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ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor [Contact]

I am a recent member of the Harry Potter fandom, but I have always had a passion for the written word, and I hope to fulfill it here. I live in a relatively boring corner of Idaho, and I like Kokanee and a good book!

So, I suppose you're wondering what's up with my username. Even if you're not, this is how that happened. No, I was not aspiring to be a Gryffindor. I can't think of any house to which I would belong less than Gryffindor, in fact. It was a moment of clarity that I got while I was battling with myself about whether I should want to be Sorted into Gryffindor to be like Harry or to be Sorted elsewhere and follow my own path. I thought it to be much like the contemplative scene in Hamlet when he weighed taking his own life. I'm not trying to be melodramatic. That's simply is what popped into my head when I was trying to sign up to leave a review. :D

Any questions or comments about my work? Please shoot me an email at: tobeornottobeagryffindor@mugglenet.com — I'd love to hear from you!

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Reviews by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rise And Fall by pattybuns_hpf

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: A piece of poetry that describes the rise and fall of Tom Marvolo Riddle or Lord Voldemort for the matter.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 02/17/11 Title: Chapter 1: Rise And Fall

Hi, Patty!

My name is Jess. I noticed that your poem has no reviews, so today, I shall endeavour to give you helpful and constructive advice, as well as some deserved praise, for your poem.

The first thing I noticed is that the opening stanza reminds me greatly of how Merope would have felt once she stopped dosing Tom Riddle Sr with the love potion. It parallels well with ‘the light falling’, or essentially the end of her happiness, and then she is poor and without prospects, waiting for her baby to arrive. I do wonder whether this was your intent, but it is a gorgeous start to the story you’re telling in this poem

This theme for me carried over for me to the second stanza, especially with the disease and the screaming (her in labour). I recall in the memories shared with Harry in HBP that there was something unsettling about Merope’s very presence at the orphanage, as well as with baby Tom. It’s a remarkable correlation, and quite well done.

But then I got to the third stanza and the line ‘He killed them all’. I will admit, it threw me a bit. There was this gorgeous buildup of the sad, destructive circumstances that started Tom’s descent into what he was when we first met him, and then he ‘killed them all’; it almost feels too rushed. There wasn’t a mention of the disillusion he felt about finding his true parentage, which is what fuelled his rage and pushed him over the edge. Perhaps if there had been a transitional stanza, or at least a line acknowledging this, it would have made this the best stanza of the whole poem.

The fourth stanza is gorgeous. It emphasises how Tom got a taste for killing, revenge, and the assertion of his power. I really like how you outlined his lack of conscience after having committed murder. There was no frilly language — just matter of fact, just like his intent. In fact, the only thing about the whole stanza that doesn’t quite fit well is the word ‘cower’, and when dealing with such heavy themes, it’s easy to go overboard.

There are aspects of the fifth and sixth paragraphs that are slightly redundant, which dilutes the intensity that was built in the previous stanzas. One simple way around that is to blend them together, which would greatly assist the flow and unintended repetition, and it would have the potential to act like a crescendo instead of a long transition.

I have to admit, when I first read the ending stanza, I was confused. It seems like each line says the same thing but phrased in a different way. Reading it over a few more times, it doesn’t feel as much like this is the case, but I didn’t find it as poignant of satisfying as the other segments. The point of view seems to switch to less of a dispassionate narrative and more of a single person’s judgment of Voldemort, which is rather obvious in the last line. I don’t know if I have any suggestions to fix it, but perhaps looking at it from that perspective might give you an insight into the stanza that you hadn’t considered before.

All in all, your command of punctuation to regulate flow is really good. The semicolon is one of the most misused and abused keys on the keyboard, so it makes me happy to see it used well in this poem, which deals with one of my favourite subjects. You have a mostly gorgeous poem, and I truly believe that, with a little bit of tweaking and revision, it could be even better. I read in your profile that you don’t consider yourself a writer, but your writing begs to differ. Poetry is difficult, time-consuming, and has the highest risk of failure of almost any form of writing at all, but you have done well, both with this and your other poem posted on this site. I’d hereby like to encourage you to keep pursuing it. Look up different poem structures and try some brand new things, and you’ll be surprised how rewarding it can be to see that you’ve risen to the challenge.

I hope that I was able to offer you some pertinent and valuable advice in order to hone both this poem and your skills as a writer. You have good talent, and only trying, trying, and more trying will build your abilities until you find yourself the peer of the authors you love to follow. I hope to see you on the Most Recent list in the near future!


Take care and happy writing,


Over A Mug of Tea by hestiajones

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: I think of her as a sister.

The words rang clearly, loudly in his mind.

I think of her as a sister.

But did he?

Happy Birthday, Julia! You know you're one of the only two people on earth I'd do this for. :D

Thank you, Carole, for looking it over. And I am so not J.K.Rowling.

Nominated for a QSQ in the General Category.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 11/22/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Ooh, this is absolutely stellar. It was so sweet and innocent, hardly even a blip on the radar, but it changed everything for Harry. It's unbelievable how well you've spun this perfect little tale, woven in and out of canon, and the characters are unmistakably themselves.

I suppose this is a story about people changing, which is the entire premise of why I love Harmony so much. I never believed that they were attracted to one another during the books, though there were times that it was possible, but as people move on later in life, as we both know, things that mattered to us before don't matter anymore, and things that had never crossed are mind are coming to the forefront. The very idea of Harmony for me is based upon this idea of people changing. 

Very, very lovely fic, dear Natalie. Heart heart, favorited.


Author's Response: “I suppose this is a story about people changing”

exactly! I wanted the story to be less about what happened that night, than what it meant for Harry as a person, and what it meant for his relationship with Hermione. It is something that happened without any planning, and I think that was what scared him the most.

Possibilities, eh? ;)

Thanks for such a lovely review. I shall now bask in the glory of my success, as both you and Julia have given this fic your seals of approval.


Shattered by Gmariam

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The Boy Who Lived discovers that he may not have escaped the Final Battle unscathed after all.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 01/04/11 Title: Chapter 1: Shattered

Can you believe it’s taken me this long to get around to reading not only angsty, screwed up, post-war Harry, but one that you wrote? Jess fails in that regard, Twin. For that, I can only apologise. Oh, and leave you a much better review. :D

It’s so difficult to put into words how I feel about this story. It would seem weird if I said it was lovely or fantastic, because that would make me seem a bit sadistic, deriving enjoyment from someone slowly losing his mind in the worst way possible, but I do love it — so very, very much — because of these things.

As you know, I have always held that there is no earthly way that Harry could walk out of the Battle thinking of sandwiches and kittens and rainbows. I think he woke up from that nap in a completely different state of mind. This story is almost a realisation of the most extreme instance of how things could have turned out: dark, diseased, destitute, and damned.

At first, I thought that the ‘you’ was Ron, since he was the closest Weasley to Harry (despite what those ebil canon shippers say), but I actually found it a pleasant surprise to be wrong. I mean, it sounded like Ron, but there was something a bit off about it, almost too reverent toward Harry and their past together. Ginny was far more apt in this role, and I’m glad you chose her.

One detail that almost slipped by me is when you said ‘even George’. I’m glad you share my views on post-war George being rather detached and screwed up, almost like how Harry was in my mind. It’s scary when we commiserate on our characterisation views and find so many commonalities in them and how we think such and such characters turned out, and George is a perfect example of that. And all of that dark speculating fits so marvellously well into this fic, which is almost an incarnation of the worst case scenario past wondering about Kreacher bringing Harry a sandwich.

During the fic, I hypothesised that maybe when Harry had come back from King’s Cross, he was so singularly focussed on his mission that when that was over, something in his brain snapped, like a robot awaiting its orders but doesn’t get any, sending it into ‘TILT’ mode. I was far more impressed with your version, though. What a clever way to construct this scenario, taking something that happened in canon but adding a new twist to it to create your alternate reality.

What an insidious device, this spell. There is a reason that there are two other spells which are ‘Unforgivable’ that aren’t the most blatant one (murder), and it’s because they both involve the mind. The Imperius is obvious in its connotations with the brain, and also the Cruciatus in how it can evoke madness in excess; spells which affect the mind are the worst sort, because they can take away something even more precious than the life force which does little more than plunge blood through veins. It violates what people are that makes them who they are, the ultimate wrong-doing, the most heinous attack. It escapes me how this inspired idea could surprise me, since I know how brilliant you are, but you constructed the perfect prison for Harry’s mind and by far the most sinister. Well done, you!


Using second person was a rather intrepid move. The same story could have easily been written in first person, but the masterful sustaining of the second person voice in this gave it the level of intimacy necessary to really put oneself into Ginny’s shoes and feel what she felt, hurt when she hurt, be angry when she was. I just really got the feeling of being there in the story, watching everything that made Harry the character I adore wither and die and, as you so aptly described, shatter.

I knew Harry was going to ultimately die, but when it happened, it felt cold and clinical to me, like waiting for an older relative to kick off after a long time, but when the grieving time is supposed to come, it sort of doesn’t, like I’ve made my peace with it already and the event itself is just the full stop at the end. I really like how you did that and covet it enormously. You took that scenario, that inevitability, and grafted such a potent sense of realism onto it. Go you!

In conclusion, after gushing this much, I honestly haven’t found anything that gave me pause or lessened my enjoyment of this story in the slightest. Every single detail, every plot point, was airtight and fabulous, and if it wasn’t past five in the morning, I’d go back and read it again. I hope this story gets podcasted at some point, because it would be brilliant to put this into my iPod and enjoy it on the go.

Thank you, Twin, for writing such a wondrous story. You are an inspiring author, and I know 2.0 will come soon!



Author's Response: SQUUUEEEEEEE!! Thank you so much for the amazing review, Jess. Like, wow. First of all, I'm so glad you came by to read one of my stories, and I'm so so so glad it was this one! This was so different for me, writing a second-person AU fic like this. I definitely had my doubts. I really can't remember where I got the specific idea, except from the vague prompt for the PP challenge. I originally wanted to write the epic of doom for this prompt, but that's still going nowhere almost a year later. So I decided on a character death and ran with it from there. It came fast and quick and easy, really. It was definitely one of those stories that I just transcribed from the muses. I'm glad I brought the angst enough for you, since you are a master of angst yourself. And to think I wrote this in the middle of all sorts of J/L fluff - maybe that's why, lol. I can't believe you don't have any concrit. Ah well, I'll take the gushing. Thanks for the SBBC recommendation, as well. And once again, thanks for coming by to read this one, it means alot to me, twin! ~Gina :)

How the Prince Stole Christmas by L A Moody

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Long before there was Severus Snape, children the world over enjoyed the antics of a different, green-faced sourpuss. In parody and tribute, a melding of the two just in time for the holidays. Wishing all the participants at Mugglenet a very merry Christmas.

SPOILER ALERT for anyone who is not aware of the true identity of the Half-Blood Prince.


~~Nominated for 2011 Quicksilver Quills, Best Humor Story~~




Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 12/06/10 Title: Chapter 1: How the Prince Stole Christmas

I just... I have no words. I simply cannot grasp how you were able to harness the wonder and simplicity of Seuss and still make it so undeniably Potter. I am just completely gobsmacked by how well you did with this. I don't favorite one-shots often, but this one is going on the list. Very well done, Divine Miss L. :D


Author's Response: Thanks so much for the gushing compliments. I’m gobsmacked in return. Seuss and Potter aren’t really that far apart when you consider that they’re both fantasies. I just didn’t coin any original words like Seuss did; I had JKR to do that for me.

Doubt by lucca4

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story

In the midst of the war, the Marauders and Lily have joined the Order, resolute in their decision to fight for justice. But times are hard, and soon, even the strongest of loyalties begin to wear thin.

This is lucca4 of Gryffindor writing for the final in the MWPP class on the Beta Boards.

Nominated for a 2011 QSQ - Best Marauder era Story

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 01/04/11 Title: Chapter 1: Doubt

Hmm, I feel like I’ve read this story somewhere before... :P

There are many fascinating facets of this story, amongst which are characterisation, structure, and style. I find them all brilliant, as I did when I betaed this fic in the first place, but I thought the first review for this story should be one to let you know just how well done it is and that it’s really a shame that it doesn’t have more reviews and reads.

I found the choice of having Remus purposely separating himself from his mates to be both interesting and apt. To me, there has always been a sort of Cloud Nine effect on him because he had the benefit of very few knowing about his affliction, but when he set out into the real world and couldn’t seek employment anywhere without saying directly that he was a werewolf, it would cause him no end of troubles finding a job as well as anyone who would consider him as anything more than a monster. It has always struck me as something that would weigh heavily on him and his self-esteem and his ultimate need to be liked, causing him to withdraw from his previous social relationships once he deemed himself unworthy to be their friend. The way he pushed away Sirius is very telling of that, and very well characterised.

And Sirius... boy, do I love me some snark! His verbal sparring in both the Remus segments as well as the Rodolphus segments was wonderful and charming, but not over the top, as can happen. I think you portrayed him as a good reflection of who he probably was somewhere between the boy whose boredom could only be alleviated by humiliating Snape and the man who would escape prison to exact vengeance on the man who pretended to be his friend and sold out the Order to Voldemort. Sirius was always a man whose moral compass didn’t point due north, but he was always on the right side in the end. I think you did a good job in making it feel like he was refusing Rodolphus because of this and not because he was trying to ‘stick it’ to his family.

I can’t say enough about Peter in this story. I think he’s the true victory in terms of characterisation. As a reader, I can see how he has always been loyal to his friends, but his feelings started to change with Lily’s introduction into their group, whom he never considered as one of his mates and more of a rival for James’s attention. I think it’s a very apt and well-conceived piece of work, right down to his rather halting defence of his friends.

I have to make a note about your portrayal of Snape. He was truly excellent in this story. He’s not yet the embittered old man who is horrible to children, but he’s still the sharpened manipulator that he’d always been, only to a different end. His voice and actions and methods were simply so well done.

The differences between James and Lily were so understated, yet they were perfect. James is so focused on his duties with the Order and so loyal to the cause that he doesn’t realise that Lily might be having second thoughts about dedicating herself to the same things. It almost seems like, at this point, the fact that he had to think about being a father before a warrior hasn’t occurred to him yet, it hasn’t sunk in thus far, whereas Lily spent every second of every day, feeling this new life growing inside of her, a constant reminder of the danger they all faced. The way you illustrated this by having James not think twice about telling Lucius to go to hell but having Lily actually consider the offer before realising what it entailed was great.

Lily’s fears felt palpable and very realistic. Her borderline resentment of her lot in life and how it robbed her of simple things like going to sleep at night and not worrying about waking to news of someone she cares about being dead or worse at the hand of maniacs, it makes so much sense. Even something as simple as not getting to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the actual day it’s supposed to be niggled at her, which in itself isn’t a big deal, but the constant stress of war took missing a minor holiday, despite James’s obvious effort to make her feel better about it, sort of blew things out of proportion for her and made big deals out of things that really weren’t. Maybe even pregnancy hormones did a good bit to cause this for her, as well. I think you incorporated much of this so subliminally and so very nicely.

I’m glad I talked you into adding the end with the Order meeting. The way the members bantered back and forth was really good, plus it gave you a chance to tie all of these events together in some other way besides them being about the Marauders. It was just so clever to use events that weren’t technically canon but had the feel like they were the sort of events that could very well have been the harsh reality of the Order members during wartime.


In retrospect, I probably should have suggested that you blend together the first two segments, as they were both about Remus and there wasn’t enough of a difference between the events in the first part and the second to warrant a division between them. But besides that, I like the way you structured the story, especially not sticking Peter at the end of the Marauders’ segments, which would have given it an ‘oh, yeah, and then there’s Peter, because he’s the bad guy’ feel. Instead, you found a way to cast doubt on all of them, but still clearly show which ones overcame those doubts in the end and who didn’t.

One thing that really struck me when I first read this story is how your writing is so unreflective of your age. Most younger writers stray toward purple prose and contrived plots, but you haven’t done that here, which speaks well to the writer you will be in the future should you choose to continue developing your skills. Even though your prose is good and your mechanics are strong, I think you can be even better than this down the line, and I look forward to seeing you grow as an author. The sky’s the limit, kiddo. :D

That’s all from me at the moment. It’s been a pleasure to work with you in the past few weeks, and here’s to future collaboration!



Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so, so much for this amazingly wonderful review! I was so happy when I didn't see the little "0" by the reviews anymore, and then I saw this extremely long review, so thanks so much :). I really think that your ideas helped the story out a lot (especially Sirius's part and the Order scene). I'm so happy that you liked the characterizations of everyone, especially Snape and Peter because I feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall every time I write them. And I'm glad that you appreciate the little things, like how James's vehemence about joining Voldemort was contrasted with Lily's indecision. And about the Remus segments…I'll go fix them right away. Thanks for pointing that out; I agree, it doesn't signify a great enough change to really need the break. I think I just forgot to edit it out when I copied it onto here. And it makes me so happy to hear that you don't think my writing relates to my age -- coming from you, this is a really wonderful compliment. Thank you very much for being my first review on this story--and for leaving such a wonderfully detailed and complimentary one at that! xx Ariana

Three by the opaleye

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: They move in a circle. She goes one way, he the other. It is a punishment neither deserves nor wants, and yet she holds the power to stop it.

Nominated for a 2011 Quicksilver Quill Award in Best Non-Canon Romance.

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 04/22/11 Title: Chapter 1: Three.

Well hello, Madam Julia!

There is something sad and heart-breaking about this fic, and it’s not that my heart bleeds for the ship itself. I think there is something dark and twisted about torturing oneself by watching the object of your desire flirt with someone else — especially if they know you know and do it anyway. But I think Hermione deals with it quite well. I smiled at her borderline cattiness at saying ‘So Not His Type’.

She felt in-character to me throughout. It is a bit strange that she ends up with Draco after Harry is dead, and I’m assuming Ron is, as well, but after reading, I felt like it was almost like she was punishing herself by forcing herself into his affections and accidentally fell for him a little bit herself. But her persistence in not admitting her feelings for him, it almost felt to me like she was fighting like hell not to let go to her loved ones and that she would’ve been doing so in giving into Draco.

Draco felt in-character, as well. I can see him wanting to make her suffer by watching him feel up another girl. I think he would’ve done even if he and Hermione hadn’t had a thing going on, but it seemed like a true and correct act of pettiness to take every jab at her heart that he could and when he could. It was just so very Draco.

The idea of Hermione getting drunk and stumbling home breaks my heart. When she seemed relieved to even have made it via the Floo just conjures a pathetic picture of someone accidentally bouncing out into someone’s living room or kitchen, or maybe she hoped she would never come out at all. It makes me wonder how much the ever strong Hermione Granger can take before her resolve cracks and she turns into this mournful, shell of a person that she is in the fic. You really must write that sometime. :D

I got the shivers as she waited for Draco to come, almost glad of the distraction of the bickering neighbours downstairs. I knew he would be coming and for her sake, I hoped that he wouldn’t so she could finally let go. I didn’t care that she loved him; she needed to be freeeeee. DX And when he did come, it actually made a knot form in my stomach because of what I knew would happen.

Hermione stripping almost robotically was both potent and disgusting all at once. It made her look like a sad excuse of the woman she should’ve been and little more than his kept woman. Then and there I wanted to chop his bits off and make him suffer, but then he spoke and changed my perspective of everything.

He was tired of being punished.

She was leading him on. :O I never would’ve guessed that was coming, but she was making him pay for deaths he probably had nothing to do with. This makes me think that he did genuinely care for her in his own way but had lost the patience for her games, instead jerking her around by flaunting other women and trying to goad her into saying what he wants to hear, even if he himself isn’t able to say it.

All in all, this story, this game of affections between them, is so well drawn. You managed to make me sympathise with both of them, which I didn’t expect would happen with Draco. I remember the initial drabble, and the additions that you made to make it a one-shot really filled out the story and gave it so much more depth of character which is just… ridiculous for a 1200 word fic.

Your writing style is just so engaging, and it really wraps me up in the story. Once again, you managed to master the art of using sentence length to make the emotions of the fic move along at such a carefully measured pace. It felt like you orchestrated this on a stage, composing the score to elicit all the right reactions in all the right places in the story line. It was utterly stunning, and I’m glad I chose to read it today.


Author's Response: Hey Jess! Sorry for taking so long to reply to this. I wasn't ignoring you, I was just wondering how on earth I could leave a decent reply to this giant review xDDD Wow, Draco certainly did rile you and I'm glad! I didn't want to present him as this character who had miraculously lost all his flaws because he realised the error of his beliefs and was no longer under the influence of Voldemort. He may regret his past actions but he still has that cruel and vindictive streak to him. However, Hermione isn't perfect in this either and I really tried to get that across, too. She isn't perfect in canon and I love how you picked up on that cattiness because we see it time and again in the books, particularly in HBP regarding Ron and Lav Lav.

Hm, and while I say I'm glad Draco riled you up, I'm also glad you were able to sympathise with him after the slight twist. They're both playing games with each other and their stubbornness (which they both share) won't let them give in. I liked building up that dynamic because I think it fits certain aspects of their characters rather well.

I do have a back story in my mind as to how they ended up in this mess together and maybe one day I'll write it down but for this particular one-shot I really just wanted to explore a moment in time and the complexities of their relationship. Thank you so much for this wonderful review, Jess! It makes me smile to know that something I wrote could evoke such a response, especially from someone who does not like this ship! Keep on being awesome xD

Julia x

Harmony by hestiajones

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: A poem for Harry/Hermione.

Thanks to Jess for encouraging me to publish this.

I wrote this, not J.K.Rowling; she doesn't ship Harmony. :P
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 01/16/11 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Yay, Harmony. I sort of already squeed over this poem, so I'll just leave a short message, since reviews are love and all.

My favourite part about this poem is that it does carry on that air of ambiguity, which allows the reader to really see what they want to see, but since it was written for Megan, it does hint toward Harmony. But since I like weird pairings, I could easily see Draco/Katie or Theo/Susan or nearly anything. It's just set up to mean a lot of different things if you want. That makes it even awesome-er!

Heart ya, Bestia. :)


Author's Response: This is indeed my second review from you. I LOVE YOU! I do agree that it could suit a lot of other pairings since I am as weird as you.

Heart ya too!


It Takes Two to Tango by lucca4

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story

They cannot keep doing this; it is only a matter of whose resolve will break first. They may have grown distant, their friendship may never mend, but something else has begun. Similarly to the sultry dance so reminiscent of their stolen kisses, drifting apart is only the beginning.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling and I definitely don't own her world.

Winner for 2011 QSQ - Best Same Sex Pairing, along with Equinox Chick's Monochrome, one of the most beautiful stories on this site. Thank you immensely for nominating/voting!

Huge, huge thank you to Natalie/hestiajones for beta-ing this.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 05/28/11 Title: Chapter 1: Tango

I have always believed that there is a time in every writer’s development when either a large step is taken toward great things, or said writer is left behind with everyone else. Only a gifted few ever do the former, and the rest of us typically fall into the latter category. When I read a story of yours for the first time, which I *believe* was Doubt, I had such high hopes for you as an aspiring creative writer. Defiance added to that, and stepping outside of the box and writing a pairing you’d never before considered with Susan/Theo was yet another step in the right direction.

And then there was this story.

There are so many lovely parts in this story that I could practically write a one-shot worth of praise for it, but I’m sure neither of us have that sort of time. So, I’m going to touch upon a few of the reasons why this is definitely a ‘breakthrough’ fic and what I believe makes it so.

The ability to write a non-canon event with canon conviction — that is to say, making it fit into canon and just have that feeling that it really did happen — is not something that can be taught. It can be directed and given certain sets of criteria, but writing to add to a pre-existing dimension yet still making it your own in a fabulous trait to have as a writer. The way you drew from what we know of Parvati and Lavender in this story, yet still selling me on an idea that had truly never crossed my mind until I read this story, is a gift of talent. From beginning to end, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in Jo’s world and just reading a small file she’d tucked into her buckets of notes, something scripted that didn’t make the final draft. Those are my absolute favourite kinds of stories, and I love that you were able to do that here.

Writing about one’s battles with homosexuality is not an easy feat. It’s something that I know from experience, and it’s difficult not to sound patronising or make the character out to be homophobic or just wangsty, but I thought you handled the girls’ respective identity crises very well. I think the most unique thing about how you did it was that they weren’t both mirrors of one another in terms of reaction to their first kiss. They were two distinct individuals who acted far differently, and their trains of thought, while somewhat similar, had their own unique sets of factors and feelings involved.

It was interesting that, of the two, Parvati seems to be the more sexually open one. One would think that it would be the other way around, since Lavender has the reputation in fanon as liking boys more than normal (which seems like a misconception, considering that, as far as we know, she’d only gone to the Yule Ball with Seamus and dated Ron). But you so expertly drew on canon and made your alternate theory fit and seem even more plausible than what many assume to know about these two.

I thought it was fitting that Parvati would worry far more about how her mother would react than anyone else. It speaks a lot of her heritage and her cultural differences. I’m assuming you would know more about Hindi culture than me, but from what I’ve heard, it seems like something that would push some buttons in the family. It fit that you touched upon this as a deciding factor, but also that you made Parvati her own person and Gryffindor enough to decide what is right for herself.

Lavender seemed to have far more issue with her feelings for Parvati than the other way around. In her youthful lack of knowledge, she assumed that all girls who liked other girls have to be lesbians and that all lesbians had to be like her aunt — short hair, no makeup, and smelling like cigarettes. It humanises her in a very strong way, because I’m sure we’ve all had a wildly off-base assumption about someone of a different culture, creed, sexuality, or race, only to find out later that we were so very, very wrong. For instance, I used to think, before I’d ever actually met a gay person, that gay men were all well groomed and dressed nice. Hahahahahahaha… no. So wrong. Things like these that make someone identify on a personal level are what separate good characterisation from great characterisation.

Neville’s appearance was a bit of a squee part. I liked how you managed to show how the other DA members accepted the shift of leadership from Harry to Neville and that the latter had grown into a role of respect where he had formerly been the house spaz. The way he showed genuine concern for his flock was touching and felt right.

And as for the war, it felt almost like it was in the background, barely ascertainable, but in a way, at least for me, it worked better that way. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but the bad parts about Hogwarts almost couldn’t have been non-stop. First of all, I don’t think Snape would’ve allowed things to get so bad as per Dumbledore’s final instructions for him, nor would the other teachers. So a lull in the Carrow fiasco (likely after the first round of torturing when everyone is on their best behaviour and trying to keep out of trouble) is not an unreasonable thing to assume. So the lack of it in the forefront is not a bad thing, I believe.

What I would call the only drawback of this story is the insertion of Lavender’s mum and how the next time It came up was because someone else mentioned it. I do think that Lavender would use her emotional struggle from the kiss to think about something else besides her mother being in danger, but her reaction when Parvati brought it up didn’t seem quite right. I don’t know how she could possibly not think about it for that length of time. If you have thoughts on this, then feel free to share, but I am a bit dubious on a girl who seems to love her mother being able to push something out of her mind for that long. Perhaps if she had said something like she’d been trying not to think about it, it would’ve rang a bit more true. Just something to think about.

The heart to heart at the end was so touching and raw. It was as if they’d decided that pretext was over and they had to be honest with one another. For Lavender to admit that she was apprehensive about being judged took guts, and for Parvati to initiate the conversation in the first place, even though she said she didn’t want to do it, either, also took a bit of courage. In the end, though, how much the girls cared for one another and the fortitude that stood them well in the Battle really shined through.

All in all, I think this is your best story thus far. I’ve not got a chance to read your chaptered story yet, but knowing your usual quality of writing, I have no doubt that it’ll be just as good, possibly even better, than everything else I’ve read from you. So bravissima! The story is fabulous; you are fabulous.




Author's Response: You happen to leave the some of the most gorgeous reviews I have ever received :) . I think this one will keep me smiling for the whole weekend. It makes me so, so happy to hear that you liked it. I have to admit, when it came up in the SBBC discussion I was worried you might think it was too fluffy/mushy/superficial, and I'm just so unbelievably glad that you enjoyed reading it. It was a fun challenge to write. I wanted to make Parvati and Lavender noticeably different in the ways they dealt with their feelings for one another. I think Parvati had an inkling that she wasn't straight before the kiss, which is why she accepted who she was more readily than Lavender. I felt like Lavender was probably bisexual, and that in-between-ness where she realizes she *can* have feelings for a boy and fulfill the life path she had planned out for herself puts her at more of a stalemate than Parvati. I'm glad you liked Neville, as well. He's such a sweet guy…I think he achieved his leadership in the group more through how compassionate he was towards everyone, whereas Harry already had the help of his fame (not to say Harry's not a nice person), and I wanted to sneak that in there. I purposefully set the story in their seventh year because Lavender and Parvati are the only Gryffindor seventh-year girls, and I think that forced closeness would act as a catalyst for their relationship to bloom. I was worried it would come off as a fic that was too much romance and not enough plot, but not enough to actually add in war scenes :). Shows you just how dedicated I am, lol. Anyway, I'm happy you thought it worked well.

I've been reading the SBBC discussions (*cough* more like stalking*cough*) on this, and both the SBBC-lings and you pointed out the Lavender's-concern-over-her-mum thing, which I really hadn't noticed before. I'm glad you all pointed it out, because when I read it it was more of a Lavender-is-trying-to-distract-herself-from-her-mum thing (which is why she is so invested in solving this relationship and why I don't think the relationship itself will last). But now that I read it over, she sounds a little callous. I think I'll take your advice and change the line a bit, as now reading it just makes me wince.

Thank you, so very, very much for reviewing this story. Your comments are always so eloquently put and it makes me happy to think that someone actually put the time into thinking so deeply about something I typed up :). xx Ariana

The Two Left Behind by the opaleye

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: In the dead of winter, two friends continue their hunt for something they may never find.

Nominated for a 2011 Quicksilver Quill Award in Best General Story.

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 02/16/11 Title: Chapter 1: Is it any wonder I can't sleep?


I’d like to first say that you and I are in the minority that enjoyed the dance in the tent scene in the movie, so I knew right away that this would be a brand new extension of your fabulousness. However, I have to confess that I’m rather torn, because even though I adore the movie scene in question, honestly, your version makes much more sense. XD

One of your shining qualities as an author has always been your ability to not only keep a character true to canon, but to supersede that underlying basis and add a new, equally plausible dimension. For example, we know the dance never happened in canon or that there is no evidence that it did, but you wove so many gorgeous canon details, such as Harry trying to imagine that his fingers were stroking red hair, not brown, and feeling Quidditch robes and not rough, serviceable fabric. At first, I will admit that I wasn’t sure if Book!Harry would ever have the jewels to ask (well, demand) Hermione to dance with him, but once the sequence proceeded, I felt his need to alter their cold reality — change the facts, as it were — and the song gave him inspiration.

I think the song, too, was a brilliant addition. Normally, at least from my experience, song fics often suffer from lyric overload, but the few interwoven lines just seemed to come at the right time and the right place to add just that little bit to the story. The lyrics were just so well-suited to the mood and theme to the song that I decided to YouTube it and listen to the song whilst reading. It was, of course, a great idea. The song’s rich melodies and auras match up well with the emotive properties of the story. You make your selections well. Well done, you!

The amount of description that you put into such a short piece was phenomenal. In one paragraph, you managed to paint a vivid scene and set up a metaphor for later in the story. I could have been watching this scene happening in my head and it wasn’t lacking in the slightest in sensory information. How you did this is a mystery to me, and I am so in awe of your ability to do so with such brevity and fluidity. In particular, this part was striking:

She stares at him, her eyes half-closed, before sniffing softly and taking his out-stretched hand. Harry picks the wireless up from the armchair and carefully places it on the side table before pulling her close against him. She lets out a huff of breath and their eyes meet.

In three sentences, you convey Hermione’s feelings at the time, as well as what Harry is doing, all while not missing a beat. It seems like a random point in the fic, but it’s indicative of how you do it so gracefully. I don’t have to ‘read between the lines’ or interpret things; you set up everything, and all one has to do is let one’s mind absorb the subliminal details and not even realise that it’s happening.

I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t start reading this with the preconception that this was a Harmony piece and would be one of our favourite things — a pocket of non-canon/what could have been encased in canon. It was that, but not what I’d expected. There was not that overt shippy undertone that made me think that there was anything but grief and wishing things had gone differently between them, and in a way, it’s far more beautiful as such. It’s not something written to spite canon and to show that certain ‘delusions’ could have happened; instead, there is a peace, or ironically enough, a harmony, between the two, where Harry was daydreaming about Ginny, and Hermione finally said that she missed Ron, indicated that she cared about him on a different level. It was just so lovely.

All in all, if I had known that all that kept you from submitting this story was the lack of a title, I would’ve beat down your door and made one for you so I would have got to read this before now. Thank you so much for your fabulous work and letting the rest of us be a part of it. I look forward to future submissions from you. Simply splendid.


Author's Response:

What an epic review! My jaw literally dropped when I opened this up. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me this. It was such a pleasure to read. And yes, I did squee out loud. Please don't hold that against me xD

First of all, yes, I think we are a minority. Although, my friend Bronwyn LOVES than scene and she is a canon shipper. My mum is a total Harmony shipper like me so she loved it, too. LOL. I remember when I saw the film for the first time, I was really surprised that my version was so close to it. I think you get the same feeling of loss and abandonment and that longing for lost innocence. I love that you can take it either way, though. You can see it as something more than friendship if you want, or you can take it as a platonic moment of shared friendship. This fic is more the latter but I'm glad you still enjoyed it as such! Thank you :)

As for the song, I deliberately went through songs that were released around the time the Trio were on the run and as soon as I saw Eye I knew that it would be perfect and not just because I'm a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan. There is something about that song that really matches the melancholic feeling I imagine Harry and Hermione to feel. Also, when I wrote this, I tried to match the pacing to the song in real time. Of course, it sort of ran away from me but I'm glad that you were still able to see that structure as you read. When it comes to songfics, I believe that the lyrics should be there to add to rather than distract from the fic so it's good to know that they worked here. Again, like the structure of the melody, I tried to incorporate them within the prose to match the pacing and atmosphere.

As I said to Lori, I never set out to write a romance with this. I deliberately wanted to show a tender and platonic moment between Harry and Hermione. For me, they are as much of a pleasure to read as any good Harmony romance. Of course, people are able to interpret it as such but I like that a canon-carder can read this and still like it. I love how you describe the 'harmony' between the two. I really enjoy exploring that bond between the two of them that is sometimes ignored in fear of coming across as delusional. Whether there is a possibility of romance, Harry and Hermione are still really close friends and they have some great moments together in canon. This is more of a missing canon moment. Something that could have happened without taking anything away from Ron or Ginny.

Thank you so much for this review. It really made my day :) It means a lot to me that you liked this fic and that you took the time to write me that whopper is even more special. Sorry if this reply is a little convoluted and incoherent at times. I'm a little giddy from grinning so much. Now, I'm going to brush my teeth, wash my face, get into my pyjamas, and curl up on the couch and read some Katie/Oliver. Perfect plan!

Julia xxx

Remembering Lily by Gmariam

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: A lonely figure walks down the street, long auburn hair trailing behind her in the blustery wind. She pulls a red wool coat snug around her, gloved hands tucked into pockets as she wanders the sidewalk, glancing up at the shop fronts. She is young, but her face is lined with sadness, as if searching for something she has lost. Her green eyes long for answers.

Across the way a young man stops and stares at the woman in the red coat, hardly daring to believe it might be her. And yet as she turns and walks back up the street, he knows it is, and his heart stops beating for a moment. He blinks, just to see if she will disappear from his life once more, like she did over a year ago.

She doesn't.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 03/28/11 Title: Chapter 1: Part One

I couldn't take it anymore. I've been putting off reading this because I knew I'd love it and didn't want to wait for updates, and woehdvhdskfjh, I was right.

This story is fab. This is just so fresh and inspired, which could only come from someoen who's written James/Lily in more ways than is imaginable. I'm using this story as a warm-up, as well as One to Remember, to finally tackle Things Change. Even though canon isn't my thing, YOU are most definitely good at what you do. If I am to sugar my brain, only the best will do.

See you next chapter!

Author's Response: Wow, Jess! Thanks so much for coming to read this story! Given it's slightly different approach to both the characters and the style, it's probably a good one for you to start with in terms of keeping your glycemic index down, lol. Well, at least until the end. ;) Thank you for the compliments, I'm glad you enjoyed it even if it was James/Lily canon, hee hee. I appreciate the compliments, Twin! ~Gina :)

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 03/28/11 Title: Chapter 2: Part Two

Yay, action! And Sirius has such a potty mouth. It pleases me. :D

I really admire how you've skimmed over the less important parts and kept the structure of the story limited to important events. It really allows me to stay immersed in the story (and jonesing for me, damn you) and stay in James's head. 

I love James in this. He's contrite, and he's also a gentleman. His 17 year old self would probably not have been so honourable, but he was lovely. He wanted her to be her before anything happened (if that makes any sense at all), or it would have invariably ruined their relationship had her memory somehow returned.

I adored the flashes of the old Lily when confronted with Snape. It was rather reminiscentof SWM with the fire she showed.

Anyway, you will get a better review from me upon further updates. Gorgeous story, Twin!


Author's Response: Thanks, Jess! You sort of hit the nail on the head: I've skimmed over the less important parts because I intentionally wanted to just focus on a few key events. There are two more and then the story is done. That's it. I'm glad that worked for you. And I'm giggling that you actually like James. Are you joining our fan club now? If you read any of my other ones, you'll see how I beat up on him. He gets off easy in this story. ;) And Snape! So glad you liked that - so glad Lea suggested it! Thanks again for the lovely review. I do hope you enjoy how it wraps up! ~Gina :)

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 07/16/11 Title: Chapter 3: Part Three


I could've sworn I'd read the final chapter, but when I went to recommend this for discussion, I rightly couldn't remember how it ended. D'oh!

Oh, James... so bold, yet so unsure. And the way you've kept Lily as Lily, despite her never recovering her memories. You, Twin, are fabulous. :)

At the beginning of the chapter, I was fully expecting Lily to confess that she was pregnant, hence why she wouldn't get on a broom, but the idea that she was in a bit of shock over everything she'd absorbed over the past weeks makes just as much sense. Cramming years of knowledge into a short time WOULD fritz out anyone's brain, and you illustrated that so well. 

I wanted to facepalm at James's proposal. 'Too soon! Too soon!' I said to myself. But yay, Lily didn't dump him flat on his face. I didn't like the James we knew from SWM, the prankster Marauder, but you truly made me like this James who got a second chance at a first impression. 

Lovely fic, Twin! Good luck in the QSQs.


Author's Response: Hey Jess! I'm glad you came back to read this. I'm even more glad you gave a J/L fic a try! And I'm glad it didn't make you vomit all over your netbook, lol.Thanks so much for the review, and especially for the recommendation. I really felt like I managed something different with this one and am glad you thought so too, even more glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again, twin! ~Gina :)

Nightmare by armagod679

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: It's three in the morning and one nightmare just melts into another.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 03/11/11 Title: Chapter 1: Nightmare

Good (does some sleuthing) afternoon, Julie!

Your author page was recommended to me by hestiajones, so I decided that I’d pop in when I saw your rather compelling summary pop up on the Most Recent list.

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting this particular characterisation of Neville. Not many focus on his less-than-Gryffindor moments during Year Seven, but I really appreciate that you did the focus on Neville’s apprehension about being in a room that used to have ambient noises but no longer does. It’s sort of like being used to falling asleep with the telly on and then sleeping over at someone else’s place — someone who requires quiet. You took one of those tiny little details about being in a strange place and made it work for this all-too-familiar situation. These are the types of things that really help me identify with a character and with a scene, and you did it well.

The idea of a bell going off is sort of strange, since most clock towers and regular clocks don’t ring after ten, but I’m guessing it’s a part of the dream rather than reality. Anything could happen in dreams. Did the bell ring in the dream? I’m curious, now.  I also hesitated on the bit where Neville thinks that Harry is better off, because he would know that wasn’t true. By that point, Harry would’ve already been Undesirable No. 1, which would make him a fugitive from the Ministry. I’m not sure anyone would call the constant terror and running as being better off. Maybe if Neville hoped that Harry was doing better, it would have been more in-character.

Neville going to the common room to feel less lonely does strike me as sort of strange, since it’s a cavernous room with no one else but him in it rather than a smaller space where he isn’t actually by himself. I get that he’s imagining he’s with people that formerly occupied the room, hence the allusion to Hermione, but I’m not entirely certain it would help him in that situation. It might be a personal preference, but I thought I’d point it out just the same.

I really like the interaction with Seamus. They commune on one of the deepest level because of what they endured together. I never really considered that Seamus and Neville would become more than mere roommates during Year Seven, but the way you present it makes so much sense. They went from being two guys who happened to share a room to being brothers in arms. Even the bit about fancying Ginny a bit was an interesting detail, since even Blaise Zabini carried a bit of a torch for her. It just adds to the very nice picture of camaraderie and understanding between the two boys.

I do have one minor nitpick about spelling/usage, and it’s here:

McGonagall would gauge out her eyes with her own wand before helping the Carrows.

‘Gauge’ is a completely different word. The appropriate term would be ‘gouge’.

The way you painted Neville’s nightmare, about him being in his cot as Bellatrix essentially took away his parents’ humanity is both horrific and striking. You did it delicately, since it is a rather touchy subject, but you also made it portray the necessary intensity to both touch the reader and tie it into the scene. It was so well done, and I can’t help but think that it did happen that way in canon. Those are my favourite types of stories, the ones that add to what we know of canon and bring a new dimension to it.

Your writing is very easy to read. There are times when an author will lack in variety and put out ‘noun + predicate + comma + repeat’ sentences over and over, but you don’t do that. It allows the actual narration voice to take a backseat to the story itself so the reader can be vested in the characters instead of the prose. Plus, my personal pet peeve is starting two paragraphs in a row with the same world. I could hug you for avoiding that, because things like that can ruin a story. Actually, the opposite is true for your fic, because your attentive writing in essence blends itself out of the picture. It’s hard to explain, but it really makes the story stand out in that certain aspects of it don’t stand out.

The end is just… love. Pure love. In particular, the last line just ties your fic into canon so very well. There had to be some point where Neville decided that he was going to fight the war inside the walls, and I think you picked a good moment. They’d had their small rebellions and pushed the Carrows’ buttons a little bit, but something had to necessitate that the entire DA go into hiding in the Room of Requirement. Now, I’ll forever think of it as a bad night’s sleep for Neville and a declaration that his nightmare would pale in comparison to the one that he’d make for Carrow. It’s a very fist-pumping moment, like it’s Score One for the coming out party of Neville’s bravado.

In conclusion, this is an excellent story. There were a couple bumps, which I pointed out, but they’re rather subjective and you may feel free to ignore me. I think you’re a talented writer, and I hope to read more of your work soon. Thanks for writing such a good piece, and I’m glad I picked it to read.

Take care and happy writing,


Author's Response: Thank you very much for your review! I'll have to write Natalie a thank you note. The bell can be interpreted any way you like. It's just an easy way to start a nighttime story. The common room has a fire, and the illusion. It is a place where Neville can be. Right, sorry about the typo. I'll fix that ASAP. Thank you for all your positive comments. Julie

The Other Woman by hestiajones

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: He loves his wife, but that other girl will never leave his heart.

Written as a birthday present for the vivacious coolcatelly/Elene. This poem was inspired by Equinox Chick's Shrouds. If you haven't read it yet, and if you ARE a Dramione fan, then shame on you! I mean, hey, it nearly converted me.

DISCLAIMER: J.K.Rowling is not me. HA!
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 05/31/11 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Love poems are some of the most sultry and evocative of all. Some writers can mould their words into sculptures of image so rich in the mind with only a few syllables, and others can turn them into marching soldiers, carrying on with staccato hearts pumping in unison. I’m just baffled as to who you had to bribe in the talent department to be able to do both!

The theme of infidelity and forbidden longing is almost a guarantee of sexy description, and you do deliver in spades, Natalie. I think this says it all:

There was that brazen brown hair,
Its heady scent filling up the air.
It was his daily disquiet,
From it there was no respite.

It just feels so very Hermione to me. Just this little nugget of characterisation is great, since I can rightly imagine that Hermione would love passionately and wouldn’t be quiet in a relationship. The Draco canon in this poem shows that he prefers the quiet, but he can’t give up the addictive noise that Hermione makes in his life. I find this detail to both be in character and to be a fabulous little detail that just proves everything I said in the first paragraph.

Tied to him for ever,
A tie he wouldn’t sever.

This does make me curious about how Draco views his relationship with Astoria. Had you used ‘couldn’t’, that would imply that he wanted Hermione more, but instead, the use of ‘wouldn’t’ makes me think that he does care for Hermione and desires her, but Astoria is and always will be the first woman in his heart. I wonder if this is what you intended or if I’m reading far too much into your word choice (also a possibility).

There was his Hermione,
His eternal agony,
Forbidden to him forever,
An absent endeavour.

If I could pick your brain for a moment, I have a hypothesis here. In Astoria’s paragraph, you didn’t italicise ‘his’, yet in Hermione’s you did. I conjecture that you’re implying a sort of ownership over Hermione, whereas Astoria is simply there and officially his. I would love to hear your thoughts on this choice of yours.

All in all, this poem was just so stunning and well-characterised, even as a poem for a non-canon romance. You managed to lend it plausibility and a richness that melts into silky smooth flow and vivid imagery. I  cannot honestly think of anything that I would change, and I am still mildly jealous of your mad poeting skills.

Until we meet again, Madam Jones!


Author's Response: I am horrible.

No, wait. "Horrible" doesn't even begin to describe my horribleness. >.> I apologise for the late, very late, reply, because your review is awesome and deserve a lot more than my tardiness. <.<

I'm not sure if I deserved the praise you gave me. :D It's funny how our work gets interpreted by readers, and if my work impressed you, I should be proud of it. As a love poem, I thought this was my least sensual, but perhaps, sensuality doesn't need to have sex in it.

You're right about the relationship between Draco and Astoria. Draco is kind of caught in the cliched love triangle here: he can't have Hermione, but he wants her. He has Astoria, and he won't - not just can't - leave her either. Well, at any rate, he is a Slytherin and knows what he wants and is ready to keep it.

The "his" in the final stanza has a two-way meaning: First, it means Ron, to whom Hermione now belongs. Second, it refers to Draco, insisting her to be his, while knowing it really isn't possible. So, you're right about it in a way!

Dear Jess, this really was a fantastic review and it made me glow the first time I read it. Still does. Do forgive me for being an arse about responding, and thanks a bazillion!


The Golden Boy by Equinox Chick

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: "Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory." ***

The night Cedric died, four people reacted in very different ways. Here are their stories.

This is Equinox Chick of Hufflepuff writing for the 2011 Aprils Fools' Day Challenge in the Great Hall, Prompt # 3 - Trio Era.


Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. I doubt I could write anything as moving as Cedric's death.

A HUGE thank you to Natalie (hestiajones) and Gina (gmariam) who have beta'd this into submission. This really would not have made it without their help.

** indicates a line taken from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Nominated for two QSQ's in Dark/Angsty and Best General Story in 2011. Thank you very much.

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 03/28/11 Title: Chapter 1: The Golden Boy

Ooh, Carole, this story is so interesting! Somehow, you managed to take four characters and paint four completely different and completely unique reactions to the death of Hogwarts ‘Golden Boy’. I thought the way you set up the story, as well as the character choice, was inspired. Each of the voices were clearly defined.

For Pomona, I suppose I never really thought about her being a person of faith. I don’t know if I even considered how the ‘Fat Friar’ became a friar in the first place. I love how you consider details like this in your writing and fill in the gaps, so to speak. I adored how you have her that one commonality with her House’s ghost, where not many would’ve been able to share Christianity with others at a school full of magical people who probably don’t share that belief.

I did pause at her being a Muggle-born, though. It has nothing to do with her characterisation so much as if she had been a Muggle-born, she never would’ve been allowed to teach at Hogwarts during Year Seven, just as no students were allowed to attend. I suppose it’s subjective, but it is something to consider. Personally, I like her in the story just the way she is; her story makes sense and just reeks of raw humanity.

The end part of her segment was just… *sniff*. It made me want to hug her when she felt so guilty for praying for a Triwizard victory when she felt she should’ve been praying for the safety of the participants. Would it have changed the outcome? No, but her faith would’ve given her comfort in that time of grief, but instead, it stood as a testament of how it had let her down.

The Fat Friar was another victory in this part. He was given a life, not just a name and the title of the Hufflepuff House ghost. He was emotive and honest, and his background felt so fitting for both the supporting role as well as for a Hufflepuff in general. I think he really made this segment one of my favourites.

There was something base and rudimentary about Seamus and Lavender in this. Not everyone deals with grief in the same way or for the same reasons, and having these two right after Pomona illustrates this point so well. While Sprout chose to blame herself, Seamus decided that a bit of denial was in order, and physical grief was Lavender’s choice.

 By all rights, Seamus and Lavender barely knew Cedric at all, but having been that same age and lost a classmate, I know how it affects people. Everywhere you go, you notice something that you can associate with that person, even if it’s someone you hardly ever talked to. You might even hear a joke and wonder if said person would’ve laughed at it or thought it was stupid. I even remember being in JC Penney’s and seeing a message T-shirt that reminded me of the boy who died. I think you captured the relative… weirdness that it brings quite accurately, as well as the mental funk that surrounds the time when you find out about it. There’s the disbelief, then the confusion, and then the angst.

When they had sex, I felt bad for both of them. It was not a good idea at all, and you showed that when Lavender later dumped Seamus, but they didn’t know how to feel. Right then, neither of them wanted to think about Cedric lying on the ground mere feet away, knowing very well that, if Voldemort had indeed returned, that body could someday be them, taken in some dark place and brought back by a screaming bystander.

Overall, this segment was poignant in the sense of lost innocence. They hadn’t known death until this point — not really. Now they understood heartache, grief, and shame, and they started to become the Gryffindors that proudly signed their names on the Dumbledore’s Army roster.

I think Theo was the most heart-breaking of all. In a way, he has it worse than Cho in terms of losing the object of his affection. He never got to touch Cedric or to taste the lips that peppered his dreams. Theo never got to laugh at a joke or smile at something Cedric said. He never got that dance. Cho had memories, but all Theo would have was bitterness. I wanted to hug him tightly and point him in the direction of another of Cedric’s mourning admirers *coughOlivercough*.

It just wasn’t fair, and the way you had him listening in disgust at Seamus and Lavender’s lovemaking, convincing himself he was angry that they weren’t honouring Cedric properly and not that he was hurting because no one cared about him like that and he didn’t think anyone would. And when I read ‘No one ever did’, I wanted to steal him away and mother him, poor lad.

Hagrid, as we discussed in SBBC, is a very difficult character to get right, but I thought you did brilliantly. There was something so simple and earthy about him, about how he dealt with the tragedy and the imminence of Voldemort’s return. From the feelings of guilt he had over having created the maze to the simple act of tearing up the shrubs one by one. It was such an appropriate gesture for him, because it was one of the few things he could do to take his mind off of everything.

His brief bond with Flitwick felt right, as well. There are far fewer commonalities between the two than differences, yet they understood each other for that one moment. And them working together to erase the maze so no one else had to see it the next day and think of Cedric’s death, that the pitch could go back to its more innocent purpose as a place of fun and House unity. It was a major *eep* moment, as well as a cruel irony, when they finished and all they’d accomplished was to create a desolate expanse that mirrored the world that Cedric’s death had changed and the darker realm that his murder was going to bring with it.

Overall, this was an excellent story, and if you don’t win the challenge, I will abstain from chocolate for an entire month. This was so well written, with your signature style of fluid prose and touching characterisation. This fic was gorgeous and a great distraction from the bajillion other things I should be doing but don’t want to.

Oh, and good morning. :D



Author's Response: It has nothing to do with her characterisation so much as if she had been a Muggle-born, she never would’ve been allowed to teach at Hogwarts during Year Seven, just as no students were allowed to attend. Shit, I hadn;t thoight of that ... will now go and change this (she'll have a Muggle mother ... ha ha.)

Jess, thank you so much for pointing that out and also for giving me such a monstrously long and really rather poetical review.

I had the idea for this when I wrote the Hermione/Lavender story (Lavender's side of the shag with Seamus is there). I didn't want it to be just Seamus so wrote a long list of characters and thought about them. Pomona was always on there, Theo was at the end, and Hagrid only appeared because I needed his name in the prompt. I tell you the Hagrid bit caused the most problems - but I think has given me the most satisfaction, although I'm gagging to write more Theo now.

Thank you again and also for pointing out the idiocy of Pomona being a Muggle born - Ack! Dumb, dumb error. ~Carole~

Flight Song by minnabird

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •

During the second war, many must leave their homes and run for their lives. What must they feel, forced to hide from a government that hates their very existence?

Nominated for Best Poem in the 2011 Quicksilver Quill Awards.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 04/06/11 Title: Chapter 1: Flight Song

incomprehensible ramble

Oh my Merlin, this poem is just so many fabulous things all in one. Each stanza, even the repeating ones, stands for a different emotion by the narrative voice, and they're so well-defined. Awareness. Terror. Wistfulness. Regret. Desolation. Hope. Confidence. Will. It really shows the darkness, coupled with the joy of having someone to stand next to against that darkness.

My only critique would be that, in order to better suit your set rhythm, perhaps the last stanza should be italicised as well, but other than that, it is utterly fabulous. I think my favourite part was the refrain, but that it only repeated the first two lines. It showed that continual fear, that neverending need to run, but it also allowed for the stanza to work with the changing emotions before and after, bridging them together very fluidly.

Such a beautiful poem, Minna, and it well deserved to win first place. Now I know what Julia meant when she squeed over it. I confess that I didn't properly read the other entries past skimming them to make sure we weren't using the same music or writing the same thing. Now I feel like a dunce, because I could've read this ages ago and enjoyed it then!

Gorgeous piece!


Author's Response: That was so not incomprehensible ramble, Jess. xD You captured really well in that first paragraph what I was going for in the poem. I'm glad you could see it. =) As for the last stanza - I kept arguing back and forth in my head whether or not to italicize it because you're right that it would fit my pattern better italicized. I think I decided not to in the end because it felt like it was...stronger that way? The italicized bits were sort of the undercurrent of the piece I based the poem on, whereas the last two verses were both sort of the triumphant burst of music at the end. With regards to your other comment about the choruses, I am a fan of repetition with some room for change, so I'm glad you think that worked out as well. And your last paragraph totally made me blush. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. <3

Mirrors by Equinox Chick

Rated: Professors • Past Featured Story
Summary: It's 2012 and for Charlie Weasley, life in Romania with his dragons is good. Okay, his mum doesn't stop nagging him about his love-life, but at least she's not attacking his hair with scissors. The only cloud is the Ministry of Magic's threat to slash their funding. What Charlie needs to do is charm the visiting Ministry official. Unfortunately, he hadn't expected it to be his brother's prim ex-girlfriend.

Will she slash his budget? Or can he make her change her mind?

This is Equinox Chick of Hufflepuff and this is my entry in the April Fool's Challenge ~ Prompt #3 Next Gen.

A huge thank you to Sarah (SapphireatDawn) for beta'ing this at record speed.

Inspiration for this pairing came from Julia - she features in the fic ... sort of ...

Disclaimer: You must know by now that I'm not JK Rowling.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 08/03/11 Title: Chapter 1: Bean Counting

Gah, I am so in love with their banter. Put a few drinks in her, and Penelope is a whole other person, comprised of everything she denies herself for the sake of her career. And I love the note of wistfulness in Charlie's tone, especially the nod to his lost love (who is not permitted to be anyone but Tonks).

On to the next chapter!

Author's Response: Yes, it's Tonks. I can't not see them together now. Chonks is love. Ta for reading. There is smut somewhere. ~Carole~

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 08/03/11 Title: Chapter 2: Full Pelt

This story is just stupidly good. How dare you write such an ultra-rare rarepair and make it so demmed sexy! I can't believe how much I just know about both characters, not only from their shared stories, but even in how they thought and how they shagged. Simply splendid.

I really wanted to strangle Charlie when he read Penelope's 'report' on the desk. I had a feeling of dread (as you likely recall), and when he turned all cold on her, I wanted to shout at him that she was just doing her job. I wasn't sure what was going to happen in the last part during the meeting, but I was hoping to hell that he was overreacting and that Penelope wouldn't do that. It made my day when she simply pointed out that Nico was hosing them. 

She's going back! Yes yes yes yes YES! Lots more Charlope smut just waiting to pepper the senses! Gah, what a fabulous story! Wow, what a lot of exclamation points!


Author's Response: This was Julia's idea, actually, which is why she features in the fic (heh heh). Once I'd started writing, the pairing sort of took over and Charlie, in particular, became this rather hot to trot bloke that I think I want to run off with. Thank you so much for the review, and the trolling of the author page. Much appreciated. ~Carole~

Better than Chocolate by Equinox Chick

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: It is the Easter holiday at Hogwarts and Charlie Weasley has decided to stay at school instead of going home. He told his mother that he needed to study, but Charlie has something, or rather someone, on his mind.

Maybe this year a certain Metamorphmagus will become more than a friend?

Thank you to Natalie (hestiajones) for beta'ing this story.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. She is far richer, far taller and is far more talented.

Happy Easter, MNFF'ers.
Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 08/03/11 Title: Chapter 1: Better than Chocolate

I know you said this was fluffy, but I like this sort of fluffy rumination. I always got the vibe from Tonks that she was a special sort of girl who could break the heart of a discerning wizard or two who could appreciate her brand of individuality. I always wanted Charlie to be that guy. And it overjoys me that SHE was the one who decided that she wasn't going to wait for him to wear the pants and take the initiative.

But I think my favourite part is actually this:

And they’d stood in line together and tried to predict who would get Sorted into which House. Tonks, he remembered, had been particularly bad at the game. When she was Sorted into Hufflepuff, the eleven-year-old Charlie Weasley had felt rather sad at losing his new friend because he knew he’d be a Gryffindor like his brother. However, after the Feast, she’d walked across the Great Hall and had whispered in his ear that she still wanted to be friends.  

It shows that quirky and loyal side to Tonks that not only identifies her as a true Hufflepuff, but as a girl worthy to steal the heart of a sex god like Charlie. :D

Nice little piece!


Author's Response: Thank you. I have a strand of Chonks running through AA and also Mirrors, but it's generally unrequited on Charlie's part. This was meant to give him a bit more hope. I love Charlie a lot more since first starting AA, so perhaps I should have let him have more of a chance with Tonks. : ( - Thanks for the review. ~Carole~

Timing by Equinox Chick

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: For Remus Lupin, Easter has always been his favourite time of year. It has nothing to do with chocolate, he tells his friends, and everything to do with timing...

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling or the Easter Bunny, but here's a little Easter gift for everyone at MNFF.

Thank you Natalie (hestiajones) for beta'ing this story and for being all round a ... a ... amazing.

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor Signed
Date: 08/03/11 Title: Chapter 1: Timing

Aww, I love that there was one thing — besides the obvious — that Remus could share with Tonks that no one else could, not even his best mates. I think it gives them a really touching moment as a couple, and that's not even considering the baby being born. Pieces like these are what make me believe in ships like Remus/Tonks.

Lovely story!


Author's Response: Thank you. I like to think he found something extra with Tonks that he didn't get with the others. Shame JK killed them -GRRRRRRRR! ~Carole~