Hi there! I’m Soraya. I’m seventeen years old and am a proud Muslim British Bangladeshi. I live in East London and have loved reading and writing from a young age. I’m rather obsessed with Harry Potter (aren’t we all?), tea (not a surprise considering I’m a Brit) and good grammar. Recently, I've also got into the Supernatural fandom. After watching the first episode, I had already fallen head over heels in love with Sam Winchester, so it's no surprise that I am now a huge SPN fangirl as well as a Potterhead.
My writing has changed quite a bit over the years, and I think you'll probably notice that, the further down my author page you go, the more the quality seems to drop :P I started posting stories on here at the age of fourteen, and at nearly eighteen, I can see how much my writing has improved since those Dark Ages. So, for that reason, I would advise you stick to the more recent stuff, if you choose to read anything of mine.
Just so you know, these are posted firstly according to what kind of pairing, if any, is in the story, and then in chronological order in accordance to my own canon, not necessarily the order in which they were posted.
My first chaptered fic. It’s terribly written, but I still have a place in my heart for it because of how much fun it was to write. This story has now been deleted on MNFF, but if you really, really want to read it, you can still find it on FF.net and HPFF. (I advise you don't, though :P)
Second Childishness and Mere Oblivion (James/Lily)
Written for Round One (Major Characters) of Madam Pomfrey’s Character Clinic Triathlon, this one-shot is about James and Lily’s relationship getting rockier and rockier after they left Hogwarts, especially when Lily is faced with the trials of being a wife and motherhood. A little smutty.
My Love is Always Here (James/Lily)
This was a belated birthday present for the wonderful Gina/Gmariam, aka the queen of James/Lily. This is mostly about Lily dealing with becoming a mother for the first time and the problems (as well as the joys) that come with that.
There's an Answer (Remus/Tonks)
Written for Sophie/The owl for SPEW Summer Swap IV. Tonks is sent on an interesting baby Auror assignment to do with werewolves. Remus and a dangerous Muggle are thrown into the mix, with interesting results.
Left Behind (Remus/Tonks)
An expanded version of one of my LoveNotes, written for SPEW. It's a missing moment set between OOTP and HBP, where in my head canon Remus and Tonks have been together, in secret, for a few weeks already and Remus is then told to go on his werewolf mission. Slightly smutty.
One and Only (Remus/Tonks)
Written for the lovely Alex/Ithinkrabis2people in the Ravenclaw Christmas Drabble Exchange. This is a missing moment set just after Tonks’s outburst to Remus in the hospital wing at the end of HBP.
Out of My Life (Harry/Ginny)
My only AU (kind of). I tweaked a small part of canon in this -- basically, Harry actually said goodbye to Ginny properly when he broke up with her. Very angsty, and this is only up for sentimental reasons, as I wrote it during The Dark Ages (aka when I was fourteen).
A Different Kind of Magic (Harry/Ginny)
Written for the You’re Having My Baby challenge at SIYE. Ginny finds out she’s pregnant, but Harry receives the news before her and therefore has to tell his wife. This was my first ever story at MNFF. It was written when I was thirteen, and it definitely shows.
A Different Kind of Magic 2: Parenthood (Harry/Ginny)
A sequel, obviously, to A Different Kind of Magic. Ginny goes into labour, and both Harry and Ginny realise what it means to be parents. Again, this was written from Back in the Days.
The Caustic Ticking of the Clock (Rowena/Helga)
Written for the Great Hall Cotillion, this story is my only Founders story so far, and it’s about Rowena and Helga’s secret relationship. I am proud of this one, which doesn’t usually happen :)
Catching Fire (James/Sirius)
This was written for SPEW 007. My prompt was “Embers”, and it’s set just after Remus’s second transformation with the Marauders. James is badly injured, and he and Sirius realise, inadvertently, that they might just have feelings for each other. I like the pairing but still think the story needs work. One day I will go back and edit.
Flicker and Fail (Katie/Leanne)
This was written forSecret SPEW, and my recipient was the absolutely fabulous Alex/welshdevondragon. It’s my take on Leanne and Katie’s relationship from way before they were even at Hogwarts as well as what eventually happens to Katie in HBP, when she was cursed.
Skinny Love (Louis/Lily)
Written for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion. Set during Teddy and Victoire's wedding, Louis helps Lily come to terms with her bulimia. This one was pretty difficult to write.
Blood and Roses (Scorpius/Rose, Scorpius/Dominique, Dominique/OC)
Written for the Great Hall Mysterious Maychallenge, this was my first Next Generation fic about Scorpius, mostly, and the trials he faces after his daughter is murdered.
Broken Glass (Louis/Lily)
This is the story of when Loulily really began. After the deaths of his immediate family, Louis is finding it hard to cope, even six months later. Lily somehow helps. It’s a little smutty. I’m proud of this one, too :)
The Highway of Regret (Scorpius/Lily, Scorpius/Rose, Louis/Lily)
Also written for the Great Hall Cotillion. It’s my one and only Scily. This is all about secret relationships and mistakes people make. Lily’s angry at Louis, and Scorpius has just broken up with Rose; when Lily gets drunk in the pub, things... happen. :P
I Will Lay Down My Heart (Albus/Rose, Scorpius/Rose)
Written for Round Two (Minor Characters) of Madam Pomfrey’s Character Clinic Triathlon. Albus has been in love with Rose for years, but what happened with them when they were younger has put a dent in their relationship. It doesn’t help that Rose is actually in love with Scorpius, either. This is smutty too.
One More Night (Albus/Rose, Rose/Scorpius)
Companion piece to I Will Lay Down My Heart. This goes into more detail about Rose and Albus's changing relationship as well as the aftermath of the events in said companion story. Probably the smuttiest thing on my page. :D Written for the Great Hall Cotillion 2013.
This was written for the Great Hall-iday challenge for the Operation: Mistletoe prompt, and this was where my love for Loulily began.
This is about how five men in Potterverse dealt with remorse in different ways.
This poem is about how Remus feels about Sirius (not slashy, btw).
Written for the Magic in Music challenge over inPoetry, Anyone? This was set to the track “Obliviate” in DH1 and is about Hermione modifying her parents’ memories.
Written for the Goodbyechallenge in Poetry, Anyone? This was about saying goodbye, and how difficult it could be.
After All This Time
Written for the Deathly Hallows challenge inPoetry, Anyone?. I ship unrequited Snape/Lily, and this is probably the only time Snape will be on my author page, lol.
Written for the MC Kreacher challenge inPoetry, Anyone? This was written from the POV of Bill Weasley after his wife’s death.
Written for the Great Bannermakers’ Hallchallenge. The banner I picked had Merope Gaunt on it, and it’s probably my darkest story; it’s definitely the only one to have a dubious consent warning. It’s about, as you might guess, the abuse Merope suffered from her father and brother.
In Care (Marlene/OC)
Marlene McKinnon, as a care kid, eventually falls in love with another care kid, Jamal Olawumi. But he's a Muggle, and keeping her world secret proves difficult. This is definitely a story I would like to revisit and tidy up.
Just Across the Bar (Sirius/Rosmerta)
Sirius is just about of age, but obviously Rosmerta has misgivings about having feelings for Sirius, who is still a student. Written for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion and also smutty.
Written for SPEW 007. My prompt was “Juggling”, and it’s just a silly piece of dialogue-only banter between Remus and Sirius. Sirius realises Remus likes Tonks, and he tries to persuade Remus to act on his feelings.
Hanging by a Thread (Katie/Oliver)
Written for the lovely Jess/ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor for Secret SPEW VII. Katie is grieving and drowning her sorrows in alcohol and Oliver is trying his best to save Muggles, while trying also to bury feelings for Katie that he thought he had long since forgotten about. There is also, surprise surprise, some smut in this.
And that’s it! Along with being a moderator, I’m also a member of SPEWand SBBC. I hope to see you around on the forums; feel free to contact me via PM or review if you have any questions or comments about my stories!
Summary: As N.E.W.T.s quickly approach, Lily Evans struggles with her once-perfect boggart spell, while James Potter cannot seem to master the Patronus Charm. A strange journey through a long-lost room within the castle guides the two Heads through their troubles, leading them to an unexpected end where they find much more than the ability to master their magic.
This is Gmariam of Ravenclaw writing for the Great Hall Cotillion Challenge.
It wasn't that strange! I loved Dumbledore and I think you did a great job of giving James and Lily the closure they needed, both in terms of what they needed to do and with regards to their romance :D And I think there was a very Potterish feel to it because they were in a weird situation and were then saved (kind of?) by Dumbledore.
Anyway, these reviews are pretty useless, lol, but I basically enjoyed this story quite a bit, so well done! :)
Author's Response: Thank you once more! I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I still think it's out there, but hey, I've written J/L every which way under the sun so I have to try something different, lol. I could just picture Dumbledore knowing about this and talking them through it with his twinkling eyes, can't you? And I have no doubt Rowena has this secret room in her castle too. Gah, I love these two. Too much. Thank you for reading, I really appreciate the reviews!! ~Gina :)
Summary: When Charity Burbage became the Muggle Studies professor, she was looking for a new life, safe in the enclave of Hogwarts.
She certainly wasn't looking for love.
Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling.
This is Equinox Chick of Hufflepuff writing for the Second Great Hall Cotillion.
Thank you, Natalie, (hestiajones) for an on the hoof beta job.
Fabulous chapter, Croll! I am enjoying this so much and am sad to see it nearly finished :( Gahh this is definitely one of my favouritest stories by you (I know I say this about a LOT of your stuff but damn it it's your fault for writing so well!) mainly because the characterisation of everyone present is just perfect. I love Oliver and his thoughtfulness, and I love Charity for how she very clearly has tried to shake off her feelings for Oliver but isn't able to. And I really liked how, despite Charity not really being interested in Quidditch, Oliver still thanked her for everything. She sounds like a fabulous teacher. :)
That's it, I think! Sorry for the awful review -- my brain is kinda fried right now, eep. But I look forward to the next chapter!
Oh, actually, one more thing.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE COW BISCUITS!!!!!!!!!!!!
Author's Response: COW BISCUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUIIIIITTTTS! Hahahahahah, thank you so much for the review. I have adored writing this story and tried not to self insert, but the cow biscuits were too wonderful to ignore. ~Croll~
Carole, this was really interesting! :) Honestly, I expected the usual scenario (or at least what seems to be the usual scenario) of a teacher giving a student detention and then something going on there. This was therefore very unexpected in a good way :)
Charity is a lovely teacher! I would love to have been taught by her -- I think you did a great job in making her a really likeable and well-rounded character. Also, I giggled at Professor Sinistra's comment about not smiling till Christmas :P
And poor Oliver :( I can see how this kind of classroom discussion could get nasty, even if it is a really interesting discussion they got into. I think the way you presented a classroom situation and kept it so engaging with teh dialogue was fabulous, especially the things they were learning in Muggle Studies, because that's one subject I've always been curious about. I think you did a great job with that, and I liked Oliver's appreciation of Shakespeare in particular ;)
Anyway, I would love to see where things go from here, Croll! :D This was a great start, and I am intrigued, especially as this is when Oliver is in fourth year -- I'm guessing anything that happens with them would probably take place when he's at least a little older? Anyway, update soon, and once again, YAYYYY COW BISCUITS :D
Author's Response: Cow Biscuits to you, too.
Soraya, thank you so much for the review. Hmm, I wanted to write this as a teacher/student that's as unsquicky as possible. Basically everyone seems to think of the Snape and someone, but the female teachers could have been as young as I've made Charity, and it's not entirely squicky if the boy is of age, in my opinion. I also decided a long time ago that this wouldn't be a kept in detention accidentally brewing Love Potions scenario - ha ha ha. Thanks again ~Carole~
Oliver is so hot. I love him. *heart* I think you did a great job here, Croll -- I particularly like how Charity's attraction to Oliver is very much a gradual thing and she didn't think of him in *that* way until now. Also, I was so ready to call you out on the Apparating thing -- lol -- but then it was a dream! Hehehehe.
Seriously, though, I am enjoying this so much, Carole! Only you could make me root for a student/teacher pairing -- I mean, I have nothing against it in the slightest, but I generally find the fandom!student/teacher consists of Snape putting Hermione, Luna or Ginny in detention and then he shags them with teh cauldron bubbling in hte background or something, lolol. This is far more plausible.
Well done and update soooooon! :D
Author's Response: Yayayayayay - thank you for the compliments; it means so much to me that you think this plausible. Yes, the detention thing is a little overused, and speaking personally, even with seven lovepotions, a locked dungeon, and the threat of Crucio, I still couldn;t fancy Snivellus - hahahaha.
Ha - I knew I'd have to mention the Apparating thing because someone would have read Hogwarts: A History and will be picky - hee hee - but I suspect Charity caught up in the throes of passion would have forgotten all about it.
Thank youuuuu! ~Carole~
Summary: Graham Montague is still recovering from a difficult divorce when Ginny Potter comes to the Department of Mysteries, unable to accept her own devastating loss. Can he help her move on with her new life, or will she change his even more?
This is Gmariam of Ravenclaw writing for the Great Hall Cotillion 2013.
Yayayayayayayayay,that was fab! :D :D :D
Gina, I know you had trouble with this, but honestly, I really enjoyed this final chapter, even though I knew the plot twist and everything. (Kind of reminds me of the fact that I could still watch Being Human after spoiling myself, hehe.) And speaking of Being Human, I absolutely loved the whole thing about passing over and all that. Graham came full circle and finally accepted his fate, which I think you needed. I think teh reason this story ended so satisfactorily was because you gave Graham closure. Well done on an excellent story and a really powerful ending. :D
Author's Response: Thank you so much! Yes, another story we talked about and I spoiled you on but you helped me so much so thank you for that and for reading it and for reviewing it! I really appreciate all your help. I'm glad you enjoyed it and found it worked well enough. Definitely has that Being Human vibe at the end, I think. It was fun to write until I got stuck, lol but I'm glad the end was effective. Thanks again for everything! ~Gina :)
Summary: Lisa Turpin is the girl who no-one notices. Ernie Macmillan is the boy who everyone notices. Then how, she thinks, could they ever fit together?
I am Padfoot11333 of Hufflepuff and this is my second entry for the Great Hall Cotillion.
Ooooh, interesting story, Lily! :)
I love pretty much any trio era minor character pairing; this was an excellent example of one, and I liked the dialogue between Ernie and Lisa. I thought there was quite a bit of physicality in their relationship which really helped in developing it and making them have good chemistry, and I liked how sparingly you used the lyrics, too.
the one thing I will say is that I do think it's a bit short. For me, Ithink you could have expanded things, extended the timeline, because I feel the characters didn't quite get the closure they needed. I also think it would be good to develop their relationship furhter. Just a thought -- I've noticed this in a couple of stories, not just this one, so I thought I would point it out. :)
Anyway, I did enjoy this. Good lukc with teh cotillion and sorry for typos -- this is why I shouldn't review late at night :3
Summary: Cedric Diggory is dead.
After the tragic end of the Triwizard Tournament, Penelope Clearwater reminisces on a few hidden moments with Cedric, that no-one knew they'd shared.
This is Ginny Weasley Potter of Hufflepuff house, writing Penelope and Cedric for the Great Hall Cotillion.
Hey Pooja! So I am slowly working my way through the Cotillion fics, and when I came across yours, I'll admit that I was wondering how you could make the pairing work, because I've never come across Cedric/Penelope before. But I did like your take on it, and I think it was plausible, especially after what we see of Percy in GoF.
I really liked Penelope's characterisation here. I think you got into her head really well -- from the start, when Cedric died, I could definitely feel her grief at what just happened. It makes me sad to see their relationship was basically non-existent in the end :( It shouldn't have been, but at the same time, I get why they weren't together in the end. That is one thing I really like about this story, Pooja: it's realistic, with a plausible ending, and I'm glad you went down that route because it worked really well for you. I think it also showed Cedric's imperfections, and that's important -- if I remember correctly, you were saying how you didn't like how perfect Cedric is in a lot of fanfic. I get that. I don't think you had that here at all, especially because he was the one who eventually turned Penelope down.
Anyway, this is an awful review, but I enjoyed this! Good luck with the Cotillion, my dear :)
Author's Response: Hellow, Soraya! So glad you stopped by. :D I have a lot of fics to read too, and it has been a busy month for me. But, haha, I was wondering how I'd make it work myself. I just had a set of situations that I wanted to write, and I had Cedric and Penelope. The entire Percy thing struck me right in the end, actually. :D
I am really, really glad that Penelope's characterisation agreed with you. I wanted to get her right -- I wanted her to be justified in liking Cedric, and also to like him for something apart from his looks. In the books, there's no mention of Cedric and Penelope even interacting, but I guess a story could be woven between them. They couldn't end-up together, of course, because we get to know later in the story that Cedric is with Cho. But then I noticed that automatically, it seemed that all the characters were concerned about how Cho was doing, which meant that even if Cedric did have another secret relationship with anyone else, we'd never know.
Cedric in the books comes across as perfect too, actually -- mainly because we see him from Harry's PoV, and Harry has a major complex there. This is misinterpreted in many fics as Cedric being perfect. But he couldn't possibly be that way. But I'm really happy that he comes off more realistically in this fic. :D
This is a perfectly fantabulous review, and thank you so much for this! :D Good luck to you too, and *hugs, hugs, hugsssss*
Summary: Lucy Weasley is so damn tired of being normal. She wants to stand out. She wants to be full. More than anything, she wants to lose weight. And she does. She gets so thin that she begins to disintegrate.
Scorpius Malfoy has watched Lucy fall apart for the past year. He wants, more than anything, to help her get well. Much like Lucy, he feels like he hasn't done anything worth remembering. This, he thinks, could be his chance.
I am Padfoot11333 of Hufflepuff writing for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion.Three times nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill - Best Non-Canon Romance, Best Dark/Angst, and Best Next-Gen. Thank you everyone!
When I first validated this, I was completely blown away, and upon rereading, I was blown away again because of how well-written your story is. Your take on Lucy Weasley is one I've never come across before, and yet the voice you established here for her was so fully fleshed out and convincing that I can’t imagine another canon for her right now.
First and foremost, your handling of eating disorders was perfect. Speaking personally, I think it’s really difficult to find that line between using sensitive issues as plot devices and actually having that sensitive issue being an integral part of the plot. Here, I definitely thought your story fell into the latter category, and I think the reason for that is because of how you confronted the problem and explained why Lucy was bulimic and anorexic. I know you said that writing it was hard, but I could see the extent of research you carried out here because of how accurate her experiences were, right down to her eating habits to begin with to what Lucy ate first and why. I applaud you for choosing to tackle this subject and for doing it so well.
In terms of style, I immediately noticed and appreciated the use of first person. I'm not always the biggest fan of it, to be honest, but it worked so well here. Your story was intensely personal, and I don’t think it would have come across quite so strongly in any other point of view. I felt you established Lucy’s voice right from the outset, and that made her emotions -- of self-hatred, of her desire to change and to get attention -- so much stronger and more vivid. Also, as a reader, I felt closer to Lucy as a result, and considering what she goes through in this story, I think that’s even more important. And I think you succeeded, too, because I really understood Lucy as a character and sympathised greatly with her. The blunt way in which you wrote her, with the contrasting short and long sentences, emphasised her changes in mood and, perhaps, her uncertainty when looking back on the effects of her bulimia and anorexia.
The way the plot unfolded in your story was really natural and not at all confusing, which I know can happen with non-linear stories. I thought it was interesting that Lucy was narrating the events in hindsight, after her treatment, and that made her regret resonate even more strongly with me. But what was more shocking to read was the way in which Lucy’s eating disorder escalated -- her progression from binge-eating to bulimia to treatment and then anorexia was what pushed the story forward. I think the reason this was so compelling to read was that I really wanted to know if she got better, eventually, and I was so relieved to see Scorpius was able to change things for her.
Speaking of which, Scorpius’s characterisation was intriguing. I liked his patient approach to Lucy, but also, I thought his attitude towards his parents was a great inclusion to have. The way in which Scorpius referred to his father as having helped neither side gave me the impression that Scorpius had his own issues, too, and that made him so much more relatable as a character. I do think, at times, that you were telling quite a bit of the backstory behind Scorpius and Lucy’s friendship rather than showing it, and at times, it did feel not quite as convincing as other aspects of the story. For example, the part about Scorpius being Lucy’s friend for “as long as (she) could remember” could have been expanded a bit more, because I would have liked to know more about how they became friends, how their parents reacted to it, as well as Lucy’s cousins. But overall, that was quite minor, and I did like what I did see of their friendship here as well as the progression of their relationship into something more.
This story was intense, emotional and realistic, Lily, and I applaud you for dealing with such difficult topics with the sensitivity it needs. I certainly think it’s up there with your best work, and if it’s been tough writing it, know that that effort has most definitely paid off. :) Your story touched me deeply and stayed with me long after I validated it, and it was definitely the highlight of modding last month. Well done, and good luck with the Cotillion!
Soraya - wow. I am so blown away by this review! I have no idea what to tell you, aside from many, many thanks. This review has completely made my kind of sucky week, lol.
This story is easily the toughest thing I've written, not only because of the subject matter but also because I wanted the reader to really connect with not only Lucy but also Scorpius, and I'm extremely glad you did. Scorpius was definitely the most intriguing character in the story for me to write, and at some point I'm looking to write something that gives more information on his back story - it's something that I really wanted to include in the story but couldn't fit in quite correctly. Scorpius and Lucy, in my opinion, are two characters that here contrast very, very much - not just in nature but also because they have problems that are very similar, yet they choose to handle them very differently.
I was nervous about the subject matter, to be honest. I did lots of research - beyond the random facts that you can find online with the list of symptoms and causes. That wasn't good enough for me - I was looking for a lot more. I spent a lot of time in the Tumblr tag of "ana" and "mia", in addition to looking at some "pro-ana" websites. I wanted to be able to connect with Lucy's feelings instead of just what was happening to her physically. That's part of why I used first person. I didn't feel like a less personal description would be enough. Yet using first-person accounts of eating disorders was incredibly emotionally draining. It still makes me really sad to see people going through this.
I'm extremely glad you liked the story. I was really nervous about it, and having people say that this is my best work (you're not the first!) really makes me proud. Thank you, and good luck to you as well in the Cotillion!
Andromeda Tonks lost everything after the war except her infant grandson, but when he approaches adulthood, is she afraid of letting him go, of being alone, or that she didn't do enough to steer him in the right direction?
Of course, children are always full of surprises.
This is a (slightly late) present of birthday-ness for the wonderful Sophie/the owl. She's a great writer, supreme beta, fabulous reviewer, and wonderful friend. I'm so glad we bonded over fic, because it would just be wrong to never get to know you. ♥
OMG. He is the most adorable character EVER! I love him here. There's an amazing humility to him that just adds so much depth to his character, and his vulnerability just makes me want to hug him. I also love Andromeda and how she eventually did allow Teddy to become an Auror in spite of her worries -- and I get why she would be worried. After all, Tonks might still have been alive had she not been an Auror, or at least, that's what I think Andromeda would have liked to think.
I generally am not a fan of gen fic, truth be told, Jess, so I was wondering what kind of story this would be given I think you mentioned on the LS that this wasn't really featuring a pairing. Buuuut then I realised I was reading about Teddy, and after the hell you put him through (lol), I loved this story in spite of knowing what will eventually happen to him. Ah well. I guess I can try and pretend that the other thing doesn't happen, haha -- nah, seriiously, even without the knowledge of your other story, I still adored reading this one. It was a nice family-friendly thing by you, which was a surprise, hehe. Happy birthdayyyyyy to Sophie once again, and nice job, Jess :)
Anyway, back to business. Yes, this is completely not my thing, and the lack of shipping (outside of latent Ted/Andromeda), this is more a story about familial relationships and what they mean to different characters. To Andromeda, it means keeping her loved ones safe from harm, but for Teddy, it means honouring his parents' sacrifice by not letting the state of the world dictate how he lives his life. In a way, Teddy channels a bit of James/Lily in that respect.
It's completely understandable that Andromeda wants to hold Teddy close, but it's also a beautiful thing that Teddy grew up in a world devoid of violence and still chose a career of protecting the innocent. I think it speaks well of the sort of man he is and the sort of person Andromeda raised. Also, it's indicative of the impact Ted had on Andromeda's life and how he pulled her out of the Black family lifestyle. And maybe -- just maybe -- Andromeda was a bit stunned by how much like Ted her grandson really was.
Anyway, thanks for dropping in, despite it not being your thing. This was quite difficult to write, since I am used to shippy fic rather than genfic, so I'm glad it was worth the effort. :)
Something has changed in Merope Gaunt, a thrumming of insect wings, a pulse kickstarting to life.
Merope is alone. Penniless, undernourished and pregnant - these are the last three trimesters of her life.
This was a phenomenal story. When the Quicksilver Quill Awards come around this year, I will certainly be nominating it, because I really enjoyed reading. Minor characters are right up my street, particularly Merope, who is one of the most interesting characters in the series despite her rather minor role in the novels. Also, I'm a huge fan of character studies, and I think you explored her character so well here, with your lyrical style throughout really enhancing the emotions felt and making every scene beautifully colourful and vivid.
I thought the metaphor of the seed and growth was really effective, with the description of the seed to begin with, because the simplicity of the concept makes the premise of the story so fresh and unique and a joy to read. Furthermore, I felt this metaphor lent itself beautifully with the title as well as the structure of the story. I loved the way in which you ordered the scenes, because I thought it made the story distinctive in that the story is centred around the pregnancy and Merope’s life, rather than her and Tom’s relationship, which I think is the common trope in fanfiction when it comes to Merope. It was an interesting perspective of Merope considering the focus and end product of such growth was Tom Riddle. Also, within that, I could see that Merope, too, was growing, but in a different way. By being with Tom, she betrayed her father and brother, and I think the way you chose to illustrate the plot was so well done that I think it could have very easily have been weaved into canon.
Although the focus was more on Merope’s pregnancy, I liked how you portrayed Tom and Merope’s relationship in this, too. There is something really disconcerting about the nature of their marriage because of Merope giving Tom the love potion, something which I think was only touched upon in canon. You expanded on that well, especially the description of Merope feeding Tom the potion. For example, the image of her kissing the “purple stains off the sides of his mouth” and even “licking the back of the spoon” are so disturbing to read. And going upon both your story and what we know in canon, I have to say, Merope’s lack of morals is so shocking to read and yet it fits in with her characterisation perfectly, especially in light of her upbringing. Also, the phrase “Tom and Merope and Merope’s special brew” makes it seem like there are three people in their relationship, not two, and that made Merope an incredibly pathetic character to me, even more so than in canon. Furthermore, the manipulation on Merope’s part just makes the ending of this story sadder, even if it is an inevitable ending.
What was really heartbreaking to read, as I said above, was Merope’s complete lack of understanding of right and wrong in this and everything she sacrificed for this dubious relationship with Tom. I was astonished at the lengths to which Merope would go in order to make the potion every day. The fact that she went so far as to tear her hair out for Tom again made me feel so sorry for Merope, but even more so were the mentions of Marvolo’s and Morfin’s treatment of Merope -- the way Merope’s “flesh crawls” at the mere thought of her father emphasised, to me, how abusive he was towards her. The way in which you addressed that issue was sensitive, and I think the fact that Marvolo’s abusiveness had a basis in canon meant you didn’t have to confront it head on. Instead, the references to the abuse, like “her jaw buckling beneath the sudden weight of his clout”, make the dubiousness of Merope’s relationship seem almost inevitable because of the way Merope was brought up, where she never had the same distinction between right and wrong.
Another scene which I think could have been carved from canon is when Merope croons to Tom in Parseltongue. That was so sinister, but it fitted with both the disturbing nature of the story and who Tom ends up being, and it’s interesting therefore that she intended to raise Tom as a Muggle. I felt this was another sign of what her upbringing did to her, because from this story, I think Merope wanted to punish herself for Tom leaving her, which I think she would have considered to be her fault, especially since her father blamed her for everything.
Merope’s memory of her eating dirt made me feel so sorry for her, and the fact that she then does the same thing during her pregnancy was even more uncomfortable to read. But that discomfort was one I think was necessary as a reader, because the emphasis on the harshness of her household when she was younger is really important in establishing Merope’s character. I also liked how you explored pica (which is something I’ve never heard of, so I’ve learnt something new today :) ), so her actions make sense, both in light of what she had done before, but also what her condition is now.
Most of all, though, what made your story so bold and intriguing to read was the lyricism in the narrative. With a character study, I think there are two things that can push a story forward -- the style and the characterisation itself. Here, you succeeded on both counts, particularly in your description of Tom and the “scarlet glimmer in his pupils”, which was excellent foreshadowing of Voldemort later. Also, I think that showed that maybe Voldemort being evil came from both his parents, in spite of his father being a Muggle, and that kind of irony is what makes the story such an interesting read.
Finally, I think the poetic style of your story extended beyond simple description of what things look like; I liked the focus on smell, too, since this was how Merope first came to the realisation that she was pregnant. The way Merope’s body was out of proportion because of her pregnancy fit well with the motif of growth, but it was also clear even before her pregnancy that that growth was stunted, right from the beginning with her hair falling out. I thought the growth of Tom inside her really emphasised how Merope slowly deteriorated as a result.
Overall, I was so very impressed after reading this story. It’s one of the best I've read in a while, and I can’t wait to read more of your work. Keep it up!
Author's Response: Hello Soraya :D
First of all, forgive me if the html tags are showing. I'm sick of having chunky monoparagraph author responses! Second, forgive me again for taking a phenomenally long time to respond to such a phenomenal review. I saw this last week and I've tried to respond several times but each time I try to say something my brain just turns to mush and I find I'm doing nothing but keyboard smashing and gushing and ajkflkashvkjdsnargaoluffas jfio;ji Yeah sort of like that. Wow. Just. Even now as I reread your review I'm still overwhelmed and I'm not sure I can respond adequately to such a cartload of compliments :D
I am so utterly happy that you liked this story. Really, it means everything to me. I wasn't too happy with this story but all the amazing feedback I've received from you and the other reviewers has been so encouraging and it's given my confidence a much needed boost.
I chose to focus on Merope's pregnancy because I'm absolutely rubbish at writing romance :P Also, I don't know how I could ever portray the terrible relationship between her and Tom Snr. in detail. Merope is certainly a character from canon who doesn't get much sympathy despite her ordeal, and I get the feeling that it's all because of her 'weakness of spirit' or something like that. Can't believe that Dumbledore even compared her to Lily Evans!! Merope is a product of her loveless environment, and I was trying to capture that in the story. I have this feeling that I didn't write her with much compassion; I was actually doing this for a challenge in another fanfic site, and the challenge was dark/horror. So I do feel that sometimes I compromised characterisation a little just to evoke an atmosphere. But I'm glad that you thought this character study of her actually succeeded!
Also, it's wonderful to hear that you found the narrative lyrical and intriguing! I can imagine it must be hard to read, what with the level of descriptive detail (I have this bad habit of layering in the description when I don't know what to say :P ) and the lack of dialogue throughout most of the narrative. Ah, and yes! SO HAPPY THAT YOU PICKED UP ON THE DETAIL ABOUT TOM'S RED EYES EVILEVILEVILLLLLL. I definitely think Voldy got some of his worst traits from his dad :D And I just had to make Tom Sr. have red eyes because EVIL. Blalsdkjhljsaf not making sense. THAT'S WHAT YOUR REVIEW DOES TO ME. IT SUBTRACTS ALL COHERENCE FROM ME.
Goodness goodness. "One of the best you've read in a while"?!?!?!? This is really high praise you're heaping on me and I. Can't. Thank. You. Enough. THANK YOU SO MUCH. SO MUCH SOOSOSO MUCH. For this absolutely wonderful review. For taking the time to read and review in such detail. I know you're a SPEW-er and all but STILL. This is just...gah. *hugs*
Summary: Scorpius and Victoire, who have nothing in common but failed marriages, come to realise that sometimes, shared emotions can be the sole reason behind bringing two people together.
This is Ginny Weasley Potter of Hufflepuff house, writing for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion.
This story is a sequel to my one-shot ScoRose fic, 'His Hero', and if anybody plans to read that one, they should now, before it's spoiled in the first chapter.
Also, this fic contains both Scorpius/Rose and Scorpius/Victoire. Thank you! (Edit: The new substance abuse warning refers to alcohol abuse, something I didn't expect to write until it just sprung out of me).
Pooja, I am so sorry for taking a while to review this D: I mean, I had read it before, so really, I should have reviewed as soon as you posted, but I have been rather preoccupied with my own fic and RL crap, so... sorry. Forgive me? *flutters eyelashes*
Anyway, omg, I just realised how similar our head canons are of Scorpius! O.o I mean, I killed off Scorpius's kid, too, though that was a result of the one-night stand he had with Dominique, haha. So of course not exactly the same, but still, it's interesting that they're similar in the sense that we've both been mean to poor Scorpy, lol. But I am sad for him :( That isn't easy, and I'm intrigued to see how Scorpius nearly killed a patient and got away with it... I may just have to read the scorose. :D
What I like about this the most is that you make sure to portray their relationship in such a way that we can see the attraction between them, but other things kind of get in their way, like both of them being workaholics and their sex life suffering as a result.
I think Scorpius was going a bit far with accusing Rose of cheating, though. Hmm. I'm in two minds about this -- on the one hand, it does show just how broken Scorpius is, to the extent that he starts becoming that paranoid, but on the other, I do think that it's a bit much considering he never actually sees her with said patient, and it therefore seems like his accusations are unfounded? Oh, I'm not sure. I think things might be clearer if I read the next chapter, haha. At any rate, you've laid down strong foundations for Scorose but have also succeeded in destructing their relationship, lol, so I shall go on and read the next chapter :D See you there!
Author's Response: Gahhh, I typed out a long response, then inadvertently shut the window. *headdesk* But please don't apolofise, Soraya, it's really awesome that you took out the time to review, whether now, or later, and that's so lovely of you. Thank youuu <3333 I know you've been busy too, and so have I, and there's so much of yours that I need to review. :)
So I just found out from Alex that the fic you're talking about here is Blood and Roses. Gotta read that! It's uncanny that we have similar headcanons of Scorpius -- well, this is one of my Scorpiuses. I have at least five different versions of him, lol. And I'm always mean to him lol. And I'm almost always sad for him too (except once. He needed to lose that person, because they'd suit each other). And, ha, he was just preoccupied, the poor chap, he didn't mean any harm to the patient (he didn't get away with it, lol).
I am so, so happy that you liked the portrayal of the relationship. I needed to keep the attraction apparent, but also the frustration, and am glad you liked it this way. :D
Scorpius is actually overreating, but this Scorpy of mine is a wee bit touchy. Plus, Rose did leave to 'see' her patient one day and she returns late from work or anything, so he's being an idiot and assuming the worst. :/ The accusations are unfounded, I assure you, Scorpy is a plain old idiot.
Thank you for the lovely review! Love youuu! <33333333
So much happened! O.o You've just killed two of my OTPs, Pooja, and I'm still standing... well, sitting, hehe. But wow, I think you dealt with that really well. I think it's interesting to see the couples kind of intersect in the way they did, if that makes sense -- like Victoire being paranoid about Teddy talking to Rose, and of Victoire talking to Scorpius -- I can see why the two couples, both having problems, would turn to the other, and I think that's teh perfect setup for attraction to form. I especially liked the line about Scorpius being attracted to women as a result of them seeing his vulnerable side -- I think that was a great line and really said a lot about Scorpius's character, so well done. :)
And the cheating thing makes a lot more sense here. That is true about doctor/patient confidentiality, so it's good you brought that up. I can imagine why that would make people suspect things. Anyway, Pooja, this is really a great story and I've enjoyed reading it! I'm sorry for not reviewing earlier but hopefully you can forgive me :3 Please don't take it down just because of lack of reviews, though -- if not only because I want to read the rest of it! :) Besides, you can't leave me hanging. VICTOIRE JUST SNOGGED SCORPIUS. :D I neeeed to know what happens next, so update soon!
Author's Response: Soraya, I killed off my own OTPs, haha. It was so hard to write this, but I wanted to grit my teeth and get Scorpius and Victoire together, ha. The plot I initially had was a one-shot. Then it became a two-shot, and now, suddenly, there are four chapters. O.o
Oh, I had to scour for reasons for both these couples to separate, tbh. So I'm glad that it seems likely to happen in this way, ha! And yay! You liked Scorpius's character. :D Can't tell you how happy I am! :DDDDD
Haha, Scorpius and Victoire are being paranoid here. It's really messing them up, isn't it? But I'm glad it's all making sense. And also that you like the story. :) Thank you so much, Soraya, and please don't apologise :* . I was just worried that maybe ripping two OTPs was a bad idea, which is why I wanted to take this off. But I'll leave it up now. :) Thank you! :)
Summary: There were a few short moments that taught Cormac to love, truly. And it was all Eloise's fault.
This was written for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion. It is also for Jess, or ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor. Not only did she dare me to write this, the lovely SPEW monarch deserves a present after all of the LoveNotes she's been writing.
OMG, Ellie, how could I not have reviewed this? D: Jess was squeeing about this a few days ago to me, actually, so I am very sorry for not having reviewed till now. I won’t lie; when I first saw you were writing Cormac/Eloise, I did kind of think you were joking, lol. And yet you made it work -- so well, too. I love the use of first person here. Cormac is hands down one of the most difficult characters I’ve ever come across in the fandom, so much so that I don’t always like reading about him because he’s often abused in fanfic (and, you could argue, rightly so considering what an arse he was in the books). But here, you’ve redeemed him, and I like that. :) It makes me even happier that his road to redemption is paved by books, because, as a Claw, I can’t think of a better way for Cormac to become a better person than by reading.
And Eloise! Again, another character who I find gets a bad rep both in the books and yet who you made so likeable -- well done. I love her love for literature and think you dealt with *that* really well -- I mean I know we talk about this a lot in SBBC but it was integral to the plot here and yet wasn’t used as a plot device. Also, I was so sad at how Cormac bullied her, but at the same time, I was glad she fought back. Considering she doesn’t have any lines in the books, it was good that she had a voice here.
I was so glad Cormac failed his NEWTs and had to return, lol, because it meant he was part of the DA! :D No, really, I think that was a great way of making Cormac a better person, just like the books, but this went deeper than that. What made me squee more still, though, was the fact that Eloise was so concerned for him and that this led to their eventual friendship and then relationship.
AND OMG THE BATTLE SCENE. Talk about intense! It was written really well, Ellie, and I loved the way they tried to protect each other. Oh and I loved the quotation :D And then they kissed, yayayayayay. I love their snark and just how natural their pairing is. It’s all done so well, and THAT ENDING. Being married under an arch of books is just fabulous and so fitting. :D :D :D
Overall, Ellie, this is one of my favourite stories by you! I think your writing has matured a lot recently, and I love again how pared down your style is now. Well done!
Author's Response: Wow. I'm sorry if this sounds really incoherent, Soraya, but I'm not sure I can form the right words. I'm blushing so much right now. :)
I can't tell you how glad I am that you like it. Originally, it was a joke, but then the idea just kind of took hold, and then that turned into a a full-fledged plot. :/ Cormac is extremely hard to write, I learned, because he is an arse. And for him to end up with someone like Eloise he can't be an arse, so that's where I hit my first problem. I'm glad I redeemed him, though, especially through books.
Eloise is one of my favorite characters. I feel so bad for her in the books, simply because she's always mentioned as a passing joke, so I tried to make her more than that. I know from experience when people can be like that you turn to books, and I'm so glad that I didn't completely murder the literary references. And Eloise didn't strike me as the type to not fight back, and it was something Cormac needed, anyway.
I think joining the DA was Cormac's turning point. He realized that he had been, for lack of a better word, an idiot, and with the war he had to mature and choose a side. I think the war would have forced a lot of people to grow up quickly, and the ideas that the books gave him suddenly made sense, and he had to apply them to real life. I also think that seeing Cormac that year was Eloise's turning point, especially when she watched his progression. Eloise just isn't the type of person to hold a grudge for so long she wouldn't be concerned, and that scene was one of my favorites.
I really wasn't sure about the battle scene, to be honest. I thought it was going to be borderline cliche, and I almost took it out. I'm so glad I didn't, and my only regret is that Cormac wasn't really conscious when they kissed. :p (and I'm ngl, I got the idea for an arch of books from tumblr. It just seemed to fit.)
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and write such a lovely review. I'm grinning from ear to ear, and I can't thank you enough. I know I still have a long way to go, but I'm glad I'm starting to get there. <3 you, Soraya,
Summary: A desperate housewife. A forward female knight. Spice Girls. Petunia Dursley's thirty-eighth birthday is about to get interesting.This is hestiajones of Hufflepuff writing for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion. My chosen pairing is Petunia Dursley/Hestia Jones. Yes. Tuney and Me.
WTF whyyyyyyy has no one reviewed this? D: because I thought this story was fab -- you have a what with the humour category that I envy, because you manage to make your writing simultaneously funny and sad. In this case, I thought the contrast of the war and the way in which the spice girls were referenced was great -- yes, the situation they were in is serious, but hestia's presence lightened things considerably (in exactly the same way the REAL Hestia Jones always brightens everyone's day :D) and I loved how carefree she was here.
Sorry this isn't a great review and if there are any typos. But I really enjoyed the story and am glad you caught the cotillion fever, even if it is rather belated hahaha. You really redeemed petunia for me, so well done! Soraya xxx
Author's Response: THANK YOUUU! I was despairing :D I thought no one liked it :x Eep! I knew there must be typos. When I woke up this morning and reread it, I caught a few. Will reread it again and see. Thanks again for the review! It's making me grin from ear to ear! ~ Natalie
Summary: Frank Longbottom is trying to propose to his partner and girlfriend, Alice Hamilton, but his attempts at romance are constantly being interrupted. If he ever manages to give her the ring, will she say yes?
This is Gmariam of Ravenclaw writing for the Great Hall Cotillion 2013.
What a lovely story! I’ve been craving some Frank/Alice for a while now, and this was such a fabulous example of a fun, action-packed tale that made me laugh a lot. Your characterisation of Frank and Alice was really well thought out. I also thought the background characters, like the Marauders and the other Order members, were portrayed accurately in regards to canon, and I loved how the minor characters all had a part to play in Frank’s proposal to Alice, whether by interruption in the first chapter, or encouragement in the second.
The first thing I really appreciated in this story was the dialogue-heavy style of it, especially at the beginning. The banter between Frank and Alice was something I found delightfully playful, and I also thought you managed to tell a lot of their backstory through dialogue, as opposed to reams of narrative that could get overwhelming. What’s more, I think your story stands alone perfectly without having any prior knowledge of Love and Order, and I think that’s really important for stories like these that are short sequels to longer works. I loved how the characterisation was shown so much through the often witty dialogue on Frank’s and Alice’s parts, because I think their conversations above all drove forward the story and ensured their characterisations were sustained throughout.
The character that stood out the most, by far, to me was Frank. I thought the character traits you portrayed in him were so well-chosen. The way Frank was so organised, for example, and wasn’t impulsive (having booked dinner at Orsino’s a week in advance) is something I was really interested to see, given I think Neville would have shown those characteristics during Deathly Hallows when he was organising the DA. It was very subtly done, and I was glad to see you picked up on that more favourable Longbottom trait rather than the more typical portrayal of Frank, which in my experience has been of him being a klutz, more than anything. In a similar way, I loved Frank’s display of courage when he stood up to Moody in the middle of the Order meeting, and so unapologetically, as well. I thought that was such an excellent character moment for Frank there, but also, I felt there was a lovely feeling of community from the whole Order in how they were watching his proposal and cheering him on -- even Moody, in his own way.
Of course, I also enjoyed reading from Alice’s point of view. She was such a strong, vivacious character in this, reminding me a lot of how she was in Love and Order. Her sarcasm and snark towards Frank made her such an endearing and likeable character, to me, and I could really relate to her when she was so worried over Frank just leaving the ring on her desk, with no explanation or note to explain where he was. As well as that, I loved how you wrote Alice as an Auror and an Order member, too, as I thought that added a lot of vibrancy and intelligence to her character. I know a lot of stories focus on the sadness of Frank/Alice as a pairing, but I liked the way this story was more lighthearted, showing both Frank and Alice were talented and brave people, even against the darker backdrop of the war.
Another aspect of this story I thought was really well done was the appearance of the more minor characters. Fabian, for example, making Dungbombs was a lovely homage to Fred and George, and it was something that definitely made me smile. Moody’s insistence to continue the meeting after Frank’s proposal was something that, for me, came straight out of canon. I also enjoyed reading the dialogue between James, Sirius, Frank and Alice. I found it especially interesting to see James being more tactful and apologising to Frank for interrupting them in The Three Broomsticks, compared to Sirius, whose tactless interruption was definitely really amusing to me. I’m guessing it was probably because James was in a similar boat with Lily, so it was lovely seeing James and Lily as foils for Frank and Alice. But also, I appreciated seeing how James had matured over time, even in his rather minor role in this story.
Lastly, I thought this was plotted so very well. The trio of interruptions, first with Fabian, then Sirius, then Moody was amusing to read about, but I could also feel Frank’s frustration that he couldn’t do it in an unromantic setting, and I could understand why he couldn’t simply propose on an impulse. Also, Dumbledore using Travers as a spy for the Order was something I found really interesting, considering Travers was on Voldemort’s side during the books… unless this was his brother, by any chance, or his son? I really hope you touch on that in Love and Order, because I would love to know more.
All in all, this was a fabulous story, Gina. I truly enjoyed reading, because there really isn’t enough of this pairing on MNFF. I hope I can read another chapter of Love and Order sometime soon! :)
Michael Corner thought that, after ten years, he was finally free of the Battle of Hogwarts and the emotional toll the events of that day had taken. But when he was summoned to the will reading of a late family member, all of Michael's carefully built composure started to crumble, and nothing could prepare him for the intrigues of dangerous family politics.
This is the final instalment of the Hollow Soldiers series.
This story has been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Post-Hogwarts Story. I am extraordinarily pleased to say that it won.
Wow, this was a great chapter, Jess :) I've been a crappity reviewer and have just been reading as you've posted, but I have to say well done for the QSQ win and an even bigger well done with this chapter. It was tensely written and teh action was executed beautifully too. The twist about Travers...I don't think you mentioned it to me, because I was so shocked D: That ending (even if I knew it was coming) seriously broke my heart. I won't say much more, though, in case anyone checks teh reviews before reading or anything.
I think you did a great job of giving Michael the closure he needed as a character, and after everything you put him through, he got a great (if not very sad) ending. :D
Lovely job! I can't wait for the epilogue.
I knowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! D:
I took a lot of time working through the action, both to make it realistic and to make it both fluid and relevant at the same time. As for the Travers twist, I had that in mind the entire time, but I thought there should be at least one or two surprises in store for your enjoyment, so I let you find that one as a reader.
In the end, I needed Michael to say it with his own mouth that he'd killed Miles, and not just to someone who wanted him to keep it a secret. He said it because he'd finally accepted that it was a part of who he was and moved on at that very moment from it. In that, also, he understood more about family and responsibility than he had in years and knew that Adrian was worthy of his sacrifice.
Looking forward to your thoughts on the next chapter!
On the day that Teddy Lupin begins his new life with Victoire Weasley, his bride, Lily Potter's heart breaks.
This story was submitted for the Milestone Celebrations competition and was voted into 1st Place. Thank you so much for your support!
This story has also been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Next Generation Story.
So I had a look at your QSQ nominations so far this year, just like you suggested, and I have to say, this story is up there with your best work. I thought the lyrical style of this really brought out Lily as a character, and the whole premise of unrequited love was so beautifully presented here. I’m sure the experience of childhood crushes is something most people have gone through, but it was the simplicity of your setup that I liked most. I’ve read quite a few Teddy/Lily stories lately, and this one is definitely my favourite because of your somewhat different slant on the pairing. The dynamic between Lily and Teddy was such a joy to read. I could really feel Lily’s sadness that Teddy didn’t love her the way she loved him. Equally, though, I could see how Teddy loved Victoire, too, and seeing both points of view in your story was really intriguing.
What made this story stand out amongst your other works, to me, was your style, your attention to detail and how vivid every scene was. Your emphasis on Lily’s physical discomfort, with her too-tight robes and her overdone hair and even Harry’s somewhat dubious reaction to how neat Lily looked, was what made the opening of your story come to life. I especially liked the line about how “her hair comb feels like it is stabbing her scalp”; the bluntness of your description was really powerful and harsh there. As a reader, I could feel Lily’s discomfort and I understood how that mirrored her emotional discomfort of being there when Teddy was getting married.
Also on the subject of style, your description of Teddy really brought out his character and, quite literally, how colourful his personality is. The way Teddy’s hair changed to electric pink when he was with Victoire reminded me of Tonks and how she, too, seemed to wear her heart on her sleeve through her Metamorphmagus abilities. On another note, I loved your use of present tense. It gave your story an immediacy and an urgency, of sorts, and that was fitting considering how uneasy Lily felt at Teddy marrying Victoire. Your choice of tense made me feel closer to Lily as a character, and I think that was what made your story read and flow so well.
I thought you characterised Lily beautifully. I liked the way her mindset was conveyed through the style, but also, it was heartbreaking to read how much of a front she was putting on to everyone, even Teddy. The fact that everyone, barring maybe Ginny, was oblivious to how Lily felt, made her situation even more relatable, to me. When reading the other reviews for your story, I noticed someone objected to Teddy kissing Lily, but really, I think that was a focal moment in which both of them realised that they didn’t work together romantically, particularly because Lily was the one to move away.
As for Teddy, his characterisation was great. There was something really quirky and likeable about him in this that reminded me again of Tonks and her sense of humour. When he asks Lily to dance, for instance, I could clearly see his ease with Lily, but I could also sense his hesitance, as if he knew something was wrong. And I think, more often than not, unrequited love stories tend to have the person not reciprocating the love as being the villain or in some way the bad guy. So I liked that you stepped away from that, because Teddy’s portrayal as an ultimately sympathetic character truly made me understand the other side of this story: it wasn’t that Teddy didn’t love Lily, but he just didn’t love her in the way she did. I really appreciated Teddy himself pointing out that he obviously wasn’t that sensitive or observant, because that kind of humility made it impossible to dislike him as a character for not reciprocating Lily’s feelings.
Overall, Jess, this is the best story I've read by you since Dust to Dust (and I know for a fact that you raised a pretty high bar with that story, so that’s saying a lot). I loved the wedding setting, the gorgeous style and how you presented unrequited love here. It certainly deserved its win for the Milestone challenge, and I really hope it wins a QSQ in something, because I think this was a fabulous read. :)
Summary: The Hogwarts teachers are facing the first school year after the Battle of Hogwarts. How can they help the students, and the whole community, heal? What will it take to feel as if the world is back to normal?
I’ve been meaning to read the stories for the Milestone challenge, and I must say, I really enjoyed your entry. I liked what you did with the prompt, as I think there were lots of angles that could have been taken with it and the milestone you chose, of Hogwarts’ thousandth anniversary, was a really original one that gave your fic a fresh feel to it. I also loved how optimistic and hopeful your story was, while still acknowledging the problems post-Battle.
One of your biggest strengths as a writer, I noticed, is your use of description. It really carried your story forward as a reflective piece, and I think that is doubly important when the fic isn’t very plotty. I could clearly see the damage done to Hogwarts in the aftermath of the Battle, even months later, and the description of the wreckage really carried a lot of emotion. Mentioning the giants and how they had destroyed so much of Hogwarts gave the beginning of the story a rather bleak atmosphere, but I liked how you lightened that somewhat with the equally powerful description of Hogwarts’ reconstruction.
What struck me the most about this fic was that metaphor of renewal and regrowth throughout, especially at the beginning with the description of the plants in the greenhouses. That is by far the most fitting motif to use, given the story is in Pomona’s point of view, and this, for me, was what made your tale so creative. I could see Pomona’s consideration for her greenhouse and the seedlings in it extended further, to the students at Hogwarts. The imagery you used was so vivid, too, and one of my favourite lines was “every dead plant was like a child lost, every broken branch like a leg amputated”. The simplicity of the simile is what made it so powerful, because I think the aftermath of the Battle was primarily a matter of loss, and you certainly expressed that in an original way.
I also liked Pomona’s characterisation in this. I’ll admit I haven’t read many stories with Pomona as the main character, but from canon and your fic, I can really see how caring she is, even if she is conflicted. It makes sense that she felt “joyful and sad at the same time”, and the line about how she felt she’d given birth to twins, and only one lived, was another great way to get to the heart of Pomona’s character. What I liked about that line also was the fact that you addressed one of the main problems after the Battle -- if people should be grieving or celebrating, because I think the common fanfic trope would lean towards the latter. I’m glad you stepped away from that; seeing the Battle from a teacher’s perspective, too, definitely made your story a distinctive one.
Finally, in regards to the challenge, I found it intriguing that you incorporated a moral question within the actual celebration itself. I thought it was entirely plausible for the teachers to question whether the dinner was even appropriate after the Battle, but McGonagall’s response, of how “happiness is longer-lasting than grief”, really heightened the feeling of optimism by the end of the story.
Overall, this was a lovely read. I don’t read nearly as much fic featuring Hogwarts teachers, but after reading your story, I’ve resolved to do just that. I really enjoyed the dynamics between teachers here, as well as the imagery you used throughout and your exploration of Pomona’s character. Well done, and keep it up! :)
Author's Response: Thank you so much for this wonderful and detailed review, Soraya. You are right that the story is not very plotty, and it makes me happy to know that you believe that an un-plotty story can nevertheless be successful. Perhaps the Hogwarts teachers are a fairly un-mined source of good story ideas. I don't recall seeing much about them, other than Snape, and Professor-student romances (which I avoid reading). But being older characters, having lived longer and experienced more, they must have more complex and well-developed personalities. A few of them we know only by name and a scanty paragraph in the Harry Potter wiki, but several of them appear often enough in the books for us to begin to get a feel for them and what they might think and do.
Summary: In November 1981, Remus Lupin returns to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.
Oooh, Katrina, I liked this story :) I watched Les Mis a few months back, being totally unfamiliar with the musical or the book, but I recognised the song immediately, and I thought it was very fitting given the circumstances of everyone in this story. I could see the parallels with Remus as Marius, as being a survivor when his friends died, or, in Sirius's case, went to prison.
I think you used first person really effectively here too. I'm not always a fan of first person just because I think getting into a character's voice is often not the easiest thing, but you did it very well in this story and I could hear Remus's voice in the narrative. And I think, given the emotional nature of the story, it was definitely the best choice, because I could really feel his pain at his friends' death and his anger at Sirius for betraying them -- and it makes me even sadder because Sirius wasn't really guilty.
The only thing I will say (and I noticed this in another songfic of yours) is perhaps to use song lyrics more sparingly. I get that you were influenced by the song and no doubt I appreciated them being there, but I do think they were a bit extraneous at times, especially as your one-shot was quite short and you had entire verses quoted. I find it's often better either to have verses at the beginning and end of your story, or to use maybe one or two lines per section, if that makes sense.
But that's quite minor, as overall I really enjoyed this story, Katrina, and I miss your work. I'm only just catching up now, ha, but I will try to read and review the other stuff you've posted recently over the next few weeks. :)
Author's Response: Soraya!! Thanks for reviewing this, good to see you back. I'm glad you liked the connection between Marius and Remus, I've always thought their situations were very similar and this is possibly my favourite song from Les Mis (although that's a tough call for me) because of the emotion it evokes. I used the first person following the song, so it's good that worked. I did it because like you said, this is about his emotions in this particular situation, rather than a plot-driven story. I totally get what you mean about the song lines, I found it hard choosing lines so ended up putting the whole verse in, I might have a look at that again. But glad it didn't interfere too much with the story and you still enjoyed it. I think I first wrote the story a couple of years ago but never finished it, so it was good to finally get it up on here. ~Katrina P.S. I hope your exams went well
Summary: She sticks her tongue out and catches a snowflake on it. She feels like a child again. Then she remembers that she is only seventeen, barely out of childhood. When was she last a child? Before she had to grow up and fight and suffer and worry and grieve and feel so old, so tired, as though there is nothing left that this world can offer her.
Ginny tries to face her first Christmas since the war, without Fred, without the usual joy, having lost many of her friends, but most importantly without Harry.
Another great story, Katrina :) I've not read a Harry/Ginny in quite a while, and this was a lovely surprise, because your story was well written and well characterised.
I always did think Harry and Ginny had a bit of a "cooling off" period, so to speak, post-battle, just because I agree Harry would have pushed everyone away. Yeah, he did that in OOTP and saw it didn't work, but I really liked what you said about Harry having a saving people thing and that continuing after the battle, because I think that really rings true for Harry as a character. I agree that he would have felt personally responsible for the destruction of Hogwarts, as well as all the deaths as a result of the battle.
I was also glad to see Ginny pursue Harry in the end and be able to persuade him to come home. Oh, and the bit where she blurted out that she loved him was great -- really understated and yet you said a lot about her character in that moment. I liked that it wasn't supposed to be the way she said "I love you" to him for the first time, and it sounded so much more natural by Ginny blurting it out by accident. :)
Anyway, this was an enjoyable read and definitely a refreshing change from the H/G fanfics I used to read back in the days. The dialogue was well-written and the story well thought out. Keep it up! :)
Author's Response: Thanks again for such a lovely review, and for saying you enjoyed this story and thought it well-characterised! That means a lot. I never expected to write a Harry/Ginny, I've always found them both tricky to write, but I came up with this idea and just wrote it. I think Harry is a pretty messed-up person by the end of DH after everything that he's been through, and the way he's characteristically dealt with things is to try and fix them, so I think that's what he would do. And he would also have been pushing down his emotions a lot and I don't think he would have wanted to talk with anyone about how he actually felt, it would be easier just to try and make it all better. Ginny is a feisty girl so I think it fit within her character and their relationship for her to make a move, I think that was really what Harry needed. I also think they both know that they love each other, but want to say it in a special way. Ginny blurting it out for me just shows their relationship - nothing really goes quite as planned but it sort of works out better that way. I think I also wanted to write this because I see a lot of stories where Ron and Hermione have a difficult relationship but Harry and Ginny just slot back in together, and I always thought it would be the other way round - Ron and Hermione have had 7 years in pretty close proximity so by the time they get around to it, they've already sorted through a lot, whereas Harry and Ginny haven't actually spent that much time together, plus they both had awful but very different experiences during DH which they would have to sort through. So I wanted to put out my take on their story. Anyway thanks again for such a complimentary review! ~Katrina