Penname: aurorahze [Contact]
Real name: Val
Member Since: 07/14/11
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Hi, I'm a student who's just getting into writing and is obsessed with the little details of HP.
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Reviews by aurorahze
 

Summary: Past Featured StoryWhen Lavender Brown returns to Hogwarts for her seventh year, she knows things will be hard. Professor Dumbledore’s death has scared everybody, and with her Muggle-born mother in hiding, she makes a promise to her father to stay safe.

But to stay safe she must ignore her instincts and turn her back on her friends.

This is a Lavender Brown/Blaise Zabini story, but also concerns that last year at Hogwarts when the Trio were a'hunting Horcruxes.

Thank you to Laura (bookofsecrets) and Terri (mudbloodproud) for beta'ing the first chapter, Alyssa (Harry4lif) for the second and Emma (Amortentia x) for taking over the reins. And Natalie for the last chapter.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. I doubt that surprises anyone.

This story won the 2010 QSQ for Best Chaptered Non-Canon Romance. Thank you to everyone who nominated, appreciated and judged.

ATTENTION: Because of prissy glitch on the archive, stories with a rating about 3rd-5th cannot be read. I have lowered the rating to enable access, but the content remains the same. This is a PROFESSORS rated fic. Read at your own discretion - the sexual situations warning is there for a reason.

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: Mild Profanity, Sexual Situations, Strong Profanity, Substance Abuse, Violence

Word count: 47427 Chapters: 9 Completed: Yes
Published:
03/23/09 Updated: 05/25/10


Reviewer: aurorahze Signed
Date: 07/28/11 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1 Promises to keep

I'd heard a lot of people reference this story and I'm really glad that I found it, your overall execution and characterization is flawless and you have a lovely way with description, particularly when setting the mood for a scene. I particularly loved this exchange:

“Lavender Brown’s got a detention?” Ginny said in disbelief. She was sitting in an old armchair in the Gryffindor common room attempting to correct a Charms essay. “What did she do? Not crawl convincingly enough to dearest Alecto?”

“Leave it, Ginny,” muttered Neville. “I told you before; we can’t start fighting amongst ourselves.”

It does a great job of showing the stress that everyone's under in the new regime and the way it's making friendships start to crack. Acknowledging the in-fighting and arguments even between friends that would realistically take place in so stressful a situation, when everyone's being asked to decide who to trust, makes Lavender's eventual decision to rejoin the D.A., and their willingness to accept her back again, all the more powerful and moving.

I haven't seen many stories about Blaise, but after reading this he seems like the perfect character to put in this situation. You weave your own original story in with the canon flawlessly--we know that Blaise has always been an outsider, and that Snape would be anxious to find a Head Boy who could help subtly protect the students without raising the Carrow's suspicions--it would seem that a "reluctant Slytherin" like Blaise would be the obvious choice, and I appreciate the fact that this story acknowledges that not everyone in the house has to be completely evil and consumed with pure-blood mania. Blaise's reasons for staying under the radar make sense due to the difficult position he's been placed in, and just like with Lavender's no-win situation you do a really nice job getting the reader to appreciate Blaise's predicament, and even view him from a different perspective with lines like:
“You’re a Gryffindor, Lavender, and you hate Slytherins,” Blaise replied starkly.

“That’s not true,” Lavender began, but then she stopped. It was true. It had always been true. In six years of school, she’d never thought Slytherins could be anything but bad. She sighed. “You may be right.”

The "outsider" view that Blaise can offer is interesting to read, like when he explains to Lavender how the Carrow's would view her run-in with Crabbe; I like that you've taken advantage of the fact that you're using a character who would have "insider" knowledge of how the enemy thinks to reveal a side of the situation that a Gryffindor wouldn't normally see.

As others have mentioned, I particularly liked your characterization of Ginny in this piece. I feel like some authors have a tendency to want to display the more major canon characters in the best possible light, but you neatly avoid falling into that trap here by showing an honest rather than perfect depiction of Ginny that seems appropriate to what we know of her character. I particularly like Lavender's line "Why should I change when you have such a high opinion of me?", because it reflects both the characters so well. Ginny's surrounded by family members who have all decided to fight, so I think she would be one to see the decision as more black and white, and have trouble empathizing with those caught in the middle. Lavender's position seems like the one that would be the more common among most students, however, so I'm really glad that you chose to tell the story of someone who is a bit more unsure of where their loyalty should lie. Combined with the inclusion of Lavender's promise to her father, the choice she has to make seems particularly realistic and difficult, and as a reader I really feel for her and the impossible predicament that she's been placed in.

Author's Response: Thank you very much for the well thought out review - it really is appreciated. I've long been fascinated by what happened in that final year at Hogwarts without the Trio, there must be a lot of stories there. Lavender has always been a character who he's oft maligned simply because she was a bit gushy over a boy (and Ron wasn't exactly blameless) so I wanted to give her a bit more of a back story and show her growing up.

As far as Blaise goes, once I realised that he wasn't in the least impressed with Draco (HBP) and was also not mentioned as being in Umbridge's Inquisitorial squad, then I didn;t see why I shouldn;t have a bit of leeway with his character. I get annoyed when all Slytherins are portrayed as evil, plus JK did say that some Slyths returned to fight at the battle, so why shouldn't Blaise be a good guy. He's still selfish, but deep down he knows what's right.

Anyway, thanks again and I hope you enjoy the rest of the story ~Carole~

 
Reviewer: aurorahze Signed
Date: 07/28/11 Title: Chapter 5: Chapter 5 - Between the Woods and the Frozen Lake

I'm sorry that I'm not reviewing every chapter of this; it's a wonderful piece overall, one of the most compelling that I've read, and it totally deserves it. But this was probably my favorite chapter, so I decided to review this one.

As much as I love the relationship you've developed between Lavender and Blaise, my favorite moments of this chapter were the ones outside of their time together.
I absolutely adored the lines:
In the distance, she saw Blaise walking towards the castle ... but this was not about him or their relationship. This was Lavender, Neville and Dumbledore’s Army marching forwards.
They seem so realistic and heartfelt, and I appreciate the fact that Lavender, after she's just revealed that her happiness comes from forgetting everything when she's with Blaise, is able to have a moment when she remembers the war and everything that is going on, but sees that not everything is all bad. It makes sense that the students left at Hogwarts would live for these little reminders to keep hope, and everything, from Ginny making sure to get word back and including Luna and Dean, to Neville and Lavender's sheer moment of joy in the midst of everything that is going on, works perfectly in this scene.

I also think the relationship you've developed between Lavender and Neville in this chapter is particularly subtle and well done. The fact that Neville is initially skeptical and unwilling to trust Blaise makes sense in the circumstances; I'm sure the D.A. students would have trouble trusting anyone on the outside, let alone a Slytherin and Head Boy. But this scene is particularly telling in the way it defines their relationship:

“You don’t smile anymore, Neville,” she said, and she held out her hand to him as they began walking up the staircase to Gryffindor Tower.

“You don’t smile anymore, Neville,” she said, and she held out her hand to him as they began walking up the staircase to Gryffindor Tower.

“Do any of us?” Neville sighed. He glanced at her outstretched hand and then accepted it. “Are you telling me he makes you smile, Lavender?”

She thought of Blaise’s butterfly kisses upon her belly and her stomach muscles tautened. “He makes me forget for a while,” she replied.


You can really feel Neville's newfound maturity coming through, and I like that Lavender admits she is using Blaise as an escape--it's a particularly truthful thing to say, and one more instance that shows her courage in admitting her real feelings. Their conversation together shows a quite familiarity that seems appropriate after nearly seven years together, and I like that Neville's words show concern without censure. It seems very in-character for Neville that he's still a little confused and willing to admit it, but that at the same time he's willing to let Lavender be with Blaise, as long as it's for the right reasons. There's a subtle protective quality to his questions that's just so sweet, and I love that Lavender dispenses her own dating advice right back; it's true that she would have good advice to give, and Neville seems like someone who would need that extra push to make a move. All around a really touching and lovely scene between the two.

The end of this was really fun to read, particularly Snape's reaction and Seamus's last line--it seems so Seamus, and I love his pluck. Seeing the contrast between how the Slytherins deflect attention from themselves and subtly challenge the Carrow's authority, as compared to the Gryffindor's more reckless and outright rebellion, is interesting to consider and made me reevaluate the different ways to fight.

Thanks for writing such an intriguing and thought-provoking story, I really enjoyed reading it!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for this review. I have to admit, whilst I loved writing the seamy moments between Lavender and Blaise, I also liked building up the relationships between her fellow Gryffs. I wanted to show Neville changing because he really comes into his own in the Deathly Hallows and Seamus always makes me laugh. Sorry this is not an adequate response to your lovely review, but thank you again. ~Carole~

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