It didn’t seem possible. He had been standing before her merely five minutes ago, but now he was gone. She stared up at the empty archway. He had mentioned voices, but there was no sound. Someone was holding her, pulling her arm, calling for her to run, but she couldn’t move. Where had he gone? Where had Sirius gone? Why weren’t they coming back?
Ginny thinks back to that fateful night in the Department of Mysteries—the night she lost Harry Potter.
This is beautifully sad. I love the way it's written, balanced between what Ginny thought at the time, things now, and wishes to have happened instead. The line that particularly struck me was "Those thoughts of adventure, those thoughts of epic duels and fighting to the death were a distorted photographic negative that had never been developed."
I just think that's a beautiful image of something that was meant to happen but never did. And the ending. The ending was so sad and beautiful. Anyway if you can make sense of that rambling review than basically I enjoyed it very much!
Author's Response: Hi, Alex! This is very much a bittersweet AU fic so I'm glad that came through. Thanks so much much for the read and review :) I'm glad you enjoyed it! ~Julia.
Summary: Ron wakes up alone in an unfamiliar flat with no recollection of the past week of his life and has to attempt to puzzle out who the woman who clearly slunk away in the night was and what occurred between them.
Hello Hannah-- this will be short, but I really enjoyed this story. I mentioned to Jess I was intrigued by Ron/Pansy (the reason why, I'm still working out) and she recommended this to me. I loved the way you used flashbacks, and Ron's characterisation was excellent. I loved his confusion, and the way he wanted Harry and Charlie to help him out. Equally, I liked Hermione, and how she went from being indignantly self-righteous and angry, to helping Ron as a friend. It was very her somehow.
But what I loved most was how gradually and carefully everything slotted into place, and the change in Ron's perspective of Pansy, as well as hints of what had happened, which you never detail ( like the Killing Curse). Excellent story--Alex
Summary: Draco found religion, but Harry can't come to terms with it.
This was so interesting! I really like your Harry- though it might be a bit ooc for him to become pathetically obsessed with someone to the extent of stalking them, it was hilarious.
And I liked the fact that Draco made Harry wait. It made me laugh :) And the inclusion of religion. For some reason (well, because Malfoy's deeply religious and gay) Malfoy reminded me a lot of Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited, although Malfoy resolves his conflicts a lot better than Sebastian does. I liked the line about Harry not having to understand it, but to accept it. And the last line was hilarious. And, although I said earlier Harry was slightly ooc, I thought Draco was completely in character. Sorry for my usual incoherence but yes, great story. Alex x
Author's Response: Yeah. Someone had to be OOC. Even if just a fraction! Thanks for reading.
Summary: Luna Lovegood is no foreigner to loss, but how does she cope when the one person who completely understood her is stolen from her life?
I've been meaning to read one of your stories for a while but most of them seemed a bit--optimistic for my tastes at the moment. However when I opened this one I was slightly put off by the lack of breaks. I'm sure you would have put some in so it's probably something wrong with MNFF rather than you, but just in case you hadn't realised then, yep, you need to edit in some page breaks
Firstly I really like the voice you use here. It's oddly detached and very obviously a Muggle view of what the Lovegood household would be like. I also loved your description of Luna's mother. For a character who we never see, but who both Luna and Xenophilius obviously both adored, you make her immediately jump off the page. I also like the way Xenophilius is the more normal one in their relationship. Also- I always thought the Trio gave him a hard time for betraying them, I mean they had his daughter for crying out loud, so I like the way that you emphasise his concern for Luna. I do think the Xenophilius we meet in DH would not really think about them in relation to the outside world, but I suppose there is the possibility that his wife's death drove him further from society in general.
I also like the way he left Luna. I mean it's cruel but very realistic in a moment like that. I did find the comment about Aloca that "once she had been taken in for testing" a bit jarring though. I mean, you're dead or you're alive--it wouldn't take them that long to work out.
And I adored your characterisation of Luna. It's not as -far out as some people have her, but I think you're way is more realistic. The jump for the reader is a bit of a shock, in a good way though, going from her father's emotions at her mother's death, to her own. I also think it's realistic that the prospect of the afterlife comforted her as a teenager more than as an adult. I think teenagers think about death (well, maybe just me) more than people think and that would be a comfort, but she'd grow more cynical - not about the afterlife but about the possibility of this as comfort- as she grows older. The line "She wanted to be a little girl again. She wanted Mummy and Daddy." was very simplistic, but also very realistic and poignant, particularly with the child like repetition of wanted.
When Harry and Ginny arrive you say "leaving a dark-haired man wearing glasses and two children in her living room," so I didn't think Ginny was there until you say that she is speaking. That was a bit confusing. But I loved the way that listening to stories of the Weasley-Potter clan and essentially "life" made her feel more accepting of her father's death. The conclusion you come to about Luna realising friends are important, which she knew when she was sixteen (?), was a nice touch. It felt slightly OOC at first but then I thought that actually the conclusions we come to as adolescents probably change/ are forgotten as life/ work gets in the way. So actually I thought it was really nice. Anyway this was a lovely short piece and, although the hint about Rolf at the end was slightly heavy handed for me, I do think you ended it sweetly. Alex
Author's Response: Thanks so much for this long review, Alex! Yes, my stories do tend to be rather optimistic, even when I'm dealing with death and that sort of thing... anyway, thanks for reading this and telling me what you thought. And sorry about the page breaks... I'm pretty sure they were there when I submitted the story, so not sure what happened there... I've fixed it up now.
I'm glad you liked the voice I used... I can't remember particularly why I chose it, I think it just flowed that way for me. I'm glad you liked Luna's mother... I did worry a bit that I made her too much of an "older version of Luna" sort of character. In my mind, as you said, after his wife's death, Xenophilius drew away from society, and probably became "weirder" for want of a better word. It almost feels like he drew into his imagintion - the Snorkacks etc which don't actually exist. I also made him more "normal" because his name means lover of strange things and hers is derived from the Spanish word for crazy (unfortunately strange is "extranjero", which is a little hard to make a name from...). Anway, I'm going on rather here... I think Luna meant everything to Xenophilius - in my mind, it was because of her that he published all those articles supportive of Harry in "The Quibbler", so he was willing to do a lot for her, which means he would do a lot to get her back.
Thanks for the comment about the testing - I think in my mind it was something like an autopsy... but her death wasn't doubtful, so I can't imagine why they would need that. So it's now been deleted. I know, it is a little cruel how he left Luna, but I think of him as rather single-minded, and at that moment his grief for his wife was over-powering.
Thanks for saying you liked Luna - I found her quite difficult to write, because I didn't want to make her too airy fairy or too 'normal'. Yes, I agree, I think she would stop seeing the afterlife as comforting - there's something wonderfully naive yet wise about Luna in the books, and I think she would partially have grown out of that. Particularly because after her mother's death, she still had her father, whereas now she has no-one.
When Harry and Ginny arrived, I've actually written "At that precise moment, the fireplace flashed green and a redheaded witch of approximately Luna’s age stepped into the dark room. It flashed three more times in quick succession, leaving a dark-haired man wearing glasses and two children in her living room." So maybe you just missed the line about Ginny...
I can understand that it seemed OOC that she would only realise in her mid thirties that friendship is important, because clearly she understands that as a teenager. This actually had more backstory which I ended up cutting out... I think after the Battle, Luna would have initially seemed to hold up well and be with her friends whilst throwing herself more and more into her work, which would gradually take her overseas. As her friends got married and had kids etc she would have felt somewhat lonely and drawn further into her work, and forgotten what she knew so clearly as a teenager.
Yes I suppose the hint about Rolf was a little heavy-handed and not particularly necessary to this story, which is, after all, about friendship. So I'm thinking about cutting that out.
Anyway, thanks so much for this review! Also, if you're looking for something less optimistic of mine to read, I suggest you try "The Wrong Secret" or "Curiosity".
Summary: If Remus hadn't been born, the lives of the people he had entered would be different, correct? He wouldn't have caused them pain, disappointment... and grief. Most of all, he wouldn't have been the cause of why his parents' happiness was suddenly gone.
Of course, it was all just wishful thinking. He was still a werewolf, no matter what he did.
This was a really interesting story. It gives a good background to just why Remus was so strange around Tonks, but it's also really well written. This is your first fanfiction? My first fanfiction has now been deleted, so you should be really proud, particularly since your story isn't linear and you pull it off really well. It is highly plausible that one night he got too drunk to remember it was full moon and did those around him. I wondered at first as to why Peter was not at the baby shower though.
The fact that the story is from Remus' POV, but it's clear to the reader that his friends do not judge him for what he has done, is very well shown, because we can see it but Remus' guilt means he can't. Like his disbelief when he gets back from wandering around that they could possibly have been waiting/ keeping an eye via the map on him.
I like the line "He would distance himself away from innocent people; away from innocent lives." It is a very concise way of phrasing how he feels, as well as the image of the prefect Remus wondering out of bounds. When you said that he deserved detention more than anyone he might catch also out of bounds it sounded a bit strange. I would think Remus would say he deserved far more than detention rather than just detention.
When Lily asks him what happened, and then he repeats it to himself, I think it would be better to use the pluperfect- so "What had happened?" I just think that emphasises his confusion and disbelief a bit better.The flashbacks were really well done, fitting in seamlessly. I like the idea that Peter was Remus' first friend (making it even stranger that he's not at the baby shower).
I think it's very realistic that he would burst out to Lily who, we presume, he's not as close to as his friends, and her reaction also shows the strength of her character. I think the way you ended it, with his thoughts and his desperation not to be what he thinks he is, particularly the last desperate "I didn't mean it", was really poignant and well done. It's a really interesting idea, well written, and I'm in awe that this is your first story. Alex x
Author's Response: Wow, thanks so much, Alex. I'm glad you approved of my first try in writing. As to why Peter wasn't in the baby shower, I honestly don't know. Maybe I would have remembered if this was still fresh in my mind, but sadly, I've tried to bury the story. Looking back, a lot of things made me cringe. But thank you, your words are very kind. :-) Although I agree with most of your suggestions, I'd rather not change the "what had happened" part. It has a repetitive feel to it.
I'm also glad you approve of Lily, since I really wasn't sure if it fit well to what we know of her. Thanks for reading and reviewing, Alex! xx
Summary: What if Harry didn't break up with Ginny so stoically? My own version of Harry and Ginny's break-up, from Ginny's POV. One-shot.
By the way, I'm not JK Rowling. No surprises there. The only payment I'm getting is reviews! Speaking of which, all reviews will receive a reply!
I think I did read this ages ago under the other title, but didn't review, so am leaving one now!
I really love the way you described every little gesture, and particularly Ginny's voice. It's obvious how upset emotionally she is, but you keep her language calm and controlled. And I love your characterisation of Harry. It's just so perfect, from the reference to him trying not to laugh to him being awkward and telling her the truth in as gentle a way as he can, and then completely messing it up by kissing her. And I also think it's sweet that you don't think Ron would have told his brothers about Ginny and Harry. It's a small detail, but it shows that he thought their relationship meant a lot too. Even though we know they end up happily married it still manages to be sad and poignant without ever seeming overblown. It's a really lovely story, and yes I think "Out Of My Life" is a much better title.
Author's Response: Oh, I'm so glad you liked it, Alex! To be honest, this is probably the only story I've actually kept from my 13-year-old days. I had about three or four others and I deleted them all from SIYE and FF.net, the only two sites which would accept such rubbish. :D I was never satisfied with JKR's version of the breakup and do like this one better, but the only thing is, in my version Ginny's a far weaker character. I'm really glad you liked my description -- in my current writing it's far better though, in my opinion. Harry's characterisation is something I wasn't sure I had, so I'm flattered you think it's perfect. Ron keeping their relationship from his brothers is something in my personal canon and I think that's more likely to happen than just blurting it out once Harry and Ginny are finished. Thanks so much for the review, Alex! ~Soraya~
Summary: Before she became a Death Eater, Bellatrix Black was young, bored, and went slumming places no other pureblood would go. What she found and who she met was kept secret. Until now.
Hello! Sorry for taking ages to review- I'm about to fall asleep but if I don't review now I never will. So as usual I really liked this chapter. I particularly liked the interaction of Rain and Bella, within the dream world and Bella's ignorance of it. One thing though- thus far although you've hinted at Bella's interest in the Dark Lord she's never been explicitly involved. Which makes Rain's comment about it seem a bit premature. Also in the phrase "you are like a puny insect in comparison" I think the 'like' is unnecessary and breaks the flow somewhat. Likewise when you have a typo earlier- at one point you misspell Muggles.
I love the idea of Rain protecting Gabe and her acknowledgement that whilst who he chooses to be with is no longer her decision, she still defends him. Bella was pretty harsh to Cissy though- I'm intrigued as to how Bella will react when Cissy marries- and I loved calling Lestrange a salesman. Ha. I also enjoyed Gabe and Bella's conversation re-her parents- it's interesting that in a way she can be completely honest with him, even though he's a Muggle, whereas she can't be with anyone else.
Sorry for the wait- I'll review again come morning :) Alex
Author's Response: Thank you for finding the time to review. I realize how busy you've been lately. Did I see a third entry to the Mysterious May Challenge from you? And they're not short little pieces either. I hope to get to that soon. Before I forget, I corrected the spelling of Muggles and I took 'like' out. Thanks for pointing that out. I really hate typos and try hard to not have any. The thing with Rain is that since she's a ghost she's become a psychic. Somehow she can see the consequences of people's actions. She knows what's going to happen but she also knows she can't interfere. Bella's going to get drawn into the Dark Lord's circle and get more and more conflicted. Rain and Gabe are soul mates. She'll wait for him to join her and Autumn some day. She knows that's how it will be and that what's happening now is just the passing of time in the mortal world. I think Bella will be very jealous when Cissy marries, don't you? Bella can't show off her boyfriend yet Cissy can flaunt hers in front of the wizarding world. It is interesting how Bella can be honest with Gabe while not telling the truth. I think that pretty soon, this walking in two worlds is going to wear on her and she's going to get more and more conflicted. It will take its mental and emotional toll. Thanks for the review. See you next time.
This chapter was so lovely. I liked the way you characterised Bella as someone who thinks to some extent men can't help cheating. I strongly disagree, but that's so typical of the way you've characterised Bella in this story, and her whole attitude towards men and sex in general.
I loved the knife scene with Maggie. I was so worried Bella was going to stab her, and you could feel the tension and the fact that it was possible for Bella to stab her, but chose not because at that moment saving Maggie would make Bella seem better in Gabe's eyes. It's scary to think what she might do should impressing Gabe not be part of her plan at the moment.
And I've rather fallen in love with Gabe. That man sure knows how to be romantic- and yes, I don't think Bella would find someone screaming "It's a fascist regime!" that romantic. However- I do find that level of romance somewhat implausible (even on the rare occasion it happens in RL) and so the entry of the owl was just perfectly timed, as well as Bella's reaction to it. The ending, and them finally getting together, in spite of the foreboding of the knives and owls was rather lovely though. Alex
Author's Response: I think Bella's the sort of woman who has a lot of confidence in what she can do. She sees men as something she can use to her advantage or to play with. Even if she loves them, she sees them as weak and not to be trusted. At first I had Maggie tripping over something but I thought I'd try to be a little more creative:D And, Bella's all about looking good in Gabe's eyes. We know what she's capable of when Gabe's not around and she has no true love interest. Gabe is an intense romantic and he likes things beautifully simple. I just wish he'd be a little more wary around women like Bella. Thanks for the review. See you next time.
This will be a very quick review- sorry- I love how well Gabe and Bella get on, and the nickname Wild Rose, is a beautiful one. I think Gabe is going to get very badly hurt, unless he flees to America. I hope he does. I loved the line "Gabe forgot about painting for the next hour while Bella demonstrated just how not prickly she could be." But chilled strawberries and good wine? That man sure knows how to impress. That's one thing- he's very cosmopolitan. It makes me kind of wonder- when he moved from the countryside to the city then did he have an awkward settling in time adjusting to the sort of life he now has, or was he always smooth?
Bella Confunding her mother was a bit of a shock but so Bella. And I liked the way Cissy was at first shocked but quickly decided it was an excellent idea. And Bella's going to meet the Dark Lord? Can't wait :)
Yes, I did manage to squeeze one more entry into the Mysterious May competition. I've been writing rather a lot at the moment. If Gabe was a Pureblood I'm sure Bella would be showing him off--it's a pity she can't, because if he knew about the wizarding world she'd probably stay on the right side of it, or more likely neutral. It's interesting what you said in your response about Rain and Gabe. I hope she manages to look after him. Alex
Author's Response: I am sorry that it took me so long to reply to your review. It seems like I'm insanely busy but I don't have anything to show for my efforts. This is the busiest summer I've had in a long time but I can't say I've done anything. Maybe I got over excited about DH2 coming out. I'm glad you liked the nickname 'Wild Rose.' I was afraid that readers might find it silly. At the same time I felt the analogy of Bella to a wild rose was perfect. They are so beautiful but so painful to have contact with. With regard to Gabe, you have to remember that Gabe moved to South Dakota from Los Angeles. He and his parents are well educated and he's moved in some very intellectual and cosmopolitan circles. When he moved to South Dakota his lifestyle was ingrained and moving to London wasn't that much of a cultural shock. I think you're right. If Gabe knew about the wizarding world and his relationship with Bella could go public, she would very likely stay on the right side. Gabe would do anything to keep her safe but he doesn't know and by the time he finds out it will be too late. I really wish Bella could tell her family but she can't. Unfortunately, she's not brave enough and it will be too late when her family finds out and she finally decides to show some bravery. Her hand will be forced and that's different from being brave in the first place. Gabe does have some powerful protection though. We'll see how that helps him. I still have to read your last mystery. It was delightfully long and I have to make some time:D As always, thanks for your review. I always enjoy reading your insights.
I'm really enjoying this story! It's a very different view of Bella but also very IC. I really like the way her skills at manipulating/ getting away with not quite but possibly later murder are here in a non-extremist Bella. Looking forward to the next chapter!
Just a quick question- if Bella is 19 in your fic how old is Narcissa? And will we be meeting Andromeda soon (sorry she's my favourite character atm and looking forward to seeing her and Bella's relationship)! Can't wait for the next chapter! Alex x
Author's Response: Thank you so much for your kind and lovely review. You've made my day! I think I've mentioned in other responses, that I see Bella as a very intelligent, powerful, and beautiful woman. Beautiful and intelligent people can be plagued by mental illness and can be broken by extreme tragedy. I truly believe that Bella wasn't always a cruel and evil witch. I think she had hopes and dreams and I think she might be shocked if she could look into the future and see what she becomes and how she dies 20 years down the road. I guess I wanted to give Bella a few happy months and a few dreams. I wanted to give a reason as to why she becomes such a horrible person. I'm thankful that JKR left little me some space to play with Bella and get to know her. Maybe I shouldn't say this but if you are someone who is afraid of emotion, afraid of laughter, afraid of tears--you shouldn't read this. I'm going to take you on a helluvaride!! And, I'll be laughing and crying right along with you. Thanks for bringing up your questions at the end. I guess I'd better deal with this somehow. According to canon, Bella was born in 1951. This story is taking place in the summer-fall of 1978 through early summer of 1980, so Bella would be 27, as is Gabe. When I'm reading a story I always like to have an idea of the timeline yet I haven't given you one. I apologize and will find some way to remedy that. I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember whether Bella or Cissy is the oldest--I think Bella is. (I need to look that up for sure.) I need to bring Andromeda in soon. I think she'd be able to empathize the best with Bella right now, don't you. While I know where the story is going and where it will end, I don't know a lot of the specifics yet--until I sit down and write. Again, thanks. I think you've inspired me to go off and work on Chapter 6. What pranks do you Bella will pull this time? Those poor Yank friends of Gabe's. They don't stand a chance.
This chapter was so beautiful. I loved the mixture of Native American culture with Druid culture at Stonehenge, and then going to the pub afterwards. It just seemed so perfect.
And I really, really like the sound of Rain. I like the way in some of the stories she seems almost Bella-esque in getting what she wants, whether that means a sit-in or a dance in a strip club (I laughed aloud at that). But then there was the story about the snake which seemed very... symbolic. Given that your story is not AU I don't think this can end well for Gabe- he doesn't deserve any more hardship. And it was sad that Rain never saw him successful.
I'm really enjoying this story- looking forward to the next chapter!
Author's Response: Thanks for the wonderful review. It makes me feel like I've achieved my purpose. I think that when I have a funeral, I want people to sit around after and tell stories about me. I know I'd look down and smile. When one of my brothers passed away, we spent the afternoon telling stories about him. That's where I got the idea for this chapter. Yes, Rain was loving--she was so much in love with Gabe and they'd been together for quite a while--and she was independent. She seemed to be able to pull off enough pranks even without magic:D I didn't realize that she was so much like Bella, but I guess you're right. That just shows the sort of woman Gabe is interested in. Somehow, Rain just seems a little more honest:D Keep in mind that Gabe is a very strong person and has a strong spiritual belief. His life's been hard but he's dealt with it. You know, I'm just afraid that he'll try to "save" Bella. Not everyone can be saved and sometimes they are but at the savior's expense. I just finished the next chapter and it's being lovingly massaged by its beta:P Hopefully it will be up in a week or so. I'll see you next time.
You're right, less is sometimes more. This chapter, despite containing a pretty important revelation, felt gentle and realistic rather than melodramatic. I loved "Bella struggled not to break the delicate wine glass she was squeezing in her fist. " as a description to her reaction to hearing about Rain. Nothing more is necessary (particularly as I do that as well, and once failed). Likewise, whilst we don't really get into Bella's head much I love the way you show she cares for Gabe more than she really should, even though she's kidding herself that it's purely possessiveness. And he's so sweet, deciding to walk her to the station like a 'man' (I hate it when people walk me to the tube thinking I can't look after myself- in fact for lots of this chapter I seem to be seeing bits of myself in Bella which is slightly unnerving but showing you are doing an amazing job of humanising her and making her feel sympathetic) but falls asleep in her arms like a baby. Things however, with Gabe letting go of his past, seem to be looking a little too good. Bella's future must be about to catch her- if that makes any sort of sense. Anyway I await the next chapter as much as I awaited this one! Alex x
Author's Response: I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I'm traveling right now for work and haven't had a lot of time. I'm also practicing using my iPad. Thank you for such a thoughtful review. A lot of Bella, believe it or not, is based on what I would do if I was Bella. I'm happy that you think I'm humanizing her. That's what I wanted to do. I think that when she was young, she was a relatively normal young woman. Then something so traumatic happened that she turned into the evil, insane person she became. Gabe has a very strong spiritual background that will serve him well. And let's face it, he's a nice guy who thinks the best of Bella. He has no reason not to think that. It might be a couple of weeks before I get another chapter up. I'm not confident enough on this iPad to write anything important on it. I do hope to see you next time.
Wow. Get the next chapter up as soon as possible! I love the fact we're finding more out about Gabe- and his friends are so nice. Considering our view of Bella, however believable your characterisation of her is, we will always be biased because we know what she does, in just over three years time, so it's nice that Gabe is entirely new character.
And Stonehenge! Wow. I can't wait. I've written way too many stories set there- it's an amazing place. Though I am insanely jealous of them getting into the actual circle.
I love how realistic the Americans are. I don't know anything about Native Americans but their cultural identity doesn't stop them also being characters in their own right.
One (very minor) quibble- in "British distance" we do tend to use miles as well, so that sentence didn't really ring true. Unless it was a joke as the Americans assumed we were metric and didn't realise we still use imperial measurement a lot? I loved the joke about driving on the right, particularly in a potentially really sad chapter. I hope the next chapter is up asap! Alex x
Author's Response: I guess the joke's on me. I didn't know Britain used miles:D You can see how Gabe's friends assumed you used the metric system. When I started this story I knew they'd be Wiping the Tears but I didn't know they'd go to Stonehenge. I did some reading about Stonehenge and my source did say that people were allowed in the circle for ceremonies during the autumnal equinox. Originally I had Rain dying in the summer but I switched it to September so they could go to Stonehenge:D I'm glad you like the Gabe character and that of his friends. I'm trying to lay the groundwork for Bella's crash in a year or so. The Native American characters are very true to form. I work in a school where the population is 100% Native, primarily Dakota, and I've asked friends who are very close to the culture to read the chapters before I submit them to make sure I have the details right. Chapter 9 is up and I just submitted a Valentine's Day story. I hope you'll enjoy reading them as well. I plan to check out some of your writing when things slow down at work. I'm always looking for interesting authors and when you review that's one way I can find them. Hope to see you again soon.
Hello! It’s been a while since I reviewed so I thought I’d review too chapters at once. While reading them, I did feel that the last chapter was quite short and that Gabe’s ultimatum and chapter 14 could quite easily have made one full chapter, but that’s a minor quibble.
I love your characterisation of Bella throughout this story- but particularly in the details of how she dresses conservatively, over the clothes she wants to impress Gabe with. It’s just very Bella. I also loved the line “She already believed that she was better than other witches and wizards and more powerful. The question was did she need Tom’s philosophies? What was in it for her? She’d have to wait and see.” It shows that Bella, despite in her loyalty to Voldemort being quite unslytherin did start her sympathy with him based in self-interest, rather than some ideology or skewed sort of love.
I really enjoyed Gabe’s thoughts in chapter 14, and the way he’s so protective of Bella- I think its very natural to be jealous and realistic that Gabe, having grown so much closer to Bella, would want to meet, no matter how uptight and English Bella characterises them as.
- Your characterisation of Rodolphus is also really interesting- he seems rather awkward, dominated by his parents (and Bella’s) but then the line “It could be fun taming a wench like that” shows him as being capable of being a Death Eater, even though the reader knows he will not succeed with Bella, but someone else might. It’s sad that your Bella is caught between what’s good for her (Gabe) and what she wants/ thinks is expected of her in the Dark Lord and Rodolphus.
A couple of nitpicks- I found the sentence at the beginning of chapter 13 “Bella fought with Gabe in a horrible way the night before.” slightly clumsy. I mean when you fight with your lover, its always horrible- and since you go on to talk about the fight the reader can see for themselves that it was horrible. Also when I first read “He asked again to be her escort” it sounded a bit odd, but maybe that’s just because in the UK when ‘escort’ is used as a noun it means someone beautiful hired for the night. I also found it slightly strange that this late in the seventies Voldemort would be okay with talking to the Minister For Magic, but that’s probably due to my personal canon of how bad things were at this point rather than yours.
I love how the conflicts in this story are now coming to a head, and really glad you haven’t abandoned it. I can’t wait for the rest- Alex (oh, and congratulations on the new puppy!)
Author's Response: I'm embarrassed that it took me so long to respond to your review. One thing that I've learned is that reviews are precious and should be responded to as soon as possible. it seemed I was so busy with work for a while. Maybe now things will lighten up a little bit. I hope so. I still have about half of Bella's story to write yet. I noticed you've been writing a lot and I can't wait to get in there and read some more:D Your nitpicks were valid. No matter how many times I read and edit, it's still possible to miss something, like the "horrible way." Escort means the same thing in the United States--but I never meant it that way. I guess I'd better watch the words I use. I can see Death Eaters as being a little awkward at times in social situations. They're pure-bloods but very conservative. They're not as experienced as they'd like to be at times. I think Bella wants to go down the good path with Gabe but she's such a risk taker. She's going to gamble and spiral down. Some bad things are going to happen. Well, I will get out of here for now and see you next time. Thanks for reviewing.
This story has nowhere near enough reviews. I really like the way you integrate the wizarding and Muggle worlds- it's realistic rather than being idealistic. I think in the first chapter you may have put some people off by the detailed medical diagnoses, but despite being a humanities student I'm interested in that sort of thing, so found it interesting. There's a lot of back story in this chapter which I know is necessary but is rather heavy going. Also your dialogue is often just dialogue- it would be interesting to break it up a bit with prose.
Ah, that sounds critical when really I'm enjoying this story already and really looking forward to reading it. I like the way Daisy knows exactly how Chris will react to hearing about her and Emil, and I think Chris' jealousy of Emil is perfectly understandable. It sounds like the party will be a mix of Muggles and Wizards, so I'm intrigued to know how much the Muggles know about the wizarding world/ whether they know at all. Also despite in the last chapter Chris seeming, to be honest, a bit of a prat, he's rather sweet here. Although if by PMS you mean pre-menstrual stress- well at that point I would punch him, and it seems a rather trite reply to someone saying "I love you", even if according to their friends it's something of a ritual. I'm not sure whether I like Chris. But I'm interested in all your characters and looking forward to the rest/ beta-ing this story for you in future! Alex x
Author's Response: Alex! It's so sweet of you to leave reviews. :) Anyway-- yeah, well, the medical part. I don't really know what I was thinking when I wrote that... but I think I studied for too long or something. O.o I do remember having my internal medicine ward rounds on that particular day and I just wrote down whatever the resident taught us. :p I will correct this chapter later, though. :D I am fine with you not liking Chris ;) In fact, you not liking him just made me feel a lot better about his character, because that's how a good OC should be. People should love as well as hate him/her. :) And I've let my RL friends read some of the excerpts involving Chris's terrible behaviour and they still seem to think he's like this really awesome guy. O.o I was like, "Come on!" Oh yeah, and PMS did mean pre-menstrual syndrome. :D And Chris deserves a punch, yes. Anyway, thanks for the enormous, wonderful review! People don't review this one much because it's in a fanfic category that very few people visit. And if everyone who read this actually reviewed it, I'd have had so many reviews by now... :(
Right. I don't like Chris and I think Cheryl is right that she deserves better. She seems a bit dim but rather sweet. Chris made that dinner unnecessarily awkward and was pretty horrible to Daisy, even without the footsie incident, which Daisy was right on calling him up on. Although it is understandable that he's not sure about whether he's in love or not, as I think, particularly in fiction, too many couples declare their love for each other too soon- your way is much more realistic. Having said that I think Emil is adorable, and so sweet to Daisy. In a way he's far too perfect at the moment, but since your characters seem to be well fleshed out I'm expecting some flaws soon.
I also like the way they know about the magical world- and told them at a decent way into their relationship so that they knew they could trust their Muggle partner. Onto the next chapter! Alex x
Author's Response: Hmm... Cheryl is too fond of Chris, isn't she? If it had been me, Chris would have been dumped. Yes. In my mind, Chris has always been the insensitive kind of guy. He doesn't really understand how people feel when he does what he does but when the same thing happens to him, he starts to empathise. He's horrible to Daisy because he's not forgiven her for lying to him so much in KI. But deep down, he's a good guy. :p Anyway, Emil... hmm, this chapter is just an introduction to him. I promise you that he'll have as many flaws that all of us do. I'm scared of Gary Stu's so I don't actually like to create them. ;) Thanks for the review again! :)
The mention of the manservant confirmed part of why I don't like Chris. He's too posh. Which isn't his fault, obviously, but still- my experience of posh London boys hasn't been great. His mother, on the other hand, is great. She was lovely to him in the last chapter when he needed her, but cut his sexism down straight away. And I laughed at "WHOOPS - A - DAISY, GIRLS! EMIL’S IN A RELATIONSHIP!" That's such a typical idiotic headline from a tabloid.
The end of this chapter was rather dialogue heavy though and I was a bit confused about them arguing with Pari (who I feel really sorry for) about who would go shopping with her. It just seemed a bit- childish.
I kind of want them to just get to Newquay because, although it was interesting seeing Chris and Pari's relationship, there was not a lot in this chapter, not as much as previous chapters anyway. I'll read and review the next chapters in the morning- but this story does deserve far more reviews than its got, so I hope more people start reviewing as the story continues. Alex x
Author's Response: Hmm, I don't know anything about posh London boys. I just assumed Chris would have a man servant because he's kinda rich. :p. His Mum is one of my favourite characters, actually. :) And the tabloid line-- LOL. Well, actually, I was going to keep the whoops-a-daisy as a chapter title or something, but then I realised that it fits these tabloid headlines better. :D I didn't know what to do about the shopping part, or why I wrote it. Sometimes, I write down some parts keeping a particular purpose in mind, forget to write it down in my plot notebook and forget why that part was there the very next morning. My bad. :p Pari is going through what 70% of Indians go through. A lot of families here allow only arranged marriage. I don't understand why, but that's what it is, and it becomes tough for a lot of people out here because of these rules. Don't worry, they'll get to Newquay soon! Thank you for your review! :)
I think it's good that at the end of this chapter you reminded us of the start- because it was starting to seem irrelevant, even though I know they'll all be in Newquay soon, but it- at the moment it was getting slightly pretty people and difficult but perfectly solvable relationships- which the ending of this chapter drew it out of, which was good.
You're really good at dialogue, it sounds natural rather than awkward and clunky. However occasionally I think it's unnecessary- like you repeat what Pari and Anurag have just said with Daisy and Pari- I know Daisy needs to know, but the reader doesn't have to have it repeated.
Also this is just a question out of interest- do you think in the wizarding world they changed Bombay/ Calcutta to Mumbai/ Kolkata at the same time as Muggles? Given wizards don't really seem into empires how do you think/ to what extent did the British Empire affect wizards and witches in India? I'm just wondering if you've thought about it and interested in what you think. And I thought you said Pari's family were Bengali but I think here she says they're Indian- or have I misread that? I mean I know Bengal is part of the Indian Subcontinent, but the few people of Bengali descent I know refer to themselves as Bengali rather than Indian.
I'm not sure how I feel about Chris moving in with Cheryl. I think he still needs his mum, rather than just anyone. After all if he hasn't spent that many nights with Cheryl, and those he does spend presumably they have sex rather than just sleep in the same bed, she might not know about his nightmares, or at least not have experienced them, and they're very different things.
The ending was good, like I said but I have problems with this line "She had refused at first, causing him to rape her a fair few times until she finally agreed to do it." She's not agreeing to it. She might be being compliant and submissive but it's still rape, which you do say after that part but for a moment, however briefly, it sounds like she has a choice which she does not. But apart from that I'm intrigued- and hoping when the wizards and Muggles arrive in Newquay they'll be able to help her.
Also I meant to say ages ago- whilst Sapphire At Dawn is right, and Newquay is a far more young people's place than Blackpool Sands, Blackpool Sands is gorgeous. That Author's Note made me miss Devon :( Alex x
Author's Response: Yep, I put that rape part in this chapter because I also realised that the story was deviating. It so happens that I tend to write way more than I intend to, and by the time I notice it, *whoops! Next chapter!* happens. If you could believe this, they were supposed to go to Newquay in chapter four. But then I realised I had plotholes and buried myself into my purple notebook, pushing back their Newquay visit a little more. >.< Oh God. Please save me from myself. O.o I'll keep in mind what you said about the unnecessary dialogue. Thanks! Hmm... I checked the Bombay/Calcutta thingy in Wikipedia and found out that they were renamed in 1995 and 2001 respectively. I kinda do remember being a kid when Bombay became Mumbai, actually. My Mum woke me up for school and broke the news, but It didn't make any sense to me anyway. I was just three or maybe four. :p Anyway, I think even if the wizarding world didn't catch up immediately, I can safely say that they might have renamed the cities by 2010. :) Bah... they keep renaming cities in India anyway. :p The British empire... I haven't thought about it very much. I think Grindelwald may have been in power. Of course, he was defeated in 1945, and then there might have been peace... But the British Raj... I dunno about how it could have been for the witches and wizards. Hmm... I must think about that. Yes-- Pari's family is of Indian Bengali origin. The other Bengalis are Bangladeshis, so maybe the people you know are actually from Bangladesh. :) Cheryl and Chris moving in? Wait and watch what happens. :D Aw, and I can totally empathise with you missing Devon. My college is in Aurangabad and when I'm there, I miss Mumbai dearly. I don't know how I'm going to return to A'Bad (which I hatefully call as DogTown) once my holidays finish. :(
I found this chapter slightly strange. I liked the idea of ORP- and the way you wrote it seemed plausible (assuming magic existed of course) and very clear even to a non-med, which was good. And the relationship between Anurag and Pari was sweet- more like childhood friends then the previous awkwardness. However I found Pari's response to Daisy and Chris slightly odd. I mean they are both in relationships so any attraction to each other would be- I mean not wrong as you can't help it, but not to be encouraged. And even though she didn't intend them to be alone together, laughing about it afterwards seems to be making it okay, rather than really uncomfortable given the weekend ahead.
I thought a couple of chapters ago you said that Muskaan was a Muggle, hence Pari and Anurag having the same difficulties. But if she's going to the party she must be a witch...Or did you just mean they're both in love with someone their parents won't approve of? I think it was the chapter before last- you might want to make that clearer.
And, sorry to sound critical again but as a Londoner, "gateway to his previous home. The security guard nodded at him and opened the gates as he took the car in through the driveway and parked it beside the garage. Then taking a deep breath, he rang the doorbell of his house." Hell. Where do they live, in central London with THAT much space? I mean I went to a posh school with people several leagues above me in terms of cash but none of them had a driveway with a security guard? One had a driveway, but it was about five metres from the gate to their house, and that's probably the most expensive house I've set foot in. Sorry about that- but yeah. I felt the need to say it.
That last scene between Melanie and Chris- well I know Melanie is an actress but she really should have told Chris about Joseph before telling an interviewer. That's a horrible way to find out. Does Melanie know how her husband died? ANd although slapping one's child is horrific, Chris was being a bit of an idiot. Because he is weak, and does need his mum, and it's stupid of him not to accept that. It's not like it's two months later.However I think the last few paragraphs were really interesting. I still don't like Chris, but it's interesting to be inside his head, rather than the more dialogue taggy emotions you've shown thus far. And I like him acknowledging his ignorance and confusion. I hope he makes it up with his mother. You end your chapters really well. Alex x
Author's Response: Pari is actually a little mental. :p Don't mind her so much. She doesn't actually mean to encourage Daisy or Chris. It's just very funny to her that both of them say they've moved on and still harbour feelings for each other. It's very common amongst Indians to do this, but don't judge us. I do that a lot too, and so do my friends. :p It's a way to make fun of each other. O.o I have not said that Muskaan is a Muggle. She is definitely a witch. Actually, the only thing Anurag has said about his girlfriend is that she's his girlfriend. ;) Pari and Anurag have the same trouble as in both their families are against love marriage. I actually just based the security guard thingy on the fact that if Melanie is an actor, then she might have a security guard to keep away frenzied fans and stalkers. All actors do, actually. But I had no clue about the driveway thing. A lot of actors live here in Mumbai and the most successful ones have those actual houses with high walls running around them, driveways and everything. I just assumed that it'd be the same in London too. O.o Melanie and Chris-- I love those dynamics. I think the relationship between a mother and her child is like THE BEST on this planet. If Chris can't understand his own mother, then who can he? And anyone would have been slapped if they cracked Chris's dialogue at their mothers. If not, they'd have been punished at least (my mum would definitely punish me-- no matter how old I was or will be). Thanks for the lovely reviews! *huggles*
Summary: He realises his brother was right.
Winner of Stage 2: Free Verse the Second Annual October Triathlon at Poetry Anyone. Nominated for a QSQ for Best Poetry.
Natalie--you may or may not know I find FF poetry difficult to read/ enjoy and review but this was beautiful so you now have the dubious honour of being the first poet whom I’m attempting to give a half-way decent review to.
One thing I love about this poem is that, whilst it’s obvious who it’s about, it easily works in its own right, without any specific connection to the Potterverse. The start immediately implies the distinction between the past and present and how distanced the narrator now is from the person he’s addressing the poem to. This immediately imbues the poem with a sense of regret and melancholy.
I like the way you play with Regulus’ self-determination, particularly in comparison to Sirius’ rebelliousness. Initially his path seems prescribed and the enjambement of “mapped out/ On a tapestry” emphasises the feeling that their lives were predestined. The contrasting view shown by Sirius in that verse, and then by Regulus in the second, is clever, particularly with the “Then” of the second verse continuing the emphasis of this being something he no longer thinks or feels. The contrast between Sirius seeing their family values as something already “poisoned” whilst Regulus seems to accept that, whilst poisoned, this is something he has to accept and therefore see “flourish”.
You don’t emphasise the contrast between Regulus and Sirius too strongly, but instead subtly imply it. I love the use of the word “Cheapened” in the phrase “Cheapened by your dare/ To be different” as it shows that Regulus clearly initially considered Sirius’ actions to make him worth less. I think the use of the phrase “Your sin” is an interesting one. I’m not entirely sure what you mean. If the sentence ran “Your sin in spurning” then I’d understand, but the way you phrased it seems to imply that sin should mean punishment. But it doesn’t. Maybe I’m reading way too much into this, but I’d read that as implying that, whilst Regulus reads Sirius’ speech in the first verse as criticising their family and implying their only option is to follow, Sirius sees himself as always being the Black Sheep and therefore he has less self-determination than Regulus.
I love the phrase “You became nothing/ But a hole in the wall” because although Regulus implies absence, by the very presence of the hole Sirius is still present and affects Regulus’ actions and the way he behaves. Although you don’t imply it here- nor do you need to- my favourite Regulus Black stories all show him as having to become the Black heir and therefore is very affected by Sirius departure from his family, on a political level as well as an emotional one.
I think the “Drinking in my faults” is a fantastic line, because whilst we know Regulus is literally being reminded of all his faults and mistakes, he is also metaphorically taking them in and to some extent embracing them. I like the way that the phrasing finally implies it is Regulus’ choice, as in he does not see himself as having been forced into anything because he accepts that in spite of being indoctrinated as a child, Sirius managed to escape this and Regulus just made the wrong choice, but acknowledges that he had a choice to make.
Although this is free verse, I love the way you’ve stuck to the structure of having each first line of a verse contain a single word, followed by a comma, and then the rest of the line. It gives the poem a formality which I think is very like the Black family. One thing that made me hesitate was that the repetition of “this”, whilst affective, because you’ve used free verse there’s no fixed pattern of stresses- therefore by italicising the second ‘this’ you could imply the stress yourself.
I like the way the last verse shows Regulus to have the equivalent self-worth to the worth he previously ascribed to Sirius and that by not rebelling, but conforming, his existence is meaningless. There is great dramatic irony in the fact that Regulus does try to make a difference and whilst canonically his note in the Horcrux has a somewhat triumphant tone, here he doesn’t even see that as something which redeems him, possibly due to the potion but more likely due to his acceptance of his own sins. The last line where he accepts that whilst Sirius is the ‘black sheep’ of the family, by any common morality Regulus’ actions have made him “blacker than you.”
Throughout I love the way this is addressed to Sirius, and that Sirius is the one Regulus thinks of in his final moments. I think it’s one of the saddest things in the Harry Potter books that Sirius dies without realising that, as impressionable as his brother might have been, in the end Regulus made the right choice. Anyway, Natalie, I loved this poem and hope this review shows that even in a small way. Alex
Author's Response: Wow. SPEW reviews generally make my day, and this one was no exception. I’m flattered that you chose my poem.