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Hey everyone :) I'm a Welsh teenager who has grown up (or nearly grown up) with the Potterverse. My main interest is music, and I must admit, it will always come first. I play piano, oboe, cor anglais, and occasionally attempt to sing, and play the guitar or accordion. However, a lot of the time that I don't spend doing schoolwork or something music related, I am to be found reading and writing, hence me being a member of this site.

I'm a proud Hufflepuff over on the beta board, and I'm also involved in SPEW and the SBBC. I've had a lot of fun with these groups and met some fabulous people, and would thoroughly recommend joining them to anyone who's curious.

I may have ten stories up here, but I still feel like a pretty new author. As such, I really appreciate any feedback you can give me, because I know I have a lot to learn yet. My favourite characters to write about are Lily, Tonks and the Marauders, but I'll dabble with pretty much any character, so I hope you find something on this page to interest you.

(If you can find the time to leave me a review, I will love you eternally!)

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Stories by The owl [11]
Favorite Authors [10]
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Reviews by The owl

Rat by DragonDi

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The Potters' Secret Keeper, Sirius Black, is presumed dead. Remus Lupin wants revenge for his lover's death, but soon finds out that nothing is what he thought it was.
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 07/29/13 Title: Chapter 4: Chapter 4

Di! Oh goodness! This is going to be rather less coherent than my last review because oh my Godric! I rarely read fics that feel this fresh and new and so convincingly Marauder. Like, the war feels absolutely rea,l and completely and utterly petrifying, rather than just being this dimly menacing background presence as I usually feel it. And the amount of love I have for Sirius and Remus right now -- the relief of seeing Peter captured and Sirius safe. Gah. But who helped Sirius? My mind has jumped to Snape, but I don't know at all. This story is so much richer, more complex, than I could ever have imagined, even after that fabulous first chapter. I can't help but wonder what surprises you still have in store for me. Incredibly well written and plotted and characterised -- you have floored me.


Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 07/15/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hello Di,

I came to this story via the QSQ nominations. I rarely read AUs, but as yours came so highly recommended, I thought it had to be worth trying and I'm very glad that I did. So far, I've only read the first chapter, but once I've posted this review, I'll be racing onwards. There are so many questions that I want to find answers to!

I think that's largely why this story is successful for me: it poses a series of interesting questions, but at the same time, I can see exactly how everything relates to canon. I can even imagine that the story could rejoin canon, if Sirius turns out to be alive and Peter turns out to be the traitor. The way you've set your plot up, it seems possible, and it's that element of possibility that has really got my attention. I'm constantly trying to piece together how far this is going to return to canon later.

One of the main questions that has my attention is whether or not Peter is the traitor. Clearly he isn't under suspicion, but then it could just be that he's a very good spy. I felt like his actions could be interpreted as emotional manipulation of Remus, but equally, I could believe it if he turned out to be innocent thus far. He's a character whose motivations I've always wanted to understand, and in this scenario, with him as the only single Marauder, I can see why he might have felt left out to the point that he wanted to turn traitor.

Equally, however, in your fabulously topsy-turvy universe, I could believe in it being someone else. The dynamics between the four Marauders must have been rather different if Remus and Sirius were openly in a relationship. I've often read about secret liasons between them, but less commonly about them as a couple. Part of me wishes that the story had started slightly earlier so that I could witness that dynamic (although there is still time, I suppose) but then the way you started this story built up an instant intrigue, a sudden, strong tension, that I found highly effective at drawing me in.

Another element that drew me straight into this fic was your prose. I thought the metaphors in the opening lines - grief “swallowing every other emotion” and being a “vast, bare, greyness” - were incredibly vivid. They drew me right into Remus's pain, even before I knew what was going on. On rereading while writing this review, I kept noticing more and more lovely little details, things like the alliteration of “hesitant hugs, and pathetic platitudes”. I didn't spot that initially because it all flowed together so well and I wasn't reading slowly enough to pick apart the details, but second time through, they added even more to the story.

I also really appreciated your description of the mundane details of Remus and Sirius's life together, and how they came into play once Sirius was gone. It added some wonderfully bitter-sweet moments into the fic. For example, I laughed out loud at the thought of Sirius comparing the flowers on the wallpaper to monkeys, and then wanted to cry because I could only hear that via Remus. The crips and the shampoo, when James had taken Remus outside, were less sweet, perhaps, but they too were important in conveying the history of their relationship and they brought me close to tears for Remus's sake.

Of course, Remus was a huge strength of this fic. He's always been a favourite character of mine, and I felt especially close to him in your writing. One detail I liked was the presence of the wolf in him. Perhaps grief brought it out; perhaps it's how he normally is. Either way, it helped him to feel uniquely himself, I thought, as well as adding a very interesting new element to his relationship with Sirius. Your suggestion of the bond between wolf and dog made me believe even more strongly in the strength of their relationship, and thus made me hurt even more on Remus's behalf.

The final thing I'd like to mention is that I thought you handled the issue of Remus's repressed emotions extremely well. We always see him putting his own desires aside in canon, so that he can look after the interests of others, but we don't really get to see the flipside of that, the emotional toll it takes on him. The anger that you showed in him, that desire to smash things and yell at people, seems like the exact inner dialogue I would expect to see in him. I was so glad that James was there to help him vent; it obviously helped him, even if only slightly.

I have absolutely adored this first chapter, and I'm very excited to read on. The interesting premise, great technical writing and incredibly strong, well thought-out characterisation make this a great read. Good luck for the QSQs!


Merry Christmas, James by Sapphire at Dawn

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: James Potter's 'aquaintance' with Lily Evans has been somewhat turbulent, but as things get a little smoother between the pair during their seventh year, James looks back at their beginnings.

This is for the Gryffindor Christmas Craziness swap. Merry Christmas, Andi!
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 12/15/12 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hello Sarah,

This piece was exactly what I needed to get me into a Christmassy mood today. It was so sweet and overall it made for very enjoyable reading.

One thing that I particularly enjoyed was your characterisation of the Marauders. From the opening line, I thought that James was very well written. To me, it seems just like him to sort of fall for Lily by accident. As a Gryffindor, I don’t think he’d tend to over think things, or really analyse much. I really liked how you showed his arrogance and cockiness, too. You managed to keep him likeable, while still making him recognisable as the person Harry saw in the Pensieve, especially at the end of the first section. I think it really helped that you gave explanations for his arrogance; the details about Sirius and his parents, in particular, helped me to make sense of him

While James was the stand out character (as expected when the story opens in his point of view) I thought that the others were very strong too. I especially liked your characterisation of Peter. You showed him really contributing something to the group, and I thought that the line “’…the question should be “who was he staring at?”’” was a very good one. I find that too many authors (myself included, on occasion) brush over him, biased by his later actions, and forget that he was a Marauder too. Your Peter couldn’t be forgotten.

Regarding the plot, I was very impressed with how you explained James’s change of attitude towards Lily. By referring to canon events at the end, you reduced the need for some sort of huge info-dump, but equally provided a more than adequate explanation for the way that James matured. Lily’s reaction to him on that say seems like it would really have been a wake-up call for him.

I think, though, that my favourite moment of the fic had to be the kiss at the end. The way you built up the tension and the awkwardness between them made it so clear that, finally, Lily reciprocated James’s feelings and I think that’s why I loved it so much. It wasn’t just a casual peck on the cheek; there’s no doubting that. It was a simple moment, but it represented so much in terms of their relationship. You could tell how much it meant to James, and that it was going to become significant.

The only issues I had with this story were a couple of little stylistic things. Me being a bit of a grammar obsessive, I couldn’t help but notice that there were a couple of run-on sentences in the story, for example, “She was bound to be impressed and flattered that he was singling her out, who wouldn’t be?” It’s not a major issue, but it’s definitely worth addressing.

Other than that, I thought that the story was well written. In particular, I liked your use of italics for emphasis. You didn’t overuse it, but it added a nice extra splash of colour and style to your writing. Another thing that struck me was your dialogue. The content of it was fabulous, of course, and made me giggle, but apart from that, it just seemed so natural. The nicknames you had the characters use, the informal language, the more lax grammatical constructions: it fitted perfectly with how I’d imagine the Marauders speaking.

This might “only” be a light-hearted Christmas piece, but I thought it was very well done. It has certainly put me in a great mood now! Happy Christmas :)


The End of Her World by DarkSunflower

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •

"Love is the sweetest of dreams, and the worst of nightmares."

- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

In short, this isthe end ofBook Seven, the end of Voldemort's rein.

From Ginny Weasley's perspective.

Note: This is a one-shot!

Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 02/26/12 Title: Chapter 1: The End of Her World

This was a really impressive first fic “ well done :) I think you got the balance of Ginny’s emotions just right. Yes she was desperate to fight, but she was also mourning Fred and thought she had lost Harry. You also had a nice mix of action and emotion. I got a really sense of the physicality and fast pace of the battle, while also seeing Ginny’s reaction to it all.
I loved your takes on Luna and Molly. Having Luna start to sing in the middle of a duel is perfectly in character, and would have been bound to infuriate Bellatrix. It was also good to see Molly as something other than mumsy and soft. It is easy to forget that she is a highly skilled witch and order member. Her rage in this fic was powerful, as was Ginny’s awe at seeing her mother duel. I think that the moment when Harry reappeared to save Molly was particularly well written. The short sentences were effective in showing Ginny’s shock, and the simile “frozen as a statue” was a nice touch.
I only have one or two little criticisms. I’m not sure that Ginny would have found out about the horcruxes by this point in time. Her reaction on seeing Nagini killed was well written, but I’m not sure that she would have understood the significance. Also, is it not Stupefy as opposed to “Stupify”? Oh, and I think where you wrote “upmost”, you might have meant utmost. Sorry - I know I’m nitpicking a little now :P
Anyway, I really enjoyed this fic. It was gripping throughout, especially as I never feel that we see enough of Ginny in the books. Last of all, I know others have commented on your comma usage, but I didn’t find it too much. I think I may be prone to overusing commas myself though, so my opinion may not be the most valid here.

Author's Response: I love when people leave me in depth reviews... Hahah so first of all, thank you for that! And thank you for all of the compliments on this story. I really enjoy knowing that people enjoy my writing, however little of it I post on here. I apologize for my several spelling errors; it's hard to catch them all when you're scrambling to put ideas down and don't have a beta looking over everything. Well, I feel like I'm rambling, but once again, thank you so much for the review! :)

Remember by Apollonious

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: On 1 September 1998, Harry calls members of the wizard community together at Hogwarts. He speaks about the sacrifice they have all experienced in the fight against Voldemort, and the determination they must have to build a better future.

This was written for the PA? challenge for April 2011.
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 10/15/12 Title: Chapter 1: Remember

Hello Olivia,

I’ll open this with a confession: I don’t often enjoy long poems. I tend to lose focus on them before the end, so they are often wasted on me. However, I found this poem a rare exception to that. I loved the way you told a story throughout it, thus keeping my attention, but that simultaneously, it never felt like it could be prose. It was awash with lovely little touches that made it beautiful to read.

I liked the way that the mood progressed alongside the story of this poem. The image of “white puffs of cotton clouds” at the beginning feels quite upbeat and cheerful, and that seems fitting for the casual moment of sitting and chatting in the sun while waiting for an event to start. Then in the second stanza, you mention the tomb, which brings a more sober note to the forefront, acting as a poignant reminder of the context.

In the fourth stanza, once Harry has begun to speak, I loved your use of repeated “s” sounds, with “feels so strange” and “He speaks, strange as it feels”. It softened the sound of the poem, which I found seemed appropriately mournful. Then, by the end, I though the mood had changed again, to become more hopeful. I liked that you put the focus on the present and the future in those last two lines. It’s good to see that life at Hogwarts will go on.

I think my favourite thing about this poem was your use of parenthesis. The lines within have a very clear, strong voice, but that voice could be anyone. You created such a conversational tone at first with phrases like “Oh my”, although that changed to fit the sadder mood later on. It’s an everyman observer, providing a perspective on Harry that we rarely see. I’m not entirely sure who is supposed to be in Harry’s audience, but, to me, that didn’t matter at all. The perspective was right, whoever’s it was.

Harry’s characterisation was, for me, very convincing. It was interesting to see him from the perspective of someone who, I assume, didn’t really know him. He was definitely recognisably himself, despite this different viewpoint. In canon, I think he was a leader by necessity, not choice, so the idea of him “feeling foolish” while giving a speech fitted. I could just see his reluctant bashfulness, but how his sense of duty would overcome that. It seems right that his words would be the ones which would help people heal. He is the one who went through the worst of it, so he might just stand a chance of understanding what others went through.

Then there was the way in which you linked Harry’s speech to Dumbledore’s. “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” is one of my favourite quotes from the books, and I think you linked it in very cleverly. It seemed like a lovely way to make a tribute to Dumbledore and to signify that maybe, just maybe, Hogwarts would be able to return to its old self. It won’t forget, but things will get better nonetheless. That seems the perfect spirit to have present at Hogwarts’ reopening.

Overall, I really enjoyed this poem. It seems quite an unusual style to me, but you really made it work. It linked into canon very smoothly, to the extent that I could really see it happening when Hogwarts was reopened. Your characterisation of Harry was a major part of the believability of the scenario, for me, and the language you used brought it all home. Well done!


An Ode to Living by Acacia Carter

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: There is something about the exhilaration of being alive after staring death in the face that makes one burn to celebrate that defiance. Nothing changes when Neville has something to get off his chest.

The Harry Potter universe and everything in it is property of J.K. Rowling.

This story comes first in my Long Way Down continuity.


Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 06/07/12 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Happy Birthday, Jamie! I’ve been meaning to review you for a while, so I thought when better to do it than today?

Before I came across your stories, I had never considered the Harry/Neville pairing, but now that I have, I really like it. As much as I love Harry/Ginny, I wanted Harry to stay with Neville by the end of this story, and that demonstrates just how well you have written this. The way you brought them together was really original, and Harry’s response to Neville’s revelation was pitched perfectly.

I like the idea of a party after the Final Battle. Goodness knows that the students would need to distract themselves and alcohol would be the obvious method. It also helps explain why Harry would be willing to risk his relationship with Ginny, which is always going to be an obstacle to a relationship like this. Neville’s nerves as he tried to figure out how inebriated Harry was made me smile, especially on a re-reading (which I have done several times) when I knew the significance.

I am no expert on drunken dialogue, but I loved how you wrote it here and the contrast between Harry and Neville. The line “You’d have thought we were on a boat” was a favourite, as it made me think about how much Neville had grown in confidence during his last year at Hogwarts. I can’t see the old Neville daring to be so blunt. His line about his Gran and the Gillywater was another one that could only happen post-war. I imagine that something like Sandmoss Sap would be much appreciated by many in real life.

You built up the tension really well as Neville prepared to get out the Pensieve. I felt so sorry for him when Harry mentioned kicking puppies. How could he think that Harry would equate his coming revelation with that? Evidently his insecurity hadn’t vanished completely just yet, and it was good to see this hint of “old” Neville, just to show that he hasn’t changed completely.

I don’t really know what to say about the memory section. Harry’s reaction was pitched perfectly, and Neville’s distraction was too, and, um, yeah. That’s about the best I can do. I loved it so much that I struggle to analyse it now. This has happened to me once or twice in English lessons too, and it’s quite a pain when it comes to essay writing time. There are some things that I am just too in awe of to think about rationally.

When the memory finished, I got totally caught up in Neville’s emotions, and in longing for Harry to stop torturing him so. That kiss was such a relief, and I couldn’t quite believe that Harry was going to just walk away afterwards. His reasoning as he turned around was another relief because by this point, I was rooting for Harry and Neville with all my heart. And then Harry said “It suits you” and I could have burst out singing! You manipulate your audience very cleverly, and I defy even the most fanatical canon shipper to not love this pair.

I know that you are supposed to leave crit in a review, but I really can’t think if anything that you could improve here. I don’t even have any typos or grammar slips to point out, which is unusual for me. Well done!


Hunters and Prey by Northumbrian

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
February 2000 Newly Qualified (in record time) Auror Harry Potter remains obsessed with “The List.” The ten people still wanted for their part in the Battle of Hogwarts. Their capture is essential. It will bring closure to the events of the past few years. Harry has set himself a target. He wants to see “The Last Death Eater” and the other nine captured before the second Anniversary of the battle. His attempts to meet his target will bring heartbreak, danger, pain, and a lifechanging injury for one former DA member.

Nominated for: Best Post-Hogwarts (Chaptered) story - Quicksilver Quills 2012

Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 04/22/12 Title: Chapter 10: The Snare: Snakeslayer and Snakes

I have a love/hate relationship with your cliff hangers. On one hand, they are so well written, and on the other, I am always so involved with your characters that I hate waiting for the next bit. The dual narrative has worked very well throughout this story. Seeing the links between the two sections has kept me interested and longing for more.

I am so glad to see Neville with Hannah. They seem to fit together very naturally. I am so glad that he hasn’t been tempted to patronize her yet, and that he worked up the courage to admit his full feelings for her. Ron and Hermione by contrast seem very shaky. I feel sorry for Ron, thinking that Hermione actually is with Jenkins. Mind you, Ron always has been an idiot when it comes to Hermione, so maybe it is a little bit deserved.

I loved your take on Kreacher. His little speech reminded me of The Badly Fitting Coat (which I also loved by the way). Robards too was interesting, seeing him from Neville and Hannah’s differing perspectives. Basically, I love all of your characterization and plot. My only nit-pick is the use of stubbornly in two consecutive sentences:
“…but Ron stubbornly refused.
‘I got myself into this mess. I need to get myself out,’ said Ron stubbornly.”

Apart from that, this is a well written and well thought out fic, and I cannot wait to find out what happens to Lavender, Hannah and the rest.


Author's Response:
Thanks for the review. Some people like cliffhangers, others hate them. This story, where you need to wait two chapters for the resolution, is bound to annoy some people. However, I wanted to try writing a dual-narrative/flashback story. It's proved to be more difficult than I expected.

Neville and Hannah seem to fit together so well. Neither of them are brimming with confidence, but they are nice people. Ron has brought his troubles on himself. But when they fall out, they can be so stubborn that reconciliation takes a while.

Kreacher mellowed during DH, but there is, I hope, still a hint of the old Kreacher in him. Luna, will, of course, disagree. I enjoyed writing the Neville/Hannah/Robards interaction. To Neville he's the fearsome "boss", to Hannah, he's "Granddad Robbie" one of her regulars. Thanks for the nitpick. I don't know how I missed that. I'll fix it now.

More soon


New Beginnings by AidaLuthien

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: It's January 1971 and both Severus Snape and Lily Evans are turning eleven. Both are eagerly anticipating their Hogwarts letters, but not everything goes according to plans.

This is AidaLuthien writing for the Great Hall Cotillion
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 03/17/12 Title: Chapter 1: Winter

Hi Aida
I really liked the opening of this fic. The idiosyncrasies of Lily’s family were amusing, and I really got a sense of Lily’s childish enthusiasm for life. Your characterisation of Severus was good too; it fits with what we see of him later in life, but manages to be likeable too. The way that only Sev can satiate Lily’s curiosity about the magical world shows why she was drawn to him.
The relationship between Lily and Petunia was kind of sad. Lily seemed so considerate towards Petunia, but as in their future, Petunia doesn’t want to know. The way that their mother took Petunia’s side was also quite sad. Lily is the odd one out in the family, but isn’t really part of the magical world yet either.
The wintery setting was well done. I can empathise with the feeling of wanting to get straight back into bed on a cold morning. I particularly like the phrase “the world is remade”. Snow is quite magical, especially for a ten-year-old. Lily’s concern over the owls made me smile. I suppose most witches wouldn’t think to worry about owls, but then Lily isn’t most witches.
My heart stopped for a second when you described Sev’s injuries. His father’s cruelty is quite horrific, and fits with the person he grew up to be. The contrast you have created between the two children is vivid, and Lily’s incomprehension serves to highlight how damaged Severus is. Your choice to have Sev’s father use the word “freak” was interesting because it parallels Petunia’s words. Sev and Lily may be quite different, but they are seen in the same way by some, simply because they are both magical.
I have to ask though. How big are Lily’s coat pockets?! I would struggle to fit a wrapped up scarf and gloves even child-sized ones, into any of my pockets. It’s not important, but I couldn’t help noticing it. I also found the kiss rather strange. They are still children, and until that point seemed mainly innocent. It felt like something that should be happening to them a few years later.
Anyway, apart from that, I enjoyed your story. Lily and Sev were very likeable, and well characterized. Their relationship was obviously very close, and I could understand why she felt so drawn to him. The setting was nice, and some of the details were very amusing. Your choice of p.o.v. and tense were effective and well managed. I just feel that the whole kiss thing would have happened a little later on in their lives.

Coup de Foudre by Equinox Chick

Rated: Professors •
Summary: Fleur knew from the first that he was different.

One look. A glance suggesting possibilities.

A look that changed her life.

Un Coup de Foudre - A Lightning Bolt - Love at First Sight.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. I am, however, eternally grateful that she created this couple.

I am Equinox Chick and this is my ... um ... fifth entry in the Great Hall Cotillion Challenge thingamigig.

This is for Natalie because she nagged me to write this pairing. :)
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 02/25/12 Title: Chapter 1: Coup de Foudre

There are so many things I like about this fic! It was very nice to see Fleur's good side for once. I like the idea that she would resist using her Veela charms on Bill. How would she ever know whether or not he really loved her otherwise? For him to know that she was not going to try to ensnare him must have been very flattering and crucial later on in their relationship.
I also understood completely why she fell for him; you made Bill Weasley a very attractive man! The description of his eyes, “warm” and brimming “with laughter”, was very effective, especially when juxtaposed with Fleur’s. The theme of the lightning bolt works well, and brings the story together nicely. However, I must admit that I was glad you explained it in the summary. I am learning French, but I wouldn't have got it otherwise.
I also loved Bill’s proposal, and the fact that Fleur didn’t care that he didn’t make it more romantic. It is good to see that she is not as shallow as we are sometimes led to expect. It was all very romantic, which can never be a bad thing I my book. I did like having some comedy in there too though. It stopped the story from becoming overly sentimental. I couldn’t help but wonder which brother recommended the restaurant to Bill. I think it would either have been Percy displaying some shockingly bad taste, or maybe Fred or George trying to wind him up. Did you have a brother in mind?
Bill’s noble streak at the end reminded rather of Remus trying to protect Tonks and getting it wrong. I was very glad however, that he didn’t go to Remus’ extremes in trying to protect Fleur. It might have pleased Molly, but I’m not sure I could have borne it. I think that you really got to the heart of their relationship, and developed it well from the initial flirtation to Bill’s injury at the end. Also, well done with Fleur’s accent. It is easy to overdo it, but I think you struck a nice balance.
The one little thing I would say is that the “Two colleagues discovering that they do not have that much in common” bit didn’t really fit for me. For a date with such a disappointing start, it ended remarkably well for the pair. Overall though, it’s a lovely little fic, which I would struggle to fault. Your characterization was strong, your use of language was very effective, and it made a very enjoyable read. I would really like to read more Bill/Fleur fics from you :)

Author's Response: Thank you! Okay, I do have two other fics about them - Acorns and Not Quite Perfect - so you can look them up if you'd like.

OOH, the brother who recommended the restaurant. Okay, when I was first writing it, I had it in mind that it was Percy, but then I remembered that at the time Percy was estranged from the family, so I think it's Fred, but he doesn;t realise the place isn't very good because it does have good reviews.

I take your point about the colleagues not having much in common, but what I was trying to show was that in the formal atmosphere of the restaurant they had very little small talk. First dates can be so so awkward, but they find common ground in the awfulness of the place and the fact that they're both very attracted to each other.

I like Fleur very much. I think she's abused by fanfiction because she's beautiful, but in the books she's very very loyal. I've just thought of another author for you - Weasley Mom wrote a fab story about Fleur called Doubts - it's excellent!

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. It means a great deal. ~Carole~

Laugh by Padfoot11333

Rated: 6th-7th Years •

I know I love Lily, but we want a baby. And it’s driving us apart. I think we might have to accept that we might not get one.

So Sarah laughed to herself and thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have the pleasure?

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

Genesis 18:12-15

This is Padfoot11333 of Pufflefluff writing for the Great Hall Cotillion.

Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 11/18/12 Title: Chapter 1: oneshot

Heya Lily,

As I’m sure you know, this story is just my sort of thing: my favourite pairing from my favourite era. While I read a lot of James/Lily fics, this one managed to feel fresh to me. It showed Lily and James in ways that I don’t often seem to see, and I really enjoyed that.

I thought you got into James’s head very well. I particularly liked seeing his insecurity about Lily, because it’s only natural for him to feel like that, but it’s a side of him that often gets overlooked. Seeing how happy Lily could make him, when he said “it still feels like a dream”, showed me just how much their relationship meant to him, and reminded me that it probably meant more to him because of how long it had taken to come to fruition.

Another thing I very much liked about James’s characterisation was the way he could see right through Lily. One of my favourite lines was “Lily hides the waver in her voice”. It’s almost self-contradictory, because clearly she hasn’t hidden it if James can tell it’s there, but that just shows how well he reads her. He sees what she tries to hide from the rest of the world.

Plot-wise, I really liked how unexpected this was. Given James and Lily’s ages, you’d think that maybe Harry was unplanned, or that they would have been likely to have conceived him very easily. Here, you turned my expectation on its head by suggesting that Lily could be infertile, and you managed to convince me of your scenario very quickly. I think that opening the story in the middle of their problems really helped with that. You didn’t give me time to question it; I was just catapulted straight into the action.

However, I did feel like Dumbledore’s mission for them was a little underdeveloped. I liked that you referenced canon, with it being the third time they faced Voldemort, but I didn’t really understand what they were doing or why. Saying “He wants the two of us to go up against…against You-Know-Who” was sufficient to move your plot along, but it didn’t give any real context. Adding a little more detail might have given their arguments on the subject more weight, I think.

Then again, while I would have liked to see a little more detail behind their argument, I was impressed by the arguments themselves. So many James/Lily stories (my own included) are full of fluff and don’t show the downs in their relationship. By showing them arguing, you made them feel more real to me. I also thought that these interactions felt very natural. The characters spoke like real people “ not always coherently, but with plenty of emotion. I liked the way you used ellipses (…) and dashes to show moments of hesitation and uncertainty.

For me, your choice to use the 1st person and the present tense was very effective. It made the opening feel claustrophobic and full of emotion, and that drew me right into the situation. As I said above, opening in the middle of James and Lily’s problems was very effective, and this added to the immediacy of the story. However, I did notice that sometimes, James didn’t phrase things in a very British way. Because you’re writing in the first person, I notice more when you say things like “vacation” and “a couple weeks”. (We’d say a couple of, here.) Apart from those little details, though, I thought you had James’s voice just right. I loved it when he said “Let’s go kick some Dark Lord arse”. The fic overall has a fairly dark mood, but this little bit of levity suited James very well.

Overall, I enjoyed this story very much. It surprised me, yes, but it also convinced me and drew me right in. It may not be a typical James/Lily story, but it fitted with the ideas I have of them as well as making me look at them in a slightly different way.


Nostalgia by welshdevondragon

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Only the sunset knows
My blind desire for the fleeting
Only the moon understands
The beauty of love when held by hand
Like the aura of nostalgia

Nostalgia: From the Greek, meaning, ‘the pain from an old wound.’ Stephen and Beatrice Granger are many thousand miles away from home, and have the vague sense that they’ve left something, or someone, behind.

Lyrics above quoted from the beautiful song Nostalgia by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo.

This is welshdevondragon writing for the Inaugural Great Hall Cotillion.
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 02/25/12 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

I must say, that was a fantabulous little story, with an interesting premise :) I would have been surprised if even Hermione could have pulled off a completely flawless memory charm on such a large scale first time round. I wonder if every memory charm would leave that sense of loss though. I do feel rather sorry for Hermione having read your fic. Having to face her parents, after having sent them to Australia like that, would be tortuous.
I could see a lot of Hermione in Beatrice and Stephen, but at the same time it was subtly done. Neither of the Grangers became a caricature of Hermione “ rather, you could see how she became the person she did. You also made it very easy to empathise with Beatrice. There was a really poignant sense of longing throughout. I half expected the Grangers to start trying to have another child, so great was their feeling of loss.
I also liked the background to their relationship. There was a real sense of them having developed together as a couple, and you could see how in tune they were with each other. They could read each other like a book. The way that they reassured each other was very moving, as was their confusion over their unhappiness. To feel so unhappy when you should, in theory, have everything you could ask for must be quite overwhelming.
Overall, a really effective bit of writing. Two really lovely characters, consistently and effectively portrayed throughout. I think that this one will stay with me for quite a while. Well done :)

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your lovely review! I really appreciate it--I'm so glad you enjoyed the story, and took the time to tell me you liked it/why you liked it afterwards. I do think the premise is better than my story, actually, but am not sure how to have made it better--but am glad you liked it as it is.

I've always thought that performing the memory charm took great strength on Hermione's part, and tbh I think her main feeling when fetching them back from Australia would be relief and joy. It would be her parents--realising what she's been through--who would suffer.

I'm glad the sense of loss was tangible throughout, and that neither parent seemed a copy of Hermione--that would be very unrealistic. I did think about them trying for another child--they are in their forties at this point, so it's not impossible, but I wanted to concentrate on their sense of loss, rather than possibly trying to get another one. What I did find hard, was keeping them together. I'm not good at that...but I'm delighted you thought they worked as a couple, and were able to support each other.

I apologise for this rambling author's response--thank you so much for your lovely words, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Alex

Happy New Year, Darling by Maple_and_PheonixFeather

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: ”For the next hour, I say that for every regret we have from this war, we take a shot. Then, we let them go, and we never mention them again.”

On the eve to the first new year after Voldemort’s death, Oliver Wood finds himself suffocating in emotions he just can’t place
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 09/13/12 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hello, my SPEW buddy :)

This may only be a short one-shot, but I thought you worked a lot into it. While the story was, on the surface, about two people having drinks together on new year’s eve, I liked that it actually went a lot deeper than that. I felt that I gained a lot of insight into both Oliver and Susan. There was a lot of back-story, but you fitted it all in very smoothly and it never became too much to take in. The way you used the conversation to move the plot, especially towards the end, kept my attention really well.

The details that you worked into their conversation seemed very well thought out. For me, the story was more powerful because of the level of detail you provided about what happened during the war. You didn’t just vaguely mention that certain people had gone on the run; you showed how it had affected them short- and long-term, and it helped me to understand Oliver’s emotions a lot more. His guilt and regret made more sense because of it.

I think Oliver’s characterisation was a definite strength of the fic. The line, “His love for Quidditch had counteracted any need for anything physical beyond him and his broom,” fits him perfectly. There aren’t many men you could believably say that of, but with Oliver it seems right. It also fitted in very well with that final revelation about Hermione. I think it was easier for me to understand that reference because I had read What the Stories Say, but I expect I would have figured it out even if I hadn’t read it. I thought that was a very good note to end on. The sadness seemed right for the pensive mood of the story, without being too bleak.

Susan isn’t a character we know a lot about from canon, but I think you did a good job of fleshing her out. Her insight didn’t feel forced or plot-devicey to me; it seemed natural and I suppose it’s a good trait for a Hufflepuff. The one thing I would say, though, is that I’d have liked to see a bit more of what Oliver thought of her. Early on, you gave a lot of detail about Susan’s appearance and said that Oliver found her pretty, but it wasn’t followed up. They confide in each other heavily, but there is no mention of how they feel about each other.

I don’t necessarily mean that a romance would have been right at this stage; that could have detracted from the Hermione thing, and from the sadness of Susan’s feelings for Ernie. What I mean is that I’d have liked to see a hint of why Oliver trusted Susan with such sensitive, personal information. I liked that you made the conversation more and more personal as the evening wore on and the alcohol took its toll, but something more would have been good, I think.

I can’t criticise your prose. I thought you struck a good balance between description and plot, emotion and action. I particularly liked the way you wrote speech. It seemed very natural, never forced or stilted, and that was important when speech was used to reveal so much of the plot. The only thing I would say is that you could have used speech to give some hints of their drunkenness. I don’t have much personal experience with alcohol, but Oliver and Susan seemed just as sober at the end as at the start to me, despite them having had plenty of Firewhisky.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the story. The idea of Oliver and Hermione having a relationship is an unusual one, but you make it convincing even from such a small mention, and I felt like I really understood Oliver. This wasn’t exactly an enjoyable read because of the subject matter, but it was certainly a good read.


Author's Response: Oh my gosh, latest response ever! I recently reread this story, and I totally agree with how I need some more indication of trust between the characters - it wasn't something that I had really thought about before you mentioned it, but you are totally right! I'm really glad you liked the dialogue - I find that I have a hard time making dialogue realistic - I make them sound all like University professors, ahaha! I'm also really, really glad that you liked the story - the story is something that I am very, very proud of! Thank you for the very helpful review, Sophie, these are things I am definitely going to keep n mind as I continue to write! ~Maple

Not A Date by Gmariam

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: James Potter is alone on his birthday, waiting for his friends to get out of detention. He runs into Lily Evans on the Astronomy Tower and talks her into celebrating with him…even if it's not really a date.
Several months later, they meet again, but things turn out a bit differently this time...
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 03/29/12 Title: Chapter 1: Not A Date

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how well the dialogue only thing would work at first, but then I started reading, and I must say you pulled it off really well. I found myself able to infer exactly what Lily and James were thinking and doing throughout. There was no ambiguity, which is quite an achievement. I liked the little pauses in the conversation that you used in Chapter 1 too. It makes the whole thing seems much more natural, although I would have like to see you use that in Chapter 2 as well.

Characterisation wise, I think that you got the nature of their banter just right. They are such different characters, but I can see exactly why they got together in your fic. The way that they alternated between first names and surnames as their levels of annoyance with the other varied amused me. There were a few little phrases that you used that didn’t sound quite in character to me though. For example, Lily uses the phrases “wicked good flyer” and “brilliant in class”, and James refers to “quizzes”, all of which sound a little American to me. On the other hand, James’ cursing did sound very British, so well done there.

I liked the little links between your two chapters, for example mentioning jumping off the tower both times. The changes in mood throughout were effective, with the light-hearted start, angstier second chapter, and that wonderful ending. It made me so happy! I think it is a realistic scenario for how they first got together. I did wonder what had upset Lily in the first chapter though. The story doesn’t need it, and maybe adding the extra detail would have slowed the pace, but I can’t help wondering. Anyway, overall, it was a really sweet, funny little story. The style was well managed, and there isn’t really anything there worth criticising.

Sophie :)

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely review! I'm glad you took a chance on an unusual way of writing a fic around here, and I'm glad it worked for you. Sometimes it doesn't. With these two, it is such fun, though. Like you said, they can have such great banter it's a perfect way to take advantage of it. I tweaked some of the things you mentioned as a bit off, thanks for the suggestions. And yes, I think knowing what they were both really up there for would definitely slow it down. Who knows. They were there and they met and banter ensued, lol. Thanks again for the lovely review, I really appreciate it! I have two more dialogue only fics if you are interested. ;) ~Gina :)

A Lunar Chart by hestiajones

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Remus Lupin as rendered in terms of a meagre lunar chart.

Written for The Sharp Challenge at Poetry Anyone (?).
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 04/12/12 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Oh wow. That actually made me well up a little. I will try my hardest to keep this coherent and squee-free, but no promises.
I liked the way your descriptions of the moon were so negative, almost bitter “ only Remus would see it like that. I thought “pulsates” and “Curdles” were particularly well chosen for their negative connotations. The imagery you use is absolutely gorgeous, particularly the metaphor of Remus as a “sapling stamped upon”. Gorgeous hardly seems appropriate for such a sad comparison, but there you are…
I found the fourth stanza particularly chilling; I blanched at “tourniquet”. I felt like he was trapped, but then came the fifth stanza which brought so much relief, heightened by contrast with stanza four. The contrast between the second and last stanzas was very effective too, and the layout made the comparison more direct. I found that the repetition of “round and round” made me think of the lunar cycle, and how Remus’ emotions are inextricably linked to it.
Not only was the figurative language perfectly pitched and very emotive, I found the whole thing rather euphonic (thank my English teacher for that word). Sibilance, and onomatopoeia and alliteration and assonance… This poem has everything! I swear, some of the poems I have studied in school are less effective than this.
I hope that all makes sense, and that I made the review box happy ;)

Author's Response: I don't even know how to reply to this: it is just that amazing. :) You've caught the intent of the poem so freaking well. Remus would hate the moon, which is why the fifth stanza is a moonless night. Everything made sense and warmed my heart. This was a very motivating review, and you made the little box squee!


If He Had Known by BrokenPromise

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: When one love dies, another begins. But he never expected to fall like this.

Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 05/20/12 Title: Chapter 1: If He Had Known - Haikus

I promised you a review, so here I am. I am no poet, but I love reading and analysing poetry, hence me choosing to review this rather than a story. The haiku in your summary made me giggle; you are spot on about sonnets. Anyway, I should probably move on to my actual review now :L

I like your metaphor of sparking into life in the first haiku. It seems hopeful and full of promise, and makes the rest seem sadder by contrast. It is so sad to think of Dumbledore the Gryffindor being afraid to be open about his relationship, but then things were different at the time. I liked how you left “Instead” on the second line. It created a sense of regret and longing, a contrast between ideals and reality.

The third haiku seems a little more awkward, but I don’t know how you could change it. I quite like the old fashioned syntax of “he had not the confidence” though. Moving on to a more hopeful fourth haiku worked well. It stops the piece from getting too sad too soon, and reminded me that Dumbledore was more flawed than we would sometimes like to think.

In the fifth stanza (can I call it that, when it is technically a separate poem?) I really started to get a sense of the conflicts Dumbledore and Grindelwald faced. I think that the sixth stanza (if I am allowed to call it that :P) is my favourite, for its simplicity. The last sentence is quite powerful, because that’s it. It is over for Grindelwald, and there can be nothing between him and Dumbledore now.

I didn’t get the last stanza quite so much. How was Dumbledore true to Grindelwald? Sorry if I am being dense here, but I would have thought that Grindelwald would feel betrayed. Oh, and why the line break between the last two lines? A typo, or something intentional that I haven't understood? I liked how you ended with the name though. It brought the whole piece home nicely.

Overall, I like this and its simple poignancy. It left me feeling saddened, but not depressed, and the touches of happiness smattered through it provided a good contrast. I like seeing what could be a miserable subject retaining some hope. I would like to read more poetry from you. Who knows, you may even manage a sonnet with practice!


Author's Response: Wow! Thanks for the review! About the last stanza/haiku/bit, the true to you was probably just something that fitted, something to reconcile them before heaven. (or in plain thought language: sorry I have no real idea why I wrote that bit like that.) The ending, however, was was intentional. I'm glad you got the name, but the line break was actually there to try to add to the poignancy. I think that you are right about the awkwardness of the third stanza/haiku/bit, but it kind of fits with the haiku itself. I was actually thinking of writing some more poetry soon, so you won't be waiting too long! I'm really glad you liked this, and thanks again for the review!

Sweet by Equinox Chick

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Susan Bones is always getting mixed up with her best friend, Hannah Abbott. She doesn't know why because not only do they look very different, but their tastes are different, too - even down to the flavours of their lip balm. For sunny, popular Hannah loves to try new things, and Susan stays with the same lip balm she's always known.

But perhaps she should try something new.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling.

This story has been written for Lea (mugglegirlmarauder) on the occasion of her birthday. Although she is a Gryffindor here, Pottermore begs to differ and has wisely put her in Hufflepuff.

Thank also to Natalie (hestiajones) for the pairing and the lip balm. I'm not sure the story quite does your inspiration justice :(.
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 04/11/12 Title: Chapter 1: Lip Balm and Bon-Bons

The name suits this story perfectly. However, despite being so very sweet, (and I sense that I may end up overusing that word here…) it is not cloying or sickly. Your Susan is very different to how I would have imagined her, going by the descriptions of her aunt. We see so little of her in canon that this hardly matters though. Your opening comments on the teachers were amusing, with spot on characterisation. I felt a little sorry for Susan; even her Head of House mixes her up with Hannah.

The contrast you created between them must make it even more irritating for her to get mixed up with Hannah. Their choices in lip balm are surprisingly revealing. You’ve hit upon a very original and effective plot device (if that’s the right name for it) there. I was surprised by how silly, if sweet, Hannah seems. I wouldn’t have pegged this girl as Neville’s type. Maybe he needed someone sweet after going through such hard times though.

I guess Hannah’s taste in men must improve over the next few years if she ended up with Neville. I wanted to slap Terry Boot several times, especially for the “bon-bons” comment. He makes Anthony seem even nicer by contrast. Admittedly, the line about the brooms did seem a little sexist, but then he was only quoting Terry. When he speaks for himself he seems much nicer, and funnier.

When Susan said “I bet you thought Hufflepuffs were all sweet and innocent”, it really made me smile, because I had already been thinking that she doesn’t fit with my idea of a stereotypical ‘Puff. I like her sense of humor, and Anthony’s too. It saddened me slightly to see how little attention your characters paid to the house-elves though. They were so sweet, and then got so little attention in return. I have a soft spot for the elves, in case you haven’t guessed.

I loved Anthony’s inventive way of not cheating. I was so pleased for Susan when she got an acceptable. Their nerves and doubts felt very natural, and it made me even gladder about what came next. It was so, well, sweet of Anthony to get more lip-balm for Susan! He went to a lot of trouble, and she clearly needed the confidence boost that it gave her. They make a lovely couple, in a lovely story. Sometimes, I need a little fluff in my life, and I reckon this is a pretty great place to get it. Well done (yet again) :)


Author's Response: Hmm, I'm not sure Hannah's that silly. She's 15/16 and 'in love' so she's a little mushy, I guess. (Reminds me of me at that age). The thing I always think about Hannah was that she was the one that went topieces during her OWLs, but probably grew up very fast when her mother died and during that last year at Hogwarts. My personal feeling about her and Neville is that there was a part of that helplessness that Neville liked about her, then he saw how much she'd changed - much like he had from the scared of his own shadow boy that he was for 6 years. Um, sorry, that became a bot of an essay on hannah - ha ha.

Glad you liked the lip balm idea and also the fact that there isn't a stereotypical Puff. With Susan and Amelia. We don;t know if they're blood related. Amelia could have married a 'Bones', but even if they are related, it wouldn't necessarily make Susan as bright as her aunt. (I'm not bright but have a very intelligent son, for instance). Anyway, I basically like to write her as not what people expect, so ummm.... that's why I did - lol.

Oh, good point about the house-elves. I really should have written a bit more about them. I sort of assume people don;t like them (although I'm very attached to Frinkle who has appeared in a few other stories of mine) But I should have made more of that scene (I was in a rush) because Anthony would have been more interested, I think, although Susan is used to them by now.

Thank you so much for the review. Sometimes I need to write a bit of fluff - ha ha.


The Healer's Heart by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 6th-7th Years •

Daphne Greengrass had until her twenty-first birthday to pick a husband, or her parents would choose one for her. With only months to go before the deadline, she found herself with a perfect suitor in Theodore Nott.

But when a freak pregnancy landed her in the care of cranky Healer-in-Training Michael Corner, Daphne started to realise that things she thought she knew were slowly being turned upside-down. And what she thought she knew about Michael Corner began to dissolve into something different entirely.

This story has been nominated for two 2012 Quicksilver Quill Awards: Best Non-Canon Romance and Best Post-Hogwarts Story.

This story has also been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Post-Hogwarts Story.

Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 05/31/12 Title: Chapter 7: Chapter 7

Hey, Jess, I’m back again. I can’t seem to get this story out of my head. I have grown rather attached to it since my first review, and the frequent updates have been a joy. That cliff hanger was unexpected! I was half expecting any plot twists to come from medical complications. The evil father thing (for that’s who I assume is behind the kidnapping) is so much better though.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I absolutely adore Michael. He has so much depth as a character, and I just hope that he can get to love the real Daphne as well as the one he imagined. The comparison with the Phantom is so much more appropriate than he would admit. Is the portrait of the shy girl on the wall meant to be Daphne? It would certainly fit with the contents of his bottom draw. I wonder why Terry never figured it out though, if I’m right.

I had a slightly odd experience when reading your description of Michael dressing up to receive Theo and Terry. The image of a pirate popped into my head. No kidding. I think it’s the eye patch and ponytail combo that did it. When you say vest, do you mean a waistcoat type of thing? I’m not sure if it’s an American usage, or if I’m just confusing myself :/

Daphne’s development has been stage managed perfectly. She seems to be turning into a much nicer person, although as I said before, I could even empathise with her when she was her old selfish self. Although she is changing a lot, it seems natural and understandable. Even Domestic Godess!Daphne seemed perfectly believable, and I envy the easy with which she took to cooking. I’m so glad that she has decided to defy her parents. Theo would make a great husband for her, but it would be totally unfair on him. He is so right about Daphne and Michael. They would (will? Please?) make a great couple, once they have resolved all of their issues. I love Terry and Theo as a couple too.

Terry is such a great character. I wasn’t sure about him at first in chapter 5, even though his rudeness to Daphne was largely justified. But then he said “He wants to hate you” and with one sentence I understood so much. You are really good at finding ways to let the reader understand a character, without telling them stuff straight out or being patronizing. Then in chapter 6, the way Terry looked after Michael endeared him to me even more.

Right, ramble over. I just have one little nitpick, from all the way back in chapter 2. When Michael first mentions that something isn’t right with the pregnancy, you wrote “entopic” where I believe you meant “ectopic”. A quick google revealed that entopic pregnancies are actually perfectly healthy pregnancies, and while I doubt many people know that, it could be confusing for any of your readers who do. Apart from that, I really couldn’t fault this story so far, and I doubt I will be able to with the remaining chapters either. I have so much love for this story!


Author's Response:

Yay, you're back! What a lovely review, too! And considering I'm in the business of reviews... <3

I think you hit on all the things I wanted to put out there, such as Michael's somewhat-unreasonable-at-first hostility toward Daphne, as well as Terry's, and Theo's awkwardness around Daphne until he felt comfortable with being himself with her. It's hard to gauge when you're writing as to whether you're leaving too many hints behind, not enough, or just enough. I nearly deleted the line 'He wants to hate you.' several times because I thought it might give too much away, but there were enough depths to his past fixation with her it was still adequately shocking when Daphne found his stalkery stash. Speaking of, the portrait was indeed of Daphne, but it was one of the first things Michael tried to do via the paint medium, and it didn't turn out quite right, but the innocence of the girl in the picture kind of added to his illusions about Daphne. I think most of the problem is that it turned out how he wanted it to do rather than how it should've done.

Terry was a bit hard to add in because he knew Michael so well. I didn't want to spoil unintentionally. Yes, he knew that the portrait was of Daphne, as well as about Michael's thing for her. That's why he hated her at first; he knew how much it had affected Michael to have his illusions about Daphne shattered. As you know, he suspected her of toying with him for her own amusement. Sure, it wasn't Daphne's fault, but Michael was his friend and Daphne wasn't, so fixing the blame wasn't that difficult. Once he felt he could trust her and that she legitimately cared for Michael's well-being, he opened up to her. He's not a bad guy; he's loyal to his friends and will do what he had to do to protect them. And considering what happened to Anthony, he wasn't about to lose another one.

I honestly was surprised that no one thought domestic!Daphne wasn't plausible, as a pure-blood girl who's never cooked in her life. However, to me, cooking and potions aren't all that different, and all ingredients react a certain way to various stimuli. Daphne was already a good potioneer, so it sort of came naturally to her. It also is, in my head, one of the things that changed both Terry's and Michael's opinions about Daphne - brought her down to earth, so to speak.

And picks...I thought that I had fixed the entopic/ectopic error, but I must have missed it. Will fix. And vest/waistcoat...oops. It's me being American again. I'm surprised my beta let it go, considering how consummately British she is, but meh. Stuff happens. LOL at the pirate thing, though. It makes me giggle.

Overall, I'm so glad that this fic is getting such a good reception. There were a lot of things I buried in it, hoping that readers would pick up on it. For the LJ fest it was for, it didn't get nearly the reception it has on MNFF, but you lot are so fantastic. Thanks for following, and I look forward to hearing from you again!


Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 05/14/12 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Love, love, love! I guessed pretty early on, about the time of Daphne’s conversation with Astoria, why Theodore was so unresponsive to Daphne, but that didn’t detract from the satisfaction of the reveal. Anyway, going back to the beginning, Daphne’s opening thoughts drew me in instantly. Her distain for the men she is surrounded by and her talent for insincerity made her rather intriguing. I confess, I tend to read more stories about ‘nice’ characters, so she, as a true Slytherin, if not necessarily a ‘bad’ one, makes a nice change.

Theodore was endearing, and your use of ‘puppy dog’ seemed to me like it would have been better suited to him than his rivals. He almost reminded me of Neville at the Yule ball, trying not to step on his partner’s toes. Daphne comes across as very cold and calculating, but her closeness to Astoria stopped her from coming across as too stereotypically Slytherin I suppose.

The details about Persephone (lush name by the way) and Tiberius Bole were interesting background, and I liked seeing a little further into the family dynamic. When you first mentioned the sisters’ deadline for marriage, it seemed like their parents must be to them like the Blacks were to Sirius. However, this detail helped to humanise them. Moving on, the more I read, the more I pitied Theodore. He seems to be nowhere near a match for Daphne, certainly not the way she sees things. I will be interested to see how much he grows in her estimation later on.

I liked your use of “slobbering” “ it made me think back to the “testosterone-soaked puppies” from the beginning. I was impressed that you managed to keep Daphne’s blindness about Theodore convincing. She is a character who generally understands others, but she is used to getting what she wants. Here, I guess her selfish motives were enough to make her ignore all the signs suggesting that for once she wouldn’t get what she wanted.

Even when seducing Theo, her mind seemed to be on wealth, with concern for his robes of all things at the forefront of her mind. I was surprised by how well I could empathise with her cold calculations, which is testament to your skill at writing her. The balance between creating a strong character and creating one that is likeable has to be managed carefully, especially with one like Daphne, and for me, you have it just right.

The idea of Astoria walking in on Theodore in a cupboard somehow didn’t surprise me. It seems a very Astoria thing to do, even though I know absolutely nothing about her. However, there is an Americanism here “ “coat closet” “ that jumped right out at me. I noticed you using British spellings elsewhere (“favourite” for example), so maybe it’s worth changing this for consistency’s sake.

My pity had moved from Theodore to Daphne by the end. The tripling of “bruised, cowed and vacant” made me shiver. Daphne may not be the best of people, but no-one should go through that. The last line was very effective too. I just wanted to hug her where Theodore left off. I think I have rambled enough now, so to finish, I will say that this is a great opening chapter. I think that this story has a huge amount of potential, and you haven’t even mentioned Michael Corner yet! I’m hooked.


Author's Response:

Well hello! Honestly, I wasn't expecting this story to get very many reviews, and I wasn't expecting one of this depth. Thank you for that. :)

This story is already complete and waiting to be posted, so I hope it lives up to the expectations you have about it. My beta tells me it's great, and the couple people I know who have read it say so, as well, so here's hoping.

My favourite type of characters are ones of moral ambiguity. Things that are repugnant to some may be business as usual for another, yet they could both consider themselves upstanding people. It gives me a warped sense of satisfaction to write about characters discovering uncomfortable truths about themselves, which I suppose makes me one of the aforementioned ambiguous numbers. Anyway...enough about that.

You seem to be getting the characters as I wanted them to be at this stage of the story. Yay for that. For the most part, this was supposed to be an introduction to Daphne and her situation, and you will be meeting Michael in the next chapter. I think his character is probably my favourite in this story, so I hope he will strike readers as such, as well.

I don't know if Daphne is supposed to be likeable so much as understandable. While her perspective seems to be left of centre, her thoughts and priorities are reminiscent of her status. She's a rich girl with rich girl problems -- first world problems, if you will. Clothes matter to her because they were made to matter to her whilst growing up. Her marriage deadline...also a big deal. In comparison to everything else that happened in the previous years, these are probably nonentities in society, but to her, and to Theo, to a degree, they still matter because they always did before.

As for coat closet, I'm pretty sure that my beta missed that (she's British), but I *think* it was originally 'coatroom' in my first draft. No idea why I changed it, but considering I wrote this whole story in two weeks, I'm not surprised it didn't make it into the final draft. Must poke/prod that later.

I'm glad you enjoy the story. I'll probably be posting a new chapter tomorrow and keep that pace until the story is finished. Thank you for your lovely words of encouragement and support. It means a lot, especially since I've never interacted with you before outside of perusing the reviews you've left for a few of my friends on the site (a good thing, by the way). I look forward to future dealings. :)


Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 06/02/12 Title: Chapter 8: Chapter 8

Happy birthday, Jess! I saw the new chapter up, and couldn’t resist leaving you a birthday review.

Darius is so pitch perfectly evil! Not in a cartoon villain way, thank goodness, but he is just horrible. How can a father possibly criticise his daughter for being “snide” when he has just had her drugged? Then there was the “unfortunate affliction” thing, and then he referred to himself as her “benefactor”. He made me want to shudder, then go and hug Daphne. You have managed to engender a lot of sympathy for a character who started out as a bit of a cow.

I did confuse myself slightly when you first introduced Darius in this chapter, because I had forgotten your earlier mentions of him, and was reading slightly too fast for my own good. The way he kept calling Daphne “dear” and “darling”, and your use of “drawled” made me imagine him sounding quite camp, and not father-like at all. Even when I had figured out exactly who he was and had a good laugh at my idiocy, I kept imagining him as slightly camp. That’s just me and the same crazy brain that brought you Pirate!Michael though, and not a fault with your writing.

I laughed along with Daphne when she described her outfit. She needs to get together with Michael already! She’s already wearing his clothes for goodness’ sake. As in previous chapters, I’m so glad she found the courage to stand up to her father. I was slightly surprised that she lost control to the extent where she yelled at her father, but then I suppose she had been provoked enormously. When she said she wasn’t “some painting to be hung on a wall”, I winced slightly on Michael’s behalf, but then I think she might find herself willing to have a double standard here.

I was so glad to know that Astoria and Iris were on Daphne’s side. The detail about the Muggleborn grandfather was a brilliant way of showing why Iris wasn’t like her husband. I liked seeing that she had used her influence to the exact opposite of her husband’s ends. Even in a patriarchal family, the women can get their own way. The teacup Portkey made me smile; I love little family details like that. Astoria seems so sweet, but thankfully not too innocent.

I hate heights, so I absolutely understood Daphne’s fear while on the window ledge. However, I found the sentence
“She feared looking down and seeing the ground rapidly approaching far more.”
quite awkward to read, and according to MS word, it isn’t a complete sentence. Maybe it would work better if you said “She was far more afraid of…” instead.

And then you left me on another cliff hanger! I cannot wait for the next chapter, and it’s a relief to know that I won’t have to for much longer. Congratulations on the QSQ nomination by the way. Lori beat me to it! One last thing; there is something in my Dean’s Corner thread that might make you giggle, if you have time to look. (Shameless self promotion, I know :P) Happy birthday again!

Author's Response:

One thing I've always loved is a good villain. One of the things I've always loved about good villains is the lack of repentance, the fact that they are certain what they're doing is right. A brilliant villain, to me, holds his ground just as a hero does. How boring would Voldemort or Bellatrix have been if they felt bad about the things they were doing? Sure, Snape was considered a villain by many, as were the Malfoys and many of the Slytherin lot, but really, were they? To me, they were antagonists, and antagonists are a world away from being villains. No, I wanted Darius to be a villain in the true respect of the word, because he, even after his daughter disowned him, thought she was in the wrong and not him.

I think it was important for Daphne to know her mother and sister were on her side, though not publicly. I don't know if Daphne would've forgiven herself if she had written off her entire family. After all, even Michael has his old Aunt Effie. They basically gave her the go-ahead to take down Darius because he was a relic of an era that was crumbling as the years passed.

The bit about Daphne wearing Michael's clothes...I had to throw that in. First off, it makes me giggle at the thought of it, and second, I think Daphne was trying on not just a new style of clothing, but the newborn freedom to wear whatever the hell she wanted because there was no one to cluck disapprovingly at her choices. Do I think she's a jeans and man-shirt girl? She might be, but I actively root for her freedom to find out by trial and error. ♥

Heights. Yeah, while I don't fear them specifically, I appreciate the honesty of gravity. It's clear, consistent, deceptive only in the eye of the beholder, and doesn't discriminate. And it was very much something I could attribute to myself when I said that the height didn't bother Daphne so much as the prospect of falling. Speaking of, I might just go back and prod that sentence a little bit. Naturally, it says what I wanted it to say, but that doesn't mean it reads the same across the board. Thanks for pointing that out.

Thank you for the lovely review, the birthday wish, and of course, the adorable drawing. MNFF has been so good to me today, and it reminds me of why I do what I do around here; you all (especially you right now) make it worth it. Squishes and hugs. I look forward to seeing you again!


Brown by Northumbrian

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Lavender Brown is not the easiest of people to get along with. Mark has managed to overcome the first hurdle, she has finally agreed that they are going out together. Now Mark faces another challenge.
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 06/05/12 Title: Chapter 2: Rye

I hadn’t read any of your Mark and Lavender stories until a couple of days ago, (although I do remember you mentioning Mark in other fics) but then I started reading Bare. I was intrigued by your take on Lavender, and so I read straight through the rest, right up to this point. I’m going to review the first two chapters here

Firstly, I love the setting that you created at the start of chapter one. The pathetic fallacy reflects Mark’s mood perfectly and your descriptive writing is rather gorgeous. I think that you have captured Mark’s voice really well. He sounds exactly as I would have imagined from your other stories about him. His exasperated comments on Lavender’s shoes made me giggle, but you balanced it nicely with genuine concern for her.

The Portcard is a really good idea I think. I always like the level of detail you provide about the Auror office and other magical institutes because it makes the story seems so much more real. You seem to have a knack for explaining your inventions succinctly and clearly without patronising the reader at any point.

You have handled the Scottish slang skilfully too. Mark’s explanations, the one for “braw” especially, fit in smoothly, letting you convey his accent and make it comprehensible to those who live further south, without interrupting the flow of the story.

I felt so sorry for Mark when Lavender mentioned “Mary Moon”. He seems to end up out of his depth with Lavender quite often, but this was a whole new level from her. I could learn a lot from her manipulative ways, not that I’m sure I would want to. I would feel a bit of a fool saying things like “Little Lavender is vewy sowwy, big Mr Marky”. I did feel that it seemed a little demeaning for her, saying things like that. It would certainly fit with “Won-won” though. My issue here is probably more with the character herself than with your writing, so I don’t mean to criticise. I’m just feeling a little feminist-y right now hahaha.

Your descriptions of clothes never fail to impress me, partially I think because many men would run a mile from things like that. However, you do it and you do it well. I always feel like I know your characters a little better every time you describe what they are wearing.

Carmine’s apron is a good example. She, like Molly Weasley, another apron-wearer, seems to be a motherly type, and very much in control of her family. The metaphor of “tiger about to pounce” reminded me of Molly a little too. Don was nothing like Arthur though, so the comparison ends there. Once more I felt rather sorry for Mark, being sprung into that situation.

Much as I enjoyed this, there are a couple of little thing I think you could improve. The first is a minor grammatical point: run-on sentences. I seem to remember noticing one or two in each chapter. For example in chapter two, you wrote “It wasn’t surprising, after all April was the month of showers”. It doesn’t detract from the story, but, grammar obsessed as I am, it always bothers me a little.

Also, I have never been a big fan of italicised flashbacks. Sometimes, I suppose it is the easiest way to signal a change in time. However, you signalled that change very well, with things like “I continued my contemplations”, so it seems a little redundant to add the italics.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed this, and as with all of your stories, cannot wait to see where you take this next. Do you plan on writing Exsanguination soon? All of your references to it have intrigued me.


Author's Response:
Thanks for the long review, Sophie. I hope I've done it justice.

Lavender has been a surprising (to me) constant in my stories ever since I wrote Grave Days. Thinking about it, she had a part in After Breakfast, too, so even as I was starting my timeline, she as already wheedling her way into it.

Mark is a bit of a fool sometimes, but he sees through a lot of Lavender’s bluff and bluster, not that he always knows what to do about it. I wanted to write him in the first-person and this story idea has been floating around forever. He’s a decent bloke, just because he thinks her shoes are ridiculous, that doesn’t mean he wants her to fall off them.

The “invention” of the Portcards is a part-written story, so you’ll eventually find out how and when they arrive, along with several other jumps in magical “technology”.

I think it’s difficult to get accents right. A few ayes instead of yeses are okay, but if I drop dialect words in, I try to provide an in-story translation. A few hint-words work a lot better than a “haud yer whisht” which needs laborious explanation.

With the Mary comment, Lavender emasculated him and don’t think she expected his reaction. I hope that it’s obvious that Mark simply allows himself to be manipulated. I also hope that it is Lavender who is annoying you. As you say, anyone who can call Ron “Won-won” is clearly not going to baulk at “vewy sowwy”.

Clothing requires research, but so do a lot of things. The release of “Ladies in Lavender” is contemporaneous and correct. I usually keep clothing neutral, because fashions change. I’ve read stories where post-Hogwarts Hermione, still in her late teens wears obviously 2012 fashions.

I have a family tree for the Greengrasses (it’s the only one I’ve written) so I know a lot more about them. I know more about Don than you’ve seen here, some of it was in Tales of the Battle, but much remains unwritten. I feel sorry for Don, too.

I know that I’m not good with run on sentences. I try but neither I, nor my betas, catch them. I tend to write and rewrite, and often I can introduce new errors. It’s something I’m very good at, sorry. I’ll try to fix them.

Italicised flashbacks are, it seems, a fanfic staple. I put them in because, when I started writing it seemed to be expected, and it’s a habit I find hard to break. Again, I’ll try.

This will be three chapters, and I’m now working on the third. Exsanguination is two chapters (including Mark and Lavender’s first (or second) encounter). However, until I finish Hunters and Prey (and Aurors and Schoolgirls) I won’t work on it. I simply can’t start yet another chaptered story until I finish one of my “in progress” tales. Lavender (before Mark) is in the Muggle Interface Team stories, and Exsanguination is also an MIT story.