do not usually tend to know about things such as tickets and Muggle money. After all, they were the heirs of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, which thought that it was below their dignity to use anything Muggle-made.
I also wondered how Sirius knew so much about the Underground and the Tube too. Yes, I can see that he had a fascination with Muggle stuff, but at that young age, knowing so much about London's Underground is not something I'd have expected.
Another small nitpick was the fact that the Tube in the sixties(during which time the story is possibly based) was not red. The buses were, but not the trains.
However, the events after the duo reached the new spot of their adventure, was really well captured. Regulus mimicking the couple; the wheat-field and the bridge, and the small run-in with the feline was narrated nicely, and I liked the way you brought about the togetherness when they were there. It sort of makes me go "Aww" and then want to just hug the two brothers. It's cute.
The ending too, I love. Sirius seems to have forgiven his brother on some level after his death; enlightened perhaps by his own experience in Azkaban. It seemed like he'd gone back in time to when everything was all right, and nothing was a mess that his life had become afterwards. Sometimes, remembrances bring forth strong emotions, like the one described above-- it makes me wonder if Sirius still felt like the elder brother after all the bitter years that had passed in between.
The last line, however , didn't make some sense.
The ear of wheat remained on the old desk, lying forgotten next to a drop of a silent tear.
I don't see how the ear is forgotten, if Sirius obviously remembered it to have gone to his brother's room and reminisced about that day. Also, if it were forgotten, it wouldn't be there in the first place.
I could say that, overall, while I loved the premise and the feel that the story evoked, a little more work on the smaller, yet significant parts of the story, would've made it even better.
Author's Response: Thank you for that thorough review, H.J. *hugs*
Reading your review, I notice how much holes the one-shot has. I admit, I didn't really work too much on it back when writing the story. It was more the result of a spur of sudden inspiration from the brawl prompt. But now, with your tips, I might actually sit down and rewrite it to something better. :)
Concerning the age: Sirius was not yet in Hogwarts, so he would be around ten or eleven. Regulus' year of birth we know: 1961. Taking into account that Sirius was born between September 1959 and August 1960, he was around one year older than Regulus only, which would make Regulus in this one-shot be of nine or ten years.
Concerning the sentence that confused you: with "it" I meant the place they where going to. Although, rereading the sentence now out of the context, it really doesn't make much sense. I should truly sit down and work more on the one-shot.
Again, thank you so much for that eye-opening review, H.J. *pickles*
Summary: Al doesn't like his name. Or being named after two oddballs. He asks Uncle Ron, “Why couldn’t Mum have named me instead?” so then maybe he could have had a better name. Well, this is why...
Big thanks to Azhure for beta-ing this!
This was a short and sweet little insight to Albus Severus' young life, and the incident was described perfectly, especially the small flashback scene which tied in so well. I must say, the summary was what drew me to the story, because the mystery beneath a name-- ahh. It's something that I'd love to have seen written down, and the idea of Ginny naming her child something else has been a possibility that I've wondered about since the time I read the epilogue. I won't lie, I actually thought I'd be seeing a full-blown angst with Albus finally realising why he'd been named that way, that too after two Headmasters who couldn't have been more different from one another. However, the incident described in the story just gave a completely different twist to the story, and it was a very refreshing read. =)
I liked how you began the narration with his name itself, and bring about Albus' all too familiar annoyance at his name. The style with which you wrote, that of plunging right into the topic without any description or narration, fit in really well. It was to-the-point and direct, a style that worked well throughout the story. I somehow also liked the fact that Albus was interested in books far beyond his age level... a fact which I usually tend to find cliche'd. It justified the "Potter Gene" comment, I felt.
Ron calling Albus by his full name was probably the only thing that bothered me a little. Ron doesn't strike me as someone who would resort to formally calling children by their christened names. It also seemed contradictory; Ron calls his daughter "Rosie" in the next few lines.
The flashback scene was perfect, though. I loved the point at which you brought about the transition from the present to that incident. The setting seemed to change suddenly, but I found that the conversation between the three men at that time to be very hilarious. The names that you came up with in Ginny's "list" was another thing that made me chuckle out loud; the mixing up of popular characters to form really absurd names was a great idea. George's characterisation was something else that I loved... he seemed to have regained his usual, jovial self. =D
The ending was just superb, I felt. Ron putting across the fact so simply, and Albus' very short reply, which spoke volumes; both have to probably be my most favourite lines in the story. That was just a very brilliant way of ending the story, and I found that it was effective. It leaves little doubt as to what Albus' feelings were at the end of his enlightening conversation, and probably teaches him to be grateful for what he's got already. Bad is better than worse, isn't it?
Overall, it was a great story! Keep writing!
Author's Response: Ooooh.. a long review!:D I am speechless -- overwhelmed by your review -- so I hope I can convey my response understandably enough. Ah, the name. It came about as just a little quote I thought of. It was posted in my DeviantArt, going like this: "Maybe Harry was just worried to have his children named like Pigwidgeon so he took over. Lucky Albus Severus." I chuckle whenever I think of that, imagining how Harry persuaded Ginny into naming the children by himself. The idea was getting out of hand so I wrote it. I haven't had drama in my life for quite some time; angst would not be a good genre for me so I sprinkled a bit of humour. That's also the reason why George is jovial. The book thing... I thought of that because while Al looked a lot like Harry and they may have some similar personalities as well, Al is not Harry. Harry doesn't read. He doesn't even read the book given to him by Sirius and Remus, which is the book Al was reading, by the way. And like you noticed, I justified it by the Potter Gene and relationship of the book to DADA. The calling of the full name was just brought up by Ron's shock at finding Al reading. After that, he reverted back to calling him Al. The flashback.. I was kind of worried about that. I was anxious of the way I wrote the transition. I felt stuck as well. Even my characterisation seems a bit off to me. Especially Harry. The "list" was one of the hardest. I kept switching syllables to form absurd names but at the same time "name-able" names. Somewhat similar to Pigwidgeon. There, I realised the hardship Jo faced to create names. Or maybe she was just creative.(: I'm so glad you liked the ending. It's my favourite (as you can see, I'm practising Briticism.xD Hope to get it soon!). The "Oh." Had it formed even before I wrote most of everything. "Bad is better than worse, isn't it?" You summarized the whole thing!LD And for keeping on writing, I was thinking of writing 'Lily Luna' or just a sequel. Just to justify Lily's name -- how she got a normal, shameless, burden-free name. I mean, the bet was to have the poor, poor baby girl named by Ginny with those horrible names. I'm still deliberating. I've got loads of time. It's my summer holiday already. Thanks for the nice long review! I was smiling the whole time I was reading it!
Summary: To Harry, Hogwarts always felt more like home than Privet Drive. As readers, we often forget how elated Harry must feel when he is leaving Private Drive - a place of lonliness and anger - to Hogwarts - a place of excitement and joy - after a long summer. This is my take on what must have been going through Harry's mind when he rode the Hogwarts Express every September.
Oh, what a remarkable poem! I'm surprised it hasn't received any reviews yet. Anyway, definitely here to rectify that, because I think my love for this poem needs to be made known!
I love the overall light-heartedness that's portrayed right at the beginning of the poem. How Harry has come to enjoy his train rides, and how he enjoys the ride and the view and the sweets on the train. It has a sense of joy attached to it. I especially enjoyed these lines:
My friends all chatting happily,
My eyes are stuck on the beautiful scenery,
Speeding past rapidly.
It has to do with the rhyme scheme, I think, or maybe just the feelings conveyed, but somehow, this really was one of the most enjoyable lines to read. They describe two very different acts, not interconnected with one another except for the underlying emotion being conveyed, but really, they flow well here.
When I read Racing past the window, however, my mind just completely went to how life itself was like that-- racing past the window while you watch it go by. I don't know if you wished it to be so, but that was something that was prominently projected to my mind when I read those lines.
I loved the transition from the sheer sense of happiness which is portrayed in the beginning, to the quiet deliberation and sadness, mingled with some fear, perhaps, in the second half of the poem. Right from the change in weather, from it being all sunny to the rain, and how that brings about a change in Harry's mindset. Very well done!
The thought process that goes on in Harry's mind is another thing which I really liked. The worry, the sense of loss, the sadness in it all-- so much truth in it. Seven short years indeed. We can see how he contemplates on what all he has gained-- his new family, friends, and yet, there is this pain about the end and his worry over it all.
But, then, it's almost like he realises how short this journey is, and wants to enjoy it all over again. The ending lines ring so true-- he wants to be back to what it was like, and enjoy his short journey which he has now realised is not really going to last for long. It left in me mixed feelings of sadness and joy.
Really, a wonderful read!
Author's Response: Thank you! The "Racing past the window" part...that was exactly what I was going for. I'm so glad you noticed! I was trying to add something to the poem that the reader could interpret in their own way, or see in a different way. Thank you the wonderful comment. I'm glad you liked it! :)
Summary: The Triwizard Tournament is back after ten years, and Abraxas Malfoy sees it as an excellent chance to prove himself to his adopted parents. Sick of being overshadowed by the new family member, he vows to enter and remind them of their first son. However, he soon discovers that there are things more important than being recognized for eternal glory. I am Angela_Prongs of Ravenclaw, submitting for the Second Task of the Mugglenet Triwizard Tournament.
What a sweet little story this was! Really, it was the last thing I'd expected, for a story based on the Malfoys. But I thought it was a really intriguing premise to explore-- how Abraxas, who is projected as an out and out ambitious Slytherin in the beginning, changes slowly and transforms from a person who is jealous of his brother, and wants back attention, to a person who learns to share and realises, in a little way, the meaning of love. It was a story that showed the power of that feeling, subtly, yet, really well.
The beginning-- well, it was a rather detailed article, yes, but it seemed to lack something. It seemed to be a collection of facts-- well written and alluding to the Tournament we saw in the GoF, but it really doesn't seem to give the reader more than that, and well, people love a pinch of gossip and a controversy. So, yes. I think it'd have been more captivating if it had something controversial. =)
Abraxas' feelings after reading the article were those that one could probably expect from an ambitious, attention-seeking Slytherin. We can sympathise with him on some level, too, when we see how left out he feels in the presence of Scorpius, and how he really wants to impress his parents and get back the attention that he had enjoyed before the addition of Scorpius to the family.
The interaction between the two Malfoys was, on many counts, the most adorable thing about it all. How Abraxas begins to notice Scorpius and how his feelings of resentment slowly disappear, and then how he actually starts seeing the pure and unadulterated beauty in the young baby. This line, in particular, rings so true, and was my favourite: Then again, children do have the purest minds, and this one was only a few months into the world.
The end realisation of Abraxas, and how his motive really changed from that of wanting to out-do Scorpius and grab people's attention to that of loving his brother and wanting to do it for him, someone who he actually counted as an enemy just moments before, was brought out really well towards the end. I liked the changed Abraxas Malfoy.
Overall, really nice job, and I do hope you write the sequel that you planned!
Summary: ‘Hope shall die last, Minerva.’
A bright morning, but will it be bright for everyone? Or is the rising sun painting an illusion only?
Hello, Bine! =)
I loved this short story. I found that this incident did shed a lot of light on Albus Dumbledore's thinking and revealed a more human side to his character. He is portrayed as a rather worried person, contradictory to what we get to see of him in canon, where he's mostly calm and aloof. I liked seeing this side of him, somehow.
The personification of silence at the beginning of the story had a nice effect on the description in the story. It stood out, and his actions seemed to have more of an effect on me as a reader because of the well-written description, which is neither too over-the-top, nor too little too subtle to understand.
I wonder how you envision the role of the apparatus that Albus used over here. I know it's portrayed as a communications device, but hm, what exactly does it do? ' ‘What are you planning, Tom?’ Very intriguing line, that one. It makes me wonder if it's some sort of a mind reader or something. >.>
The one thing that I didn't like at first was the time taken to reveal the protagonist's name. It felt as if it took a little too long for 'old man' to be referred to as 'Albus Dumbledore'. I'm all for some initial suspense, don't get me wrong, but I did feel that the revealation of Albus' name a little earlier would've had more of an effect.
The appearance of Fawkes and his role in the story, though a little insignificant, added a nice touch to the entire thing. It also aided in developing Dumbledore's character a little- his love and compassion for the bird is signified by his stroking the bird's feathers. I also thought that he found Fawkes as a good companion to share his thoughts- thoughts that he couldn't afford to share with many.
Minerva McGonagall's appearance surprised me, though. I didn't expect it, but found it quite enjoyable. Oh, and I simply must mention how much I loved this line: ‘Oh? Well then, let’s hope it’s safe.’ His blue eyes blinked amusedly but morphed back to seriousness an instant later. Brilliant characterisation of Dumbledore there.
Also, the fear and anxiety in Minerva's heart was very well portrayed. The last line, however, made for an amazing ending. It's perhaps my most favourite line in the whole story, and the fact that it affirms is so true - not just in the context of this story, but in life, too.
Author's Response: Years later, and I finally get to reply. Thank you for such a lovely review, Shar. I smiled the entire time I read it.
The revealing about Dumbledore's name: Well, let's just say it's always a dance on the knife's edge when deciding when exactly I reveal a character's name in such a kind of story. Too early would take the suspence, too late will make it drag. But then it also depends a lot on the reader whether they see the name revelation as too early and too late. *shrugs*
Anyway, thanks again for such a wonderful review.
Narcissa Black was fine.
She was doing well in school, her sister was getting married, and she had a boyfriend.
Oh, yes, she had a boyfriend. Dark, tall, enchanting Rabastan Lestrange. He was every Slytherin girl’s fantasy. Narcissa had been dreaming about him for years. And now he was all hers.
But Lucius Malfoy was worried about her.
My dear, this was chillingly captivating. Really. Right from the very first line, where you develop the setting the story is set in, till the end, where you leave us wondering about the thoughts going through Narcissa's mind, I admit I was glued to the screen. There's this depth to each and every little plot occurrence in the one-shot, and I did marvel at the ingenuity with which you included the prompt you were given into it. It's there, subtle and hidden, but it just can't be overlooked.
I enjoyed the creative use of dialogue in the story. It's neither too drawn out, nor too short; the conversations are interspersed very, very nicely between the description of emotions of the respective characters. It sort of differentiated the levels of interaction between and within the characters. The simple description in the beginning is rather fitting: it fulfills the need for creating a setting, and I really liked the fact that it didn't prolong.
The one thing that caught my eye right at the beginning was the fact that Narcissa is described as staring out of a window, and then walking down a long hallway to the common room. As far as I can recall from canon, the Slytherin Common room was underground-- therefore, the plausibility of a window being there isn't very realistic, at least, in my opinion.
The emotional turmoil in Narcissa's mind when she walks down the corridor to the common room was well explored; her tiny physical actions betraying her inner fear. She comes across as a very scared person who is aware of the impending danger, and her actions at that point of time, came across as forced; as if she wasn't really doing something by choice. I liked the small suspense that was created when we are left wondering as to why Narcissa feels fear when Rabastan is mentioned.
Rabastan, to me at least, sounded nearly animal-like. He loves power, and likes domination. We don't get to see much of him as the antagonist, other than for the times that he just hurts Narcissa, and well, since we're viewing nearly everything from Narcissa's POV, his character did seem a little underdeveloped to me. Narcissa gives in to him, and though that in itself is sort of redundant in fanfic, I like your justification for her giving in. It isn't because she wasn't strong, but because somewhere, she knew that he would revert to the person she loved, after this short brutal interval.
The part wherein we see Narcissa's true feelings towards Rabastan is probably my most favourite part of the story. The range of emotions evoked by Rabastan had higher highs and deeper depths than those brought on by any one person before him. She was either soaring or sinking, and she never knew which, until it was too late to find a steady course. Beautifully put, to the point, and just wonderful.
The introduction of Lucius brought in a very interesting dynamic to the whole plot. Right from how he is able to confuse Narcissa and make her nearly afraid, to the fact that he saves her from fatal injuries to her body and soul, I liked his part in the overall scheme of things. He balances the brutality that Rabastan Lestrange brought into the plot. I also liked how he subtly prompts Narcissa's mind into revealing part of its nature; to come out of its mask. He prompts Narcissa into thinking deeper, beyond what she has accepting for so long. I liked the way the small talk in the library was so structured that it moved slowly from studies to family dynamics, and then finally, to his questioning her state; her stability. It sort of made me feel that Lucius was somehow aware of something being wrong-- just that he wanted to learn it from Narcissa herself.
The ending to the story was again, superb. The last line, especially, had me asking for more. She needed to put the pieces of herself back together. It was such a wonderful finish to the story that flowed so beautifully right from the beginning till the resolution of the main act. I enjoyed this very, very much, dear.
Summary: After his conversation with Dumbledore at King's Cross, Harry wakes and reflects on life and what it means.
2009 Quicksilver Quill Award Winner for Best Poetry!
This poem is short, yet so profound in meaning that I fell in love with it. In so few words, you bring about a really vast meaning to the simple act of 'being alive', and what it meant to Harry at that point of time.
The first stanza, in particular, drew me in. It was powerful, and unlike the other stanzas which conveyed Harry's feelings, it simply put forth the practicality of the situation; the realisation that he was back to his body. But it also conveyed to me that he was back with a renewed strength and vigour to fight, and sets a positive tone to the whole poem. Wonderful.
We can see Harry's conviction in the second stanza too, his vigour to fight, now having realised his goal and willing and ready to achieve it. I particularly liked the contrast between what we see in this stanza and what we see in the next. There he suddenly begins to doubt after a gust of confidence. He is afraid. :)
I loved the fourth stanza. Maybe it was because it tied in so beautifully with the lines from DH quoted right above it. To me, it connects to the confusion in Harry's mind, when Narcissa lies to keep him alive. That's why I found 'lost' extremely meaningful there, and how, even literally, he was waiting to be taken away from the forest(which is dark), and into the light.
The last couplet was filled with the emotion of triumph. It almost radiates joy, and I loved how it ended with that. It is a recognition of his appreciating that, despite all odds, Harry was alive, and at that moment, just, in itself, is a huge triumph-- for him, as well as for the wizarding world. When I view it from another angle, it also implies that despite all the insecurity, fear and confusion that reigned in his mind, which is conveyed in the stanzas prior to this, Harry acknowledged the fact that he was alive and the simplicity of the act stands out against the complex emotions that he feels. Truly, it was a beautiful ending.
Author's Response: Thankyou. I am amazed at how well this has been received. Poetry is such a personal form of writing, it is often hard to know how someone else will receive it. I always read that part of DH over and over and often thought how terrifying yet exhilirating it must have been for Harry to wake like that, still shrouded in darkness yet with a renewed sense of hope and vigour. It is such a pivotal moment and the poem just poured out of me. So thankyou for your great (and perceptive) review. I'm touched that the message is getting through.
The Life and Lies of Rita Skeeter (As Uncovered by Hermione Granger) by thechocolatefrog
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 3]
Summary: I, Hermione Granger, have decided to uncover the past of Rita Skeeter. How did she become the notorious gossip columnist that she is today? What motivates her to twist the truth into outlandish scandals? Who is the real Rita Skeeter?
I should first commend you on the ingenuity of this plot. I've never read a lot of Rita Skeeter in fanfiction, but here, I see a full-blown biography of the infamous columnist being put up, and I couldn't help but gasp at first when I read this. The idea, in itself, is a brilliant one, and the fact that you are writing it all from Hermione Granger's perspective pulled me all the more towards this story.
The use of first person in the prologue is very in-character when you see it from Hermione's point of view, and though I expect the rest to be in third person(as you are writing it as a book), I would definitely say that the first person here gives a lot of insight into the style of writing. It has this sharp, official aura to it, and does not exaggerate - it just puts facts plainly on paper. This is what I imagine Hermione to be like, and I somehow have the feeling that you have a bucket full of surprises awaiting me. This line, especially, is such a hook: When reading, I do not suggest that you take it upon yourself to sympathize with the writer but to receive a better understanding what was done. I wondered why the book would elicit sympathy, that too, towards Rita Skeeter. She's loathsome in canon, and to see a sympathetic side to her done well would make my day, to be very frank. It is one of the reasons why I found the prologue to be quite intriguing.
If anything, I only found the title to be a little cliche'. I mean, I do get that you've taken it from 'The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore', but this is Hermione Granger writing a book, and the fact that she nearly copied that title from Skeeter does not fit in with my image of Hermione.
I liked the way you brought out the interaction that took place between Hermione and Rita Skeeter during the year in which the GoF is based. You let us know that there is more than what we see in canon there, and give us a glimpse of what her state was, during the course of that year.
However, I did question the importance given to Albus Dumbledore's biography in here. I agree that the mention of it is important, as Rita Skeeter's book did make a lot of news in the wizarding world, but I wondered why a synopsis of that was included in the prologue of this. I cannot really fathom what Albus' motto during his younger days has to with Rita Skeeter's life story, and I admit, it threw me off a little. The sudden jump from describing Skeeter's life to Albus' life was abrupt, and I do think that the transition could've been a little smoother.
Overall, however, I loved this prologue, and cannot wait for more. I do hope to read more of this story. =)
Summary: A sonnet from the Grey Lady.
Of all the categories and genres in HP fanfiction, I find that the Historical genre is one with a lot of potential which doesn't really get explored much. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found this sonnet from the Grey Lady's perspective. I find her a very fascinating character, personally, and found this a very interesting poem, to say the least.
When I read the poem, I could place this as the thoughts going through her mind as Harry calls out to her during the Battle of Hogwarts. It fits there so well, especially the first line where she questions "Who wants to speak with unimportant me," as though surprised that someone is calling her.
The poem starts off on a strong note - Helena Ravenclaw does not come across as a person who is regretful here, she comes across as someone who is still strongly opinionated about events - someone who hasn't been blunted by the blades of time. She is still a disappointed woman - disappointed in herself, more than anything else, and angry. She doesn't try to justify her actions, instead, she accepts them whether right or wrong and thinks it over only from her perspective. I quite like how you picturise her; it ties in well with canon, and still gives her a fiercely individualistic streak that I can appreciate.
I enjoyed your take on the relationship between the Lady and the Baron. It is her view, no doubt about it, but I like how you seem to have brought about a kind of rift in the relationship right there. She may feel it is her fault at the time, but it is definitely indicative of the problems that existed even before drastic measures were taken.
In particular, I liked your word choice at points. 'Uncontent,' not 'discontent', being a good example of that. It sort of adds to the feel of a poem based in the past? I think so, certainly.
Rowena Ravenclaw's description also really agrees with my picture of her. Helena seems to want to be like her mother a lot. We can see that she, in particular, takes note of the posture, and we can see in the books that that is how the Grey Lady is, as well. It is in those lines, actually, that you really bring out a lot of Helena's character. There is a sense of regret coming into the picture, and there's also a strong exclamation at having been denied the chance to speak to her mother about the events that took place. She seems a little angry behind her very stoic demeanour, in my opinion. A daughter who wanted so much to be like her mother, a daughter who felt responsible for the death of two, a daughter discontent with the life she led and one with no means to correct the mistakes she committed. I like how you have brought that out - before you speak of the mask, or the veil, as you call it, I can see her true emotions.
The ending seems to have a touch of finality to it. To me, the veil has a significance in two ways. One, as you directly put it, it is a mark of disgrace, and second, it also kind of puts back all the emotions that had come to the fore in the lines above into a mask of calm which cannot be penetrated that easily. It just struck me as that, when I read the poem, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The wizarding mothers of England have banded together after the fall of Voldemort to support one another with a common purpose: to mourn the loss of their children in the war. These grieving mothers formed a group, Hospice for the Orphaned Mothers of England (H.O.M.E.), for just that cause.
Molly Weasley stood before the assembly of H.O.M.E. and shared the story of her son, Fred. Join Molly as she imparts her personal loss and heartbreak so that the orphaned mothers know that they are, indeed, not alone.
This is ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor of Ravenclaw House, and this is an entry for the Winter Snows 09 H.O.M.E. Challenge.
Hello there, Jess!
I found this story of yours to be rather touching. It feels like a complete journey with Molly as she goes through the life of her son. It's not too emotional, as goes with stories which involve Fred's death(that I have read). It isn't all about grief; there's a strong sense of hope and determination that's inherent in Molly's speech. That's one of the things I really loved about this piece.
You jump into the subject matter soon - a little too soon for my tastes, in fact(it is, after all, the first gathering of a group of people, so I sort of expected a bit more of an introduction). Molly just comes off as a little impatient to share her thoughts about her son, when you start it off right there. However, I won't deny the fact that the short introduction that you maintain tends to keep the focus solely on the subject, without wasting on details which pale next to the pain that the people in the gathering have undergone.
Apart from that opening glitch, I found your characterisation of Molly very realistic. I enjoyed the remniscent tone of the entire piece - especially the part where she talks about Fred and George's exploits at school. I loved how she even tries to add humour into her narration while she describes her reactions to the twins' actions!
Something I would have loved to see, though, is more of their childhood before Hogwarts. Most of the speech draws from canon, which I can see, but I feel that a little more of that would have been a welcome addition. We know very less about their lives at home, so I definitely think Molly talking about that would have been an interesting read.
The part where you describe Dolores and her ways - "She tortured students, including the twins, by forcing them to carve words into their own hands with Dark Magic." - is not something I quite completely agree with. It's almost as though you're implying that she was only torturing students through barbaric means, which isn't the case. I feel that the decrees, her misuse of clout at the Ministry to infuse fear and cause a reign of terror at Hogwarts are almost as important factors, if not more important factors for the rebellion to break out. I feel that Molly does take a rather one-sided view of the matter here, which again, doesn't just strike the right chord with me.
I loved, loved, loved the last part. Not the description of Fred's death(which, by the way, is very brave of her to talk about in front of a gathering), but the way she makes a glowing tribute to her son. Indeed he was a martyr, and this line in particular "we knew that Fred would have died all over again, because he died protecting his loved ones. was something that really moved me. Molly's deep understanding of her son, despite the great loss that she's had to suffer through, is what shines through.
There are two tiny technical things that bothered me while reading the piece, however: one, the fact that you begin each paragraph with quotations. If it's a speech, I don't really see the point in those, since the transcript of the speech stands alone and doesn't really need those. The second is more of an opinion- the constant shift from You-Know-Who to Voldemort threw me off a bit. I can see she's trying to build up the courage to use the name without fear(as she is tuned to using 'You-Know-Who'), but it just disrupts the flow of the story when she keeps moving back and forth between the two terms. An example which kind of emphasises my point is here:"Then the unthinkable happened; the Ministry of Magic fell into the hands of V-Voldemort - and, as rather vocal and public supporters of Harry, who immediately became a fugitive, they fell on the wrong side of the law. George even lost an ear in an effort to help keep Harry safe so he could fulfill his birthright and defeat You-Know-Who." Um, the use of the two terms in the same paragraph definitely stood out even when I read it through the first time, and I hence found the necessity to point that out.
The ending just seems perfect for this piece. It was so suitable for the occasion, and Molly's way of welcoming them all was very well appropriate as well as well delivered. I like how she connects the organisation and her speech right there, moving from the reminiscences to reality again. It nicely rounded up their first meeting, in my opinion.
Good job, overall. =)
Hello there. :)
This story was written for a rather stringent and, to be honest, terrible challenge prompt. I was not allowed to do ANYTHING in any other manner than I did, and the word limit was 1000, so the rushed feeling came from me having to chop so much from it for length. Overall, I was actually rather displeased with the end result and ended up just submitting it for the sake of submitting. *hides*
I didn't really think about not needing the quotes, and, now that you say that, it just makes so much more sense.Originally, I did have parentetical notes where Molly did stuff like (sniff) or (pause), but I was told by the mod that it was not in keeping with the challenge, so boo.
Skipping from You-Know-Who to Voldemort was actually something I did on purpose. She called him YKW when she didn't think about it, but when she called him 'Voldemort', she made a concerted effort to do so. After living so many years with fear of a name, it's hard to break that habit. I probably didn't do too great of a job, since this is, by far, the absolute worst thing I've ever written IMO, but maybe that will make more sense.
I'm glad that you liked it, because I'm pretty sure you enjoyed it much more than I do. I actually had to stop myself from deleting this after the challenge was over, though. I kept it as a sort of journal of where I've been and where I am as a writer now. Everyone has pieces they look back and shudder when they read, and this is it. I'm just kind of *sigh* that I got two wonderful reviews - one from you and one from Russia - for this story and not a different one. Then again, if I just redid this whole story, it would probably make me feel much better about it. When I get bored one day, I think I might do that.
Thanks for reviewing...you are a star. I shall see thee around SPEW. Take care and happy reviewing!
Summary: : Remembering the forgotten ice-cream man of Diagon Alley.
This is hestiajones of Hufflepuff writing for the Stirring prompt of the Winter Snows Challenge at the beta boards
Thanks to Elene (CoolCatElly) for beta-ing this. And Jess (ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor) and Carole(Equinox Chick), where would I be without your help?
Disclaimer: This is not J.K.Rowling. However, this is someone who wishes she was J.K.Rowling.
You have really done a wonderful job with this story, and I enjoyed each and every bit of it. You have managed to flesh out Florean Fortescue, a character we know little about, given him a larger than life personality, and also worked a lot on the character of Andrew Carlton. The format, that of a newspaper article, is something you’ve stuck to throughout, but it’s not just that that impressed me- the article also has a personal touch which makes it a very good read. It isn’t just facts; Andrew Carlton knows how to weave his story into an interesting web of informal experiences and stories without veering away from the focus that is his uncle. Definitely, a very good job done on that count.
I loved the character of Andrew Carlton. Though written from a first-person point of view, we can discern a lot about his character by just reading the article; the style is something which reminds me of a jovial, shy, straight-forward, and determined person. We can see flashes of his childhood pranks in the beginning of the story which point to his fun-loving nature, and the fight that he pursued for ten long years definitely speak a lot about his determination.
Oh, and of course, I must talk about Florean himself - there’s so much added to the ice-cream man we knew from the books! You haven’t veered away from any thing which was mentioned in canon, but built such a solid story from the facts known that I was left floored. I enjoyed the mention to his knowledge in history, as well as his magnanimous heart which gave Harry free treats in the Prisoner of Azkaban.
There’s a mention to his Ravenclaw nature, however, which I question a little. I somehow feel that Hufflepuff seems more suited to his nature, but since this is not something which can be verified in canon, it is a matter of opinion. He seems like such a helpful, good-natured man in canon, and while I will not deny that he had knowledge(he did help Harry with his History of Magic homework), I just feel that the traits which dominate are those that are usually seen in Hufflepuffs.
Another thing I loved was the timeline you’ve incorporated- I see that this was written for a prompt for the Winter Snows, and distributing ice-creams on Christmas eve just seems so appropriate.
Also, there are nuggets of wisdom scattered in the article that touched me very much - Andrew, while not sounding like a preacher, has an almost Luna-esque ability to drive home simple truths which many of us choose to overlook in our lives. While speaking about his uncle, and things that he learned from him, I find that there are lots of things that I can learn as well. It’s something which, while not sounding drab or boring, has been brought out remarkably well. “Life, it seemed whenever I went to my Uncle’s shop, was to be savoured quickly before it melted.” “For him, it was never about the business of business; I suspect it was rather about the business of friendship. That made being around him the greatest pleasure on earth.” “But my definition and exemplification were wrong; these are fluid traits, and Houses cannot claim them for their own.” These are just some of the few that really jumped out at me when I read the story - there are many more, but then this review would just turn into a quoting of the entire story.
A great job, overall!
Author's Response: Hello!
Wow! Thank you for such an excellent review. I’ve to say I literally squee-ed when I saw this.
I am really happy you liked the ‘personal touch’ I added to Andrew’s article. I saw it like one of those articles in The Times of India/Hindustan Times where a well-known columnist steps out of the box and writes with a little bit of self-involvement, a little bit of nostalgia. (I cannot think of a specific example for this, though. Lol!)
Yes, Andrew is just as you described, and a bit more on the cheeky side, though that may not have come across in the story. You know, I actually debated for a minute whether I should put both uncle and nephew in Hufflepuff, because both of them have a lot of Hufflepuff traits – loyalty, determination, and diligence. But I had this agenda: I wanted to dilute the rigid structure of Hogwarts Houses. Neither of them possess any Slytherin qualities in them – they aren’t cunning or ambitious. Gryffindor was an absolute no-no, even though they both exhibit courage in their own way. In fact, being brave and not being Gryffindor was the whole point. And they aren’t reckless, of course. ;)
That left me with Ravenclaw. By saying this, I don’t mean that I picked Ravenclaw because it was the only choice left. I focused on their scholarly nature – both share a genuine love of learning, of gaining knowledge, of studying. Both are clever and resourceful in their own way, though, again, these traits are not explored fully in this story. Mea culpa! I can see where you’re coming from on this issue as I missed the mark by a few inches here.
Let’s just say the Sorting Hat had a hard time deciding whether to put them in Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. :D I did put the former Headmaster Dexter Fortescue in Hufflepuff, so that explains the Puff-like qualities in Florean. ;)
Thank you once again! This review made my day.
Summary: Remus has a one-on-one conversation with Lily on her wedding day. He experiences a moment of realisation. He walks through a sudden epiphany.
For my beautiful, youthful Julia, who held my hand through hell. Words will never be enough.
I am Kuri (Okiblossom) of Ravenclaw, and this is my entry for the February Love Challenge - in the Surprise Love category - in the Great Hall. This is in the MNFF Beta Boards Forum. NOTE: I have no talent that compares to JKR or any other author for that matter.
Liked it? Hated it? Please read and review.
I enjoyed reading this little story which is an unconvential take on Lily/Remus. I don't see why you needed the Story Notes to reaffirm your stand, though; it's rather clear in the story as to what you're driving at in the story. I found the story engaging, short and intriguing enough to want to learn more of the dynamic between the two people we only knew as friends.
I really liked the way you write Remus. I've read far too many stories which portray him as a side-kick who is completely passive, so the change is a welcome one. There's a bit of the shy and reticent man we see in the books, and also some vibrant persona which doesn't pale against Lily's character. The only thing that confused me a little was the fact that he was walking around with a book on the D-Day of his best mate. I mean, that does seem a little disconnected.
Lily, on the other hand, isn't someone I connected with easily. She seems to be worried about way too many things, and when we contrast that with her younger days(or what we know of it), the change is a stark one.
You write description well, however. The emotions, the perspectives, and the atmosphere -- you capture it all without letting it get wordy, which is something that impressed me. The doves, the dress and the roses - they paint this dreamy 'All is Well' picture which does seem to be right for a wedding day. Even in the middle of a war, people require reassurance that peace and calm does exist, and this seems like a good occasion for that.
The dialogue presented here is just so natural, and that was something I enjoyed. The banter was so believable, and I could see the two of them having such a conversation before the wedding. For some reason, it also seems to have quite a calming effect.
I loved your ending, too; it was short, melancholic, and touching. I could actually feel for Remus while I read that part, and while it doesn't do over-the-top sadness, there is a certain level of sadness that seems just right.
There are, however, some issues with spellings at places, which I think you really should look at. It would be great if the nagging spellings don't get in the way of the good story.
Good work, keep it up!
A note was discovered in the aftermath of Harry's capture at Malfoy Manor. It's sweet, it's romantic, it's...complete fluffy rubbish.
What will happen to this heartfelt missive? Will it find its intended recipient, or will it be lost in the wreckage of Voldemort's former occupation?
Hi there, Jess!
I was just sifting through your author page and reading summaries of your stories, when I noticed "Category: Harry/Ginny" as I scrolled down. I totally did a double take right then. I know for certain that you like Harry/Hermione more, so it was all the more interesting to go read this story of yours.
What surprised me was how really remarkably well you've written the characters - all of them were in accordance with what we know from canon. Very much so, in fact. Harry's letter shows his nervousness and fear, and although he admits in the letter that it might not even reach Ginny, I suppose it must have at least give him some relief to write it all down. The first line of the letter shows his confusion and eagerness to just let someone know what he's going through, and when he says Then again, you don’t know about those yet. , it is almost comical, although it also gave me the feeling that he really wished she knew what they were so he could talk about them some more. The rest of the letter is a bit too rambly, almost very sappy towards the end. But this was Harry when he feared his death, or worse, capture by the Dark Lord, and I suppose he was scared he'd never even be able to let Ginny know about what he thought of her. The times in which the letter were written do justify the neccessity for, well, an excessively sweet(and heartfelt, let me add) overdose of saccharine.
The stark contrast between the style of writing in the letter and Draco's mental dialogue was something that slightly put me off first. I felt that the story changed direction too abruptly, which left me wondering, 'What was that, again?' The circumstances under which Draco discovered the letter do make quite a lot of sense, although I somehow felt that it would have probably been better if the setting was mentioned at the beginning(right after the letter).
You unravel the character of post-war Draco through his thoughts really well. He remains the snarky and disdainful person that we know from the books. There isn't a world of change that we can see in his character here, and that is something I really liked about this story. (Most of the post-war stories that I've just portray Draco as a completely nice man after the war. My constant argument is that people just don't change overnight.) The interaction with George, and Draco's qualms about even going there at first, do, however, subtly bring out the changes in Draco's personality. That, along with his feelings mentioned right at the end: It was a curious sensation, being on the receiving end of gratitude. Draco had never really experienced it before, as he had never really given anything that could be accepted in such a way—ever. Just the perfect balance in his characterisation, which is brilliant.
Ginny's tears just after reading the letter did seem a little out-of-place to me. The Ginny that we see in canon doesn't really come across as a person who'd cry in the presence of someone like Draco. Her reaction does, however, add to the overall fact that she really was in love with Harry and was touched by his affection in the letter. That, to me, emphasized the whole 'Harry/Ginny aspect which got lost somewhere between Draco's musings in the Manor and the conversation with George, and I was happy to see it explored again in a much more subtle, not-too-overbearing/lovey-dovey way.
Another point that I noted while reading, is that you bring out many facets of the characters in the story. Anger, affection, love, grief, confusion, hesitation... I could go on. It's all put together well in one single piece, and you do pack a lot into the words you write. I found the narrative highly engaging; the actions of the characters divulge so much more than any description, and you unravel more and more through mental dialogue and conversations. All of which, in my humble opinion, make for a really good read. I've not read a lot of your works, but in what I have read, I've found a diversity which impresses me a lot, Jess. Wonderful work in this story, again, and I must commend you for taking on something out of your comfort zone and actually excelling in it.
/in which Shar reads all the stories that Jess dislikes, lol.
I find it wildly funny that this story is a popular as it is (it has new reads every day, and I still get reviews for it, even after months). The honest truth about this story is this: I wrote it in under an hour, start to finish, without even bothing to edit. Yeah, that's it. I wrote it for Amanda's birthday, as she adores gooey Harry/Ginny (vomit) and all of that canon stuff. I was up about four hours past my bedtime (and yes, it was 10AM XD...BB kept me up all night >.<). With all that in mind, I was even pleased with how well it came out...or rather how bad it could have been under the circumstances. Of course, as Amanda worships the canon gods and all, she loved it. It was only going to be the letter, but toward the end of that part, I was dangerously close to losing my lunch, so I added Draco, just to keep myself interested, lol. That is the honest, dirty truth about this story. I think I may have read it through before submitting (which I did under the advisement of some very ebil acquaintances), but I can't be certain that I even did that. :D
Now that you know the history behind how this fic came to be, maybe some of the bits that are not so great make more sense. For instance, someone else who reviewed this story asked me why Draco didn't just owl the letter. That is, of course, because I couldn't be arsed to think of anything so practical. I really just wanted to see George make Draco squirm.
Harry is one of the characters that I feel I truly understand, both during the books, after the books, and far into the future, as well. That made the letter part easy to write, even if the fluff was so sodding saccharine that I don't even want to read that part when I have someone point out something that I should edit. I guess I don't understand Ginny's appeal, so having him write a loveletter to her is kinda difficult.
I do think Draco is a win in this story, mostly because of what you said. This is nearly right after the war, and while I do promote a reformed Draco, it's still too early for him to think about others and not think about what's in it for him. Of course, here, he's totally in it for himself, even if he did come out of it thinking that it would be nice if someone felt that way about him to cry over a letter he wrote.
And then there's Ginny... Yeah. She's on my top 5 list of characters I would adore having the chance to delete from the series, along with the likes of Dobby, Tonks, Ludo Bagman and Zacharias Smith. Naturally, since I don't like her, when I portray her in pivotal character moments, I have to build up a bit of an alternate personality throughout the story to make up for the fact that I neither know for sure or care how she reacts. I know, that probably makes me ebil and mean, but I think we all have that character that we just want to stab in the eye with a pen. :D
I see what you mean about the change between the letter and Draco reading it is probably too jarring and disjointed. I just wanted to get that 'what the hell?' feeling across, where the reader is hearing this sappy letter in Harry's voice, and all of a sudden, Draco is being all disdainful and...Draco. I probably could have added a bit in the beginning, showing Draco finding it, and perhaps even stopping in the middle of it to do his own commentary, but that requires thinking the story through. Which I did not. At all. lol
All in all, I'm glad you liked it, even though I still have no earthly idea why everyone says it isn't fluffy. I do like making sure that there is something on my author page for everyone, even the canon queens, and even if it's a bit illness-invoking for me. I think that the hallmark of good, or even great, writers is that they can step out of their box and write something that doesn't appeal to them and have others be none the wiser. While I don't really consider myself anywhere near a great author, it is something for which I strive, and this fic, whether I like it or not, is a stepping stone in the right direction. I'm probably far too harsh on it, considering what it is and from whence it came, but if someone needs to be overly critical of my work, I suppose it should be me from a quality control standpoint.
Thank you for reviewing, and, as always, it's been lovely chatting with you. Though it does seem that my response ended up being longer than your review. I be rambly like that, mate.
P.S. - The following is a subliminal message - *dontreadanythingwrittenbymepredatingfebruaryitsallrubbishandshouldbedeletedbuticantmakemyselfdoit*