Penname: Oregonian [Contact]
Real name: Vicki
Member Since: 04/13/12
Website:
Beta-reader: No
Status: Member
Bio:
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. I try to stretch my writing skills by entering challenges and forcing myself to write to prompts that I would otherwise not write, such as romance or vigorous action, and am surprised to discover that it can be done.
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Reviews by Oregonian
 

How to Tame Lions by dmbw7052
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: James tries to get Lily to be friends with him.

written for the Random Song Title Challenge in the PA

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 143 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
08/01/13 Updated: 08/08/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/16/14 Title: Chapter 1: a poem, yes, a poem

Hi, Georgia,

This is your fellow Slytherin Vicki. It’s been a while since I have seen you here in MNFF or in the Beta Boards, and I hope you will be back someday, even if only to read this review. I saw this poem when it was first posted, and I thought it was so clever and imaginative.

It certainly sounds like James speaking; you have captured his voice so well. He thinks that if he can be goofy and charming, then surely no one can hold anything against him. This poem shows his humor, his teasing, his pleading, his cocky self-confidence, his conviction that, no matter what he does, all will be forgiven in the end.

I like the structure of this poem, with the little asides in parentheses. They really are asides; if you read the poem without them, it still makes perfect sense. They are like little sprinkles of spice.

James says that he will teach Lily how to tame lions, but in the eighteen-line poem (not counting the parenthetical asides) only three lines are actually devoted to teaching her how to do it: “try to get to know us,” “Forget our past offenses,” and “and focus on the good inside us.” The rest of the poem is self-aggrandizement, teasing, coaxing, typical James stuff. I doubt that he wants to be “tamed” at all.

The layout of the poem on the page adds to its appeal visually, and I have no suggestions for how it could be improved in any way. It was fun to read. Well done!

Author's Response: Thank you so much Vicki! I hadn't been on MNFF lately, as you said, and it was mostly due to lack of time and motivation. Your reviews have given me the push i need to start writing again, and hopefully put some more stories on here. I'm glad that it sounded like James to you. This poem was really fun to write because of who's voice it was in, but it was also a bit hard to figure out how to get the point across. Yes, James definitely doesn't want to be "tamed!" Thanks much Vicki! -Georgia

 

Something Better by Nagini Riddle
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: Merope's life has been anything but joyful. And trying to run away didn't really help...

Written for the We are Poets challenge.

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: Abuse, Character Death

Word count: 324 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
08/03/13 Updated: 08/13/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/20/14 Title: Chapter 1: Something Better

Hi, Nagini,

Here I am to review an excellent poem that does not deserve to have no reviews, so I will fill that gap.

Some of your poems are short, compact little gems encompassing a little moment, and some, like this one, are longer and have a much broader scope.

I see that each verse has a theme — squalor of her family home, abuse, useless memories of family pride, hopeless infatuation, twisted family culture, negation of her slightest dreams. The last, long verse has five lines (no more) of her hopeful action and eleven lines of its tragic aftermath. It’s interesting that you lump these two topics together into one verse; “hopeful action” does not merit a verse of its own. It was a brief, very atypical span of time within the scope of her entire life.

I love the apt imagery of your word choices. You are truly showing us, not telling us, what Merope’s life was like. A favorite line: “But dead snakes with a slight writhe found savage shelter on the door.” Wonderful image.

Canon tells us that Merope delivered her baby on December 31, so she was pregnant from April to December. The crickets were “berating the night” during the warm summer months, and the “frozen rain” was falling in December; she was on the streets for a long time, and no wonder that she wished for death at the end, having no hope of something better any more. When she is “wishing on one title star to finally die,” I can envision a little break in the rain clouds during December, revealing the one little star that she wishes on.

Your word-processing program has gremlinized you, as mine often does to me. Near the bottom of the poem you wrote “Squalor and filth still following me,” and your program, which thinks it’s so smart but which really is stupid, changed “squalor” to “squander”. This happens to me all the time. Usually it’s just stupid, but occasionally funny, as when I recently wrote “…he said, shaking his head,” and the computer changed it to “…he said, shrinking his head.” Reminded me of the Death Eater in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries who got his head stuck in a time-turner.

Jokes aside, let me say that whenever I want to read something fresh and original, I know that I can always turn to your poems. Good job. Thank you for writing.

Vicki

Author's Response: Goodness, yes! I hate my ipod programming. It changes even words like "of" to something else, which drives me nuts, and I yell at my ipod and tell it that it needs to stop changing it! That is the word processing program that gremlinizes me... So I usually use my laptop now, since it doesn't do that kind of auto-correcting. :) And thank you so much for your review! I don't even remember writing that line about the snake and when I read your words, I thought, "Wow, that is a good line! I didn't write that. There's no way I wrote that!" That happens to me on occasion, and sometimes, I won't even remember writing an entire poem. That might be why I sometimes have lines in one poem that show up in another... But I am so glad that you enjoyed my spoken word poem. And if you enjoy reading fresh and original, perhaps I should get cracking on some more poems! ~Nagini *winks*

 

Smile by Anarane
Rated: 6th-7th Years [Reviews - 4]

Summary: That smile has haunted Nymphadora Tonks since the battle against her aunt in the Department of Mysteries. But there is another, much warmer smile that has also caught her attention.

Categories: Remus/Tonks Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 1522 Chapters: 1 Completed: No
Published:
08/05/13 Updated: 08/05/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/25/14 Title: Chapter 1: Waking Up

Hi, Beth. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I have been reading stories posted in 2013, which is why I read your story, and I must say that it is very nicely written. The sentences flow smoothly, never stilted or awkward or wooden, and there is pleasing variety in sentence structure and vocabulary. The descriptive details make the scene easy to envision.

Your characterization of Remus is definitely consistent with canon; he is patient and attentive, speaking and acting gently and supportively as Tonks lies in her hospital bed. Tonks is only partially her usual brassy, sassy self, even before she learns that her cousin is dead. Although she is waking up after a three-day coma, I feel that her speech would have been a little feistier.

It is not easy to guess where this story is going. Book five tells us that Bellatrix felled Tonks at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, but I am not aware that they ever met face to face again. Tonks and Remus died in the first phase of the Battle of Hogwarts, before Bellatrix and Voldemort entered the fray. So perhaps the plot of this story will turn out not to be the revenge of Tonks on Bellatrix for the death of Sirius, but rather a budding romance between Tonks and Remus. As Chapter One of this story ends, the story has the possibility to go in various directions.

There were a few missed spots in editing: “tighten” for “tightened”, “quite” for “quiet”, “close” for “closed”, and a few issues in punctuation and, rarely, in sentence structure. It is easy for the author’s eye to skip over these bobbles, and Spell-Check does not flag them if they are real words, such as “quite” for “quiet”. A final slow, careful reading can catch these bobbles before the story goes to the queue.

I notice that you posted this first chapter last summer. Perhaps your school obligations have prevented your submitting the next chapter, but I hope that we will see it sooner or later because your prose is pleasant to read. What happened between Tonks and Remus after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries is definitely a “missing moment”, and I would like to see what you do with it.

 

Summary: In the wake of Voldemort's defeat, the Ministry is enacting new laws, most notably the Werewolf Reform Act. The conditions are staggering. Can Remus bring himself to ruin another life to help save his own? Who would willingly want to be a werewolf's wife?

Categories: Hermione/Other Character Genre: Warnings: Book 7 Disregarded, Epilogue? What Epilogue?, Sexual Situations

Word count: 15160 Chapters: 4 Completed: No
Published:
08/08/13 Updated: 10/13/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/28/14 Title: Chapter 1: Sorry to Leave, But I Had to Go

Hi, Megs. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on your well-written story, with its interesting premise.

I would like to say that your story has a sparkle due to your fresh use of language with many good and original turns of phrase, such as “..offering food to anyone who dared linger in the kitchen,” and “You peck them good and hard until they answer my questions.” You strike that pleasing balance between dull cliche on one hand and excessive striving for effect on the other hand. There were a very few places where the word you really wanted was not the word you actually used (change “incredibility” to “incredulity”, “taunt” to “taut”, and “flicked” to “flickered”). But that is a minor point. Your scenes are easy to visualize because of the vivid and appropriate details.

Your treatment of the wizarding government echoes much of what we saw in the seven Harry Potter books: it can be clueless and heavy-handed. One is left wondering if they can do anything right. Hermione expresses the problem succinctly when she says, “They never think before passing these horrible discriminating laws.” Requiring werewolves to find spouses within two weeks is unreasonable, and I am wondering if a further plot development will be that the Ministry is setting up the werewolves to fail, in order to have an excuse to snap their wands and send them to Azkaban. (Does anyone believe Diggory’s denial?)

But your treatment of anti-discrimination measures in the workplace reminded me strongly of the civil rights measures that were undertaken here in the United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The extending of civil rights to minorities and women was met with strong resistance by a certain segment of the population, and the individuals who dared to claim those rights had to face a mountain of prejudice and resentment; their bravery, dignity, and persistence is legendary. But as the decades go by, and the people who cannot accept the changing times die off, and the new generation grows up with the experience of seeing women and minorities in positions of influence, change slowly comes about.

But in your story Remus cannot see himself as a courageous soldier in the vanguard of werewolf rights. He says, “Just because I can get a job doesn’t make the prejudice any less real Now they’ll just hire me because the Ministry is forcing them or they’ll be written up. I’d rather not have that hanging over my head every day.” No James Meredith or Jackie Robinson is he. He’s not even acting like a Gryffindor at this point.

I also liked your discussion of the interface between the Muggle and wizarding worlds. Remus states that he has moved back and forth between the two worlds for employment. And yet the general wizarding opinion seems to be that living in the Muggle world is some kind of catastrophe, as Hermione expresses when she says, “They’re still going to take your life away when they force you to live as a Muggle…” Funny, we don’t seem to mind living here.

I hesitated over your characterization of Hermione at first; she seemed to be very atypically emotional, still crying two years after the Battle of Hogwarts, a bit overwrought compared to the Hermione we know. But by Chapter Two you had her back in rare form again, coming up with a perfectly easy solution, reminding Remus that he can’t buy Wolfsbane in Muggle grocery stores, and ultimately browbeating Remus into co-operating.

Your characterization of Remus is very good. He always did have a certain element of self-pity and moments of refusing to strive hard, along with all his virtues and good points. I can see him being willing to acquiesce with a force that seems stronger than himself and seems to know where it is going.

The timeline of Chapters Three and Four threw me off a little bit, until I realized that Chapter Three was the marriage scene from Remus’ point of view, and then Chapter Four backed up in time a little and replayed events from Hermione’s point of view. Once I figured that out and re-read the chapters, everything was fine.

I appreciated the amusing points in your story”the multiple marriage proposals, the horde of reporters and their shouted questions as Hermione tried to get into the lift.

This is an intriguingly original story with lots of well-developed scenes, especially at the Ministry, with the long lines of werewolves and fiancées. Hermione, true to form, studies up on wizarding marriage ceremonies beforehand and is irritated that the imperfect textbook did not prepare her perfectly for the rite. But where will the story go from here? Why does the thought of kissing her new husband turn her head around? Why is her stomach liquefied with fear and “some other emotion”? Maybe this solution is not so “perfectly easy” after all.

Your story shows that, even without Voldemort on the scene, life is still difficult. I will enjoy reading the upcoming chapters. Good job.

 

Ashes of the Past by minnabird
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 2]

Summary: Past Featured StoryViktor carries the memory of Grindelwald's path of destruction, passed down to him in the form of stories. He will never forget.

Nominated for Best General Story in the 2014 Quicksilver Quill Awards.

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: Violence

Word count: 1037 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
08/09/13 Updated: 08/13/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 08/31/13 Title: Chapter 1: Oneshot

Hi, Minna,

Vicki here, letting you know how good I think this story is. It does such an excellent job of filling in a lot of backstory about Gellert Grindelwald's actions in his later years, showing us why he was so feared and why Dumbledore eventually had no choice but to duel with him and take him out. I am reminded of stories about various assassination attempts, all unsuccessful, on the life of Adolf Hitler. Just by reading the seven books, I never felt that I had a good handle on Grindelwald, only a brief story of his adolescent predilections and some obscure references to his being a bad dude in later life, eventually neutralized by Dumbledore.

But you have certainly depicted a parallel between Grindelwald propagandizing against Muggles and Hitler propagandizing against Jews, both men being mesmerizing orators.

I loved your descriptions of locales -- the farmhouse in Leipzig, which used to have a shed outbuilding; stars, small rustlings, and night noises; the interior of the German Ministry of Magic. It takes only a few sentences, but I can see it all well in my mind's eye.

And I love that you have given us a big glimpse into Viktor's character by showing us the family he came from, their values and their actions. We see the principles that he has been taught; it is all very believable. He is more than just a burly Quidditch champion with a thick Eastern European accent. (Thank you for not trying to reproduce Viktor's accent when he speaks English. I see this story as an English translation of a story he tells in his native language.)

The pace of the story is excellent -- simple, unadorned story-telling. A story like this doesn't need adornment; in fact, adornment would detract. The facts speak for themselves.

I am glad you wrote this story. Viktor is an important minor character in the books, and we needed to understand him better. Your story has accomplished that.

 

A Hero's Lament by dmbw7052
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: He never wanted the reputation, the press or the rest of the goods that came with being a hero.

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 151 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
08/17/13 Updated: 08/19/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 08/23/13 Title: Chapter 1: poem

Hi, Georgia. I am glad to give your poem a review, since I am always interested in consideration of Neville's character.

Your poem is a good insight into what may have been going on inside Neville's head after the second wizarding war. A key line in your poem, "places I never wanted to go," sums up his feelings about this entire period of his life.

I am struck by the fact that this entire poem consists of his inner thoughts, which he is not revealing to anyone and which others may not suspect. It is very consistent with what we know of his character that the public adulation is uncomfortable for him to handle and feels very much at odds with his true nature.
You express this inner conflict well; an example is the line "What if I told the Truth, nothing else? I'd rather not find out."

The use of capital letters on some nouns is effective in suggesting that in Neville's mind these capitalized things are distorted or over-hyped, such as "Act of Deep Thinking" and "Important Position," to cite just a few. (However, there are a few other words, such as "shy little Boy" and "Dirt under my Fingernails," which seem to be meant straight-forwardly, and I would not have capitalized them.)

The question of how the shy little boy developed into one of the Heroes of Hogwarts is a topic of endless discussion, especially since so much of the personal development occurred "behind the scenes" during the year of book 7. Your poem suggests that the heroic role was thrust upon him and that in the aftermath he was desperate to gain control over his own life again. He wonders "how life would have been if the world had not needed rescuing."

(In line 12, I wonder if there were a couple of letters reversed, if "except" was meant to be "expect", so that the line would read "they expect some Important Position", and in the final line a word seems accidently dropped, which I took the liberty of restoring, in my previous paragraph.)

I enjoyed this poem. It seems very true; I don't recall reading much of this sentiment before, and yet Neville must have felt this way, in his quiet moments, waiting for the hoopla to die down so that he could get on with his life. Well done.

 

Marietta by wildiris21
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: Marietta Edgecombe has "sneak" written all over her face - in fat, purple pustules, no less. But she has no idea how it happened. One-shot.

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 2620 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
08/29/13 Updated: 09/03/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 09/05/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, wildiris. This is Vicki, saying Congratulations on your first story published on MNFF. It is a nice, surprisingly gentle and reflective piece, even though it is written about a crisis situation. And it follows canon well; your story is exactly how it could have occurred. Although you say you're taking creative license, that is what we all do when we fill in these missing moments without violating anything JKR wrote.

You have written a very good description of Marietta's mental confusion about Cho's un-understandable accusations and the gradually dawning realization of both girls concerning what must have happened.

You have brought out well the ambiguities in Marietta's position in the months while the DA was holding its training meetings. Her loyalty to the Ministry shows in sentences such as "Marietta didn't think her mother would ever yell at anyone so close to the Minister," "Dumbledore had knocked the Minister out! Her mother had been right about him!", "On any other day, she would have thought about knocking on that door and asking Umbridge's advice," and "Potter and his friends are such a bunch of blithering idiots."

Your story concentrates on the magical aftermath of the crisis situation (Marietta's face being disfigured by Hermione's jinx, her memory being modified by Kingsley's actions); I would love to read another story written by you as a prequel to this one, where you focus on Marietta's conscious, non-magical decision to tell Umbridge about the DA and the agonizing thought processes that led up to that moment.

You have developed Marietta's character nicely (it was pretty undeveloped in the book) and have expanded her relationship with Cho far beyond "Cho's giggling friend". I was glad that you depicted them as still being friends in the end, able to talk about what happened. It was good that even in the hospital wing they did not get too angry to continue a constructive conversation, seeking understanding rather than mutual destruction.

Your story exhibits good writing that flows well, with graceful sentences and details that contribute a lot. If I wanted to make this review even longer, I could cite many different sentences that work extremely well.

The vignettes at the end were well chosen. Marietta's brief encounter with Umbridge in the hall, illustrating that their relationship was irremediably damaged now, is not, I think, mentioned in the book, but it certainly could have happened and could have inclined her toward beginning to doubt her previously unquestioning support of the Ministry. Her moments on the train going home, as she reflects on the year just completed and how complicated and imperfect their lives were, grow nicely from the few words in the book recording this encounter. I loved the observation that she couldn't understand why Harry and Draco loathed each other and that perhaps it was because they were actually similar.

Thank you for not giving this story a Happy Ending, with everything wrapped up all neat and tidy. As is often true in real life, there was no real resolution; she just had to learn to live with the scarves, the makeup, and the scars, as the days and weeks went by and nothing was changed or ameliorated. No one lives Happily Ever After, and therefore we can all identify with it.

So let me say again Congratulations on your budding career as a fanfiction writer. It was a pleasure to read your story, and I hope that we will be reading a lot more of your work in the future.

 

The Butcher Pirate by minnabird
Rated: 6th-7th Years [Reviews - 3]

Summary: The year is 1717. Marja de Draak receives word that her brother has gone missing and takes a fast ship to Cochin, determined to find him. Once there, she finds more danger than she ever anticipated: all along that coast, travelers have learned to fear the name of Joris Janszoon, a pirate who believes he cannot be killed. And N. Vikram, the man investigating her brother’s case, is determined to see justice done. Fate has brought them together; now what does it have in store for them?



Categories: Historical Genre: Warnings: Violence

Word count: 1262 Chapters: 1 Completed: No
Published:
08/30/13 Updated: 08/31/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03/11/14 Title: Chapter 1: A Letter in the Night

Hi, Minna. This is Vicki of Slytherin, finally getting around to reading Chapter One of The Butcher Pirate, which you posted many months ago.

Your story is noteworthy for many features. First of all, the pace goes very fast. The writing is spare, with little descriptive detail. We readers rely on our own knowledge of history to imagine the domestic scenes of Amsterdam (though at what time period? 1600’s? 1700’s? 1800’s? Perhaps we will learn later.) But the spareness never prevents us from following the action, as I have seen in some other sparely-written stories.

The details of the background of the story, the potion-ingredient importing business, are fitted in neatly within the narrative, without needing to be inserted as a frank information dump, and because the story moves at such a rapid pace, we readers don’t have to spend a lot of time wondering what is going on and perhaps losing interest. Even the location, Amsterdam, is not revealed until the remark the docks of Amsterdam halfway down the page, though we might have guessed it from the name of the ship, Feniks, which, if we say it aloud, we realize is the Dutch form of Phoenix.

When your seaman says, “You’ll want to get down here once we’re underway. The captain doesn’t like passengers abovedecks when we go under. Too risky. You’d probably find it upsetting, anyway,” I wondered what we go under implied. To go underway? To go under sail? Not really, since Marja was still at the rail as the ship got underway, obviously under sail. His whole speech was not entirely understandable. But a few paragraphs later it became clear without requiring any explanation: like the Durmstrang ship, the Feniks submerges and promptly re-emerges at its destination. It was clever of you to seize upon, use, and expand this detail from The Goblet of Fire.

My impression is that this story will not have any connection to the canon of Hogwarts School except for being set in the milieu of the international wizarding community. So you will be weaving your story as a new creation, perhaps a rollicking adventure tale. In this first chapter you have established Marja as a strong, take-charge character, impatient and determined. I would like to see more detail, more extensive development in the forthcoming chapters, which will form the meat of the narrative. Surely even take-charge Marja will encounter setbacks, difficulties, and dangers.

Your Chapter End Notes are intriguing. They promise a story with a strong framework of setting, and anything that takes inspiration from Macbeth is bound to be deep. I hope that you will find the time to post the rest of the chapters.

 

The History Teacher by iLuna17
Rated: 6th-7th Years [Reviews - 7]

Summary: Maybe he didn’t just love history, maybe he loved being a history teacher.

Categories: Next Generation Genre: Warnings: Strong Profanity

Word count: 5914 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
08/31/13 Updated: 09/03/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 09/04/13 Title: Chapter 1: the story

Hi, Ellie. It is an honor to be the first person to write a review for this fine story by a member of my House. After I had read about a quarter of the way down the page, I had to scroll back to the top and make sure I wasn't dreaming -- the story is that good! Did I see the author's name correctly? Is this really Ellie? Your writing has improved astonishingly from the days of your very first stories. I always enjoyed them, lively and imaginative, but your skill in writing is improving by leaps and bounds.

What do I like about this story? The writing is so smooth and fluid. The narrative just flows, the sentences are well crafted, and nothing seems awkward or juvenile. With my editorial blue pencil in hand, I can't see any places to circle or underline.

The story is very tight. There's no wayward straying into off-the-topic matters, no bantering dialogue that serves no purpose, nothing that dilutes the focus or makes us doubt what the point is.

Thank you, thank you for treating Teddy, James, and the other students with as much seriousness and respect as you did. No hunky heart-throb with kaleidoscopic hair colors here! No wisecracking teaser here! You have rejected the tiresome stereotypes to show us characters with depth, wisdom, and real challenges, people who learn and grow and change.

Your story is meaty, the way I like stories, because the topics are serious -- an in-depth analysis of an historic era (clever how you meld Muggle and magical history) and a crisis of life choices, well couched in a lot of supporting details and giving us a vivid look into the prime function of Hogwarts -- the teaching (easy to forget about amongst endless scenes of people sneaking around the castle at night, hidden under an invisibility cloak and seeking adventures!)

My only suggestion: look back at the line "It crashed through Headmaster Sprout's window," and consider changing Headmaster to Headmistress. (We are talking about Pomona Sprout, aren't we?)

I really don't know how you find the time to do all you do and still manage to produce such great writing. It is a pleasure to read it.

Author's Response: Vicki!!!! It has taken far too long to respond to this, but I keep blushing and not finding words every time I try. If I'm being honest, this fic was going to remain a plot bunny at the back of my head forever, but Maple convinced me to write it. I didn't know that you read my first works, but I am beyond the point of blushing right now; it's amazing to hear that some of my work may have payed off. I definitely tried to keep it on focus, but there were certain things I had to squish in there for my own benefit (the 'if you're f**ked and you know it clap your hands' bit, to be specific).

On Teddy and James: I have found that the more I think about those characters, the more I wish J.K. elaborated on the epilogue. I feel like James would be under so much pressure (being the first born of 'The Chosen One' and all), and I think the prank thing would taper off rather quickly. Teddy, well, I think with the combination of Remus and Tonks in him, he'd be one sassy, but extremely intelligent person. I am so glad that you liked them.

Last year in school I had quite a different history class. We only covered from the big bang through the Black Plague, and we honestly did most of the teaching ourselves. Rome was a major topic, and as I'm a total math and architecture geek, I was drawn to the Pantheon. And then I thought about including it with wizardry - what if all the amazing architecture was aided by magic? I also kind of wanted to include normal, human things that every student goes through, especially if they're applying places.

Basically, I am beyond thrilled you enjoyed it and thank you for pointing out that niggle!

Ellie

 

Yew Were My Brother by Thestral Wings
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 4]

Summary: This is the tale of two brothers whose story is seldom recounted. Yet in their absence, our beloved hero might never have come to be. It is a story of fate, destiny, chance, good vs evil, brother vs brother.

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 2527 Chapters: 2 Completed: No
Published:
09/04/13 Updated: 09/17/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 09/06/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, Valerie,

This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I certainly enjoyed reading the opening chapter of your new story. I can't remember reading a story about the wands' having personalities, although we all know that "the wand chooses the wizard", implying that wands do have some sort of consciousness. (And I used that concept briefly in my own chaptered fic when I dared to say that Harry's wand chose a particular book for him.)

Your story posits that 1.) the wand's "brain" is in its core rather than in its wood, and 2.) wands are remarkably sentient beings, able to see things, feel emotions, ask themselves questions, and so on.

I checked out wands and wandlore in Harry Potter Wiki. It was stated there that wands do not think, although in your story they do. Since we can all agree, at least, that wands do not talk, who really knows whether or not they can think? As we are all free to form our own opinion on this point, I vote for yours!

This is an utterly charming story, at least in its opening chapter. And I see that it could be a very long story, given that Voldemort possessed his wand for a long time, through many momentous events. The wandmaker (Ollivander, I presume) is well characterized and well described. We can see his actions, through which we can judge what kind of person he is, but we can only guess (as the wand guesses) at his thoughts. Your description of the wandmaking process is both simple and fascinating. And through the careful details of the workshop and the garden outside, as glimpsed by the wand, we can easily envision the scene.

Your writing is smooth and graceful, with a tone of innocence well suited for a newly-created wand. The colorful story-telling draws us in, and the brisk pace keeps us going. I am looking forward to the coming chapters!

Author's Response: Wow! If I had known my little backstory about these two wands would bring about such a heart-warming review, I would have posted it years ago! I wasn't sure anyone was interested in my writing, so I stopped altogether. I was cleaning my computer files and found this story I had written but never submitted, and thought I'd submit just to see what came of it. I am truly touched that you enjoyed it. And I'm even more taken back that you prefer my version of this piece of wandlore over that of Harry Potter Wiki! If my fanfiction hobby wasn't a complete secret, I'd print your review and frame it over my desk as an inspiration to keep writing. Thank you most sincerely for taking the time to review.

 

Summary: Harry Potter takes on the Dark Lord in an epic quest with the fate of the world hanging in the balance...A poem celebrating Deathly Hallows, sung to the tune of R.E.M.'s "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)."

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 600 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
09/11/13 Updated: 09/15/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/16/14 Title: Chapter 1: And I Feel Fine

Hi, Leah,

This is Vicki of Slytherin House commenting on your crazily marvelous poem. It’s clever, flippant, tongue-in-cheek. I loved it. It reminded me of Peeves’ silly doggerel after Voldemort was defeated in the last chapter of Deathly Hallows. We could say that your poem is the Cliff’s Notes version of Deathly Hallows in six hundred words.

You have many good lines in this piece. My favorite is ”Neville slices up the snake, this is Chosen One’s big break”. Sometimes your poem rhymes, or sort-of rhymes, or doesn’t rhyme at all. The rhymes pop up at unpredictable intervals, at ends of lines or within a single line. I find myself thinking that maybe you have a future in rap. I would have liked to see even a few more rhymes, in the usual custom of rappers, but it was lots of fun just the way it was.

In case we were ever inclined to take the Harry Potter series more seriously than we should, as if it were some sort of profound pronouncement, your poem will bring us all back to our senses. I hope you will continue to write because I’m sure we will all enjoy whatever you produce.

Good job :)

 

Remembrance Day by Bellatrix de Strange
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: At the one yearly anniversary of The Battle of Hogwarts, Harry is asked to say a few words- those words not being nitwit, blubber, oddment or tweak. Here is a poem he reads.

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 136 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
09/13/13 Updated: 09/15/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/16/14 Title: Chapter 1: Remembrance Day

Hi, Bibi,

This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on your lovely little poem Remembrance Day.

It’s a short poem, not lots of words, but with a controlled structure that does not ramble. Each of the five verses has a clear and distinct focus, so that you say a lot in twenty short lines.

The repetition of “One year ago” at the beginning of each verse ties the verses together, and then it is topped off by the sudden change in the expression of time, from “one year” to “a thousand years”, and from “ago” (in the past) to “on” (in the future). This sudden change is a signal of what all the preceding lines meant, and leads us directly to the conclusion that we must draw.

Your style is simple, direct, and completely accessible. At a time like this (the one-year anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts), plain language is more appropriate and has more force than flowery or convoluted language would have had. You use plan but forceful words and phrases, such as “ruined”, “maimed”, “tatters”, “dismal”, “and finally good came out [on] top”. (I think you meant to have the word “on” in there, no?)

There are no absolute rhymes, but the poem has several cases of similar sounding words: forces-ashes, dismal-tunnel, top-job, and, best of all, apart-hearts. By having the best rhyme at the end, you give the end a little more punch. It feels as if the poem is wrapped up.

This was a nice job, and it deserves a review, so that you will know that the people who have clicked on your poem have also appreciated it. I hope that you will write more.

 

Summary: He does not speak of it afterward, and the few who are fool enough to ask once certainly never make that mistake again.

This is the buried memory of an evening close to a century ago.

Categories: Other Pairing Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 1056 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
09/14/13 Updated: 09/22/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/19/14 Title: Chapter 1: 1908

Hi, Jenny. I remember reading this story when it was just a 500-word drabble in TTB, dealing with Muriel in her youthful days and including a half-dozen specific nouns that were required to be worked into the story somewhere. (It was kind of fun to try to remember what those nouns were and hunt through the story for them.)

In canon, Aunt Muriel is represented in Deathly Hallows as a 107-year-old lady who is outspoken, opinionated, and insensitive to people’s feelings, and I see that you conceive of her as having the seeds of those qualities from her youth. Your dialogue efficiently builds up from Muriel’s first casual remark to the shouting and insulting match, which progresses surprisingly quickly, with no evidence of any attempt to prevent the escalation. Your vivid descriptive words of her appearance and actions during this argument make the scene easy to envision. Armando was lucky that this scene occurred before the wedding, not after.

You depict Muriel’s self-centeredness and immaturity well. And even though you depict Armando as “shocked” at her refusal to embrace the effort and inconvenience of motherhood, you give a hint that today is not the first time he has seen this side of her, when he thinks must she always be so indifferent, so unsympathetic?

Muriel is eighteen years old in this story, and Armando has loved her since he was sixteen. That’s only how long? Two to four years (depending on his age)? He’ll get over it, even if he thinks his heart is breaking now. (From your description of her dramatic exit, I doubt that her heart was breaking.)

As is your custom, you write smoothy and gracefully, with variety in your sentence structures and a rich vocabulary. There is good balance between dialogue, action and description, not too embellished, not too spare, no pointless digressions that divert the focus from the plot. This story is a good example of how a drabble, which is always necessarily spare because of the word limitation, can be expanded into a satisfying little slice of life. Nice job.

Vicki

 

Last Moments by LittleGinny
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 4]

Summary: Less than a year since the Battle of Hogwarts, the Order of the Phoenix is still hunting down the last of the Death Eaters. Harry, Ron and Hermione are involved in these captures, of course. Ginny is also a part of the team, having convinced Harry that she can protect herself. It is just a routine raid to capture a group of undercover Death Eater and the numbers are even. But what if something goes wrong?

**Very short one-shot**

**Follows Book 7 cannon but disregards epilogue**



Categories: Harry/Ginny Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Epilogue? What Epilogue?

Word count: 1127 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
09/15/13 Updated: 09/22/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/16/14 Title: Chapter 1: Last Moments

Hi, Kate. This is Vicki from Slytherin House. I read your story a few months ago, but didn’t write a review then. But a first story certainly deserves more than one review, so I give you some comments now.

Actually, this is a sweet little story, even though it involves violence. Your writing style is good, very fluid without being too wordy. There are no awkward sentences or questionable word choices. And although there is not a lot of description, I can still envision the scene easily.

My initial thought was that the structure of the situation is unlikely. I don’t imagine that Molly and Arthur would let Ginny join the Order; she is supposed to be in school. It’s more likely that the Aurors Office, rather than the Order, would be pursuing Death Eaters. The force sent against the Death Eaters would probably have been older, more experienced people rather than so many 17 to 20-year-olds. And the professors would not have been doing this; they would have been at school teaching.

But hey, this is fiction, not real life, and you can structure the situation anyway you want.

Your story starts off actively, with a bang, and that is how to capture our attention. The run-up to the present encounter is told as a little flashback, but interleaved with some descriptive lines of Ginny’s sensations in the fight, to keep us in the present; you do not allow the flashback to drag us away from the story of the present moment, and that is good.

Your battle scene is active and moves at a brisk pace. You have managed to make many things (and a good variety of things) happen in a short space of time. This gives us a sense of the fast, rather disorganized action. I thought to myself, when you listed the members of the Order who were present, They should have brought more manpower, and I see that you had them come to that same conclusion also. It was good to include that sentence Perhaps they had needed a stronger force after all, to indicate that the mistaken judgment was theirs, not the author’s!

You make your story interesting by including a marked change of pace from the chaos of battle to the suddenly calm second half of the story after Ginny has been struck. When she notices that “George” didn’t look scared or worried, the astute reader can instantly suspect that this is not George, but Fred, and when you mention that he has both ears, even the not-very-astute reader will realize that this is Fred. That is good. The final section of the story is much more appreciated when we know that Ginny is being supported and accompanied to the afterlife by the spirit of her beloved brother. Knowing it is Fred, we can understand what Harry is seeing as he approaches them. (Of course, if we are not-at-all-astute, you make sure, in the last line, that we figure it out.)

You refer to this as a little story, but you have packed a lot of information and action into a short span of words. That is a talent, not to talk all around your subject, not to drone on and on, or fail to tell the difference between sentences that advance your plot and sentences that are just filler. I see that you have some other story ideas also; I hope that you do write them down and submit them, and I hope that we readers will be more conscientious about writing reviews!

Author's Response: Thank you, Vicki! I loved reading your feedback, it is so helpful. I write strictly for pleasure (and only ever fanfiction, really) and most of the time have no idea what I'm actually doing. Your points have helped me realise some things for future stories. Thanks for taking the time for such a detailed review.

 

Exile Vilify by the opaleye
Rated: Professors [Reviews - 6]

Summary: Nell wasn’t sure where she was, but she cursed silently that she’d managed to Apparate into a nest of these vile human beings. But most human beings were vile. If they weren’t then she wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.

Don’t talk, never linger, stay invisible. On the run and alone, these are Nell Hawke's rules. As the threat of Voldemort reaches across Britain, all she wants is to keep her head down and attached to her neck. But when an unwelcome face from her past stumbles into her path, can the two Muggle-borns from opposing houses rally together to survive?



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

Word count: 9794 Chapters: 2 Completed: No
Published:
09/17/13 Updated: 05/13/14


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/10/14 Title: Chapter 1: All beings are exiles as a matter of course.

Hi, Julia. I am always happy to see something new by you, be it a drabble or a story, because I know it will be enjoyable.

You have chosen a thorny character as your main actor, establishing her personality from the very first sentence. It is easy to see why Nell has isolated herself from the other children on the playground in the first half of the chapter, given the verbal taunting that they torment her with, but in the second half of the chapter, when she is several years out of Hogwarts, she is still just as thorny and unfriendly, believing that most human beings are vile, and I am not sure why. Is it a protective personality shield that she put up around herself at an early age and has never learned to let go of? An attempt to wound other people first before they wound her? Her thought that she should stop being surprised at the lengths people would go to for a few extra Sickles gives us a hint that some particularly unpleasant thing has happened to her recently; perhaps we will learn about it via a flashback later. Meanwhile, I wonder why cheerful Patrick has chosen to stick with this perpetual sourpuss.

So far in the story, there’s not much plot. The section of the story dated 1982 establishes Nell’s personality and status as a Muggle-born witch, and the section dated 1997 establishes that she, like other Muggle-borns, is on the run from the Snatchers and the corrupt Ministry. The story summary doesn’t let slip much: two Muggle-borns (warning for sex) trying to survive (warning for violence). My impression from reading Deathly Hallows is that people on the run didn’t have any concrete plans (Harry, Ron, and Hermione being the exception as they hunted for Horcruxes), and that seems to be the case for Nell and Patrick also. So I wonder if the plot of the story will be what happens to them, rather than what they make happen.

Despite Carole’s earlier opinion that the idea of a Muggle-born Slytherin is preposterous, I would not say that it is too illogical to be a part of your story. Of course, if the members of Slytherin House could vote, they would never vote her into their House, but the fact is they have no vote, only the Sorting Hat has a vote, and it can be as arbitrary as it wishes.

But I agree with Carole about the gorgeous details in the first part of the chapter, the wonderful observations about the behavior of the children in the playground and the venom of the “mean girls” who torment Nell for fun. So true, even when all the children are Muggles, as we all know from our childhood memories.

Like all your work, stories or drabbles, the writing is smooth and graceful, easy to read, and leading us on to find out what happens next. Many authors whose chaptered fics I review abandon their very promising stories after writing only a few chapters, to the disappointment of all their readers, but I know we can count on you to carry us with you to the end.

Author's Response: Hi, Vicki! Sorry for taking so long to respond to this review. I love and dread getting reviews like this because it makes me feel great to receive one but also intimidated as to how to reply to such a well-thought response! Since I've recently got back into Nell's head, I finally feel adequate to reply. Yes, Nell is thorny but some people are, and I wanted to write a character who isn't particularly likeable. It irritates me that so many female characters must be amiable and optimistic to be considered likeable or worthy of being liked. Some people don't find it easy to get along with others or make friends and I think it's important to write those characters and to write them as MAIN characters too. Of course, this is only the beginning of the story. She has a lot of character development to go through! And I think she already has some likeable and relateable traits: she fiercely loves her family and wants to protect them at all costs, she also wants to save her own skin which is an entirely plausible thing to want. I don't think we can underestimate the impact loneliness and bullying can have on a child, so just because she's now an adult doesn't mean the way she was treated by her peers at primary and secondary school haven't shaped the way she continues to see the world. She has every right to think people are horrible in general - she was bullied as a Muggle and then she was sorted into a house that is not traditionally welcoming to Muggle-borns. Now she is being hunted by Death Eaters and the vile Snatchers for sport (the people who will do anything for a few extra Sickles). And, of course, as much as she hates to admit it, she's frightened. Fear makes people irritable. As for plot, I suppose you will have to keep reading to find out. There is a plot, there is a plan, there is an ending already written, and I promise to update this more regularly! Thanks so much for your review, I hope to see more from you as the story progresses! Julia x

 

Voices from Beyond the Veil by minnabird
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 3]

Summary: Past Featured StoryIt's Halloween night - the night when the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. Deep below the Ministry, in the Department of Mysteries, Millicent Bulstrode might finally find some answers about her former partner.

This story was nominated for Best Dark/Angst in the 2014 Quicksilver Quill Awards.

Categories: Dark/Angsty Fics Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Mild Profanity, Suicide

Word count: 2003 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
09/24/13 Updated: 09/24/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/15/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Merlin’s beard, Minna! This story deserves a rip-snorting review. I am taken aback by it.

First of all, the subject is so unusual; at least, I have never read anything about the Department of Mysteries and the work that is done there, or the employees who work there. All we know about that place is the vivid episode in The Order of the Phoenix, which was sufficiently confusing for me that I had to re-read those chapters in the book, putting special emphasis on trying to picture and memorize the physical layout of the department, to make it a little less of a surrealistic dream (or nightmare). So while your story is not a Missing Moment, it definitely takes its impetus from that one moment in the Harry Potter saga.

Interestingly, your story depicted the DoM workers as not mystical-minded but scientific-minded, which was a surprising choice for such a weird place, and yet it makes perfect sense, if one can just get beyond the impression that “This place is really weird.” The implication is that many very mysterious things (time, death, the human brain, etc) are being studied there in stringent fashion. The description of Millicent’s office brings to mind the little, ordinary office that was mentioned in OotP as being located off the Time Room.

I admire how you kept this story from being soppy or even extremely angsty. You depict Millicent as the consummate researcher, approaching the question of deciphering the whisperings from beyond the veil with a scientist’s curiosity but objective self-control. The “breathless wonder” and “goosebumps breaking out on her arms” are signs of scientific excitement, but not loss of control. But she subsequently discovers, as scientists often do, that the research isn’t leading anywhere very fast, but the slowness of the progress does not bother her; she says “That’s what this job is.”

You draw distinct differences in your characterizations of Millicent and Justin, and make it clear in the couple of expository sentences describing the two possible fates of DoM employees, either losing themselves in the pursuit of mysteries or abandoning the profession altogether. Apparently there is a third alternative, a striking of a balance such as what Croaker has achieved, and at first that is what Millicent seems to be aiming for. She thinks that with sensible precautions (the chained chair) she can deal with the possibly more revealing results that can be obtained by listening to the whispers of departed spirits on Hallowe’en night. A sensible, scientifically reasonable hypothesis.

She is not really prepared for how she reacts when, probably beyond her actual expectations of success for this particular experiment, the attempt actually works and she does manage to converse with Justin a little bit. It was interesting that you chose to have her emotions be anger at his having left her and his friends, not longing for him or a momentary impulse to join him; your choice was completely appropriate, both for her character and for what may be a common reaction when a person deliberately ends his or her own life. And it is appropriate that she ends the conversation then; what else was there to say?

So while “..she didn’t much like [the] idea,” she takes a break, maybe only temporary, because she rationally knows she needs some time off to deal with what she has been through.

You have kept Millicent very much in character throughout this story. Nice job there. The story is well structured; the flashbacks alternating with present-time narrative work well. My only comment is about the phrase “…her mind wandering again to the past.” It’s perfectly clear, and I have used that kind of phrase myself, but it seems like a stock phrase for signaling the reader that a flashback is coming up, and I wish we had a fresher way of saying that.

I am glad that you did not obscure the focus of the story by filling it up with descriptive details (we can read OotP for that) or excessive rumination about Millicent’s every thought; these things can clog up the storytelling, and in the end the storytelling is our reason for being here, in my opinion.

Very, very nice job.

Vicki/Oregonian

 

Blush by Ithinkrabis2people
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 3]

Summary: Confidence can be misleading.
*
This is Alex/Ithinkrabis2people of Ravenclaw, and this is my one-shot for the final of ‘So this is Romance’ class over at the Mugglenet Fanfiction Beta Boards.

Categories: Other Pairing Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 1851 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
09/27/13 Updated: 09/28/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/18/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi Alex. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I came across this story which you wrote for the Summer Term classes, and I hope your professors gave you high marks because it is a good little story.

I like the image of Fleur taking matters into her own hands and Bill not being put off by her frankness. The roots of her forthrightness are seen in canon: she first lays eyes on Bill in about June of 1995, goes to work at Gringott’s (where he works) shortly thereafter, summons up her boldness to approach him, as outlined in this story, and is engaged one year later. One might assume that a girl with Veela blood could have her pick of the countless young men who would throw themselves at her, but she ignores them to pursue the one man that she herself has chosen, in a planned, proactive way. Thus she is depicted as having a strong and focused character, completely at odds with the bubblehead image that Bill’s family has of her.

I will admit that I was not entirely sure what Fleur was talking about in the paragraph that begins with her saying “But only wiz some…charm.” When she says,”I wanted to be sure eet was me zis time. I wanted to be in control,” is she saying that she wanted to control who she would be in a romantic relationship with, and that she wanted to be loved for herself, not as an object? In a previous review, Lori speaks of the downside of having Veela blood, and I think that that is a point some readers can identify with; in the real world, it doesn’t take Veela blood to attract a bunch of suitors who want to feed off your success, wealth, fame, glamour, power, even, yes, beauty (if you are so lucky as to have these qualities), and trying to distinguish between the true friends and the leeches can be a real problem. It is perceptive of you to deal with this issue.

The sudden jump in the story from Bill and Fleur’s conversation on the steps of the bank to the scene, one year later, at the Delacour home works very well; there is no need to present any of the intervening courtship because everything necessary was said on the steps. Details of the courtship would have just been filler.

I was amused by the contrast between the Bill that we know, with long hair and a fang earring, and the Bill who is visiting M. Delacour with a ring box in his pocket. His behavior at this moment seems very old-fashioned; I can almost picture him going down on one knee when Fleur appears unexpectedly in the room. But for me the significant moment at the end is not the fact that Bill is about to propose to Fleur; it is the fact that she dates the beginning of their life together from the day when Bill took her on a tour of London, which was shortly after she arrived there, which was shortly after she left Hogwarts where she had met him for the first time. She obviously had the perception to recognize quality when she saw it and the courage to seize it.

This is a thoughtful piece, even though you do not spend a lot of time in the characters’ inner reflections; the story is told through their serious words and actions. I like that sort of story, because that is how we get to know people in real life: by their words and actions. Nice job.

 

Summary: Sybill Trelawney learns to live with her Inner Eye, cooking sherry, and Minerva McGonagall, in that order. (Friendship fic.)

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: Substance Abuse

Word count: 8214 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
09/28/13 Updated: 09/30/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/10/14 Title: Chapter 1: Sybill Trelawney and the Unexpected Gift

Hello, Squibstress. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, giving you a tardy review (tardy because I read this story when it first appeared and failed to tell you then how much I liked it) of your wonderful story.
Although it is long and complicated, it still remains completely canon-compliant; it is one of those stories that one prints off and saves in a binder of appendices to the seven books.

You story accomplishes a difficult and yet crucial task: to make the character of Sybill Trelawney understandable and respected. In the seven books, she seems almost wacky, nothing but a figure of fun, and the one or two actual predictions that she makes are so unlike everything else she is presented as doing, that they seem to be Out Of Character. In the books she seems to have no redeeming qualities; she is the comic relief, in a way that no other character is.

I have observed that in “children’s literature”, the author often begins by conceiving of his characters and setting lightheartedly, with no gravitas (e.g. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”), and increases the seriousness of the tone of his ongoing story as he begins to realize its depth, resulting in some unevenness of tone. Sometimes the author goes back and rewrites parts of the story, as Tolkien did with Chapter Five of The Hobbit, to raise those parts to the level of the rest of the work, and that is what I feel you have done here with your treatment of Sybill Trelawney. This is an important contribution to the canon.

What you have given us is a fascinating look into an aspect of the magical world that JK Rowling touches only slightly. The seven books tell us little more than that the Gift does exist, because Sybill exhibits it once or twice, but you have given an explanation about how the whole business of Divination functions. You sum it all up neatly in the short sentence of dialogue by Professor Dorsett: “You can’t use your Gift; it uses you.” That explains a lot. Your analysis of how it works makes a lot of sense.

I very much enjoyed how you interwove scenes from the books involving Sybill into your narrative, in order to tack your story firmly to canon. It was fun to search out these scenes as written by JKR and compare what she wrote (as seen through Harry’s eyes) with your version as seen through Sybill’s. Perhaps that is why Sybill emerged as a figure of fun in the seven books: because we were necessarily seeing everything through Harry’s eyes and could not see her inner self until you graciously spelled it all out for us.

Your characterization of Minerva intrigued me. You depict her as sharp and acerbic even as a seventeen-year-old Head Girl (though she could be friendly with her friend Gussie). In her dealings with Sybill as an adult, Minerva doesn’t seem to have much, if any, of the milk of human kindness in her. Her whole attitude is summed up in your line “…Minerva said something acid.” If she had a kindly or softer side, we don’t see it. By contrast, Professor Dorsett, who has friendly tea parties with Sybill, is kind and understands what is happening to Sybill; Minerva does not. I get the impression that Minerva is dismissive of Sybill because she does not understand. Unfortunately, it is easy to be dismissive of what you don’t understand.

You story recounts Minerva’s apparent change of heart towards Sybill, when she helps Sybill in the entrance hall, but neither JKR nor your story explains why. Nevertheless, after years of obvious lack of respect, Minerva suddenly becomes kinder and after Professor Dumbledore’s death she speaks as if she finally believes that Sybill does have Sight. Neither Sybill nor the reader understands why this change of attitude and behavior occurred.

I enjoyed your little touch of having Minerva say, in the end, that the teaching of Divination would be discontinued. If in truth one either had the Gift or one didn’t, and it could not be taught, then I wonder why the Hogwarts administration took so long to come to this decision. Institutional inertia, I guess.

It is a feat to cover an entire life in 8000 words without being episodic or choppy, and though you show only selected scenes from her life, these scenes flow smoothly one into the next. You writing is skillful and graceful. It was a pleasure to read your story.

Author's Response: And I have a tardy response (my apologies--my hard drive crashed and I've been setting up a new computer and trying to catch up with work, so I'm tardy with just about everything at the moment.) Thanks so much for your detailed review. One of the best aspects of writing for fests is that it gives one a chance (read: forces one) to look at new characters and situations. I've never been particularly interested in Sybill, as I share Minerva's disdain for her discipline, so this was a lovely challenge. I really wanted to find a way to make her something more than a figure of derision, so I'm especially happy if readers find her more interesting than she perhaps was in canon. I write Minerva a lot, and it was also fun to write her from Sybill's POV, which is probably why the acerbic aspect of her character is so prominent here. Thanks again for the thoughtful review.

 

The Alliance of Adversaries by Ruby Emeralds
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 16]

Summary: Fresh after the defeat of Voldemort, the wizarding world is in a near state of panic when an elusive band of wizards are targeting and assassinating accused Death Eaters before their high-profile trials. The Wizengamot is upset that justice is being obstructed; the Ministry of Magic is concerned that they appear weak in the eyes of its citizens; the overworked Aurors are fending off accusations of incompetence, since they cannot catch the mysterious perpetrators. Kingsley Shacklebolt, the newly elected Minister of Magic, comes to Azkaban to convince cellmates Severus Snape and Lucius Malfoy to assist a team of Aurors with their unproductive investigation, in exchange for a temporary release from prison.

Categories: Mystery Genre: Warnings: Alternate Universe, Book 7 Disregarded, Mild Profanity

Word count: 25301 Chapters: 3 Completed: No
Published:
09/30/13 Updated: 11/21/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 10/04/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

This story has a sparkle to it with its lively dialogue, refreshingly original premise, colorful details, and good characterization of the two unfortunate prisoners. Their distinct personalities show up very well. Although this first chapter is mostly dialogue, there is enough action to keep the pace going well, and nothing seems superfluous; the characters are not saying the same things over and over. And I appreciate the undercurrent of humor that comes close to the surface from time to time.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of this story.

Vicki

Author's Response: Dear Vicki ~ Thank you so much for your sweet and complimentary review! :) I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the first chapter. The next chapter, which should be approved and posted within the next couple of days, will see Lucius, Snape, and the two Aurors (any predictions?) begin their joint investigation into the murders. I really appreciate your enthusiasm for the story! :) Happy Reading! Smiles, Ruby Emeralds

 

Island Fortress by William Brennan
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 2]

Summary: In a world where a Reich openly supported by Grindelwald won the Second World War, Britain is one of the few free countries left in Europe. Its people live in constant fear of the end of the world (otherwise known as nuclear war with the Greater Wizarding Reich) and the pro-Reich Todessen led by Voldemort. But when Voldemort makes his attempt on Harry Potter's life, the results are somewhat different.

Categories: Alternate Universe Genre: Warnings: Violence

Word count: 2900 Chapters: 1 Completed: No
Published:
10/15/13 Updated: 10/22/13


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/14/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, William. I am glad that you have started a new story because a good story based on World War II will always capture my attention. Plus, my son’s name is William, so I am prejudiced in favor of all Williams.

What a treat to see you using the familiar components of the Harry Potter story in such a novel reconfiguration; it reminds me of those children’s books with different animal body parts on separate little pages that can be flipped to produce an infinite variety of fantastic animals. We are left intensely curious about how the familiar story elements are going to be further repurposed. Suddenly all bets are off. This story could go anywhere.

You have flipped the switch on the Statute of Secrecy also, resulting the complete and open co-operation between Muggles and the wizarding community. This is actually refreshing; that statue had a stultifying feel to it, and it is good to see that people have finally come to their senses about partnering their forces in order to maximize their effectiveness. Wizard-Muggle collaboration must stick in Grindelwald’s craw, no?

The timeline of the story needed some close attention to follow it accurately. The story seems to progress by leaps and bounds, part one comprising World War II from 1944 to 1948; then the second part appears to be war-training games on the grounds of Hogwarts in the late 1970’s; part three, the death of the policemen in Manchester, seems to be undated: and the final part, the evacuation of the Dursleys and the fostering of Harry, is set in 1981, I presume. This leapfrogging takes us quickly from World War II to the beginning of Harry’s life, after which I expect time will progress more slowly.

The pace of your story is very brisk, with continuous action. We learn about the characters by what they say and do, not by mental reflections, ruminations, and reminiscence. All the verbs are active verbs. There is an almost total lack of description, but we don’t miss it amidst all the action; it would just slow down the pace, and anyway we’ve all seen World War II movies, so we know what it looks like.

Your writing style is terse, but I like that. There are definitely no wasted words. Here’s a good example: A search turned up nothing. When a wizard arrived, he was able to confirm that they had taken a Portkey out. Now that information could have been expanded into one or more paragraphs, but doing so would not have improved it any.

There’s a lot of imagination in this story, but that has been true for your other writing too, so I am not surprised. You left an enjoyable story unfinished last year (or maybe it’s just in suspended animation); I hope that this story will keep going to its unpredictable end.

Vicki

 
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