Hi! I'm Katrina and I am not J.K. Rowling (just to avoid any confusion there).
I've been writing on MNFF since about 2010, but up until a few months ago had not written anything for quite some time. So I am trying to get back into writing, and have quite a few stories percolating in my head, but I just need to find the time to write them.
I basically only write one-shots (I have one three chaptered story), and they're usually character explorations and snapshots rather than long plots, but I've written about a variety of characters, so hopefully there's something you'll enjoy. I like experimenting a bit with form too.
Anyway if you have stumbled here by accident, I do hope you enjoy something.
Summary: Marlene McKinnon was raised in a care home from the age of seven. As she grows up, she comes to know and fall in love with Jamal Olawumi, a boy with as many secrets as she has. But Jamal is a Muggle, and telling him anything about Marlene's real world would jeopardise the Statute of Secrecy. So when, in a fit of anger and hurt, he spills out his deepest secrets to her, can she find it in her to reciprocate, or does she care too much for her magical reputation?
This is babewithbrains of Ravenclaw writing for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion.
Jamal Olawumi has been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Original Character. Woot! :D
I really liked this story, although the ending was rather sad. I thought it worked well though that Marlene never got to tell Jamal what they were running from, it just added something tragic to the ending.
I liked that you started off with Marlene finding out she was a witch, it just seemd the perfect place to start given that this is a story about the complexity of relationships between muggles and magical people.
Jamal's first introduction was great, and I liked the link you set up between the racism he suffered and how Marlene felt about being a muggleborn - I felt you could have explored this a bit more, at least from Marlene's perspective because obviously Jamal doesn't know.
I thought both the main characters were really well fleshed out, I could imagine them as real people. The care home gave them both a hardness to life which I think worked well, and enabled them to understand each other in a way others perhas couldn't.
I also liked how you explored the idea of the truth. Jamal tells Marlene his fears and thoughts and really lets her in, but she is very guarded.
As some other reviewers have said, I found this a little bit rushed, and I hope you get to write more about these characters another time!
Author's Response: Yayayyayayyay, Katrinaaaaaaaa, you're back! :D
Wow, of all the stores I've written lately, especially for the cotillion, this one is by far the story I need to go back to and revise thoroughly. I reread this morning when I received your lovely review and I agree entirely that the ending is rushed - in fact, the last chapter needs major editing, ha. Still, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this. Jamal is probably theory OC I've created that I actually like, tbqh. As an Asian and someone who live in a majority Asian area in London, I've never really experienced racism - at least not anything like what Jamal went through - so yeah, I found it interesting to link the two and also show changing attitudes because I think at this point it was becoming more politically incorrect to abhor people of other races.
This is far from my best story - I think my Sirius/Rosmerta story is much better, as are my two Albus/Rose stories - but that's just me self pimping haha. Thank you so much for your usual loveliness - it's fab to have you back! X
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. ♥
This was a really sweet story - you got inside Andromeda's head so well. Having lost her husband, daughter and son-in-law, of course the last thing she would want is her grandson to work in a dangerous profession. I liked this line But their daughter is dead; she isn’t sure if she’d survive if the same thing happened to Teddy. , because I don't know how she would be able to cope if she lost him, and it really shows what she's giving up by "letting" him be an Auror - or maybe agreeing to it is a better way of putting it, because he can technically do what he wants.
I also thought you showed beautifully what it must feel like when your child has become an adult and it suddenly hits you that they don't need you anymore... not that I've ever been in that position, but it felt really natural and accurate the way you described it.
I thought it was very sweet that Teddy learnt to cook so he could look after Andromeda - it really shows that he's grown up. I also liked how he stood up to Harry and said that his parents would have wanted him to live, not just exist.
I liked the section where Andromeda wanted to blame Harry - I think there would be a bit of conflict between those two, but also like you wrote, it would be easier for her to blame it on Harry, rather than accept that it is Teddy's choice.
But overall I really enjoyed this - it was characterised so well and you really captured Andromeda's emotions - fear, love, pride.
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.
This is a really sweet and enjoyable story. It's nice to think that Cormac redeemed himself eventually, and I think you did a great job of sticking to the way he was in canon but also showing a different side to him.
Eloise was an interesting choice - she is so rarely mentioned in canon, but I liked that you suggested that Cormac's comments pushed her to try to hex her acne off - it gave them an interesting dynamic. I liked the dialogue when Eloise said he didn't have to apologise because she knew he'd changed - it seems to fit with her character and really shows how actions speak louder than words.
I liked the way you showed Cormac's character development retrospectively - as in from the start, he is aware that he was a complete arse, but you still showed the development really well. I especially thought it was realistic that he would take on all the dangerous missions to try and assuage his guilt.
I also loved the idea that their relationship came about because of books - I loved how you described what it's like to read a good book, and how Cormac became intrigued by Eloise because of that, and then how reading taught him to grow up and finally drew them together. Books are a lot more powerful than people often give them credit for. I also liked how you referred to novels in the storyline - like Cormac and Eloise as Darcy and Elizabeth, or the DA as like the rebel students - it made sense that they read and enjoyed books which they could relate to in a way.
I am curious though as to your reason for Eloise not being there during the year of HBP - it might have been nice if you'd explained that in the story, because it didn't quite make sense to me.
But over all I really loved the story - I thought you did a nice mix of a growing up story, a romance, but also including the war. Plus it was an unusual pairing, which is always nice to read.
Author's Response: Kantrinnaaaaaa. Thank you so much for your (as always) amazing review!
This story was a dare from Jess, because she wanted someone to make him be able to love by having him fall in love with someone who's not very attractive. That's why I chose Eloise, because in canon she's essentially the butt of so many of the jokes. I'm really glad you liked her, because now I fear I'm growing attached and may write more of her. Oh, and it said in HBP that her father pulled her out of school at the beginning of the year, so I had to pull her out, though I didn't want to.
I'm thrilled you liked the integration of literature, and how it helped Cormac. I'm on a classics kick right now, so when I wrote this I had just reread Les Mis and P&P. And I'm smiling that you caught the parallels.
Thank you so much, Katrina, and I'm really glad you enjoyed it.
Summary: The year is 1543, and the heir to the Malfoy estate, Lucius, encounters the young Lady Elizabeth Tudor in the grounds of Hatfield House. It is a meeting, he later discovers, of his mother's engineering, for it is of the utmost importance that he strikes up a friendship with the King's daughter. But the Lady Elizabeth has a powerful protector in her governess, and only the highest political machinations can overcome the will of Kat Champernowne.
In the ensuing Tudor power struggle, no one factored love into the equation, least of all Elizabeth.
Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling, but I think you know that by now.
This is Equinox Chick with her fourth entry for The Great Hall Cotillion.
I really love this story, Carole. It's really different to a lot of fanfiction, and you've really researched the Pottermore canon as well as the real history and made them fit together seamlessly in this... plus adding your own parts to the story.
I loved your characterisation of Elizabeth. She was obviously a remarkable woman and had a huge influence on history. I liked how you showed her as strong and someone who knew her own mind, but also fragile at times, and always curious.
I thought Lucius was interesting too - I thought it was interesting that you made him aware of his mothers' hypocrisy in sucking up to muggles when she actually thought herself superior, because of course he does the same thing - he may feel some affection for Elizabeth, but most of his actions are out of his ambition and desire for power. Nonetheless I thought their relationship was very believable, and I liked the way you showed their changing feelings as they grew up.
The falcon and peacock imagery also worked in beautifully and really added to their characterisations.
I also loved your ending and how, even though Lucius curses her to being alone, Elizabeth is emancipated through her own choices. And I am inclined to agree with you that she wouldn't have cared about Lucius' curse.
It was quite funny when I came across this story... I have just spent the last week doing an assignment on Elizabethan poetry and the underlying powerplay between Elizabeth and her courtiers. Anyway that's sort of unrelated... the point is that I really loved this story.
Author's Response: Thank you, Katrina. I have to admit to getting very caught up in this story. I've always been fascinated by that period, so when I discovered a connection on Pottermore, I couldn't wait to write a story. I thn got very caught up in the research and there was so much more I wanted to add, but couldn't because of the challenge constraints. I'm pleased you enjoyed the story and appreciated Elizabeth's emancipation. I sometimes think that had Elizabethe married her reign would have been a lot shorter because it would have been hard finding the right spouse. Remaining single and playing off possible suitors was a shrewd thing to do. In this story, Lucius could have kept her on the throne but I dounbt he'd have been good for England.
Thank you so much for the review ~Carole~
Summary: There are some things I didn't ever want to think about. My best friend dating my brother was one of them.
This is Maple_and_PheonixFeather writing for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion.
I really enjoyed this story, it was very sweet and I liked that you wrote it from Lily's perspective, even though she wasn't in the main pairing of the story. I thought you did a great job of showing how torn Lily was between being happy for them and being a bit weirded out by out - it felt really natural for her to feel that way.
I also liked the friendship you showed between Lily and Emma, especially at the start, they seemed to relate really naturally together and I could tell they had been friends for years.
I also liked the undertones of Lily/Teddy (at least from Lily's point of view) - it added to the story to have both Lily and Emma acting a bit differently to how they normally would on vacation.
I also thought it was interesting how you presented James - Lily's perspective still shows him as immature (putting dungbombs in her trunk - which he probably did years ago), and Emma's perspective shows how he has grown up. It made him a believable character and worked really well here.
Anyway this was a really sweet story and I enjoyed reading it :).
Author's Response: Oh my gosh, I can't believe I didn't respond to this! Thank you so much for the lovely review! This idea of having Lily deal with her best friend falling for her brother was a plot bunny I've had for awhile, so I'm glad that Lily's feelings did come across. Maple
Summary: Peter Pettigrew is far more complex than anyone gives him credit for. And that's all he wants, from anyone and especially from her: acknowledgement. Love. Respect. Yet unlike them, he was willing to do anything for it, including sacrificing it all.
This is Gmariam of Ravenclaw writing for the Great Hall Cotillion of 2013.
I both love and hate this story... hate only because Peter is so awful in it. But the writing and characterisation are fantastic.
I love your use of second person here - it feels like Peter is justifying himself, saying 'what would you have done if you were in my position?' and I think that works really well. You handled it really well as well, I didn't find it jarring at any point - it just worked with the story so well.
I liked the line at the end of the third part: She is yours, yet suddenly you want more. This to me represents a lot of what Peter is like... he has friends, but he is not adored/respected like James, so he wants more... I'm not quite sure if that makes sense, but that's how I read it.
The last part was truly horrible... it made me think of Snape, who was perhaps as bad as Peter until someone he loved was in danger, at which point he redeemed himself. Peter does the opposite; by witnessing Dorcas' murder he, to me, destroys his soul.
I saw you mentioned in your author's responses something about the title/the seven parts. I'm not quite sure what it means, although I'm guessing it has something to do with Voldemort splitting his soul into 7, because even though Peter doesn't actually commit a murder in this story, it feels like he splits his soul. The seven parts also showed his degradation really well, because at the start he still has some redeeming features somehow.
Hugo Weasley waited for a Hogwarts letter that never came.
I thought this was a lovely piece, Jess - you really captured how Hugo felt about his sister going to Hogwarts and knowing that he would never be able to go. I think that's one of the saddest things about the wizarding world - that there can be Squibs, or muggleborns with muggle siblings, because it would be so hard not to feel hard done by all the time.
I also liked how you showed Ron and Hermione as trying their best to care for their son.
I thought Hugo's attempt go to Hogwarts by sending the letter himself was very realistic as a childlike response to the situation, and I felt so heartbroken for him when it didn't work... although of course I knew it never would work, and it would be worse for him to go to Hogwarts without magic than trying to live as a muggle.
Anyway, this was just really nicely written and very sad.
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.
I did like the story, a lot. I've always thought that Teddy and Lily would have a close relationship, and I think it's quite natural that Lily would fall in love with him - or at least think she had fallen in love with him. The way you've written this, I feel like she will be able to get over it and fall in love again, because it is a bit like a childhood crush. But nonetheless very painful, I felt so bad for her.
And yet I couldn't hate Teddy, because you made him so adorable and I think he handled the situation, which was awkward for both of them, in the best way possible. It would be so much easier to tell someone you didn't care about at all that you didn't love them, rather than having to tell Lily, who he seems to love like a sister, and he knows how heartbroken she will feel.
I liked the relationship you showed between Lily and Ginny as well - it seemed natural that Ginny would be able to read her daughter - or at least tell that she wasn't happy, even if she didn't know the reason - and knew how to be there for her.
I loved the last paragraph, I think it finished the story off really nicely, and I liked how you put in the title - it fit really well, and I also think the idea that "he girl beneath the stars who won’t think he hung them in the sky anymore" works well, because it shows some of the childishness of the relationship - as in Teddy was like an older brother who knew everything sort of thing. Sorry I'm really not explaining that well...
Anyway, I loved the story, I thought the characterisations were perfect and so was the writing - I really felt for both the characters.
Summary: They found her body - broken, bleeding, face filled with signs of pain and fear, and the Death Eaters had clearly enjoyed what they were doing - amidst the rubble of a ruined book store.
During the first war against Voldemort, people fight and die and life for James and Lily goes on.
A tragedy in five parts.
You literally had me in tears by the end of this story. I read it straight through and even though of course I knew where it was going, you expressed the characters and articulated their problems so clearly and beautifully and poignantly in this.
I liked the way the whole story fit together. I thought it worked well to have the four Marauders first and then Lily, who is almost part of them but then not quite. I also liked how Cynthia's death ran as a theme through all the chapters and how you showed each character responding to their grief in a different way.
Your characterisations are fantastic. You really nailed James - I liked the line He was usually so much better at picking up on her moods, even if he didn't know what to do about any of them. I think that shows James so well - it's not that he's unaware of Lily, he just so desperately wants to fix everything and he has no idea how to. I think you compare him to a puppy at some point and that works well too because he does want things to be ok. I also think you articulated his conflict between caring for his family and fighting in the war, for which there is really no answer because not fighting would mean not being true to himself, but it does mean putting himself in constant danger which could (and of course does) eventually hurt his family. Although I sometimes find some solace in the fact that James and Lily died together (same for Remus and Tonks) because I'm not sure they could have survived without each other.
As for Sirius, I loved how you worked in the idea of him turning into a dog, particuarly the image of him as a dog with his tail between his legs when he saw the girl being tortured. That worked really vividly for just showing how much Sirius was affected by the war as much as he puts on a brave face.
With Peter you showed his not quite belonging to the group so well - I loved the conversation he heard between Remus and Cynthia and how that made him feel and sort of reverberated through his thoughts and changed his interpretations. I also liked that he isn't a Death Eater yet - a lot of people write him as becoming a Death Eater during Hogwarts, but I think this is much more realistic, because at this point he has felt a lot more hopelessness about the war, and a lot more fear, and a lot less heroism because he is doing different things to his friends. I also liked that you made him perceptive and be the first to realise something was wrong with Lily and James - being observant and perceptive must have been necessary when he was working as a double agent, and I don't think of him at this stage as the really broken character we see in canon.
I really liked how you drew in the werewolf situation as being separate from Voldemort, and how Remus was affected by talking to the other werewolf. I thought it was really interesting to have a rift in the Order over it, because as much as we like to glorify them, it is entirely believable that that prejudice would have been there since it was pretty much ubiquitous in the wizarding world. I also liked how this played out in arguments between him and Sirius and James, because even their strong friendship is tested by this.
And then Lily. I liked how you compared the apparent difficulties of pregnancy with her challenge of waiting all the time, which also tied in perfectly with the title. I liked the bit when she says she isn't waiting for James to come home, but for him not to come home - that is such a simple phrase but it expresses so much. I also thought it worked that she is aware she is angry all the time and she doesn't want to be and she knows there is no resolution but she still feels that way. In both Lily and James you've created a really nice paradox between youth and naivity and a more mature almost cynicism about the world, particularly relating to Lily's pregnancy and what it means to bring a child into this world. I loved her conversation with Cynthia about what it means to fight or do something else in the war, and it was all the more heartbreaking for her when Cynthia died and that was their last conversation.
I liked that you brought this story to a resolution between Lily and James at the end - not a "happily ever after" resolution, but a sort of coming together anyway. It makes it bitter sweet, because there is so much love between them but we know that that won't last.
Anyway I really loved this story, even though it covers a very familiar topic you've written and characterised it uniquely and really effectively and you pose some really interesting questions about war and its effects, and I like that you don't give answers because there aren't any anyswers to that.
Summary: 31st October, 2001. Hermione, at the end of an average day at work, remembers a not-so-average day she had ten years ago that changed her life in every way. Trio friendship fic.
This was such an enjoyable read, you really nailed the relationship between these three and their characterisations, plus it was a good laugh. It's nice to think of them having this easy, jokey, but also close relationship after all they've been through.
I also loved how you showed how much Hermione owed to Harry and Ron, like the line A woman with fashionable, yet professional, robes, a haircut she didn't completely hate and a life the buck-toothed, frizzy-haired, socially awkward girl she used to be was scared she would never have.
And it was mostly down to two people whom she loved dearly. I liked this because a lot of people seem to dwell on Hermione's brains and how much her abilities help the trio, and therefore say that especially Ron isn't that important. But I liked that you showed that they all need each other - because Hermione may have been smart, but she learnt kindness and bravery and humour from her two best friends.
There were so many great moments in this - like Ron's response when he thought it was their anniversary about having the flowers and present etc, and then realising it wasn't.
I liked how Ron and Hermione's relationship was a part of the trio, but that the story was more about their friendship than the romance. It just flowed really naturally.
I loved this line "I think it was something about a feather," Harry replied, "Ron's people skills and Professor McGonagall not being sure of what the correct procedure is when dealing with three first years, a mountain troll and a destroyed girls' toilets." - Amazing to think that that was what initially drew them together... I sometimes wonder how different the stories might have been without that moment.
I also liked how you showed the childishness of Harry and Ron - that after all they've been through, they are still able to be normal twenty-one-year-olds.
I think I'm starting to ramble at this point - but I really just love this. And I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but your characterisations are perfect - Ron's unawareness, but then his ability to know exactly how to make Hermione feel better, the humour and childishness, Hermione's uptightness, even Harry's ability to talk about his parents' deaths without it being a big deal. (I apologise for all the made up words in that sentence.)
The last paragraph was just beautiful, for some reason it reminded me of the end of HBP, when Harry says something like 'there would always be one more golden day to spend with Ron and Hermione'. Obviously the situations are different, because then they were about to face the most dangerous period of their lives, and this story is more cheerful, but there's something about the way that shows their friendship which is just perfect.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely review! Yeah, I'm a firm believer that the trio are the trio, not Harry and his mates or Hermione and the boys. It's the three of them, y'know? They couldn't do it without each other. I'm glad you liked how R/Hr fitted in. It'd be so easy to forget Harry was there, but they wouldn't abandon him. Haha, well, Harry and Ron wouldn't have passed their exams and would've been kicked out of Hogwarts if it wasn't for the troll so pretty different. And making up words is fun so feel free to continue. That last paragraph of hbp is one of my favourite parts of the books so I am super happy that you are comparing the two. I guess it's sort of the lovely trio loveliness, isn't it? Anyway, I'm rambling - thank you again for the review as it made me very happy and I'm glad you enjoyed the story :)
Summary: Remus and Dora have only just got into this strange and stupid and perfect routine of playing lovers. They shouldn't have to give it up now.
Set between OOTP and HBP.
Eeeeep! This story has been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Canon Romance. Thank you.
I really liked this, Soraya. You did such a great job of characterising Remus, and he's one of my favourite characters so I always love reading about him anyway haha.
I liked the way you started their relationship as shared grief over Sirius, which gradually developed into something more - it makes sense that way, because I think Remus would have been too afraid to put a label on it initially.
I loved this section - And he knows and has always known, deep down, that he will never belong with Dora, because she is whole, human, and no matter how much she might try to convince him that he is, too, Remus knows he isn’t. That to me just gets to the core of Remus - no matter what people say to him, he still feels they are better off without him. And you can sort of see why he would be like that - not just being a werewolf, but then finally making friends at Hogwarts and losing them all again. His life is so sad... but at least he gets to be happy with her in the end, and they die together. Anyway, back to your story.
It's really well-written - the dialogue seemed really natural and I got a sense of their relationship from it. I particularly liked the part when Dora tells him she loves him, because in that moment they're both so vulnerable and you can see how much they love each other.
So I really liked this, I hope it gets more reviews soon!
Author's Response: Eeeeee, Katrina, thank you so much for another wonderful review! I am totally on hiatus and have only posted this story because I just had to add about 300 words to it (it started out as a 900 word drabble for this activity we do in SPEW called LoveNotes, where basically each of us list pairings and prompts and we gift each other anonymously), and even then, I thought it wasn't my strongest or anything, so it means so much to me that you enjoyed this :)
I love Remus too. He is adorable, and I've recently got into pairing him with James, Sirius and even unrequited with Lily, because gah, he is such a fabulous character. Thank you so much for saying I characterised him well. That means a lot :) Also, I always planned for Remus and Tonks to get together over Sirius. It was something they had in common, I guess, and I also have always thought they had a relationship before the big declaration in the hospital wing. I definitely agree that Remus would not want to label their relationship and that he'd probably think such labels -- boyfriend/girlfriend, lovers, etc -- were trite and unnecessary anyway.
I totally agree with you re Remus basically thinking everyone is better off without him. I see why he would think like that, since yeah, he did lose his best friends, and it still saddens me to think that once he is happy and even has a child with Tonks, they both die :( You're right, though -- at least they die together.
I do love writing dialogue, but I have to say, I found it difficult this time. Possibly because I write the whole "I love you" thing so often that it was hard not to just recycle a past conversation? I'm not sure. I am so flattered, therefore, that you still enjoyed that bit because I agree completely that they are both very vulnerable people but they love each other so much. Which is why having Remus leave was so hard to write.
I'm really glad you're back, Katrina :) I miss your reviews, even if I won't be writing much until at least June once my exams are over. I know my flist agrees :D and I hope you'll be sticking around for a bit :) Than you so much for the lovely reviews once again and ♥
Summary: Have you ever thought about how you are perceived by those around you? You may think that you blend in or that you seem intelligent when speaking to your peers, but how can we ever truly know what we are like if we never see for ourselves?
It all started that day in Charms, but grew into so much more... (A Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy one-shot)
This was quite a sweet one-shot, and I liked the way you characterised the two main characters.
I thought it was a great place to start talking about how you think you are perceived vs how people actually perceive you, and the idea of having a public and private self. I think I would have liked more explanation for why Rose created her persona who is quite judgemental and opinionated, and also alienated though - to me following the discussion with Anna, she would realise the effect she has on people and try to change. So maybe you could have put in an incident where she was hurt (I know the girl in her class was being mean to her, but something with a bit more impact maybe).
I liked Scorpius' entrance and how you drew the connection between him and Rose and the way they have a different outward exterior. (Just one comment, you wrote that Gryffindor and Slytherin are never in the same class - but in canon they often share a class, eg Care of Magical Creatures). I liked the point when Rose realised that Scorpius was the closest thing she had to a friend, it made me feel a little sad for how isolated she was, but also liked the connection she had with Scorpius.
The ending of this was really sweet, and I liked how you touched again on the way they hide their feelings, like Scorpius laughing hysterically at the idea of them dating because he actually likes her but doesn't think she likes him - I think that gave the story a really nice finish and you worked that theme through the whole thing really well.
Just on your writing - I saw that this is your first fic on MNFF, and it's a really good start, but sometimes it feels a little over-written. For example in this sentence I had even grown to love the girlish nickname “Rosie”, which I had used to detest being called, even by my Mother. - I would just use 'hate' instead of detest; this story is written in a fairly familiar style by being first person, and so I think it would feel more natural to use simpler words throughout. Also there are a few clauses in that sentence which make it a bit jolty, maybe you could cut out the line "even by my mother", because I think the sentences has as much impact without it. A few times I think you've mixed up your tenses too - like "An uneasy silence fell between us..." and a bit later "I step a little closer".
I hope my review doesn't come across too negatively - this story is very sweet, with nice characterisation and a good theme to link it all together, but there are just a few things that I think would make it better.
Author's Response: Sorry for taking so long to reply, but I really didn't know how to respond to such a great comment! Thanks so much for the compliments and critisism alike, and I'll try to take those points on board when I write my next one. And as for the posh vocab, that's just how I talk! :)
Summary: Harry, Ron and Hermione have the closest friendship that Ginny Weasley has ever seen. Where does this leave her?
This was a really interesting story and I think you really captured that unique position that Ginny is in, closer to the trio than anyone but still not part of them. I think you really showed the emotions this makes her feel, even when she feels bad for feeling left out. I also liked the idea that when she is finally with Harry in HBP that she is hoping to finally be let in on the secrets - but it doesn't happen then, or ever really. She's always longing for more until at the end she is satisfied with where she is.
I also think you handled Ginny's character well, from the shy girl we first meet to the strong girl at the end, and I liked how you drew on her being the youngest and connected it to not being included with the trio (eg when her mother tells her she is 'too young' for something).
I adored this line - "I just can't sleep without them in the same room," she explains quietly the next morning when asked about it. "I have to know they're okay. You understand?"
She nods, but she doesn't. After all, she has spent nine months sleeping without knowing where they were or if they were alive. I think that just shows how much Ginny has had to cope with, but everyone is focussed on the trials of the trio. It also just shows how she's not part of what they have.
I liked the idea of the "back-up trio", I thought maybe you could have made reference to the understanding between Ginny, Neville and Luna - I know this is supposed to be focussed on the trio, so I know why you didn't, I just thought it might add to it because in my mind Ginny has a strong bond with them.
There are just a few times where you change tense, like the ending line "That was fine with her" suddenly in past tense. To me it would flow better if they stayed in present tense. Just a small comment.
I also think you captured the trio really well, particularly in the relationship between Harry and Hermione at the end and how platonic that is but how they need each other for comfort, not other people (does that make sense?).
Anyway I loved this story, it is a bit bittersweet and beautifully written and characterised.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, I've read a few fics where Ginny becomes one of the trio but that never seemed right to me. Those three went through so much together that it makes sense that they would become reliant on one another and quite insular. Not on purpose though because they all obviously love Ginny, it's just that she wasn't there. Her being the youngest and only girl in the family probably added to it - I know my own little sister always wanted to be involved with stuff anyway! Gah, I knew there would still be some tense issues. I couldn't decide which tense to have it in so I re-wrote this several times to change it so a few were bound to be wrong. Thanks for pointing them out! And finally, I'm glad you enjoyed the Harry/Hermione interaction. I love their friendship so it's nice to hear. Thanks again for the lovely review :)
Summary: Maybe he didn’t just love history, maybe he loved being a history teacher.
I really enjoyed this story. It's nice to read a story about teaching and how teachers interact with students, and how having a really good teacher can make anything interesting. I totally get Teddy's response at the end, since I'm currently studying to be a teacher too. I also think Remus Lupin is probably the best teacher we ever see in canon, so it was a nice touch that his son is equally good and becomes not only an excellent teacher but a mentor for his students.
I particularly liked the storyline with James - firstly it was nice to read a James who wasn't an exact replica of his namesake (clever, pranking, good at Quidditch, popular, a bit cocky etc), but instead thoughtful, nervous about his opinions (thought not unconfident) and very hardworking to try and live up to his family. I liked how it was Teddy who really helped him find his strength and see that there was something he could do.
I enjoyed the way you set up the classroom dynamic and showed the change over the year amongst the seventh years. I was amused by Neil and particularly his Macbeth costume, but they did make a nice balanced class. I'm curious as to why you chose not to have any girls though, I wouldn't have thought of history as a particularly male-dominated field. Also I think early on you mention a Slytherin called Charlie, but when you list the whole class there is no Charlie... just a small thing you might want to fix up.
I enjoyed your mingling of Muggle and wizarding history, I thought that was very creative and worked well in the story. I liked this line: and it’d give them time to detox from his class before he started giving review assignments on the wars with Voldemort. Those were crucial, a true test of whether or not they could debate points without personal bias. I would have liked to see some of the class actually talk about this, because I think you're right, it be very easy to be biased especially with James in the class. I just think it would have showed an interesting side to the post-war world.
Generally I liked your writing, the story flows nicely and the dialogue works well for developing the characters. You got the classroom atmosphere in perfectly, and I liked the change from the dead quiet room at the beginning to the free-flowing discussion/debate at the end. At times I thought you overwrote a bit, like the ending, I don't think you need the last line "And then, he knew his answer", because that is obvious from the previous line ("maybe he loved being a history teacher"). Another example just before that is when you've written "And so Teddy thought. / He thought it was etc" - I think you don't need the first line.
Anyway that didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story; I liked this because both the storyline and characters were different from what we often see.
War takes things and keeps on taking them, and the things it takes don't come back to you. A story about Hannah Abbott and Terry Boot.This is WeasleyMom of Hufflepuff writing for the Romance Class final on the beta boards. I can't thank Kara enough for her incredible help and encouragement with this story. Her beta work was fabulous and I'm eternally grateful! Thanks also to my flist for chatting me through various issues as I wrote this. You lot know who you are. *hugs*
Lori, this is an exceptional story - one of the best stories of young love that was taken away by the war that I've read in quite some time.
I loved how you started off with quite a sweet teenage love story - even though it wasn't new, it was written really nicely. Lines like this one are really sweet : The corners of her mouth turned up, and something surprised him: when Hannah smiled, she was a lot more pretty than plain. It just captures the two of them and their relationship really nicely. Both of their awkwardness at knowing they liked the other but not knowing if they were liked back was really well done too, you just got right into the mindset of 16 year olds.
I liked how you started to introduce the approaching war through the attack on the train at the end of fifth year, and then of course it all comes crashing down when Hannah's Mum is killed. The last paragraph of the first chapter is perfect, you encapsulate Terry's mixture of feelings so well, as in sadness for Hannah and her Mum but also for himself as he feels he's lost Hannah.
I loved your description of how Hannah feels lost when she returns to Hogwarts, which is going on as if nothing had happened. You really show how much of a disjunct this is for her. I also liked how you described her friendship with Ernie, it's very sweet. Ernie didn’t know what to say either, but it didn’t stop him trying. He was her best friend, like a favorite sweater on a cold day. It might be a bit frayed and imperfect, but when the cold finds you, it’s the one you want. That's just such an original image but also one that everyone can relate to.
This section really brought tears to my eyes - That was all she would be able to manage, at least for now. And her hope was that, if she did it ten times in a row and then twenty and then fifty, that one day far off, she might take a full, deep breath again. / And then, maybe, another. That Is one of the most beautiful and true descriptions of grief I've read.
I loved the whole description of what they do in the Battle, and how Hannah saves Terry and then Michael saves them both. Again it's perfectly written, and there are some great lines like But how, when he was nothing but dead weight? It's so interesting to put death even into the language you use in this war.
I liked their conversation in the Hospital Wing afterwards, it gives the story a kind of closure and yet still shows the grief. I loved this paragraph As he spoke, she pictured every movement, seeing it in her mind from the place where she’d fallen. Her breath hitched in her throat as she fought to stay in the present. It was too soon. It was too fresh. In many ways, Hannah was still in the castle, still fighting, still running. The quiet of the hospital room made no sense next to the echoes of battle that rang in her ears. I think that really shows the trauma of this experience, that it is something they will never forget and never forget how they felt in that moment.
This line - War takes things and keeps on taking them, and the things it takes don’t come back to you. Not really, not in whole pieces, not the way you want. - was really the crux of the story for me, it connects beautifully to the title and really shows very simply but poignantly what could never be regained. And yet it's not quite despairing - they know that life will go on - but yet it is still very sad. I think it worked really well that they then went on to talk about their futures, but at the same time we know what could have been between them but will never be.
The ending of this is just perfect - The cost would never be lessened, but there would be profound comfort for the counting of it. I don't know how you're able to put ideas into words so perfectly.
Anyway as you can probably tell I really love this story. There is so much about it that you just capture perfectly.
Author's Response: Katrina! I have been a puddle of mush since you posted it--thanks so much for reading and taking time to leave your thoughts. I'm so glad you felt it worked. Your reviews are always so helpful and encouraging, and because they are always so honest, I was doubly over the moon when this one contained no crit at all! Haha! I would never have even considered this pairing if not for a drabble assignment in the romance class, but then I grew so attached to them so quickly. I'm such a canon girl that I knew they could not have a future together, but it could still be meaningful, and in the context of the war, there must have been loves like this, I think.
Summary: This is how Harry lives with himself, after.
This is a really interesting story. I really liked the fragmentary style of it and the way you showed Harry through these moments, though I'm not quite sure what I think about this being in anti-chronological order; I'm not sure if it adds anything exactly. It's not that I dislike it, I'm just not quite sure what effect it adds. I did like how even though you are in one moment you are aware of other points in time, particularly in this last chapter when the sections in brackets refer to the future, I think that's really effective in showing the overall effect of the war on Harry.
I think I liked the first chapter the best, it was very understated but Harry's past was simultaneously at the forefront. I also liked how it brought out more trauma from his neglectful childhood, particularly in connection with his own children. And yet Harry doesn't talk about it (as he rarely does in canon) so it is just constantly there. I liked how you played this out throughout the story, particularly in the scene with Petunia, and that was one (of the many) moments that made me tear up.
I also liked the chapter (the second I think?) when you referred to that compromise in Harry and Ginny's relationship. I think you showed their relationship really well; it wasn't disastrous or perfect as a lot of people seem to describe it in canon, it felt real given the lives the two of them have led.
I think you're right, the "all is well" at the end of the series isn't quite satisfying given the trauma many of the characters suffer. I liked how Harry could still appear fairly normal on the outside but those darknesses and shadows were constantly hovering in the corners.
I found the comparison between the Voldemort-baby and Harry's own children pretty disturbing and I'd certainly never thought of them as similar, but as you say in the fic, I guess that was a part of Harry and his children are.
I liked the ambiguity in this final chapter about what actually happened with Voldemort's body, it really shows Harry's mental state. I also liked how you explored Voldemort as a human/non-human through his body.
The story as a whole is a little confusing and ambiguous, I do understand that this is sort of the point, but I wonder if you could have drawn things out a bit more. I'm not quite sure about the ending; I get the idea that Ron and Hermione are feeling happy and Harry isn't really, but I found that last line didn't tie in exactly to the whole story. Maybe I just don't really get it.
Anyway I did really like this story. Your writing is incredibly effective and as I've said I was moved to tears a few times. I really like your exploration of Harry's inner psychology and I think it works really well with canon, I guess I'd just like you to draw it out more. But really really great work, I hope you get more reviews for this it really deserves it!
Author's Response: Thank you for your lovely review! I really struggled trying to balance this story, particuarly the line between the ureal/fragmentedness and having the story still feel coherent. The points you've brought up are definitely the parts I was aware of being weaker! I think this is a fic I will probably come back to in a few years when I'm a but less attached to it and do a rewrite, but I'm glad you enjoyed it even so. :)