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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]
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Reviews by The owl

Shangri-La by the opaleye

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The first time she sees him, he is leaning against the brick wall outside Tesco, paper in one hand, cigarette in the other.

A familiar stranger walks into Petunia Dursley's life.

Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 07/01/13 Title: Chapter 1: life ain't so happy in your shangri-la

Hello Julia!

I can't say I get to read stories about Petunia very often, so when Carole suggested I read this, I was intrigued to see how you'd handle her. To make someone who gets such a harsh portrayal in canon understandable and even relatable seems like a hard task, but I think you pulled it off masterfully. There were so many little details that contributed to her character, which was very recognisably the Petunia we see in canon, and they all came together beautifully to make her real.

First, however, your gorgeous prose. For a story so full of the mundane, the Muggle, this had a lot of sparkle. A favourite phrase of mine came in the park, when Petunia feels Remus watching, with an “awkward, watchful sense that smells like a train station”, because of course she would associate discomfort with watching Lily leave her behind, year after year. So many little things come back to Lily, and it really helps me understand Petunia. I loved the jumbling of senses in that line, too, because it made me think that Petunia didn't really want that memory. If she could forget Lily, perhaps she would.

The other thing I really liked in terms of how you wrote this was all of the contrasts you created. In the opening, it's between Petunia's words and her true feelings. Then it's between Remus and Petunia, going from rosewater and baking soda to a cigarette and battered corduroy. There's Petunia's theory about Remus having his own child running around the playground, and what I know to be the reality of his life. The boy with “dark, lank hair” and Lily, “brilliant, gold and glowing”, Remus's memory of Lily and the reality of Petunia: each fresh juxtaposition is painful. With the way you write, I can't forget the pain behind the mundane facts of Petunia's life, the ordinariness she seeks.

And of course Petunia strives to be ordinary. That's the very first thing we see about the Dursleys in canon, that they are absolutely set on being normal. Now, however, I really felt I could understand why. Her obsessions with keeping up appearances - the rose water, the white lace handkerchief - seems to be because on the inside, she can't get rid of her connection to abnormality. Lily and Sev always seem to be in her mind, and seeking suburban perfection seems to be how she fights that. I've never really found myself able to get into her head this much. You've written her so well.

Remus, too, seemed so himself, despite the brevity of his appearances. The quiet, unobtrusiveness, how he vanishes so subtly, smiles so softly - it couldn't be anyone else, even though he's not named. All the little details about his appearance built up to it, but it was when he interacted with Petunia that I really felt his personality come through. The “sad disappointment” in his voice is something I imagine would often be felt there. The weight of his grief felt enormous, to the point that I wanted to run over and hug him. He felt real.

An important thing for me is how you structured your plot. Bringing the story full circle, back to Petunia alone, thinking of neighbours and roses - that's the essence of it all. Petunia will never be drawn out of her pursuit of perfection, how ever Remus makes her feel. All the events of your plot are irrelevant when she's going to ensure that it comes full circle, back to where she started. The sadness will go on being ignored. I'm not entirely sure how to feel about that, but that's life, I suppose, and you made this story feel so true to life.

I'm glad you addressed the issue of what Remus did before Harry's third year. I'm glad you wrote about Petunia, too. I was glad to understand her further, and even if I can never truly like her, I very much pity her now. I adored this story, lingering sense of sadness and all, to the point that I can't quite find the words to express myself. Well done indeed.


Author's Response: It's always so hard to explain why I am interested in the Dursleys, and by extension all of the non-magical characters in the series. Probably because I don't quite know, myself. I think perhaps it's linked to the fact that they are the very first characters we encounter when reading the series, and that conviction and earnestness in the Dursleys to be 'normal' is so striking. It can be easy to play them off as silly, but I feel like that's doing a disservice to JKR and the way she moulds her characters. As you say, we see in the Dursleys, specifically Petunia, such ambition to fit in, and that's fairly representative of a lot of people in society. Most of us, in fact. And perhaps that's another reason why I'm so intrigued by them in fanfiction, because we don't often get to explore that need for 'normality' in the Potterverse, and in reality, I generally dislike that Keeping Up With The Joneses mentality. It was great trying to get into Petunia's head, because I only had to look over my fence to watch my neighbours buying boats and TVs and updating their cars to keep up with everyone else. People often refer to the Dursleys as caricatures, but in ways they are as grounded in reality as every other character in the series, because people in real life who strive to keep up and fit in behave like caricatures themselves. So, after this long ramble, I'm really glad you felt like my portrayal of Petunia was written well. I didn't want to write a caricature, but someone who is part of our world and not just the Potterverse.

In contrast, we have Remus! It was necessary to have a character that is the opposite of Petunia, to show how drawn she is towards what is "abnormal" despite her efforts to avoid anything strange at all costs. Remus, unlike Petunia, has never fit in. He's an outcast from both worlds, magical and Muggle. I love contrasting imagery and themes, so it was lovely to read about how you appreciated them, as well. Like the Dursleys, I've always been intrigued by what Remus did during those lost years and so it was a lot fun coming up with this backstory.

Thank you so much, Sophie, for this lovely review. My jaw dropped like a cartoon character when I saw it waiting for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I apologise for going on a bit in my reply, but it's a lot of fun being able to discuss characters that we rarely get to talk about. Thanks again :)

Julia x

Comfort by The_Real_Hermione

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Lucius Malfoy had found the perfect woman: Pureblood, beautiful, submissive but not stupid. And with his family and reputation, there was no imaginable reason he wouldn’t be successful. Was there?
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 05/29/13 Title: Chapter 1: Comfort

Hi Katrina,

When I saw the summary for this story, I was intrigued. The obvious girl for Lucius to fall in love with is of course Narcissa, but the hint of his possible failure made me think it would be someone else. I would never have guessed that she would be Andromeda, though, so you did really well to convince me of his feelings for her.

I think the main reason this worked so well was the strength of Lucius's characterisation. Even in the very opening lines, his arrogance and obsession with appearances came across strongly. His initial disdain for Narcissa was a surprise, but it did make sense. Bringing it back to shallow concerns about money and social appearances made sense of it instantly, for me. I thought you also showed his arrogance well -- the certainty about his looks, about Andromeda's reciprocation of his feelings, about everything working out perfectly. I suppose that's just his world, and oddly enough I didn't find myself entirely loathing him for it. You were setting him up for a fall, which I though helped to redeem him slightly. Not that he can ever be completely redeemed for things like his reaction to Ted, but I could sympathise with him to a degree.

It was great that you got these very recognisable traits across very well, but I was also pleased to see you adding more depth to his character via Andromeda. Seeing him trying to be a slightly better person for her sake, in the Platform Nine and Three-Quarters section, was good; that played a part in the redemption I mentioned above, and it made me hopeful for him. I felt like he could have become a better person for her sake (although clearly he didn't in canon) and so there was definitely part of me rooting for their relationship. That positive trend in his behaviour was marred rather when he caught her with Ted, but then again, he could have been so much crueller. That he resisted the ultimate revenge of breaking his promise was, in a way, touching, because that relationship must have hurt and offended him so much. Again, it gave me hope for his character, and made him much easier to sympathise with than he ever was in canon.

One thing I was really impressed by was how well you fitted this into canon. Lucius's initial feelings for Narcissa made me wonder how he could have ever ended up content to marry her. However, his revulsion at Andromeda's relationship with Ted made me buy the idea of him changing his mind; she turned everything he thought he knew upside down, made him reconsider his basic certainties. I agree with you that he didn't truly love Narcissa, too. I think of it as a society marriage, one that existed for mutual convenience and to satisfy their families, so the idea of Lucius always being a little bit in love with Andromeda fits in well for me.

The surrounding details were an important factor too, I think. You'd clearly researched well with the facts around Sirius's sorting, for example, and with the details about Bellatrix, which is something I always like seeing, especially when you're writing such an unconventional pairing. It made the story feel even more like it could have been a fact of canon, despite being rather unexpected.

Technically, I noticed quite a few nice little details. The first was your use of parentheses to describe the people Sorted into Slytherin in Lucius's year. It suited his snap judgements, made them seem more surplus, and reflected Lucius's attitude towards other people really well, I thought. They were reduced to a little addendum, only notable for how he could use them. Another thing was the touches of formality you added to your language -- “whom” for example. It always pleases me to see people using it correctly, which you did, of course, and it seemed especially apt in this context. There were other bits of vocabulary which I appreciated -- “cavorting” and “disinterestedly” were well-chosen. Thee small details were an important part of the atmosphere of the fic, for me, and brought the whole thing together.

This was a surprising fic, but I was definitely convinced by it and dragged into its world. You wrote Lucius masterfully -- well done :)


Author's Response: Hi Sophie, Thank you thank you thank you for this lovely review!! I really appreciate that you put so much time into it, and that you liked the story. I came up with the idea for this story because I like figuring out why characters behave the way they do, and I also like doing something different with stereotypes - in fanfic, I've often seen Lucius fall for Bellatrix, but like I wrote in this, I think he wanted a woman he could control, and she's pretty unpredictable and volatile. And I agree, I didn't see a lot of love in Narcissa and Lucius' relationship (though they clearly both love Draco), and so I wondered if maybe Lucius had fallen in love. So even though it's unexpected, I'm glad it made sense in how I wrote it. I'm glad you liked Lucius' characterisation - he is certainly arrogant, which I think is because he's been told all his life that he's better than others, and he's probably scared of really looking at himself and seeing what's there. I think that's why he is certain Andromeda will marry him - he does love her, in his own way, but he doesn't understand the kind of passionate love that would take her away from everything she knows, but it's also because the idea of failure to him is repulsive, so he doesn't even think that way (if that makes sense). I'm glad you didn't loathe Lucius - he certainly has his own choices, but he is also a product of his society in a way (that does not excuse all the terrible things he did in canon though). I always thought he would be observant, though, so he watches that Andromeda appreciates kindness, so he is kind for her sake, bu not really because he wants to be kind. Having discovered Andromeda and Ted, he could have been very cruel, but instead he hides it. I did this for two reasons - first, he does love her and doesn't really want her to be hurt, and second he feels almost ashamed/embarassed about his certainty and knows this will reflect badly on him, so he wants some time to deal with it. I think he does also feel hurt, and I agree with you, it is this experience which really changes the way he see things and makes him realise that Narcissa is perfect for what he wants in life. I'm glad you liked the parentheses with his classmates - I think he would be very dismissive and only see people for how he could use/manipulate them. I'm also glad you liked the level of formality - to me this felt really appropriate for Lucius, he probably would have been taught perfect grammar and I think he's the sort of person who uses language as manipulation, hence the longer/more complex words which make him seem above others. Anyway I think i"ve responded to everything you mentioned... thank you so much for this detailed review, it has really made my day! ~Katrina

Ebb Tide by minnabird

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Treasures are found where others might not seek to look. Bill/Fleur.

Nominated for Best Poem in the 2013 Quicksilver Quill Awards

Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 05/15/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hey Minna!

I'm not entirely sure how to begin this review, as I'm still reeling from the intensity of your poem. It's not often that I read something which gives me a such a deep, persnal insight into a relationship, and especially not with such gorgeous imagery. It was an absolute delight.

The first thing I'd like to address is the technical excellence of this. I mean, all of those images of the sea were so inventive. I particularly liked “eyes like sunlight in deep waters” because I can picture the gleam in deep blue eyes so perfectly from it. It's vivid and sharp and strong and so full of love. And the mix of first and second person worked really well for me, too. Moving back and forth between the two characters so directly again strengthened my sense of their relationship “ really lovely.

Another technical detail I really liked was all of the questions. It gave me this sense of wonderment, almost of awe, which spoke of absolute love in the most moving way. What added to this for me is that, although you didn't use a particularly regular rhythm/rhyme, everything flowed really well. It read very smoothly, with an almost lyrical feeling. In particular, the line “broken is discarded is changed is beautiful” worked really well because it tripped off my tongue so easily. It was kind of like a stream of thoughts, full of rapturous loveliness.

I said before that this was really intense, and I think a large part of that was all of the sensory description you used. The colours of the beach, the taste of salt, the sound of the sheets, the heat: I actually was on the beach outside Shell Cottage with them, and then inside too. I loved how the characters were connected to the place, how they fitted into their surrounding exactly. Linking their relationship to the nature around them made me all the more convinced by it.

I assumed that Bill was narrating this. Without a mention of genders either way, I wasn't 100% sure, but the blue eyes made me think of Fleur, and I thought Bill was the one most likely to be described as “hollow”, and “beaten and scraped”. That's the thing, though; not knowing really didn't bother me. I thought it could work either way, and I really liked that thought. They both love each other with this absolute intensity, and, whoever is speaking, their relationship seemed really intimate. That's why I liked your choice to use the crook of the elbow. It was unexpected, and unexpectedly intimate. The subtlety of it was great, too. I mean, you could tell exactly what was going on at that time without the need for you to outright describe it.

In terms of character, I really liked the way Bill (I'm going to carry on with that assumption) seemed to depend on Fleur, judging by your last line, and the suggestion earlier on that she made him new. It made me think of their older man/younger woman dynamic, and about how much he would have needed her support after the war. His sense of awe, too, fitted in just right with how I imagine her Veela side might affect him. It's not why he loves her, but sometimes it really intensifies things. The idea of her being “born of seafoam” was a lovely image for her otherness, her other heritage that is always somewhat mysterious.

I could go on and on about this poem. It has so much depth (no pun intended) and intensity, so many layers which I could be drawn into. If nothing else, it reads absolutely beautifully, without any need for analysis, which for me is very important in poetry. Fabulous job!


Still by 1000timesingoldenink

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The world can stand still.

Nominated in both the 2013 and 2014 QSQs.
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 06/30/13 Title: Chapter 1: still

Hi Jenny,

When I clicked on the link to this poem, I had no idea what to expect, but if I had formed preconceptions, they certainly weren't of prose poetry and Luna's mother. Now, however, my head is so full of her image, her thoughts and feelings, that I can't envision the poem any other way.

For a character we learn so very little about in canon, you've certainly created a strong image of her in my head. The first paragraph didn't immediately make me realise who you were writing about - my mind jumped to Malfoys - but even then, the hair was clear in my mind. On rereading, I loved having that clear physical connection between her and Luna, to help me connect to her in turn. It wasn't until the mention of Plimpies that I was completely certain who she was, and I rather liked having that extended period of uncertainty. It drew out my curiosity, which seemed rather appropriate for a character who I always imagined to be just as curious as you say.

Not naming her was also a good choice, I thought. Trying to fit a name into the second person speech like that could have sounded clunky and broken your rhythm, whereas I found the flow of this poem very effective. The longer sentences meandered nicely, and mixing them with shorter phrases kept my attention nicely, which not all prose poetry does, for me. The repetition of “The world can stand still” really unified the three sections for me, and ending on “still” just brought it all home. That little bit in parentheses, though, was what hit me hardest. It's like the world stands still on that thought, if that makes sense. Her love for Luna will stand still in the world, whatever else happens, and I feel like you encapsulated that completely in those two little brackets.

In terms of the actual events of the poem, I thought your choice of moments worked well. Of course the death had to feature - it's the only thing we know of in her life - but I'm glad you didn't use solely that. Starting with this simple change, of cutting her hair, made me see her as a real, changing, impermanent person. I'm sure we've all done that at some point after a hair cut, reached for hair that wasn't there. And then moving on to Luna, who was surely a huge part of her life, made me see all that she would miss after her death. Those little snippets were so sweet, and so very Luna-like with their bright colours, and showed so much of her early childhood in so few words. I can't quite explain how much I loved that.

I think that's why this poem works so well for me. It's not long or complex, but it feels like you capture a life in it. And despite the character's lack of name or previous development, I feel connected to her, like I know her, know about her at least. It's really, really wonderful.


Author's Response: Hezzu!

Oh my goodness. Thank you for your truly awesome review! :D It must be interesting, reading it the first time and trying to figure out who it's about...I hadn't really thought of that, but when you mention it, it must throw a different spin on the beginning once you realize who it's about.

I'm glad you thought it conveyed a lot! Poetry's supposed to mean more than it says, but it's different when you're writing a prose poem: you have to make sure that it flows like a poem, that it means things the way a poem does, yet is still in paragraphs and everything. Indeed, the break at the end for "I love you, sweetheart" was something I added after writing the rest. It wasn't prose, exactly, but it still worked, and I thought the ending really needed it.

I'm finding that capturing a life (or a major event/period in a life) in a poem is something I really love to try to do. I have now done this for Alice Longbottom, Ginny, Snape, Ariana, Luna's mother, and maybe even (rather abstractly) Luna. Poetry tells a story every bit as well as a biography, I think; you lose all the extraneous detail and just keep the essence.

Thank you again for reviewing! :)


When the School Burnt by hestiajones

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: How does Minerva see herself?

Written for the Poetry Swap at Poetry Anyone. My recipient was the glorious Minna.
Reviewer: The owl Signed
Date: 08/17/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hey Natalie :)

When I'm in the mood to read poetry on MNFF, you're one of the authors I tend to turn to, as I know I can count on you to produce consistently high-quality poems. This one, of course, lived up to my expectations brilliantly.

I suppose the most important aspect of this poem is your characterisation of Minerva. I've not really thought about how she would have felt during the battle “ I'm generally more concerned for her students “ but I was really convinced by your interpretation. Her sharpness and wit and strength fit in so much better with the idea of her being bird-like than with the constant cat comparisons; she felt absolutely herself when you described her as an eagle.

Then there was the idea of her turning back into a witch after the Battle. I found that kind of upsetting, knowing of all the horrors she must have witnessed and understanding how flat she must feel after all of the adrenaline had worn off. It's like she came alive in the pressure and fear of battle, but afterwards, it all feels like a dream and she comes crashing back to reality. When I think of it like that, I just want to go and hug her! The line about “an ageing witch” made me painfully aware of her frailty, her humanity, something which I find easy to forget about when seeing her from the point of view of her students. I really liked that you made me consider her from a new angle, and in so much more depth than before.

Technically, the poem was, of course, flawless. I very much liked the free structure you used; I suppose it fits with the chaos of battle, the uncertainty and fear. Within that, you used so many smaller patterns though, which I found really drew me in. I particularly liked the last stanza, with the repeated structure of “from … to … ”. It made me think of how everything is starting afresh, but also somehow going back to normal with the mundane idea of “a witch with a staff”. I thought that was a really lovely image, to see things healing, both for Minerva and for the school.

Another thing I really appreciated was the gorgeous sound of this poem. It was subtly done, I thought, helped by the non-standard structure, but when I read it aloud, I couldn't help but smile at the sound. A favourite line of mine, phonoogically, was “a flick of the wrist, a stab of the hand,” with the two different bits of assonance. And then there were things like the sort of rhyme in “from moth to light, / from flight to feet” “ my inner poetry geek is delighted by little things like that!

Overall, while this poem made me really rather sad to read, I took a lot of pleasure from it, from the idea of Hogwarts being rebuilt and from how well written it was. I just wish I could make everything easier for Minerva now!


Author's Response: Heyyyy!

This was one of the poems I really worked hard on. Minerva is one of my favourite characters, but I have never been able to write her. Doing it in the form of verse was even more frightening! On top of that, I was writing this for Minna, whose poetry I am a big fan of. SO THIS WAS HARD TO DO.

I am thrilled to receive such a detailed study from you. Thank you for commenting on the form and the exploration of the theme. I was trying to show her humanity, as you pointed out, and do it without being maudlin or stoic.

Thank you for the fab Spreview, Sophie! :)