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Oregonian [Contact]

As my pen name suggests, I'm an American, living in Oregon. I started writing in 2012, just because I had a story (The Baby in the Closet) that I wanted to tell, but since then I have been trying to learn to write better by taking classes at the local college, reading some really useful books on fiction writing, and following their advice. Hopefully it's working!

I like to study history, languages, and science. I try to stretch my writing skills by entering challenges and forcing myself to write to prompts that I would otherwise not write, although Romance, Marauders, and Quidditch are topics I can't write well (so I avoid them). I am a registered nurse and have a daughter and a son.

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Reviews by Oregonian

A Passing Fancy by HalfASlug

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The Yule Ball is on the horizon and Neville knows only one girl that he wants to go with. GoF missing moment.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/10/14 Title: Chapter 1: one-shot

Hi, H. S. I have concluded that you are the Master of the Missing Moment. I will have to print this story off and put it in my binder next to Seven Simple Years, to keep the binder up-to-date.

Neville is a character who has always surprised us, and in this story, true to his nature, he shows his fourteen-year-old courage by asking not just one but two girls to the Yule Ball. Your line Come on, Longbottom! Think Gryffindor! is inspired. Although he never says those words in the seven books, we can easily believe that he has been thinking them, over and over, in countless situations.And though you depict him as thinking that he doesn’t have a plan of action, he obviously does,

lying awake at night in anticipation, thinking about it during Binns’ class, chasing Hermione out the door so as not to lose her at the end of class, using his mental mantra to encourage himself, and saying something,, even though he didn’t have his speech memorized. In this way you depict Neville as different from the masses of adolescent boys who just behave randomly, never thinking more than five minutes ahead.

In vivid contrast to Neville’s positive action, you plainly show his nervousness and trepidation, with concrete details like his inability to sleep or take notes, and his tentative opening conversation with Hermione. This contrast is very effective.

You also differentiate Neville from Harry and Ron in that you show Neville taking timely action, not procrastinating like Harry and Ron, even though asking a girl was not easier for Neville that it was for the other boys. Perhaps the difference is that Ron and Harry, each having a best mate to discuss the matter with, spend all their time discussing instead of doing, whereas Neville, not having a best buddy, forges ahead, as if he is trying to outrun his own cold feet.

Your characterization of Hermione is so appropriate. You show her very kind heart and her genuine liking for Neville, and also her dedication to using every opportunity as a teaching moment, explaining at length to Neville a philosophy about asking girls out. She has it thoroughly analyzed and is eager to help him.

I had to smile about your clever way of opening the story, alternating lines about Neville with four lines, all very interesting, about the history of Gutnik the Greedy. It is plain that these history lessons could have been lively and exciting; the fact that the students were going to sleep in class emphasizes how soporific Pressor Binns’ delivery must have been, if he could make even Gutnik sound boring!

This is just a short little story, but it reveals a little about Binns, some more about Hermione, and a lot about Neville. It is fun to see how much can be said, and revealed, about a five-minute seemingly unremarkable Missing Moment. Thanks for writing.


Dark and Light by 1000timesingoldenink

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: In which Ron encounters some very strange things while staying in a Muggle hotel in America.

Nominated for Best Post-Hogwarts in the 2014 QSQs.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 07/11/13 Title: Chapter 1: more fluff

Hi, Jenny. This is Vicki, here to say that I was really happy to read your story set in the context of the Fourth of July, which so many Americans say is their favorite holiday, surpassing even Christmas (for many reasons). And it was really neat that your story was posted just a few days before the holiday, when we were all in the mood. (I'm sure you must have planned it that way.)

There were lots of things that I liked about this story. The structure was good, the first half being like a mystery (what's going on?) and then the second half evolving into an exploration of what this holiday implies in a much larger sense. You are lucky to have your history-nerd brother to help you with the background, but you did a wonderful job in developing those bare facts into the moral discussion that runs through the latter half of the story.

Your characterizations of Ron and Hermione were spot-on. Hermione gives Ron a lot of information, but in a succinct way, not going on and on or overwhelming him (and us readers) with too much detail. And she doesn't talk down to him or belittle him for not knowing this stuff already; this makes her seem very lovable, and fits in perfectly with her caring personality that we know so well.

Ron praises Hermione for having so much factual knowledge, but I like the fact that you show that he's pretty smart too, in recognizing the philosophical conclusion "It's not always just good or evil...", and seeing how that philosophy applies to so many different situations.

(I was glad to see that you completely avoided the common stereotypes of Hermione as a bickering, critical shrew and Ron as a clueless oaf. The Ron and Hermione that you depict are much more believable, as maturing adults who have grown beyond their adolescent selves.)

Your descriptive passages of the hotel room were just right. We have all been in Ron's place, looking out the big windows onto the night scene below, with the streetlights and the occasional passing car. It is so easy to see in the mind's eye, and I loved your description of the heavy drapes and the thin curtains -- only in a hotel room! There was a tone of gentle, sympathetic humor in your treatment of Ron's experience with the Muggle world, and I smiled when Ron momentarily wondered if someone had cast the Dark Mark.

I particularly admired your brief phrase "...she transferred into textbook mode." So succinctly and gracefully put.

Finally, the moral discussion in the latter half of your story is what lifts the story high above merely an entertaining piece about Ron's not recognizing fireworks. I went back through the story and listed all the examples you had subtly managed to tuck in: wizarding world vs. Voldemort, British vs. Americans, British vs. Irish, wealthy merchants vs. ordinary people, and people of varying opinions regarding elf rights. That's pretty impressive because it all flowed naturally, and the effect was to make Ron seem wise and reflective. I, and probably others, have wondered what a smart girl like Hermione saw in Ron, enough to make her want to marry him. Your story suggests that, at an intellectual level, they did have more in common than we may have surmised.

You are to be congratulated for taking an amusing little episode from your own life and expanding it so imaginatively into this philosophical piece. Being one of those Americans whose favorite holiday is Independence Day, I enjoyed your story thoroughly. Good job!

Author's Response: Oh my goodness, what an amazing review! Thank you so much, Vicki! I'm glad you liked the R/Hr dynamic here--Ron is so often given the role of loyal friend to Harry, or just comic relief, that it feels like we rarely see the rest of his personality. Characterization and relationships between characters, far more than plot, seem to be the centerpieces of my fics. The moral discussion was actually not really a part of the original idea for the fic, but I couldn't figure out how to end it, so I started thinking about using the fireworks as a metaphor for something...and I think it ended up improving the fic significantly! I guess part of it came from having often heard a point made by people less enthusiastic about Harry Potter than I--that the Harry Potter books have no moral grey area (except Snape). This fic is, in part, my answer to that. And, although I may lament the fact that my brother is not the most eager audience when it comes to my mathematical rants, I am definitely grateful for his wealth of history understanding, which he is happy to share with me. I wish I had time to respond more at length...Thank you, again, for your lovely review!

The Mirror of Erised by beth1191

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Severus Snape's thoughts when he looks in the Mirror of Erised. One-shot.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/27/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, Bethany. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I really enjoyed your story because it is refreshingly different. When we encounter the Mirror of Erised in the first book, I think we regard it as a source of fascinating entertainment for children, but you thought of its being used by a teacher also, and not just any teacher, but Professor Snape.

You have portrayed Snape as an interesting combination of sentimentality and logic. Logically, he knows that Lily is dead and that the image in the mirror stems from his own imagination. He knows that her image says and does only the things he wants her to say and do; it talks only because he wants it to talk. This knowledge breaks through in the conversation when his mind causes the image to say, “I’m as real as you want me to be.” But sentimentally Severus cannot stay away from the Mirror; hopeless love temporary overrules his logic. I liked your statement that, although Dumbledore did not approved of Severus’ use of the mirror, “Dumbledore couldn’t understand…no matter what he said.” When in the clutches of strong emotion, we all believe that no one else could understand our feelings. And in the final paragraphs of your story, you show him wavering between wanting to believe that if he had “played his cards right,” he and Lily could have been a family, and knowing the bare truth that that would never have happened under any circumstances.

You make several interesting points in your story. For one thing, Snape is usually depicted as blaming himself for telling Voldemort the prophecy, as if that were the only thing that led to Lily’s death. But in your story Snape also thinks that calling Lily “mudblood” drove her into James Potter’s arms and to her death; other writers don’t mention this.

Another point not usually mentioned is the idea that Snape never imagined that Lily would be willing to die for her child; he “could not understand that, not completely.” This makes perfect sense. It is a reflection of his own childhood, when he believed, with good reason, that his parents, or at least his father, did not love him and would not have died for him. That kind of parental love is completely outside his realm of experience.

The only part of your story that I hesitated over was the final line, “Part of her had always belonged to James Potter.” I don’t think that this can be interpreted as meaning that she always loved Potter, deep down, because she didn’t. It ties in with your line early in the story “…he could see why she would end up with a guy like Potter. A girl like her, she would always be too good for a man like himself.” The key words are “…a guy like Potter.” Not necessarily Potter himself, but someone in his social class.

The flow of your writing is good, and you have packed a lot into this fairly short story. A couple of things that seemed a little repetitious: stating in five places, fairly close together, that Lily was smiling, and stating seven times, fairly close together, that one of them loved the other. But this is not serious.

This story is just a tiny glimpse, one little moment, and it could fit into the canon at any point over a wide range of time. But it gives us one more unexpected peek at Snape’s character and is certainly believable. Snape was a complex character, perhaps the most complex of all of them, and much can be speculated about him. Thank you for writing.

Goodbye by phoenix_tearPatronus

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: It's time for Ted to turn and face his fate.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/15/14 Title: Chapter 1: Goodbye

Hah! And I was going to write this review for no rewards at all, but now that I see that you’re really handing out cookies…

Hi, Abi. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, and I’m not just cadging for cookies when I say that your poem has a sparkle, a spirit that gives it life. It has a lively pace, with plenty of active verbs. And it tells a lot of story within twenty compact lines. There are no wasted words here, no unnecessary redundancy (hence the lively pace).

We see Ted Tonks’ essential nature in these lines:

“You tell them to run; you tell them not to wait.”
“You will not give them the satisfaction of a win, so you turn to face them with a defiant grin.”
“You try to buy your friends some precious time.”

All those lines reveal Ted’s character. He is brave, gallant, down-to-earth. He recognizes when his time is up, he makes his last moments count for something, and he hopes his wife will survive to see the dawn of the peace that he has been fighting for.

Your poem has a very storytelling nature: a few details to set the scene, a rapid series of events, tension and danger, a climax and inevitable bittersweet ending. There is a strict rhyme scheme, but not a strict meter; that adds to the narrative feel of the piece.

And I liked the tie between verses two and five, where Ted mentions “those to whom your blood is a sin” and then again “your supposed crime”. Referencing the first phrase with the latter phrase helps keep the poem from having a rambling feel.

All in all, I enjoyed this poem; this tiny moment in the Harry Potter history is a good choice for a poem. Perhaps there will be another poetry class this summer and you will be able to work on your poetry some more.

(Will accept cookies now.)

Author's Response: Oh wow, I've only just seen this! Thank you so much for the kind words, and I'm very glad you enjoyed it as poetry is not something I'm used to writing. You are very much welcome to some cookies now =)

For the Man on the Street by Nagini Riddle

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Merope Gaunt changes when she sees Tom Riddle, and it causes her own simple dreams to suddenly take on a life of their own that she feels she must fulfill...
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/20/14 Title: Chapter 1: To the Man on the Street

Hi, Nagini,

Here is another of your tiny gems, a poem about Merope’s yearning for Tom Sr when she fixes her hopes on the almost-unattainable person who could give her the one thing she longs for.

Your first verse is an introduction, an overview of the basic principle of a neglected and abused girl longing for love. How true: “In life, the paths of wanton love unseen consume the mind…” Then we segue into Merope’s own voice. She is looking for freedom from her life of neglect and abuse, and then there it appears, walking down the street, in the person of Tom. The poem is just her fervid imagination, her hope and dream for love and tenderness. She isn’t asking for much — a touch and a kiss.

The last line shows that the escape from her past is as important a goal as is the gaining of love and affection, and the second-to-last line shows that, at this point, she is already, out of desperation, planning to use a love potion because she knows he would never love her for herself. This is so tragic, a disaster in the making.

This poem is very accessible, but the one line that I am still puzzling over a bit is “His presence but the notion of conceit.” What do you mean by “conceit”?

Your meter is strictly adhered to, and your rhymes are good — exact or nearly so. You have adhered well to the sonnet form, and the subject is a serious, philosophical one which we associate with sonnets. The language is a little old-fashioned, but uniformly so; you never jar the mood by including too-modern phrases.

So I would say that this poem is very successful. As I recall, much of your Merope writings are less reflective and more factual, the stark description of Merope’s tragic final months or days. This is interesting for being a glimpse of her before she set out on her final, fatal path. Thank you for writing.


Author's Response: Concerning "conceit:" I meant it more as he is the very idea of pride, as Tom really does seem to embody pride. At the same time, "conceit" means a fanciful notion or idea, or perhaps dream, so in a way, the word is twofold: it shows that Tom is the embodiment of pride and also an embodiment of her dreams. I also tend to use old-fashioned language for sonnets, or for most of my poetry, for that matter. :p I suppose it may be because it sounds smarter to me, but of course, I need to make sure that I use it correctly, or I just look like someone who is trying too hard and failing. But yes, most of my Merope poetry focuses on the aftermath of her decisions, and I wanted to show this time around the lead up to her decisions and focus on why she did what she did, and the fact that she already had in her mind of escape when Tom came along was a way to emphasize that she would do anything to get away. Thanks for reading and reviewing! I really am enjoying these spree of in depth reviews... 0.o I look forward to more! ~Nagini

To Lose a Love by Theloonyhermione

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: He’s already lost someone, and that was one too many. He’s not going to see the last thing he has go.

Theloonyhermione's final for the D/A class on the boards.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03/16/14 Title: Chapter 1: To Lose a Love

Hi, Emma. I enjoyed coming across this sweet little story of yours, which, although short, packs a lot into its limited word-count.

I like the structure of the story, alternating the present time (after Luna has been taken by the Death Eaters) and past time (the events of her mother’s death). It had not occurred to me before that these two losses are parallels for her father Xenophilus. Your writing style is spare, with no extra verbiage, but every sentence does its duty. The old story, printed in italic type, is all narrative, and thus it contrasts with the present-day story, in Roman type, which is mostly his thoughts, but presented very matter-of-factly. The simple presentation makes this gentle story shine.

Your detailed, lively, imaginative description of the fatal accident that took Mrs. Lovegood’s life is vivid, and even though it’s tragic, it’s charming too, up to the moment of the tragedy, and appears to reflect her light-hearted spirit, which Luna seems to have inherited, in lines like “Luna’s bare feet scampered outside…

It makes sense now how Xenophilus is affected so strongly by the loss of his daughter because he has already experienced the loss of his wife. I had not realized until I read your story, how tightly these two events are related for him, to the point of his being willing to betray Harry, Ron, and Hermione in order to get Luna back again. But it struck me a little odd that he had burned all the memorabilia and photos of his late wife; I am mystified as to why he thought that this was the best way of dealing with grief. I liked your explanation of how he came to realize that all this destruction was a bad idea after all. In general, your characterization of Xenophilus is good; he seems a bit more human, not just the eccentric wedding guest and the nervous would-be betrayer of our Horcrux-hunting friends.

The use of tenses in writing this story, present, past, and past perfect, is sometimes inconsistent, and this distracts the reader’s attention just a little bit, not much; a beta reader who is a good grammarian could help polish this up.

I liked this little missing-moment story very much. Xenophilus had a small but important role to play in the larger story, so it is good to be able to understand him a little better. Nice job.

How to Tame Lions by dmbw7052

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: James tries to get Lily to be friends with him.

written for the Random Song Title Challenge in the PA
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 •
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.
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.


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 •
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.
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.

The Night Will Go As Follows by theDarkIsRising

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
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?
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 • Past Featured Story
Summary: Viktor 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.

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.

Marietta by wildiris21

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
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.
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 •
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?

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 • Past Featured Story
Summary: Maybe he didn’t just love history, maybe he loved being a history teacher.
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!


Yew Were My Brother by Thestral Wings

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
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.
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.

It's The End Of The World As We Know It by canufeelthemagictonight

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
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)."
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 •
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.
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.

With a Slammed Door and a Loud Crack by 1000timesingoldenink

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
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.
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.


Last Moments by LittleGinny

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
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**

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 •
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?

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