I'm an American, have been married for "a long time", and have a son and a daughter, so to me the characters are like sons and daughters. I like to study history and science, and I usually don't write (or talk) unless I have something to say, so I tend to be serious. Rather than seeking plot ideas, I wait until I am moved to address a particular topic. That makes it harder to produce something on demand for contests and challenges. Oh well!
Summary: Nicolas Flamel takes on an apprentice and sparks a friendship.
This piece does not have an easy-to-follow storytelling style. It gives the feel of a story with many of the sentences missing, and the reader must make cognitive leaps over the gaps like a person traversing a stream on stepping stones. It requires a lot of assuming as to why people say and do certain things, and a fair amount of "Well, I guess what he means is XYZ..."
Still, with a few re-readings the reader can come to some conclusions about what the characters are probably talking about. (What is "ushering a queue"?)
Here we have a little glimpse of Nicolas Flamel and his ever-patient wife (not yet a widow) Perenelle, who are otherwise only referred to in Book 1, never encountered. Nicolas is portrayed as more crochety than I would have otherwise imagined him, and if he is so unfriendly (unlike Dumbledore) and alchemy is a dying art, then why would Jacqueline be so persistent in trying to become his apprentice? She is much better off with Dumbledore.
The time of this story must be when Dumbledore is still a young man, and apparently he has spent some time in Paris and intends to stay on there for a while, since he offers this newly-married young woman a post as his assistant. How did she meet him, at her young age? Perhaps during the fifteen days of the International Alchemical Conference.
I would not care to read an entire book written in this style. It is more obscure than I prefer, and while I enjoy puzzling out a mystery (what do these facts and observations lead to?), I would rather not spend my time puzzling out individual sentences. But that's just me. This story has a certain stylishness to it, and I'm sure some people would appreciate its unique essence.
Summary: She had a way of falling for him in every way, including his blatant lies. Ten years later, she may not be able to recognise him, but outward appearances don't always prove a change inside.
Susan Bones/Theodore Nott
A drabble-turned-oneshot written for Soraya/babewithbrains for the Ravenclaw Christmas Drabble Exchange!
There are a lot of thought-provoking elements within the few short pages of this story. The outstanding impression of Susan is depression. Yes, Theodore has always been a dicey friend, playing her like a fish on a line, but she has allowed herself to be played. She knows, intellectually, that "he never had a solid foundation", but she keeps hoping that he will be something else, and failing to take care of herself.
The war has taken a big toll on her, and she has responded by isolating herself from people who could help her find her way back. A job in which she interacts mostly with strangers. A specific decision not to join the merrymakers at the Leaky Cauldron on Christmas. She complains of being alone on the holiday, but it is her choice, not her parents' fault. She focuses on what she has lost: her Aunt Amelia, "most of her immediate family" (though both her parents have survived). She faults her parents for leaving her to go on vacation (how dare they?). And she uses alcohol and loveless sex to try to fill the void in her psyche.
Not everyone who lived through the war is so far behind on the road to recovery as Susan is. I don't really see any insight on her part in this story. She has yet to take responsibility for her own happiness. It's a depressing story, and I wonder if it was depressing to write. But despite that, it's well-written, and the details all contribute to a tightly-constructed whole.
Summary: Primrose Dobbs is fairly happy, until someone reenters her life unexpectedly. Then she's ... still happy. Mostly. It would help if Fleur Delacour wasn't in the picture.
Cinderella Angelina of Hufflepuff checking in with my final exam for the Charming Characters class!
This is a fun little story, even though it ends on a more serious note, and Primrose is a refreshingly charming and down-to-earth character. She must have had a good home life, since she sounds so well-adjusted. And I like the little touch of her translating the runes on recently acquired treasures; it sounds like something that I would enjoy doing!
I enjoy seeing the creation of original characters that are linked to established characters like Bill and Fleur,and it's a treat to get a glimpse of Bill and Fleur in their Gringotts milieu at the beginning of their relationship. And although it looks as if there's no romance for Primrose in this little episode, despite her imaginative daydreams, one need not worry for her; she's a great girl, and some wizard (other than Basil) will see that soon enough.
This piece is well-written, with a light, deft touch. I'm not sure what the last line refers to ("something good could come of this news"), but it is just like Primrose to be optimistic, even in the face of You-Know-Who's return.
Thanks for writing.
Summary: This is Bellatrix Black as a student, a wife, and a faithful servant. A child and a prisoner. She is exactly who you think she is, and much more.
This story certainly deserves more reviews than it has received so far. It is very well-written, with no awkwardness in the phrasing or the flow, no questionable choice of words, or poor timing of the pace.
It shows us a a young Bellatrix, amoral and conscienceless but not yet criminal, focused but not yet obsessed, a bully but not yet a psychopath. I am left wondering whether Bella at this point in her life could still have been salvaged and rehabilitated, given an opportunity for that, which of course never occurred.
The glimpses of the characters of Dumbledore and Slughorn are right on -- Dumbledore who was unable to be manipulated and Slughorn who was unable to avoid being manipulated. The statement "Everybody knew the Slytherins were prejudiced, but nobody knew it went that far" exemplifies Slughorn's unfitness as Slytherin Head of House. He didn't know what was going on and could not have controlled it even if he did. His refusal to change Bella's dormitory assignment was not based on moral principles but on a fear of losing his job, a weak response.
Bella's keen interest in Rodolphus Lestrange is a bit harder to understand. Her relationship with him is the same as her relationship with other people -- manipulative and self-serving. But what does she need him for? What value does he have for her besides being handsome, smart, and pureblooded? Chapter 3 is all about her seduction of him, but to what end? Given her nature as depicted, she obviously has something up her sleeve, and love is most certainly not it. Perhaps she has some goals in life (other than eventually becoming Voldemort's most worshipful follower), something more than being the wife of a pureblood and the mother of his children. It will be interesting to find out what her plans are.
Summary: The youngest prince of China prepares to leave the capital to go to the Dragon Pearl.
This is AidaLuthien of Hufflepuff House's final for the Charming Characters class.
What an unusual story. It is a simple tale, but its charm comes from the blending of basic magical principles into a very different culture. The details give the appearance of being researched and are sufficiently plausible that they might be accurate. (Were phoenixes really a symbol of femininity in China? Did regular army soldiers rotate in and out of palace guard posts? I guess so.)
The references to magic are few, just enough to show that this is a magical story -- a wand, Apparition, shrinking the travel trunks, Polyjuice Potion, Veritaserum.
The story gives hints of questions we will have to answer for ourselves. What is the time period? Were members of the emperor's family always magical? Were the "lesser schools" also schools of magic? And how will the prince's experience be, studying alongside both commoners and scheming aristocrats? It boggles the mind to think of the amount of research that would be needed to describe even one ordinary day at Dragon Pearl.
As usual, Aida's writing is skillful and graceful, easy to read and easy to follow. A good blend of background, description, thoughts, dialogue, and action.
It is assumed that witches and wizards are present in countries all around the globe but we tend to imagine them only in Western-culture countries. Aida has opened up a whole new vista of possibilities. Will anyone follow her lead? (No, don't look at me.)
Summary: For many, marriage proclaims love, for others, it shows pain.
This little story has a refreshingly imaginative thesis. What I like: the "marriage bonds" which turn out to be a sort of telepathic notification of romantic/emotional feelings in one's spouse; the long time span; Hermione's constant eluding of her erstwhile husband (at first we don't know who or why); the notion that a Voldemort victory ultimately didn't make much difference to the Muggle world.
Even though we have an AU where Voldemort wins and Hermione is Imperiused to marry Draco, her character remains the character we knew in the 7 books, and when she is released from magical mind control, she is old Hermione, opposed to Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and she flees. There is no need to cudgel our brains trying to figure out why Hermione is behaving so sympathetically toward the Dark Side; she never does.
We get the feeling, even before Hermione realizes that Draco is about to die, that she has achieved a peace and tranquility in her life. The whole piece has a gentleness to it. And when she does see him for one last time, on his deathbed, there is no expressed anger, but no forgiveness either. For Hermione his death means neither triumph nor tragedy, just a final freedom.
This piece is very well-written, and the style is pleasingly different. So much is packed into just a few pages.
Summary: Salazar Slytherin has a dark secret, one that only Helga knows. Will she let him get away? Or will she hunt him down?
This is an adaptation of my drabble for the SBBC Cliche Redemption Challenge: Vampires, as well as an entry for the GH Inaugural Cotillion Challenge.
Disclaimer: I am not J.K.Rowling. No copyright infringements intended bro.
I'll bet this story never got into "Hogwarts: a History". This story is an interesting expansion of the character of Salazar Slytherin and speculation about his backstory and his motivation for leaving the new school. So little is established about these early times that the door is open for the development of the Founders' personalities and actions in any of a number of directions.
The story cuts back and forth between present (for the tale) time and flashback, including a dream sequence, but it quickly becomes easy to follow, and the characterizations of the four Founders are true to canon, with one reservation.
Given Salazar's long-established elitism and his condescending attitude, it is a bit of a stretch for me that Helga, with her egalitarian nature, should develop romantic feelings toward him (or he toward her).
The concept that he was actually a vampire is an imaginative stroke. Has he been thus for most or all of his adult life? During all of his twenty-plus-year tenure at the school? When did the Muggle mob dump him in the vampire's nest? How was it that he survived that encounter when his own victims do not? How long did Helga know that he was killing and consuming Muggles before she finally confronted him and he fled? I imagine that it could not have been long, since she acts resolutely not long after.
The developments of the problem with Salazar and Helga's desperate plan unfold slowly and steadily. The cutting back and forth between present time and flashback supports the mystery by allowing us to know that she has a plan to do something momentous without revealing too soon what it's all about. A straightforward timeline would not have accomplished the same thing.
The ending is ambiguous, no doubt on purpose. Salazar does not bite Helga, that is clear, but for some unexplained reason she has a sudden urge to sample the blood spread out over the floor (and why is half of his body gone?) But she quickly recovers and leaves the accursed cave. I wonder whether she will tell the other Founders what she knew, where she went, or what she did. Would Salazar have continued to be revered as one of the four Founders if she had told them?
This story is well-written and the sentences flow smoothly (as per the author's usual achievement). It was enjoyable to read. I can't fathom why it has so few reads and only one review.
Author's Response: Hello! Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)
Summary: 'You'd die for her. I see it in the way you look at her. You'd kill for her. You wouldn't do that for me, would you?'
It ought to be a rhetorical question, but for Michael Corner suddenly it isn't.
This is h_vic of Hufflepuff writing for the Inaugural Great Hall Cotillion
When I read this story, I said to myself, "I am missing something." It was like reading a random chapter out of the middle of a book, not understanding who the characters are or what has been going on. The first part of the story was tough enough, trying to figure out the fourth paragraph with its obscure references to other unnamed people and past events. But the second part of the story was a shocker. I went back to check the dates; how do these parts relate? I wondered if the italics meant it was a dream or a prologue; apparently not. But why is Michael digging a grave, for heaven's sake? Is the corpse someone he killed, or merely a body he is hiding? The mention of bad images permanently in his brain suggests that he at least witnessed, probably committed the murder.
I went online to check out this author's other stories, Is there a prologue there somewhere? Not that I could see. But as I scrolled down the list of titles, I noticed the title of this piece more closely: "To Kill For Her". What? Did Michael murder Anthony in an attempt to get Lisa back again? Say it isn't so!
This story is definitely not ordinary. In a few short pages it manages to be startling, even disturbing, beginning as an unremarkable though nicely-written love story and ending as what can only be called an act of madness. It reminded me of John Hinckley's assassination attack on President Reagan in an attempt to impress the actress Jodi Foster (he is still in a mental hospital).
Michael refers to himself as weak. he has lost what is most valuable to him because of his self-perceived weakness. Now he is going to be "strong", for once! Now the tragedy is complete.
Summary: During the reign of the Carrows, Dumbledore's Army fought against them. The D.A. also had each others' backs, no matter what happened. But it wasn't always that way. It took a fourth-year, a little black book, and a plan the size of Hogwarts itself to make the D.A. realize their only chance of survival lied with each other.
This is iMusic17 of Slytherin writing for the Outstanding OWL's prompt in the School of Mischief Challenge in the Great Hall.
This is a clever story about a guerilla mission by Dumbledore's Army during Snape's tenure as Headmaster. The action moves along quickly in the students' multifaceted caper, and it was necessary to re-read it a few times in order to grasp all the actions and their purposes. The story fits into the canon timeline of events by taking place at the same time as the D. A. attempt to steal the (false) sword of Gryffindor from the Headmaster's office. The Carrows are depicted, as usual, as brutal but not very bright.
There were a few points I could not get sorted out precisely at first. In the first scene in the Room of Requirement, Hannah is present and delivers a few lines; then Nigel asks where Hannah and Terry are, and Anthony says "Hannah and Terry went to get the first years..." I think they mean to speak of Susan and Terry, not Hannah and Terry; shortly thereafter, Susan and Terry burst into the room.
When Anthony, Demelza, and Nigel invade the detention room, Susan seems to be in there, tied up and having recently been tortured, but how she ended up in there is not plain. When Hannah and Ernie, playing the role of turncoats, escort Demelza and Anthony "to the Headmaster's office", the story seems to refer to them as the three Prefects, but there were only two of them.
These editing defects are easily overlooked after one studies the story to feel confident that they are just flaws that escaped the beta's eye.
In the last conversation in the Room of Requirement, where Nigel reveals his actions in the back room of confiscated objects, he speaks as if he wrote the weird love letter in the duplicate book while he was in that room, but I can't imagine he had time for that; the second book must have been all prepared before the caper began. (Tell me if I'm mistaken.)
I also wondered whether the Carrows noticed the Stupefied bodies of the six Slytherin torturers lying on the floor.
But all of these points are very minor and easily fixed up with a few minutes of editing. The story is fun; we all enjoy a clever scheme. And the writing was good; the sentences flowed easily and the principal players, who are mostly minor ones in the books, were well characterized. Anything that helps fill in the mystery of what was going on at Hogwarts during the 1997-1998 school year is a welcome addition to the whole saga.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review! (Just a warning I wrote this about a year ago, so I'm not sure how much I remember :/)
I know that it's a little hard to grasp, and thank you for pointing out the wording errors (*headdesk* on my part). Nigel did have that letter prepared, he just chose not to spread it around because no one knew that he was planning to switch the books. Susan was serving detention for having been caught with the book, but I should have made that clearer. I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and thanks again!
Summary: Dumbledore's dead, and Tonks has just said she loves him, but Remus is still too afraid to go after what he wants. Here's hoping Molly Weasley can get him to take matters into his own hands.
An interesting little story, a continuation of the conversation that took place by Bill's bedside in the Hospital Wing after the battle in the tower. After Harry leaves the Hospital Wing we do not know how that conversation played out, but the author assumes that Lupin went into the Great Hall to see Dumbledore's body, then returned to the vicinity of the Hospital Wing but did not re-enter. The author gives a good exposition of Lupin's sense of being alone as, one by one, everyone who was close to him dies and he is reluctant to get close to anyone again. But he does not entertain the notion of a romantic attachment with Tonks until Molly comes out into the hall to pursue the discussion that was cut off earlier by Hagrid's arrival.
Lupin reiterates his negative opinion of himself -- he is a monster, he is a risk -- which has dominated his self-image all his life (encouraged no doubt by societal attitudes and restrictive laws), but Molly encourages him to break out of this self-imposed strait jacket, and eventually he decides to follow Lily's advice "...you don't have to let it define you." This is a realization that all disabled or damaged people will hopefully come to, sooner or later, that they can learn to manage their disability and go on to live a rewarding life that is normal in many respects.
In this story, Remus concludes that what holds him back is, first of all, fear, an emotion which comes not from Fenris Greyback or from society, but from within himself, and which he can conquer.
The story is nicely written. It's just a little slice of time, a little bit of dialogue, but a turning point for Lupin and Tonks. My only suggestion is a word choice in the final line. The word "feelings" sounds too tentative for a 37-year-old man like Lupin. It sounds like a word a teenager would use, in speaking about his first crush. Given that these were grim times, in which Lupin and Tonks would marry, have a baby, and die within the span of a year, I would have said "love".
Author's Response: Thank you for your extensive review. I always appreciate seeing my work through someone else's eyes as it gives me a sense of perspective, and I understand the critique of the story's ending. Thanks for reading! ~ Megan
Summary: Ginny is torn apart by Fred's death. He was the only one of her brothers who understood her, and now he is gone. Yet despite this, she knows she must go on. She must continue to live despite this. And to live, she must accept his death, no matter how hard it is.
If you've never experienced such an unexpected loss of someone so close, it's hard to understand how a person would feel in that situation, and therefore it would be challenging to write it. We know that there are various ways of showing grief; this story describes an extreme reaction for Ginny and George. The author puts this in perspective by saying "Slowly each person in the family manages to return to living. I can't. George can't." It is good for the author to point out that most others recover functionality much more quickly.
Except for George, no other character is explored in depth. Ginny makes short-sentence bald statements of what the others are doing, almost as if they are mere acquaintances, not family members. Ginny is pulling back from the very people who could help her integrate this loss into her life experience. She makes scant mention of Harry. At first "Harry is alive," as if that mattered to her, but quickly she pushes him away from her psychologically, and he becomes a focus of blame. It is common for a wounded person to want to pin blame on another person; "fate" is too impersonal to blame, and God is too far away. There is no more mention of Harry except "Harry travels across the country, repairing lives" (but not her life), and by Christmas he is no longer mentioned at all.
The staccato sentences in which this chapter is written sound the way a grief-stricken person would talk. The sentences could be combined to make longer sentences, one idea flowing into another, but that would change the tone of the piece
The timeline of the chapter is notable. It begins with a long section describing Ginny's and George's ascent from the depths of grief over a period of about four months. Then follows a very quick synopsis, only a few paragraphs covering a span of time of at least two years, Ginny's last year of school and at least one year with the Holyhead Harpies. This section feels like a bridge between the four month period after Fred's death to some new episode which the reader expects to be explored at some length again.
The implication is that something important is going to happen involving the game with the Montrose Magpies or during the timespan of the game. Ginny says "The dreaded day comes." Why is the day dreaded? Is it just a game like all the previous games, or is there something special about this game?
Ginny speaks in short sentences to the very end of this chapter, giving the impression that, despite her assertions to the contrary, she still has a large reservoir of grief under her facade of moving on and resuming a normal life. Her recovery feels stuck.
This first chapter sets us up for further developments in Chapter 2, but it's hard to guess where this story is going. We shall see.
All that matters is the face you show to the world.
Hard-faced, but in love.
What’s a girl to do?
This is LollyLovesick of Hufflepuff submitting my entry for Rosmerta's Mini-Gauntlet being held in The Three Broomsticks over at the MNFF beta boards.Nominated for Best General Story in the 2012 Quicksilver Quills. Thank you!
I read your story through a few times to completely understand all that you were saying. This is a great story, and it deserves more reviews. It does a good job of describing a girl who wasn't malicious, but just doing what she had to do to survive. The series of vignettes establishes her careful attempts to balance her mother's advice, her place in the social milieu of Slytherin House, and her own repressed need for love.
It is posited in this story that after Draco betrays Pansy (in her mind) by marrying someone else, she decides that she wants to take revenge on him. It is a little hard for me to understand why she has this reaction. True, she hoped that after the war he would come back to her by default (having no other friends), but when he does not, why does she react so strongly? Because without him she has no future (paying job, dingy flat, nights in clubs drinking, nothing like the status she was born into, no respectable man with money to feed and clothe her)? Or because she wanted him so badly that she began to believe that it was guaranteed she would have him? My father used to remind me and my siblings that "Wantin' ain't gittin'", and I quote that wisdom often.
It is amusing to read Pansy's wild fantasies about how she might take revenge, including something as ridiculous as abducting Draco's baby. But she shows her cunning nature, which has gone far beyond mere survival now, in the elaborate plan to have Draco make a fool of himself with a prostitute in front of his wife. When at the last minute Pansy doesn't go through with her plan, what is she thinking? Sympathy for Astoria? For the baby, which whom she suddenly identifies?
There is a subtlety to this story that invites re-reading and pondering. A lot is suggested in a few sentences here and there. Well-written.
Summary: Lily Potter has been confined to her Godric's Hollow home for months now with little contact to the outside world, so it comes as a great surprise to her when she learns of her Muggle mother's death. Lily's strong urge to go to the funeral and say good-bye to her mother would mean putting herself and family in danger in multiple ways - and possibly seeing her estranged sister Petunia.
I read this story when it was first posted, and should have reviewed it then, but better late than never.
I am impressed by the good descriptions all around, of the actions and interactions at the Potter house in Godwin Hollow, the neglected yard, the baby throwing the wand against the wall, and so on. You captured well Lily's severe stress from the threat of You-Know-Who, from being virtually imprisoned in her house (with an uncertain future and no end in sight), and now from the loss of her mother.
I also like the depiction of Dumbledore. Although he knows that going to the funeral involves a big risk, he does not forbid Lily to go and he even brings the Invisibility Cloak for her to use. He leaves the final decision to her, without a long conversational harangue. But was it realistic to think that she could actually go to the funeral without talking to any of her own family? When Lily returns, Dumbledore chides her for taking the risk of revealing herself to Petunia, but after a sentence or two he lets the matter drop. I liked that.
I loved the brief description of her town, her house, and the mourners and the funeral. It was just right, not too much or too little.
The blow-up between Petunia and Lily was wonderful. Again, not too much or too little. It seemed very realistic, making clear the depth of the animosity that Petunia had built up toward Lily, ever increasing over the years, as resentment bred resentment, topped off by what seemed the final blow, her mother's asking for Lily on her deathbed.
On top of the old sibling rivalry is superimposed, in Petunia's mind, the terrible stress of taking care of sick and dying parents, a job that, in real life, typically gets foisted off on one of the children and creates bitterness toward the other siblings who got off scot-free. Petunia is far beyond any openness; she will never let bygones be bygones.
The chilling part of this story is that we know (but Lily does not) that in a few months her beloved son will be sent into the care of this woman who will continue the battle for years, not with an adult sister but with a defenseless child.
Dumbledore mistakenly believes that his relationship with Aberforth is a good yardstick to measure Lily's relationship with Petunia. He was not in that church. He did not see their confrontation. He does not know.
There is a timeline problem. James tells Lily that her mother died "yesterday", Wednesday, May 20th, and that Mrs. Jenson saw the obituary in the newspaper "yesterday" and mailed it to them. The obit would not be published on the same day that Mrs. Evans died. Then Lily says that she will attend the Saturday funeral "tomorrow morning", so this day must be Friday, Mrs. Evans died two days ago, not yesterday, and the obit was published on Thursday morning and immediately cut out and mailed by Mrs. Jenson, to arrive today (Friday). James is obviously mixed up about what day today is; it's Friday the 22nd, and he thinks it's Thursday the 21st. Easy to do if you are cooped up in the house all day, day after day, and don't go to a regular job.
One other hint: the story says "...it donned on her..." What you want is "...it dawned on her..." "Donned" means "he put on clothing," as in "he donned his hat and coat."
All in all, a good story, and it contributes to the understanding of why Petunia behaved as she did when Harry was put in her care. Nicely done.
Summary: Alastor Moody’s house was impenetrable. The door had ten locks on it, each requiring a complex spell to open. All his windows had been reinforced with all the security spells in existence. At least two Sneakoscopes were perched in each room. He had taken every precaution. He had added every security measure under the sun. He had thought of every possible entry point and fortified all weak areas. No one could get inside, no one, but they did. They did.
I am blown away by the sheer mass and richness of detail in this story. You must have sat up late at night thinking of more things to say about Alastor Moody. In writing like this, you run the risk of becoming repetitious or too wordy, and I read critically with an eye to phrases I would blue-pencil if I were your editor, but in truth I found very few.
The title of your story is good in that it promises the reader that, after the long build-up describing Moody's character as an Auror and his circumstances as a recently-retired pensioner, there is going to be some action eventually. Lacking that promise, a reader might give up about one-third of the way through the story (right before Moody gets out of bed for the first time).
It is hard to imagine that Barty Crouch Jr., masquerading as the false Alastor Moody, could be as detail-obsessed as the real Moody was; probably few people except Moody's four allowed visitors really had an inkling as to the extent of his detail obsession (looking for codes in the newspaper articles?), and of them only Dumbledore was at Hogwarts. How did Barty Crouch Jr. manage to impersonate such a complex character as Moody so successfully, given that he, Barty, had not seen Alastor Moody for years? How did he manage to fool Dumbledore?
The fight scene is vivid and well-described. The fight goes on for quite a while, the advantage switches back and forth from side to side, and Moody's courage is impressive. But, because he was a skilled Auror, I wonder why so few of his shots hit their mark. And Pettigrew and Crouch seem pretty skilled in fighting for men who have spent their recent years as a rat and a shut-in respectively.
I also wonder how they managed to overcome Moody's protections and blast a hole in the side of his house. We are not told of the protections that Moody had on his walls, other than the windows and door, though he believes "the house was impregnable." But nothing is perfect, even Moody's protections, and how they got in is one of those things that we will probably never know.
This story is an amazing elaboration of the personality of Alastor Moody. After reading it, one is tempted to go back through Books 4-7 and re-read the sections which include Moody to see how his depiction there reflects the descriptions in this story.
One nit: in several places the story uses the word "passed" where I think the word needed was "past". But that's a little thing. The story is awesome.
Author's Response: Hi there, so sorry for the delay in responding to your lovely review, I only just noticed it! I am so glad you liked this, I had a lot of fun writing it, and you are half right, I did spend a lot of time just sitting still in an empty room, thinking, observing, and plotting, trying to get into the head of Mad-Eye Moody, and I had a lot of fun with that, so I am glad you enjoyed. I know what you mean about being repetitious and too wordy, and I was conscious of that. It is a very wordy piece, and not a lot happens for a while, which I thought would be problematic. I was focusing more on Moody's character at the start of the piece, and less on action. I am just glad it worked, because people do seem to like the story! In terms of how Crouch managed to impersonate Moody so flawlessly, well I was basing that on that fact that Crouch kept him alive and under the imperious curse, so he could question him and learn his habits and quirks so he could fool even Dumbledore (he does say that in GOF, that he kept Moody alive to question him and learn his character and personality) I am glad you liked the fight scene. In terms of Moody being a skilled Auror and not a lot of his shots hit their mark ... well, he is older now and battle worn and scarred. He has lost his leg. I was trying to capture a hero in decline. He is not as fast, or fit or as skillful as he used to be. I wanted to capture him like that, because I think it is really sad, that his once brilliant and great Auror has to face up with the fact that he can't be brilliant forever, that everything has its time and must end, and his story is a sad one - where he was forced to retire when he himself was not ready to let go... Sorry about the issue with passed and past - I will go and fix that now - thanks for pointing it out! Anyway, thank you so much for your fantastic review, it really made my day. I am just so happy you liked this little story! Thank you so much, your review is awesome.
Summary: The story of Ron and Hermione through a series of missing moments. Who said love was simple?
Very, very, very well done. Completely believable, just the right amount of detail, sensitive without being overwrought, absolutely canon-compliant. There are a few stories that I print off and keep in a binder, to go along with the seven volumes by JKR, and this story is definitely one of them.
Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing! I'm really glad that you liked it and I am honoured to be included in your binder :)
Summary: Fellow Healers despised Damocles Belby for his arrogance and admitted genius, but none ever envied him. Assigned to St. Mungo's little-known ward for treating werewolves, Belby faces death and failure each time the full moon rises. Who is more cursed? The werewolves or the man charged with curing them?
Together with his story "The Howling Hall", the author has given us a peek into the part of the history of St. Mungo's Hospital and the evolution of the treatment of lycanthropy. Stories such as these give us the understanding that the magical culture is not conceived as being static or immutable; developments and advances occur, as in the non-magical world. The state of the art in past generations was not what it is today.
The protagonist, Damocles Belby, is not a completely lovable hero. In Chapter 2 the young Damocles shows traces of the prickliness that marks the older Damocles in Chapter 1. This prickliness is also hinted at in the references to his failed romance with Poppy (why did she refuse him?) and his assignment to the unpopular dead-end job in Stokeley Ward (how had he offended the administrators?) Both these points could be explored in further stories; maybe the author intends to do so.
The writing is graceful and fluid. The story is easy to read, easy to follow, with interesting details that enrich the scene.
The timeline seems a little uncertain. In Chapter 2, "1959", Damocles states that he is 26 years old and has been working on the lycanthropy assignment for five years (supposedly since age 21). In Chapter 1, his age is given as 57 and he states that he has been working on it for 30 years. Since age 27? Or maybe he really meant "30-some-odd years", more precisely 36. At any rate, he seems to have developed the Wolfsbane Potion in about 1989-1990, a few years before Remus Lupin's tenure as a Hogwarts professor in 1993.
Summary: Severus Snape is bound to watch and wait.
This is AidaLuthien of Hufflepuff writing for the Great Hall Challenge, Illustration for Inspiration.
It would be wrong to suggest that Snape was not a man of action, but he didn't do anything impetuously. His actions were planned, studious; time was not an issue.
He probably learned this at his parents' house under the influence of his brutal, unpredictable father. Sheer power was not the way to survive a man like Tobias Snape; you had to use cunning, guile, stealth; you had to be patient, but always alert, always on guard.
Perhaps his original attraction to Tom Riddle had to do with the allure of power, the shuffling off of the feelings of helplessness. Did he think that he, a half-blood, could gain a favored position in the New Wizarding World Order? Even after it became plain that this new order involved torturing and killing people, Snape did not act impetuously; it took a threat to the only woman he loved to make make him take the action of changing his allegiance.
Now he feels that he can only watch and do nothing. Matters have gone far beyond his control. Yet he can do something. He can protect the students to a certain degree from the Carrows, transmit the real sword eventually to Harry, and throw a red herring to Bellatrix.
And if the alternative to watchful waiting is impetuosity, he has already convinced himself that that is a losing strategy also. In the end, of course, the winning strategy was a combination of careful planning and gutsy action. But Snape did not live long enough to see that.
This story continues the author's string of well-written fiction, a good expansion on details of the canon story, an effective combination of action and analysis. I reviewed the scene of the death of Charity Burbage in Book 7; I had always assumed that Voldemort did the deed, but this author assumes it was Snape. The book does not exactly say.
Summary: Luna's trip back to Hogwarts is interrupted by Death Eaters on the train.
This is AidaLuthien of Hufflepuff writing for Round One of the 2012 Character Triathlon.
This story is a good evocation of the climate of danger and fear that existed during the final year before the downfall of Voldemort. The conversations among the students on the train are stilted. Assuming the train is bugged, they speak in code which carries double meanings. "She had copies." The first year students are described as terrified and so scared. (It would have been nice to give a bit of description of what the first-years were doing that made them appear scared.)
The author includes brief mentions of Luna's imaginary creatures. She thinks about Blibbering Humdingers and Invisible Meese, and mentions Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and Wrackspurts in passing, during the don't-mention-anything-important conversation in the compartment. These mentions serve to show us that this is still Luna, but changes in her communication style ("Luna was getting a bit better at subterfuge") show that as she matured, she became more aware of how her speech sounded to other people.
Luna understands instantly why she is being taken from the train and why she is not in immediate danger of death. Despite her outwardly dreamy demeanor, she has a grasp of the politics of the situation. "She tried to keep her tone casual" indicates that she instantly recognized how serious this development was.
When she says, "Yes, it's very nice of them" to Bellatrix, she is continuing to maintain her facade of non-threatening naivete, although we see later in the book that she is the person who survives about three months in the Malfoy dungeon and is able to cut bonds with a hidden nail.
This story is well-written, with only the one suggestion mentioned already. It avoids stereotyping Luna as out-of-touch and reveals her innate intelligence and toughness. A good job.
Summary: On a trip to Diagon Alley, Severus Snape remembers the first time he visited the wizarding enclave - with Lily Evans.
Thank you to Broken Promise for betaing!
This is AidaLuthien of Hufflepuff writing for Round One of Madam Pomfrey's One Shot Character Clinic.
This is a sunny piece, even seen through the eyes of Snape. The lull between the storms. Although Snape hates crowds and shudders at the sight of so many children, his visit to Diagon Alley cannot help stirring up memories of a happier moment, like a kaleidoscope of colorful images from long ago. For a brief time, Snape leaves his demons behind to revel in remembrance of an afternoon with Lily in the excitement and wonder of a first visit to Diagon Alley and the anticipation of being a real wizard at Hogwarts with a real wand.
The author deftly changes Snape's mood throughout the story from distaste at first, when he entered Diagon Alley, to wistful heartache when he sees the little redheaded Muggleborn girl, to heartwarming reverie as he reminisces about that precious afternoon with Lily, while they were still friends. The mood changes abruptly, with finality, in only three words: "his father's rage".
It is easy to understand why he tries to will himself to forget the unforgettable. The pain of losing Lily and the pain of his father's abuse run so deep that he yearns to be free of them, even at the price of surrendering perhaps the only happiness he ever knew. And he does not foresee any happiness in his future. As the author says, "He knew what was to come." Survival is the best he can hope for, and for that he must keep his emotions strictly under control. Although seeing the little girl who reminds him of Lily was sudden and unexpected, It didn't throw him for a loop. He had steeled himself so well.
This piece is just a brief glimpse into Snape's thoughts and background, but it is enjoyable to read, and it makes the reader wonder what Snape could have become if he had survived the war. How much humanity was left, hidden in his heart?
Summary: Draco tries to make sense of the new world order.
This is AidaLuthien of Hufflepuff writing for Round One of the Character Triathlon.
This story is just a snapshot, a moment in time. Nothing much occurs in the way of action. It simply illustrates how circumstances have changed.
I am reminded of the Shakespearean-age world view: society is like a giant wheel, with some people on the top and others on the bottom. At seemingly random times for random reasons the wheel turns. Those on top become on the bottom, and vice versa. The rise and fall are not connected to virtue or vice; they just happen.
This image of the wheel of fate comes strongly to mind while I read this piece. The first two paragraphs clearly lay out Draco's former status as the one on the top: rank, power, privilege, wealth, entitlement, superiority, an assured future. Then the whole wheel makes a 180-degree turn and he is on the bottom: disgraced, despised, lacking in opportunities, a very clouded and ill-defined future. How much of this outcome is due to his own sins and those of his compatriots, and how much is simply due to being one of the losers instead of one of the winners? After all, history is written by the winners, and the losers never fare well in that tale.
The Draco we see in this piece is notably more introspective than the Draco we met in the seven books. Not only is his personal world turned topsy-turvy, but his bedrock beliefs have been cast into serious doubt or even refuted. Voldemort was not a savior, despite what Draco's father said. The means can become so dreadful that they are no longer even remotely justified by the ends. One is forced to accept assistance from one's erstwhile enemies, so that the question of who is friend and who is enemy becomes confused, and the line between the good guys and the bad guys is all blurred. The only thing he knows for sure now is that the path before him is unknowable.
Pansy is portrayed more sympathetically than she often is in other stories. Draco considers her pretty, a fit consort for the Slytherin King, not merely a handy lay. She is described as tough and strong, a natural leader, but not coarse or crude. And because her involvement in the war and the events leading up to it was so much more peripheral than his, she does not comprehend the monumental changes in values so keenly as he does. For her the changes are merely inconvenient -- her father lost his job but her mother is still working. So Draco has moved far beyond Pansy, and how could she ever catch up? There is not another war to teach her the things she failed to learn in this one.
A neat detail: Draco picks some meadow flowers and asks if they are pansies. How could he not know whether or not they are pansies.? Perhaps it is because in his former life he never had to pay heed to the beautifully landscaped gardens around Malfoy Manor. Hired gardeners did all the planting and tending; they had to be the ones to know the names of what they had planted. One more symbol of what he has lost.
The author has achieved something I don't very often see in these archives: a non-action piece that avoids being merely an extended rehash of someone's emotions. The carefully chosen details of Draco's and Pansy's recent history, with (and this is a biggie) no unnecessary words, spell out perfectly the points that the author wants to make. A very enjoyable read.