"It feels as if the whole world is falling apart," said Neville, "and I'm falling right along with it."
In the fifth instalment of the Neville Longbottom saga, Voldemort is back, but nobody wants to know. Facing pressure from all sides, and feeling alone and abandoned, the Boy-Who-Lived confronts the depths of despair and the darkest corners of his soul.
With a direct link to evil plaguing his mind and the cruel Dolores Umbridge determined to break him, can Neville find the hope and strength to carry on? And will he be prepared to embrace his destiny? The darkness falls in Year Five...
A note on the warnings: there's nothing there you won't find in the canon novel.
Poor Neville! He's not really rising to the challenge but who could blame him. I love this entire series, my favourite one is probably the GoF remake. It's great how it isn't just a rewrite with the names switched around a bit, but a complete rework of the story. The differences between the book and this is what makes it so interesting. I know you haven't updated this in a while but I hope you haven't given up on it.
Hi! I just wanted to leave a review to tell you how much I loved this story. It was really interesting and so different from what I normally see; its style was somewhere between a story and a poem which made it truly unique and riveting. I loved how you used the present tense, which is usually a tool to draw a reader in, to distance both the reader and narrator from the events that are going on. The story was written in such an artistic way and had an attention to style that isn’t often seen in prose.
The detached tone in which you wrote the story was amazing. It created the dark atmosphere you were going for without having to resort to melodrama and angst. And, somehow, the tone didn’t seem to be just her’s, but seemed to convey the lack of control over their own lives that fitted so many during Voldemort’s reign. This is particularly clear in Regulus’s letters to her, which show slowly deteriorating faith in Voldemort and his cause. The tone was used beautifully throughout and really added to the story.
Andromeda and Ted walked hand in hand down the road, the heavy solid weight of him tethering her body to the ground while her mind floated dizzily and distantly away from herself.
Can I have a moment to squee over this quote? I love how you don’t just outright say how she feels, but through your language you mention it obscurely and poetically. For example, you never say that she’s excited or nervous about eloping with Ted, but by saying “her mind floated dizzily” you convey it all the same. I love how you blur the lines between the emotional and the physical as you talk about “the solid weight of him tethering her body to the ground”. Even though you’re referring to their emotional states, you talk about it in terms of the physical bodies which creates a rather vivid imagery.
I also loved the dream sequence and its circular structure. When you start off with her running her fingers through the dewy grass, it’s a sweet and homely image but you slowly move the dream away from that into rather dark waters and the image it started with takes a similarly dark new lease of life. The dream very poignantly shows Andromeda’s fear of what her child might become, the oppressed or the oppressor, which I think would be a very real worry in times of war, especially given the child’s parents. But, at the same time, you deploy your gift for subtly and don’t just write all that, but bury your meaning underneath layers of surreality. It makes reading the story so satisfying.
the branches and leaves of the tree tangling in on themselves, blocking out the sun.
This quote is beautiful. It’s so poetical and captures the tragedies and pitfalls of the Black family so well. I love the imagery of it and how fitting it all is, perfectly conveying how the fates of the Blacks was a bed of their family’s making. The idea of branches tangling in on themselves mirrors the Black vs Black animosity in the Harry Potter really well and the fact that you managed to capture the Black family in one short but touching metaphor is really a mark of your great writing skills.
I could go on like this, but there’s only so much squeeing a girl can do.
As much as I loved your story, there we some points where a lack of commas disrupted the flow of a sentence (eg. “ He likes to sunbathe on the roof of the shed and always falls head first into the stream trying to catch the slivers of sunlight that dance on the water.”) but those mistakes were few and far between so I don’t think they’re a good problem.
I’m not sure about the name Fluffy either – it just conjures an image of a three-headed dog in my mind and, since this is MNFF, I’m sure I’m not the only one with that mental image.
That being said, I still loved this story loads, otherwise I would have never fangirled over it as much as I have. It was so different from everything I normally read and was beautifully written. I loved how you didn’t get tied up in the rules of prose and allowed your story to have some features of a poem. I loved the ideas behind the story and, most of all, how you phrased everything. I really enjoyed reading it.
Great oneshot! It was a great perspective and a really interesting read. Poor Snape, even in death he's miserable but it was great to see him get some closure and, all in all, I loved it.
Author's Response: Thank you for the review. It was an odd story to write but I rather liked the way it turned out in the end. ~Carole~
This oneshot was truly amazing. I loved the premise for it – to show these six characters who are so thoroughly connected with death and damage throughout the Harry Potter series deal with it as teenagers. It’s fantastic, enthralling and intense. What I loved most about this story was all the foreshadowing and how well you pulled it all off.
It was wonderful to watch James try and grasp that, for all his efforts, there had been nothing he could have done to help Armis Berkley. Helplessness at dealing with that situation was really great because it foreshadowed how he would feel when Harry went through all sorts of trails and he couldn’t do anything to help. There were some mistakes with SPaG in this part (eg. “stopped a feet above the ground”) but it’s nothing that a quick run through a beta won’t fix. I loved how you managed to sprinkle in some typical James arrogances (I lol’d at “who could do some wonders on a broomstick”) without overdoing it. And the ending, where he accepts that he would always try his best to help others, but not let it get him down when it wasn’t enough, was really good.
Your portrayal of Severus was stunning. You really hit the nail on the head when it came to his character. I loved the dynamic of the Slytherins and the idea of them desperately trying to meet Voldemort tickled me but at the same time felt very natural. There were some parts here where the flow was slightly off, but throughout the rest of the piece the flow was perfect. One thing I really loved about Severus’s part was that, even though he tried to rationalise his emotions by thinking about how much Armis annoyed him, he’s still really shaken up by death. In TPT we see that even as a Death Eater, death still affects him a lot and this fic really captured how he’s scared of death despite wanting to be a Death Eater. It really foreshadows the fact that he could never truly do that and showcases the side of him that allowed him to join the OotP in the end. I loved how he tried to distance himself from his emotions at the end and how it showed the ways in which he steeled himself which allowed him to become a Death Eater at all.
I loved how Sirius tried to grasp at normalcy in his part and wanted to rely on his friends to get him through. I thought that really fitted the character of Sirius, because he was probably the one who was most attached the other Marauderers and most reliant on his friends since he didn’t really have much of a family to fall back on and even after the others moved on, he was still in that Marauderer frame of mind. I loved the ending beyond belief as it summed up his death but at the same time captured his voice perfectly. It was really bittersweet.
I was a bit apprehensive when I began to read Peter’s section because it started with him writing a letter to his mother and Peter being a mother’s boy is fast becoming a Marauder cliché, but you managed to bring it around with your great characterisation throughout the rest of the piece! You managed to capture the fear of death that was so instrumental to him switching sides but made it sound so normal and innocent. And the fact that he’s scared that the others will laugh at him shows the cracks in their friendship which was evident even then. I think your characterisation here was amazing as you don’t show him as being the evil one or have him be inferior to the others in any way, but still capture the weaknesses in his character and his friendship in a very real and believable way.
I really liked Lily’s part. Her first experience with magic was incredible and I loved how it wasn’t a good one. You managed to blend this into canon seamlessly as well - it seems to fit brilliantly with the first scene in TPT. Her showing typical Gryffindor bravery and reckless was great as well. And the ending, where she says that, when she goes, she wants to die for a reason, was just perfect. As I said before, the best thing about this oneshot was the foreshadowing and this is one instance of when you got it spot on. Really, it was so great it hurt. The one bit of criticism I have is that it seems a bit self-centred for Lily. I know views of characters differ from person to person, especially for someone who gets so little screen time, but this was the girl who gave up her life for her son and stood up for the terminally uncool kid even though he’d proven that he didn’t really deserve it. But other than that it was a great read. Your writing style is just amazing and the flow was brilliant. There were so many parts where I was green with envy over your grasp of the English language and talent with words.
I loved Remus’s because it went against every cliché that’s attached to his character. He’s so often seen as the worrier, the pessimistic one, the one who angsts all the time. To turn that around and have him be the one who saw past what happened and vows to live life to the fullest was inspired. It contrasted perfectly with the endings of the other characters which brought to mind how what would have become of them by Harry’s time. The ending of this reminded us all that they still had five years to live more or less normal lives. Ending it on the poignant note was great and really wrapped up the entire thing perfectly.
Well, I think I’ve said everything I wanted to. All in all, it was a great read and I thought I’d let you know how much I enjoyed it with a review.
Author's Response: *kicks self*
I’m so sorry it took me such a long time to respond to this. : ( I thought I had already, but it must have been a dream.
Right-O! First thing, I must go and correct that error. Thanks for pointing it out! I tend to slip up at times. But it’s so great that what you said in your review about James is what I wanted to show. I think James needed to realise heroics would not always save the day.
Hmmm…The inconsistency in the pacing in Severus’ part is something I felt while writing, but I never really knew exactly what was the problem, so I left it as it was. D: I should really look into it, though. As for the guy himself, I don’t think he particularly relished torturing or killing, but at the same time, I think he was too determined to give up his dreams for this weakness. He’s an interestinc character, and as a part of the MWPP task, I wanted to focus on at least one instance where we see him preparing for Voldemort’s service, rather than the Love Triangle default.
Sirius’ part was the easiest of the lot, mainly becuase I understand him the best. : ) One of the most significant aspects of his personality is the inability to give up the ‘Marauderiness’. As you said, he has those three boys only. Plus, he’s, of course, reckless and a bit blasé about death.
Peter was troublesome. To this day, I avoid writing him. D: But, you see, I think that once can use clichés to one’s advantage. Happy to know you liked it!
Lily’s part…I do think it was less about little Lily being selfish, and more about her being adventurous and curious, but I can see why you thought otherwise. The adult Lily did realise it was a selfish thing to do, didn’t she? :DAnd thank you for your compliment about my English. If you chat with me though, you’d find that I say wonky things at times. o.O
Remus was second in the toothache department after Peter. >.< I think it is impossible not to have him as the one who worries, which is why the section starts with him worrying. But I didn’t want him to be the over-cautious person often see in canon, nor is he blaming things on himself, thank Morgana! Once again, I’m glad to hear you didn’t find him cliché.
I must say this is one of the most amazing reviews I’ve ever received. I literally squee-d when I saw it, and it made me giddy with happiness.
Liking the story so far and just so you know I loved its prequel to itty bitty pieces. I would have loved to see some of what Harry and Ron are getting up to in the Ministry but I suppose you're saving that for a bit later. Anyway, can't wait to read the rest of this and keep up the good work.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review. The first non-hogwarts/Hogsmeade Chapter is Chapter 10 (Grimmauld Place Explanations) so you'll have quite a wait I'm afraid. Next chapter is being resubmitted now. N
I really liked this story and thought it deserved another review. It’s a really addictive story – when I started reading it I promised myself that I’d only read the prologue because I was really busy and ended up reading all the chapters that are up in one go. I found everything about the story riveting: the story, the characters, the world and the style in which you wrote it.
It was the prologue that really drew me in to begin with. As a politics student, the idea of a revolution really appealed to me. You hinted towards a possibly disastrous event that took place and the prospect of uprisings to come without giving very much away. Most of the time it really puts me off a story when authors hint towards something without actually giving any information on it, but it didn’t bother me in this. Maybe it’s because of the way it was written, which made it seem more natural for the events not to be mentioned. Whatever it was, you did a good job with it.
I really love the character of Feng as well. She’s so determined and wilful – the perfect hero really – and yet seems so real and believable. Her character doesn’t seem forced or contrived, but completely natural. Her development so far is great as well; her conflict over giving up gymnastics was so genuine and seemed really fitting for someone of her age. She’s a great main character and I’m sure you’ll be able to make good use of her in the plot.
On the whole, I loved your writing and think you have a real talent when it comes to flow, but there were some points where overuse or lack of commas. Sometimes you repeated words as well, which made it read a bit strangely (eg. He would walk along the silent row of girls and then stop and stare at a particular one and then keep walking.) But these mistakes were few and far between and overall your spelling, grammar and punctuation was great.
The amount of research that must have gone into your story was amazing as well. You mixed in so many little details that managed to bring that world alive to me, who knows virtually nothing about China or gymnastics. It must have taken a lot of work, but it was worth it and it really gave the story that edge. You also managed to work the explanations of those details in really well; there was enough of an explanation for me to understand the concepts really well, but not enough to make it sound boring or patronising.
There are times, however, when you use people’s name’s a bit too much in a row. There was one point, in particular, in the third chapter when there were about half a dozen ‘Li Fei’s in one paragraph. I think it is exacerbated by using both names, so maybe just called her ‘Fei’ would have stopped it from sticking out as strange.
Feng’s first experiences with magic were really interesting and tied into the story really well. Her progression from being a bit bemused by magic to beginning to utilise it seemed really realistic.
I really liked what I’ve seen of the Southern School so far. You’ve really put some work into it and made it really unique and it shows; it’s not just a foreign version of Hogwarts, but a living, breathing place in itself. I haven’t seen much of it so far, but the letter and comb seemed to convey quite a lot about the school in themselves and really got me aching to see more of it. The way the two of them worked were really unusual and well-thought out as well; I especially liked how the characters rearranged themselves on her letter to the simplified script. The build-up to her going to school is gradual, but doesn’t drag which is a feat in itself. I really, really want her to actually get there though so please don’t keep us waiting for too much longer please!
I think that’s all I’ve got to say on your story. I really enjoyed it though and can’t wait until you post your next chapter. I look forward to seeing what plot you have planned for Song Feng and this much anticipated revolution!
Great story! I normally tend to reserve judgement for the first few chapters but I'm really liking the way it's shaping up. If you've already written the next chapter please please put it up. Keep up the good work!
Author's Response: Thank you for the review! I'm glad that you liked my story. I know that I haven't updayed in a while but i'm having trouble getting the next chapter approved. Rest assured, it will be up soon!
I like the way this story's going and I think it could be really interesting. Keep up the good work
Author's Response: Thank you! Unfortunately the next chapter's not coming as easily or quickly as I'd hoped so it may be a while before it's posted.
I loved this story beyond belief. Ron had never been a character which particularly appealed to me, though I’m not sure why and, although I accepted it as canon, R/Hr had never been one of my favourite pairings.
Molly’s monologue touched me to the point of tears. There was too much in it that I loved to highlight one point that I thought was particularly good because it was all just so perfectly in character and seemed to give a whole new level of depth to their relationship, which is saying something when it comes to a mother/son relationship! But if I had to pinpoint my favourite part of her monologue it would be that paragraph which begins with “How could she explain...” I also loved the mention of corned beef because, although it’s overlooked, it’s a key part of their relationship.
I loved Ginny’s bit right off the bat. Her voice is quintessentially Ginny’s which is a difficult thing to manage since a lot of the time Ginny is overdone. I loved her talking about her relationships with each of her brothers and especially the part where she says how she fell out of touch with each of her brothers as they went to Hogwarts. It seemed so real to me and I’ve always wondered how it must be for Molly to swing between months spent almost completely alone at home and the hectic Burrow that Harry sees in his summers. You really seemed to paint the picture of Ginny returning home after the first of September each year to find her house emptier and emptier.
Now Lavender’s wasn’t a name that I expected or wanted to see, but you managed to pull it off. I like that you didn’t make her into a cow or really vapid or anything. Sure, she didn’t have the best grasp on who Ron was (like snogging him so he wouldn’t see that he was boring) but she tries to do the right thing and honestly cared about him, and not just because he suddenly became cool over the summer. It’s interesting to see how she did love (or at least like) him in her own way without truly knowing it.
I wasn’t expecting to see Angela there either, but it was brilliant nonetheless. It was a part of Ron’s life that I had never thought about, but he did start working with George in the joke shop and there was a reason for that. And now that I think about it, Ron would be the person to pick George up after Fred’s joke. No one else could do it. I love how the change is slow because it really showed Ron’s own slightly clumsy way of putting things back together again. Inspired.
Luna’s little bit was very sweet as well. Her little quirks made me smile throughout her entire monologue and I loved how Ron tried to explain love to Luna in his own awkward way. Very sweet.
Rosie’s section was so sweet. It was so nice to see how much Rose adored her father but, now that I think about it, Ron would be an amazing father and the kind it would be easy to admire. His reaction to Rose dating Scorpius (yes, it is canon) was never going to be great, but this shows his sweet side as well. Yes, he hasn’t accepted that his daughter is dating a Malfoy, but it didn’t stop him from loving her or vice versa. Great characterisation on your part.
Hermione’s part was simply perfect. There are no other words for it. There is no more perfect way to sum up their relationship than that “he was the boy who threw up slugs for her.” That one phrase seemed to sum up everything that was brilliant about Ron. And them growing old together and Ron comforting Hermione about her fears of going blind was the sweetest thing ever. It really showed just how sweet Ron Weasley truly is. It was R/Hr at its finest.
Your characterisation throughout the story was simply amazing and the bits of dialogue were spot on, especially Ron’s parts. You’ve caught every characters’ personality bang on and added a whole new level to many of them. One tiny nitpick that I have is that you could do with running it through a beta just to work on tiny SPaG errors and britisms, but other that I have absolutely no complaints. You have a way of writing that makes a story come alive and gives words a whole new meaning. It’s incredible and you are truly talented. This was the first story of yours that I read and I can’t wait to get on and read everything else that you’ve got up.
Author's Response: Oh, thank you so much -- I love such long, detailed reviews :) I'm so glad you liked Ginny's! I really wanted to capture the sibling dynamic with that, specifically on their relationship, which the books touch on so many times but never really address. I'm glad you liked all the characterisations -- and I'm sorry for all the typos and Americanisms . . . I tend to have a lot in my stories, however hard I try!
This poem really intrigued me, Siriussirius. It was good in so many ways and it’s clear to see that you’ve put a lot of thought into various aspects of it which really paid off. As soon as I read it, I had to leave a review.
You get across the mood and tone really well in the poem. I love how each stanza, in a way, represents a different emotion that he is feeling while at number four, Privet Drive. The progression from envy to anger to longing to resignation was really smooth and seemed really natural. The voice of the poem was spot on as well – it suited a child, but wasn’t dumbed down.
I tend to not like rhyming poems too much as I feel like they can sometimes feel contrived, but the rhyming pattern in this really worked! It was subtle, so it didn’t feel like the poem had been edited to conform to the rhyme or built around it, and it created a really nice rhythm and pace throughout the poem, offering it a lot of continuity. That being said, I liked how the last couplet didn’t rhyme. It really seemed to give the poem finality and completed it very well.
I like the question mark after the first line. It really captures the strange situation of the contrast between how the Dursleys can be so loving to each other but so cruel to him. In the first verse, and indeed the whole poem, he comes across as young without being overly naive which is an achievement. It’s so easy to misconstrue a child and make them fit into a cookie-cutter mould, but you side-stepped that cliché. I love the poetry of the last two lines of the stanza as well, it flows really well and gives the poem a very musical rhythm. It just sounds really good on the tongue.
However, there were some points where the word choice seemed to disrupt the flow of the poem. One such example was in the line “A sound experienced only by others.” Experienced seemed to stick out of the line, sounding almost too pointy (What? Words can be pointy.) I think “made” or “formed” would work better in the line and make it flow more smoothly.
I really love how, in the second stanza, you used enjambment to create a rather harsh tone which conveys his anger and bitterness really well. The words you used for that part was really good as well and were almost mutual; it was Petunia who was being described, but they’re emotions that are very potent in Harry as well. Separating them from the line about Petunia really helped to get that across. I think they showed how badly he wanted to throw them in their faces, and show them that he was bitter and that he hated them too. It was very powerful.
On a whole, I loved this stanza beyond belief but I did find one small area for improvement. The line “to the recollections of my previous dream I clutch” seemed a bit long and so broke up the flow of the poem a bit. I think it would have been better without the word “previous”. But otherwise it is a great stanza and quite possibly in favourite in the poem.
The mention of his dream was so sweet. The idea finding comfort in those fleeting memories of his real parents while at the Dursleys’ seems so realistic. Harry comparing Lily to Petunia was very poignant as well as it really highlighted the contrast between Petunia as a mother and Aunt Petunia.
However, I did have gripe over the line “With a pretty lady with red hair holding me tight.” The word “pretty” just seems a bit weak in the context and, though it works in prose, I think a stronger word is needed for poetry. I also think a few commas over here would help to slow down the poem after the faster and angrier pace of the second stanza. The way I see it, the second stanza would be a lot faster because of his anger, but it should slow down in this one as he comforts himself with the memory of his mother.
The last stanza is just so poignant and sweet; it’s perfect! I love the line “The voice outside once told me so.” It really conveys that the Dursleys were his life and all he knew and is so all-encompassing. The last line really hints towards what’ll happen in the series, which is a plot device that I really love.
On a whole, it’s a great poem and I really enjoyed reading it.