Penname: Oregonian [Contact]
Real name: Vicki
Member Since: 04/13/12
Beta-reader: No
Status: Member
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

Sanguini, the Vampire by teh tarik
Rated: 6th-7th Years [Reviews - 4]

Summary: Past Featured Story

Vampirism is the persistence and the perpetuity of the body, a madness of the mind, a gradual separation of the the two; one ages and one stagnates.

Sanguini, the vampire.

Categories: Dark/Angsty Fics Genre: Warnings: Abuse, Character Death, Mental Disorders, Mild Profanity, Sexual Situations, Slash, Substance Abuse, Violence

Word count: 8367 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
10/28/13 Updated: 10/31/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/14/14 Title: Chapter 1: A Revisionist Narrative of the English Vampire

My, My, Nicole. This is certainly an unusual story. And you say you rushed through it. I don’t think I could write something like this if I spent a week at it.

What strikes me first about your story is the lush verbiage, lush to the point of requiring a certain amount of just slogging through it. The story could be told more compactly, more tersely, but perhaps the effect of drawing out each thought as far as possible is that it gives the story a hypnotic effect, a slow and subtle unfolding. One can hear the vampire’s slow, dispassionate voice as if he were not in a hurry and had all the time in the world, which he almost does.

I have not read any popular literature featuring vampires, and JK Rowling does not discuss them in her seven books, so I have no feel for how vampires fit into the Potterverse. Your opinions on how they live, and what they do are as valid as anyone else’s. And there is a lot of imagination here: the Ministry blood banks (where do they get their supply of blood?), the communities of vampires living in the forest, the loss of memory.

Your story covers a long time span, at least fifty years, from Eldred as a young man in his twenties to Eldred as an old, unattractive man. The sentence I stayed with Eldred for many years is almost dismissive, as if many years is an inconsequential thing in a life that has spanned many centuries. To Eldred, David is a source of money-making material; to David, Eldred is a source of fresh blood that makes David feel miraculous and continuously lucid. One gets the impression that if David ever felt affection for any human being during his lifetime, that was long ago and no longer possible. This explains his murder of Eldred when Eldred was no longer useful to him.

I was not certain of the purpose of the episode in which David meets the vampire who he thinks mad ehim a vampire; I concluded that that purpose was to illustrate to David, and the readers, what David’s ultimate fate would be, immortal body but blank mind.

The encounter with Dennis in the pub forms bookends for the story, a frame, a person for the vampire to tell his story to, so that the readers can hear the story also. The implication is there that David is looking for another young person to be his source of fresh blood, so that he can feel again as he did with Eldred, miraculous and lucid. By naming a canon character, Dennis, you have tied the story at this one point to canon, but I was sorry that you had picked Dennis Creevey to be the tie, because the idea of Dennis or George becoming permanently despondent, depressed, and dysfunctional after the death of Colin or Fred seems overused. I cannot see Dennis wanting to stay permanently with David; after all, Dennis is not writing vampire books.

A very different story, that’s for sure. What inspired you to write it?


Author's Response: Hi there, Vicki!

My goodness, what a detailed and thoughtful and just absolutely wonderful review! Thank you so much for this; it really means a lot to me that you've taken the time to sit through the whole fic and read and leave feedback on my work. Apologies for the delay in responding to your review; I don't usually check for reviews when I come onto the site!

First, I'm not sure why I even chose to write this fic in the first place...? I think I read another Sanguini fic around here, and while I liked it very very much, it didn't seem to offer anything new on the subject and portrayal of vampires. I think the main reason of my writing this fic was to explore a super popular topic (vampires!) and see if I could fit this into the Potterverse.

As for the "lush verbiage", as you so eloquently put it, haha! You're right, most of it is unnecessary and unneeded; I could probably have knocked off 3,000 words from the fic and come up with something more compact and concise. But I did want to draw things out a bit, to expand on the mythology. OK, the main reason for the lengthy word count is because I just wanted to have a bit of fun with this fic and be a bit indulgent with the prose. I'm not usually so ill-disciplined with my writing; hence, this is a fic I really enjoyed writing. It's far from my best work, but still.

I love your comment on time, on how meaningless it is to Sanguini. That's most certainly true. How sad for him.

Thank you for this fantastic review, Vicki! It was a joy to receive.



Red is the color of death by Nagini Riddle
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 3]

Summary: The halls of Hogwarts are filled with pain, hatred, and death during the final battle.

Written for the 5th Annual Race to Halloween challenge.

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Mental Disorders, Violence

Word count: 160 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
10/30/13 Updated: 11/01/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/14 Title: Chapter 1: Red is the color of death

Hi, Nagini,

I am impelled to write a review of this older poem as we contemplate our joint battle creations, my recent story and your recent poem. I like this poem, as I like all your stuff. It has a different, narrower scope than your recent poem At the Battlefront, focusing on the blood, the anguish, and the loss of innocence.

Your first verse is the most literal, blood splashed all over in large quantity, so much that it evens reaches the water table. That is a lot of blood.

Then you become more figurative, attributing the color red to the all-enveloping anguish and pain that accompanies the battle. Of course it must be vivid, piercing red, not warm yellow or soothing light blue or lilac, or sweet pale pink, or the green hue of nature. I checked out the timeline of the battle, to see when the sun was falling, and it occurred at the point where Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave the lake where they fell from the dragon and return to Hogsmeade, to trigger the final battle, which extended through a night in which there seemed to be no winning and no hope.

The third verse touches on something not too often discussed: the inevitable loss of innocence by the participants who manage to survive. We see this foreshadowed when Harry Cruciates Amycus Carrow in the Ravenclaw tower and remarks, “I see what Bellatrix meant, you really need to mean it.”
By the end of the battle, the combatants have done things they never thought they would mean to do. You cannot fight, try to hurt, maim, or kill, without being permanently changed by it. You see some of the worst that the world has to offer; you learn that sometimes there are no good answers, just different degrees of bad. You learn that you are capable of doing things, both brave and violent, that you would never have expected. You are not the same person afterwards.

In verse four, lines two, three, and four reiterate the themes of verses one, two, and three, and then the red changes to black, implying in my mind that some combatants die, and everything turns black for them, and also that the spilled blood eventually dries up and turns black, as blood will do if it’s not cleaned away. The battle comes to some sort of an end, sooner or later, and the once-red blood becomes dry and black, a reminder of a terrible thing that happened in the past.

It almost makes one shudder, reading this poem and imagining the battle. Good job.


Author's Response: Happy Review Day to me! :) Thank you so much for this beautiful review!!!!! I am glad to see that you are reading my other battle poetry. I particularly liked this one, because I don't normally use metaphors in this manner, and therefore, it took a while to write for me, but in the end I was proud of it. I like your interpretations, too, and would like to add on to the black color interpretation in that it represents not only death, but an abyss, an emptiness, a nothingness. And good pick up on dry blood! :) Keep reading!!!! ~Nagini


Masks by L A Moody
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 3]


An Intrigue at the Ministry in Two Acts

With illusions and spells at their fingertips, crafting the perfect disguise is a simple matter. The true question is which wizard is truly standing before you. Confusion and catastrophe ensue.

This is L A Moody of Ravenclaw House writing for the Halloween/ Terrible Two-Shot Challenge, Prompt 2: The Masque of Red Death

Categories: Mystery Genre: Warnings: Character Death

Word count: 7604 Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes
11/06/13 Updated: 11/06/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/14/14 Title: Chapter 1: Act I Deployment

Hi, Lourdes. This is Vicki of Slytherin, commenting on your remarkable story Masks about the death of Minister Scrimgeour and the fall of the Ministry.

One scarcely knows where to begin. The story is as full of detail as The Garden of Earthly Delights or Where’s Waldo? The richness of the images boggles the mind, and the storyline is like a footpath through a jungle of lush foliage. (Maybe it seems strange to me because fancy dress balls are not as common in America as they seem to be in Britain, so it is harder for me to identify with the scene.)

You have come up with an elaborate plot to explain how the Death Eaters managed to assassinate so many members of the government at once, and it is elaborately presented. I was confused by Tonks, as I concluded you intended, because she was supposedly at the wedding, but here she was at the Ministry, and the narrative seemed to indicate that she really was Tonks. After reading the story several times, and puzzling over the lines He found Tonks just in time to witness her body spreading horizontally. Her spiky hair dissolved into shellacked, honey curls held back by the trademark velvet bow of Dolores Umbridge, I finally figured out that it was really Umbridge all along, Polyjuiced into the form of Tonks, and the spell was wearing off. (Yes I’m kind of slow on the uptake.) So then I had to go back to all those scenes involving Fake Tonks, seeing that yes, those thoughts and words could have been Umbridge’s (the “girlish titter” should have been a giveaway), and I was increasingly impressed about how you pulled it all off.

I also appreciated your in-depth look at poor Percy at this point in his career. The seven books don’t really give us a lot of insight about Percy; we see him being officious and naive at the beginning of his career, and when he appears in the Room of Requirement he says that he eventually saw things as they were but could not easily extricate himself. Other than that, his mindset is left to our imagination. Luckily you have addressed yourself to it with many well-chosen words (loss, regret, solitary hermit, overworked, undernourished, shabby rooming house, heavy sigh, ache under his ribs) that show us how his dream job has turned to ashes in his mouth. I also like your recognition that, at the tender age of twenty-one, Percy could not see the subtle difference between his father’s job at the Ministry and his own job there. Your story helps us see Percy’s story that runs concurrently with the last four books, as he feels trapped and uncertain about what he should do.

All of the politics of this time were complicated, and your development of Kingsley’s role in this story was admirable. I can’t help thinking that it must have taken you a long time to get all the threads of this story sorted out. All the subtle details and little references in the story (though it takes careful re-reading and thought to catch them all) make this a very impressive story. Well done.


Milk & Black Spiders by minnabird
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: Yolanda began life meek and mild, but she much prefers being a black widow. A glimpse into the mind of Blaise Zabini's mother.

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 190 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
11/10/13 Updated: 11/13/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02/17/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Your poem about Blaise Zabini’s mother as a little girl and then a young woman certainly deserves a review. And thank you so much for the clue that Yolanda is the eventual Mrs. Zabini; this fact makes the poem instantly understandable.

I like the contrast between the first half of the poem, when Yolanda is so child-like that she is frightened by the sudden sight of a spider, and the second half, when nothing frightens her. I envision the first half of the poem as taking place in a bathroom because the spider is sitting motionless on a “porcelain throne”, the floor is grouted tile, as old-fashioned bathrooms often were, and the girl is barefoot. Stating that she is too timid to trap another living creature reinforces her childishness.

The two halves of the poem are neatly tied together by the continuous themes: the presence of a real or figurative spider, the presence of milk or cream, the mention of porcelain, and the frequent mention of the colors of things. I presume the rosy-red willow is the pattern on her porcelain tea set.

The second half of the poem contrasts sharply with the first. Yolanda sounds outwardly innocent and harmless as a child, though she secretly knows not to do as she is told, but as an adult she is dangerous, more dangerous than the probably harmless little black spider in the bathroom of her youth. Her guest is so self-assured that he carelessly does not bother to look at what she is putting in his tea. We see him through her eyes”arrogant, lazy, sprawling, brazen, a fool. She has contempt for him. Is this what she thinks justifies her treating him as if she were a spider about to devour its prey? This is the woman who we all believe was not entirely innocent in the deaths of her several husbands.

There is one fragment of a line that is not entirely clear to me. “…it knew it had only itself…” What does this mean?

I enjoyed this poem, an imaginative glimpse into the character of someone about whom we actually know almost nothing. Thank you for writing.


The Unbridled by Amulet
Rated: 6th-7th Years [Reviews - 5]

Summary: As Lily Evans, Sirius Black, and James Potter enter their Seventh Year, the outside world is darkening. But inside the merry walls of the school, love is abound. Except for Lily, who is too busy trying to quell the horrifying realization that intense dislike might not be the ONLY feeling she has for James Potter after all... And for Sirius, who feels himself darkening with the world, lost in his own intense and disturbing feelings for a certain redhead...

Categories: James/Lily Genre: Warnings: Sexual Situations

Word count: 12435 Chapters: 3 Completed: No
11/16/13 Updated: 12/11/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/17/14 Title: Chapter 1: Prologue

Hi, Grace. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on the very promising beginning of your story. Any narrative that has been percolating in your brain for so long must have aged like a fine wine, don’t you think? I am glad that you finally decided to pour it out for us readers.

One thing that immediately struck me about your story is that everything”details, settings, conversations, action”serves to propel the story forward. It’s surprising how many authors, even published ones, include extraneous stuff that seems to be just stuck in there for no purpose, distracting the reader from the progress of the story, bogging down the story line. Thanks for not doing that!

There is a richness in the way you describe the home lives of Lily and James and Sirius. It does help to establish their characters well, as you intended, by showing how they interact with other people, but I hope that more plot elements will appear soon in subsequent chapters. The amount of richness in the detail is just about right; if it were any greater, I would feel as if I were getting bogged down, but you have achieved a good balance, not too much or too little.

So far you are doing a good job in keeping your story neatly tacked to canon at many little points along the way. Each time one of these momentary references to canon appears, we feel that your story is touching base with JK Rowling’s story; it gives the reader a feeling of confidence that this story will be good.

You also show wise restraint in your episodes of conversation (Lily and Petunia at home, Lily and Snape in the cafe) that involve tension and some bad feelings; it is easy to over-write such scenes and turn the characters into caricatures, but you did not fall into that error.

Your writing style is very fluid and graceful, with many nice turns of phrase, just different enough to be fresh and noticeable without being “far out” or straining for effect. I was surprised to see you ask for a beta at the end of the last chapter. If this story is unedited by a beta, then it is a testament to your excellent writing ability. I saw only a few grammar and word-usage errors, plus of course the inevitable few pesky typos that yield themselves only to a second set of eyes. It’s really quite clean.

I hope that you will be regaling us with more chapters soon. I suppose this will be mainly a love story, but I am enjoying the glimpses of the beginnings of the tumult that eventually turned into the first wizarding war. Nice job.


Summary: Sirius Black has escaped the inescapable: Azkaban. But his journey has only just begun. With Aurors on his tail and an astronomical award on his head the last remaining member of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black just became the Wizarding worlds most wanted. Now, before anything else, he has to find the traitor, protect his godson, and get his revenge all while on the run from the ministry of magic. Follow our favorite escapee and marauder in "Sirius Black: Escape from Azkaban" and find out what they didn't tell you in the third book: The good, the bad, and the ugly...

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: Mild Profanity, Violence

Word count: 3697 Chapters: 1 Completed: No
11/30/13 Updated: 12/08/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/08/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1: A Dog's Day of Freedom

Hi, Isabella. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, and I must say first of all that I am feeling a little apologetic that none of us readers has yet written a review for this fine story It certainly deserves to be commented on, because your work shows talent.

What strikes me most strongly is your talent for seeing things we all sense but don’t put into words. If I wanted to know how a dog felt on a warm beach, I might have to actually go to the beach with a dog and observe how it feels and what the dog does, but I’ll bet you wrote this completely out of your head, no beach trip required.

All of your scenes include the sensory details that bring the scene to life. For example, when the dog stands on the edge of the cliff, you include the line “…sending a few scarlet-specked stones falling over the edge into the shifting gray foam below..” Now you could have written nothing, or you could have said “..sending a few stones falling over the edge…” but with every added detail (and none of it extraneous), you make the sentence, and the scene, a little richer. There are examples of this kind of thing all through the story. I get the impression that you outline your story’s action as if constructing a skeleton and then go back and fill out all the bones with descriptive details as if adding flesh to the skeleton. I was almost sorry that your narrative jumped immediately from the dog’s impact with the water to his washing up on the shore of the mainland; I would have enjoyed seeing how you would describe his long swim through the frigid sea.

You put yourself very perceptively into the mind of your character. I particularly noticed how neatly you fit his backstory into the narrative as the dog waits and hesitates at the top of the cliff. Now sometimes we writers just have to stick a backstory in because we need to provide the information, but the backstory seems to be just hanging there like an extra appendage. Not so with you; you have inserted this information at a realistic point in the story. It is normal that the dog would hesitate ” that’s quite a jump ” and it’s normal that in this situation the dog would review what has brought him to this point, as if to convince himself that jumping is the right thing to do. His thought at this time Both choices held danger, but only one held hope, is a neat summary to indicate how his internal debate with himself was finally settled. And the next morning, when he notes how alien the sound of the seagulls seems to him, it is perceptive of you to remember that everyday sights and sounds which we ordinary folk take for granted would seem alien to someone who had been in prison for so many years; again you are seeing through his eyes.

The dream sequence during the night after his first day of freedom was informative for letting us know what was in the forefront of his mind. (And thank you for clearly indicating that it was a dream.) However it dragged a bit for me during the section when Sirius, James, and Remus belabored the point of whether Sirius should blame himself; it seemed repetitious. It could have been covered more succinctly, or conversely, some of the repetition could have been replaced by a further development of the idea, so that the same space on the page could have contained more ideas. But this is a small thing. And I like the descriptive sentences about the dream fading away.

You have a good development of Sirius’ thoughts in this chapter, from being focused on a primary goal of revenge against Peter to being focused on a primary goal of finding and protecting Harry and reconnecting with Remus, and only secondarily on taking revenge on Peter.

So you have a good cliff-hanger ending. Goal #1 is good and noble; goal #2 is understandable but full of the possibility to cause a lot of trouble (and ultimately it didn’t happen anyway). Of course if Sirius did eventually murder Peter, he would become a murderer for real and would throw away his chance at a new life, so I am left puzzling “Would he have done it if he could? Would that be the real Sirius?” We shall never know.

I hope you will get reviews from other readers also, especially as the story continues and the action continues to ramp up. It is always fun to read pieces of the Harry Potter canon written from the viewpoint of someone other than Harry Potter, so I will be on the lookout for chapter two.

Author's Response: Thanks for the review, sorry it took so long to respond as I haven't been on a while. I thought that about the dream scene as well and am hoping to fix that soon. I'm been in a bit of a writing slump the last few months and am hoping to get back to this piece soon, but it's giving me a lot of trouble. Life seems to love messing with me about these things. All I get when I try and write chapters are one-shots (which I will hopefully post on here soon. Thanks for reading and hopefully this will continue at some point. :]


Magical by Nagini Riddle
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 2]

Summary: Past Featured StoryGinny and her brothers sneak down the stairs to look at presents, but instead, Ginny discovers something wonderful about magic.

Written for the Yuletide Challenge, Bonus Prompt. It received a Special Mention. :) Nominated for a 2014 QSQ for Best Poetry!

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 177 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
12/02/13 Updated: 12/08/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/08/13 Title: Chapter 1: Magical

Let me be the first, Nagini, to say that this poem is absolutely enchanting. You have perfectly captured the delicate beauty of the tree and its ornaments, the entrancement of the little girl who has not seen that many Christmases yet in her short life, and the kindness of her older brothers who are so loving and protective towards her. The last line echoes the old statement we hear so often: "They grow up all too soon."

Author's Response: Oh, Vicki! :) I am so happy to see that you reviewed this poem, especially after you were kind enough to review it in PA. Thank you so much! It just makes my day!!!!! :)


The Sight of Her by Nagini Riddle
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: She has decided to come home for the Christmas season, but you can’t understand why. After all, you and she are no longer friends, and you go out of your way to be spiteful to her.

Petunia Evans cannot stand the freak she lives with, but perhaps there is something more to her feelings than just hatred.

Written for the Yuletide challenge, prompt Holiday Hell.

Categories: Dark/Angsty Fics Genre: Warnings: Mental Disorders, Mild Profanity

Word count: 2896 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
12/16/13 Updated: 12/20/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/25/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Poor Petunia! As much as she wants to make Lily suffer, she herself is suffering much more. In the beginning she is smiling and dreaming of all the things she can make go wrong for her sister, but after all these things have gone wrong, Petunia is not smiling at all ” quite the opposite.

The tragedy is that she can never see that her troubles stem, not from her sister, but from herself. Her viewpoint is so impassioned, so self-centered, that we will never know what the family dynamics in that household really were. Did her parents really pay more attention to Lily than to her, or was she just so jealous of her sister’s gift that she could see only their love for Lily and never their love for her also?

An interesting glimpse into how the relationship between these two sisters had deteriorated.

Author's Response: Vicki, thank you!!!!! :) Even after you gave me a last minute beta job, you still find the time to read and review and praise my work! I'm glad that you like the dynamics, and also happy that you picked up on the fact that there is a skewed viewpoint. Since we see everything from her eyes (or rather, yours), we get everything from her view, and therefore do not see the thoughts of her parents, nor even Lily's. Maybe Lily reacted more strongly, but Petunia was determined to show Lily as being weak, a cry baby, a liar, and a freak. But even with the skewed narrative, Petunia still had to admit to herself that she had done some things she wasn't proud of. I think it goes to show that everyone can have regrets and feel guilty over something. Thanks again for the review! ~Nagini


The Man of Hogsmeade by Nagini Riddle
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 2]

Summary: It's the day of the holiday trip into Hogsmeade, and one employee finds that a certain redhead stirs up some mixed feelings over his past, present, and future. But what can he ever do to make things better?

Written for the Yuletide challenge, prompt A Diagon Alley Christmas.

Categories: Marauder Era Genre: Warnings: Mental Disorders, Substance Abuse

Word count: 2132 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
12/18/13 Updated: 01/02/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/02/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

This is a nice story, Nagini. Your nameless candy store clerk is an interesting character. You tell us a lot about him in a short while. He is astute enough to pick up on Lily’s faint hint that all is not well at home, and reasonable enough not to jump (conveniently) to the conclusion that she was Muggle-born like him. Her remark merely sets him to reflecting on his own childhood experience. That is realistic and believable.

I like the fact that the store clerk is just drinking butter beer, not getting roaring drunk on fire whiskey. I like that you depict him as thoughtful and introspective. You leave your store clerk at a mental crossroads Can he follow Lily’s example and seek a more optimistic outlook, even given his unhappy childhood? Can he try giving up the drink, to see if that step might improve his life? I sense a hopefulness for this character; it is not too late to change and improve, even if he doesn’t see that quite yet.

This story is a good example of how little things we do or say (as in the case of Lily Evans) can make a significant difference to someone else, often completely unrecognized by us.

Author's Response: Thank you, Vicki! Your support makes me want to write so much more! :)


A Christmas Meal of Snow by Nagini Riddle
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 3]

Summary: On Christmas day, Merope finds herself eating snow. But another beggar comes along and ends up sharing something wonderful with her.

Written for the Yuletide challenge, prompt The Unexpected Guest. It took Second Place!

Nominated for a 2014 QSQ for Best General Fic!

Categories: Dark/Angsty Fics Genre: Warnings: Mental Disorders

Word count: 2130 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
12/21/13 Updated: 12/22/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/22/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Wow! This is a great story, Nagini! Your writing skill just keeps going up and up. There are lots of wonderful lines in this story; the descriptions are just spot-on. Yes, it's a sad story, but not sadder than it needs to be, because canon tells us that that is what it was really like for Merope at the end. And it certainly is Christmasy, in its own way. A surprising twist at the end; I didn't see it coming. Keep up the good work.

Author's Response: Why, thank you! After minna had asked Carole if the meal had to be specifically dinner, I began to think of Merope eating her last Christmas meal, and how her unexpected guest would be another beggar. I got so excited by the idea, but had no idea how it was going to turn out until I started writing. And then Merope was digging through the snow, and it hit me! Her last meal would be of snow. Depressing, actually. :) But I was smiling. I seem to enjoy tormenting my characters. As for the surprise ending, I am glad you didn't see it coming. I didn't see it coming myself, until I realized that maybe my beggar could give readers a message. Thanks for reading, and all your praise and beta work! Good luck in the challenge, and a Merry Christmas to you! ~Nagini


Shared Space by Misdemeanor1331
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: It was their first Yule together, and they were going to spend it apart.

Categories: Hermione/Draco Genre: Warnings: Mild Profanity, Sexual Situations

Word count: 908 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
12/28/13 Updated: 12/28/13

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/02/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, M. Your story is skillfully written, the sentences are fluid, and the word choices are good. The background information is woven smoothly into the narrative, so that even readers like me who haven’t read your other stories about Draco and Hermione can get the picture.

From your statement about Draco’s parents having endured an entire year of “new”, beginning I suppose after the Battle of Hogwarts, this story must be set in December of 1999. And if Draco and Hermione went back to Hogwarts for that “claustrophobic eighth year”, they must have left Hogwarts and started living independently only six months ago. Do I have the timeline correct? I got the feeling from your story that it had been longer than that.

But no mind. It is good to see the two of them making up and hopefully learning more about getting along. I will confess that it concerns me a little when I see stories of Hermione and her male partner, be it Ron or Draco or whoever, continuing the behavior pattern of continual fights, arguments, and stand-offs, because I wonder if they will continue this behavior in the presence of any children they may have someday. Maybe the adult participants will kiss and make up eventually, but witnessing the constant fighting can be traumatic and damaging to the children who must grow up in this atmosphere. Perhaps someday someone should write a story in which Hermione and her male partner come to this realization and take a vow to make a conscious change.

Thank you for writing!


Author's Response: Hi Vicki!

I'm glad you were able to get into my story, and that my writing style worked for you. There's nothing worse than diving into a story and having to pause every other sentence to figure out how it should be read. To be very honest, I hadn't much considered the timeline (shame on me!), but your logic seems pretty spot-on. I did intend them to be living on their own for a bit longer than six months. Good catch, and thanks for pointing it out!

I agree with your concerns regarding Hermione and Draco's (or Ron's, etc.) fights, but I think that, as they mature together as a couple, these spats will die down. Eventually, they'll be able to resolve their conflicts without needing to argue. Or, if an argument is unavoidable, they'll do it away from the sensitive ears of their children. I'm sure there is a fic or two that deals with this moment of clarity, but I haven't found it yet. ;)

Thanks so much for reading and leaving such a wonderful, detailed review!!


The Bench by Writ Encore
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 2]

Summary: As Amelia Bones awaits her seat on the bench of the High Court, she slowly realizes what it may cost her in the end.

This one is for all of those who have critiqued my work through reviews, comments, or suggestions over the years.. Thank you SPEW, Carole, and most recently, Oregonian. I considered everything while writing this, and hopefully, have made steps in the right direction.

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Mild Profanity, Pottermore Spoilers, Violence

Word count: 7089 Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes
01/10/14 Updated: 01/19/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 05/08/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1: The Appointment

Hi, Jenn. I beg your pardon for not reviewing sooner, but my winter/spring has been filled with other obligations; now I can get back to reviewing stories written in early 2014.

I read this story slowly and carefully, reading between the lines and thinking about the implications of the words in your sentences. As usual, your stories are not quick reads, but they are understandable, and I think this one flows more easily than some of your earlier works did. Your story is not plotty; it is a slice of life, difficult life, a glimpse of conditions that prevailed during the first wizarding war, hints of the politics and intrigues within the Ministry and particularly within its judicial arm, canon characters who flit momentarily onto the scene and then off again, a general feeling of secrecy, anger, and dread. You give nothing away easily; the reader must have done his/her homework to know the background, such as the fact that Edgar is Amelia’s brother.

You show us an Amelia who is a fighter in difficult times, who refuses to allow herself to be manipulated, and who doesn’t have patience with people who are not open and aboveboard. But things are happening beyond her control. Her appointment to the bench is complicated by illegal and underhanded attempts to steal the position from her. Her husband is mixed up in something mysterious and dangerous and will not tell her what it is. Even expecting a baby turns out to be complicated and ambiguous. In the end her brother and his family are murdered, her husband is murdered, and an attempt appears to be made on her life by the nameless woman at the front door.

I do not see a causal connection between the dangerous societal conditions and the fact that Amelia’s baby is eventually stillborn, but perhaps it is meant to show that she has nothing left of her husband, her family, or her security. The only thing she can do now, as Mad-Eye points out, is to testify against the murderers and send them to prison. You end your story with the question: will she do it? I don’t see why she would not do it; she is tough enough to rise from her bed of pain and sorrow in order to put those criminals away. Ironically, you have Mad-Eye say, “…I will personally make sure nobody touches you ever again,” but we know that during the second wizarding war the Death Eaters did manage to kill her.

In this fairly short story you have taken Amelia through a transformative period of her life, referring to her first arrival at the Ministry as a new member of the legal staff, through her development to the role of a judge, and finally her loss of her family and almost of her own life, as the first wizarding war closes in about her and society begins to crumble. In your usual fashion, you choose little glimpses, little moments in time, to represent the whole story arc. I am always intrigued by seeing which little moments of history you choose to shine your light on. An enjoyable story.



“Just put them on, Archie, there’s a good chap. You can’t walk around like that, the Muggle at the gate’s already getting suspicious--”(GoF, 84)

This is the true story of Archie’s shopping trip.

One Shot.

Categories: Humor Fics Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 1870 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
02/05/14 Updated: 02/06/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 06/08/14 Title: Chapter 1: One-Shot

Hi, MJ,

This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on your story. I went trolling through the Humor category in the archives, seeing if there was anything worthwhile there (good humor is hard to write), and I found your delightful little story. I have read some laughing-out-loud humor stories, and some straining-to-be-humorous-but-really-just-stupid stories, and yours is neither; it’s just gently humorous.

Poor, clueless Archie. Even though you specifically say that he read the article in The Daily Prophet about proper Muggle attire to wear at the Quidditch World Cup event, he still didn’t get it right. Or maybe it was The Daily Prophet that didn’t get it right; GoF tells us that not all the wizards attending the match managed to achieve the true Muggle look. Your story didn’t stick exactly to canon, because in GoF Archie’s dress is described as “flowery”, whereas in your story his ultimate selection was plain brown, and GoF describes Archie as “very old,”, whereas in your story he must have been younger than that because the saleswoman gives him her number. But these little variations are totally unimportant.

I loved how the saleswoman treated Archie completely respectfully despite his odd request (perhaps “The customer is always right”) and gave him a “cover” with the other customers and their husbands by explaining that Archie was purchasing a dress for some waggish cross-dressing party, so that set up the group to support Archie by playing along with the gag. I liked the women’s comments, no doubt delivered with a perfectly straight face, as though this spectacle was just an everyday event. “This is my favorite one, Archie.” “It flatters your figure very well.” “It doesn’t wash you out like that salmon one did.”

You have achieved a wonderful balance; everyone is buying into the make-believe, probably assuming that they are supporting a man during an assuredly-embarrassing task of having to try on and buy gender-inappropriate clothing, while unbeknownst to them, Archie is both deadly serious about this purchase and totally unaware that he is buying something no male Muggle would ever wear.

The story suggests, first, that Archie, as a wizard, was so accustomed to wearing robes that he naturally gravitated toward a Muggle garment of similar cut, and, second, that robes for both witches and wizards were sufficiently similar that Archie did not grasp the strict dichotomy of male styles and female styles in the Muggle world. Undoubtedly he noticed that all the men waiting outside the dressing rooms were wearing trousers, but apparently he did not realize that in England they had to wear trousers.

Your story moves along at a nice pace. The plain language is suited in style to the humor genre, where we don’t want flowery, figurative, or overly descriptive verbiage to obscure the humor or the sense of the absurd. And we don’t need a lot of description; we have all been clothes-shopping, and we know exactly what it looks like.

It is gratifying that at the end Archie was successful in buying something he would be happy to wear. After all, we like him and we are on his side. He is a character we can connect with; we care what happens to him, and his story is definitely not boring.

I salute your imagination in taking this tiniest prompt from GoF and developing it into this charming tale. I enjoyed reading it.

Author's Response: Oh, wow. That's a long review. I'm glad that you enjoyed the story. I had a lot of fun writing it. It would be fun to write the back story on why everyone went with Archie's weird dress shopping trip. Hmm..maybe I'll write something. Anyway, thanks for the great review! ~MJ


Blind Weakness by Nagini Riddle
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: "There is only power, and those too weak to seek it."
~Professor Quirrell, under the influence of Lord Voldemort

Or perhaps those who seek power are blind to the richer things in this life.

A short poem on those who followed the Dark Lord.

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: Mental Disorders, Violence

Word count: 112 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
03/20/14 Updated: 03/23/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03/24/14 Title: Chapter 1: Blind Weakness

I like this poem very much, Nagini. It is full of good lines. After reading it over several times, I realized that it has a similar theme to my poem Narcissa In The Forest, but expressed in more figurative language. I like the use of the word "greed" in the first line; I had not thought of it before, but greed is something that would have motivated Voldemort's followers; they were expecting to get something valuable (riches, status, power) when they first allied with him. Nice job.

Author's Response: Aw, thank you! :) I drew my inspiration from the inspiration station, actually, in the PA, and the prompt that grabbed me was "the blind leading the blind." I immediately thought of Voldemort and his followers, because he was certainly blind to the real values in life, and so were his followers. :)


The Show Must Go On by Nagini Riddle
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: During the final battle at Hogwarts, Harry has some startling revelations.

Title is borrowed from the song of the same name by Queen.

Categories: Poetry Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Violence

Word count: 238 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
03/24/14 Updated: 03/28/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03/28/14 Title: Chapter 1: The Show Must Go On

Hi, Nagini. If this is one of your early poems, then I must say you showed your talent early. I particularly like it because, although the word choices are so apt and perceptive, it is also very accessible, so I do not have to struggle (early in the morning, having recently gotten up) to understand any of it. I love how you take little moments and expand them so perceptively.


Author's Response: Thank you! I sometimes feel as though some of my earlier poems are far better than today's work, but that's only because half the time I happen across a poem I don't remember writing and I am struck by how metaphorical and poignant they are. :) Stand by for more of my earlier poems...


Pat-a-Cake by foolondahill17
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 3]

Summary: Past Featured StoryMolly Weasley II, called Pat, and twenty-one lot and little-known facts. Or, how to navigate the Wizarding World while being a Weasley and being a Squib.

Categories: Next Generation Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 2929 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
04/05/14 Updated: 04/09/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 06/07/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, Foolondahill,

This is Vicki of Slytherin House, reviewing another of your stories. Of the four you have posted, this is my second-favorite, after Bliss.

I was taken by the unique and whimsical format of this story, the twenty-one random glimpses into the early life of Molly Patricia Weasley. Some of these tiny samples are more telling than others, but they all add up to a pleasingly well-rounded image of this girl, her personality, and her life situation. Despite the seemingly lightweight format, there is a story arc here, from Pat’s early, typical jealousy of the attention paid to her new baby sister, to her slowly developing realization that she is different from the rest of her family and her anguish over this fact, to her final acceptance and appreciation of herself as who she truly is and her steps toward making a satisfying life for herself in the non-magical world.

It is interesting to see Pat’s vacillation between the Muggle and magical worlds, her strong desire to be like the rest of her family, so that even as she is beginning to commit to a Muggle career and the dream of a Muggle husband, she cannot resist one last attempt to create some magic with her sister’s new wand. I loved that line “Just for a second and I won’t ever bother you again.” Even one tiny bit of magic, performed only once, would link her to her magical family, even though it is now too late to change the trajectory of her life. She lists all the things she wants, but all these desires are summed up in ”I want to be like them.”

I can’t help thinking about Lily and Petunia Evans; was there a deliberate echoing of Lily/Petunia in Lucy/Patricia? But the parallels are not exceedingly strong. Pat seems to have grown up in a supportive family, and the existence of the magical world did not come as a surprise to her. Given that almost every one of her kin on her father’s side was magical, Lucy’s talents were not unusual or unexpected. What is similar is the heart-wrenching longing for something that will always be out of grasp, something that never can be because the magic simply isn’t there. Patricia also has the advantage of living in the present generation when the opportunities for women, magical or Muggle, are much greater than they were for Petunia.

It is satisfying to see that Pat is managing to survive during her childhood, a non-magical person in a magical world, and to carve out a place, a role for herself. Rather than being eaten up with bitterness, like Petunia, she can see the advantages of her future life: a better academic education, a fulfilling job that she doesn’t have to apologize for, and a husband who doesn’t have to apologize for her. She sounds like a sensible girl who knows what is in her best self-interest.

Your writing style, as in your other story Bliss, is pleasant to read, and has a simplicity that is entirely appropriate for the voice of a child or young teenager. I was intrigued by your final little section, about the distant relative who had been an accountant. Is she someday going to contact this relative and ask him how he has reconciled his magical family and his life in the Muggle world? Would he have insights to share with her?

I don’t usually include beta-like comments in a story review, but since you specifically asked for them, in order to be able to clean up tiny flaws in your manuscript, I will mention what I noticed.
Section 4: One that little scrap of metal Did you mean On instead of One?
Section 8: talked o her in a quiet, gentle voice. You mean talked to her…
Section 9: crush of Teddy Lupin Maybe this is just a difference in British/American idiom; in America we would say crush on…
Section 15: muttered comforting words in her ear. I think you want the present tense mutter, to be parallel with the present tense brush earlier in this sentence.

There is some confusion in the usage of who/whom in these three places:
Section 11: …they were quiet, well-behaved children whom enjoyed playing tag…
Section 16: …tiny, unnamed baby whom had never really been much more than a soul.
Section 21: …second cousin of Grandma Weasley’s whom had been an accountant.

Who is the form of the relative pronoun used as a subject; whom is the form of the relative pronoun used as a direct object. To choose quickly and accurately between them, use this trick.
First, isolate the dependent clause containing the relative pronoun:
..whom enjoyed playing tag.
..whom had really never been much more than soul
..whom had been an accountant.

Next, change these dependent clauses into little independent sentences by replacing the relative pronoun (who or whom) by a personal pronoun such as he (subject) or him (direct object); use they or them if a plural is called for.
In the first of these three mini-sentences, that would give you They enjoyed playing tag versus Them enjoyed playing tag; obviously “they” is the grammatical choice in this mini-sentence, so you know that you need “who” (not “whom”) in your story’s sentence.
If you try this with your other two problem sentences, substituting both “he” and “him” to see what sounds right, you will quickly see that “whom” in your story sentences needs to be changed to “who” in both instances.

In cases where the direct-object form “whom” is correct, this test procedure might require a little rearrangement of words in the test mini-sentences. For example:
Mary recognized the man [who? whom?] I saw in the park.
The test mini-sentences might seem a little awkward: He I saw in the park versus Him I saw in the park, but if we rearrange the words into a more normal order: I saw he in the park versus I saw him in the park, then it becomes clear that the word needed is “whom”, not “who”.

I do not mean to go on and on about this, but I sensed that you did want your stories to be as error-free as possible, so this trick can help you fix, not only this story, but other stories also.

To leave off beta-ing and get back to reviewing, I will close by saying that I really enjoyed this little story and thought that it was quite imaginative. Maybe you tried this format as an experiment. If so, it worked just fine. Thanks for writing.

Author's Response: Thank you again for your review. I love reviewers like you because I can tell that you honestly care about what you are reading, which is a tremendous compliment to the writer in itself. I'm glad you enjoyed the format (it was a bit of an experiment) and appreciate that you noticed the story arc of self-discovery. I find it interesting that you noticed the parallel of Lily/Petunia and Lucy/Patricia as that wasn't intentional, but looking back on it I can see that that would have been a clever little touch to add, had I thought of it ;). I cannot thank you enough for pointing out the little spelling/grammatical errors and I'll fix them as soon as possible. Thank you, especially, for giving me the hint about the who/whom use. I've never been able to figure that out before. Thank you for giving me a quick and simple fix.


Bliss by foolondahill17
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 2]

Summary: “So, what do you do now?” “…Mostly Order business. I should ask Albus to increase me to full-time wage.” He thanked Merlin Severus had grace enough not to say “Oh, is that what you call being unemployed?” A newly inducted Order member is coming over and it’s not the grizzled, spell-happy Witch Remus imagined. Remus and Tonks first meet and sparks fly -- almost literally

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 5444 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
04/17/14 Updated: 05/01/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 06/06/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi, Foolondahill (I hate to call anyone a fool, but…) This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on your most recent story.

Of your four stories that are posted on these archives, [i]Bliss[/i] is the one I like best. It works very well in many ways. Although it is an account of a meeting of the Order of the Phoenix at Grimmauld Place and consists mostly of just people talking, it has a lively pace and a frequent change of tone and focus, so it cannot become boring.

I have read plenty of stories, either one-shots or individual chapters, that consist of two people conversing, with polished and sophisticated dialogue that showcases the writer’s fluency in writing dialogue but does not carry the plot forward, so that nothing much happens over many paragraphs and the story ends up being boring.

Your story has escaped this fate, largely thanks to your extensive cast of characters: Remus, Fred & George, Albus, Alastor, Tonks, Severus, Sirius, Molly, Kingsley, Bill, Arthur, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and a few others with non-speaking roles. All these people have unique personalities, and you have characterized them well: Albus calm, Sirius a loose cannon, Alastor gruff and suspicious, Fred & George trying to finagle their way in, Molly still most definitely the mother and hostess, Snape being snide, Kingsley imposing, Tonks being her usual self, and Remus enduring it all and trying to keep the peace.

I particularly like your vivid depiction of Sirius. The seven books give us hints of his volatile personality, but here we see it in all its glory; it makes sense, as Remus observes, that Sirius’ words and behavior are intensified by alcohol. The result is a forceful contrast between the two men, Remus and Sirius, between strict self-control and total lack of control. This contrast is emphasized by your telling the story through the eye of Remus, who is trying to keep things together in the face of attacks by both Severus and Sirius.

The characterization of Tonks did seem a little overdrawn for my taste. She seemed to be frequently clumsy, stumbling and tripping and dropping, breaking, or bumping into things, and giggling or shrieking with laughter at every provocation. Even Remus thought to himself [i]”She was starting to sound hysterical.”[/i] The books do indicate that she could be sometimes clumsy, but not so much as a mild undiagnosed neurological disorder. But that’s a very minor issue for me; perhaps she was just nervous about being at her first Order meeting, so that exaggerated her behavior.

Another way that you have kept this story lively, although it takes place all in one evening in essentially one place, the kitchen of Sirius’ house, is by having a variety of activities: the meeting, the business with the extendable ears, the outburst by Sirius, the scene on the stairs leading out of the kitchen, the dinner scene, and the final scene at the door as Tonks leaves. This frequently-changing focus gives the story a sense of motion and a feeling of a plot.

Your story fits very well as a Missing Moment; it all seems logical and believable, so that we say to ourselves, “I’ll bet that’s how it happened.” It’s the kind of story that one could print off and tuck between the pages of [i]Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.[/i] As a description of how Remus and Tonks first met, it is sweet and low-key, with just a hint of a possible future relationship between them, and not overdone at all.

Your writing style is just what I like to read, with good word choices and interesting sentence structure, not too choppy and not too convoluted, with just the right amount of detail and introspection. You have avoided the mistake of putting in so many digressions and elaborations that the plot line gets lost in the verbiage, like a jungle trail obscured by overgrowing vegetation (and we authors obscure our plot lines at our peril). It is easy for the reader to follow the action and the course of events; there is no puzzling about what is going on or what certain sentences refer to, no non-sequiturs.

All in all, I would say that this story is very successful and is an enjoyable addition to the canon storyline. Thank you for writing.

Author's Response: Wow...that review just about blew me away. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my story, moreover to leave such a detailed, introspective review. All your feedback was very much appreciated and I am overjoyed that such an obviously talented author (I can tell from the word-flow of your review) as yourself would find it in her to admire one of my works. Thank you. (And, yes, I was trying to play-up Tonks' clumsiness/hysterics just a bit to convey her nervousness in being at a renegade-vigilante meeting, as well as meeting a charming and intelligent man for the first time.) I'll say it again: thank you.


A Revolutionary Accident by William Brennan
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 4]

Summary: Perhaps the true answer to a centuries-old mystery.

Categories: Historical Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Substance Abuse, Violence

Word count: 882 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
05/21/14 Updated: 05/24/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 05/26/14 Title: Chapter 1: A Revolutionary Accident

Hi, William,
It’s always a treat to see a new story by you; they are always so imaginative. I enjoyed this clever link of the wizarding world to the forever-unknown detail of who fired the first shot at Lexington; now we finally know the answer. Were you studying American Revolutionary history for some other purpose and then saw the possible connection?
As a story, this one is pretty short, only 870 words, but it tells the whole tale succinctly, with no wasted words, and the action moves along at a good trot. I had to read it over twice to understand that you were switching back and forth between two scenes, the rooming house where Jack Potter lived and the Lexington Green where the Battle of Lexington took place. Inserting a string of asterisks at the two major scene-change locations would have been helpful for me. But I figured it out quickly enough anyway.
Too bad that Jack Potter’s adventurous life was cut short at an early age. I presume that he was a distant relative of Harry on a collateral line that emigrated to the colonies.
As for the spelling of the Imperius Curse, we can say that the third time’s the charm. Neither Imperious nor Imperuse but Imperius.
Thanks for writing.

Author's Response: I was browsing Wikipedia, ran across the article on this incident, and suddenly had the idea. That is what I had in mind for Jack. You're right about the scene changes, I suppose I should have denoted it better. Also, to answer one other question, one of the other wizards in the colonies came and removed his body just after the regulars had continued toward Concord. His wand, if found, would have looked like a random stick.


I Suspect Nargles by foolondahill17
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 5]

Summary: “No one’s ever kissed me before…. What is one to do now?” An extensive look at Luna Lovegood from the perspective of those around her. During and after the war, searching for Crumple-Horned Snorkaks and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but finding friendship and understanding where it’s least expected. Featuring Draco, Dean, George, Neville, and more.

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Violence

Word count: 22102 Chapters: 3 Completed: No
06/25/14 Updated: 10/16/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 08/10/14 Title: Chapter 1: Echo

Hi, foolondahill. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on the first two chapters of your new story I Suspect Nargles. Each chapter seems to be focused on one person — first Draco, then Dean, and next will be Neville — but your stated intent is to look at Luna throughout the eyes of the people around her, defining her by a sort of negative space, so to speak. This is an intriguing approach. So far, in these first two chapters, you have told us a little about Luna, but so much more about your Luna-observers themselves.

All your actors are well-known, so their characters and personalities are already familiar, and you have been pleasingly faithful to those characters, expanding the details of favorite pivotal scenes at Malfoy Manor and Shell Cottage in perfect canon compliance. Even Dean, who is not a main character in the books, has been vividly brought to life by your clever use of everything we did know about him, such as his severed-hand boggart referring to a fear that an injury could destroy his artistic capabilities.

Of the three principal actors that we have seen so far, the one that impressed me most was Draco, trapped in what can only be called a waking nightmare of the worst sort, a nightmare that goes on and on, ever more horrible, from which there appears to be no escape. In this chapter are many inspired lines, such as ”His father was almost unrecognizable, like the house and the world.” (The definition of a nightmare, if I ever heard one.)
Another section I liked was ”Stupid first years who hadn’t sense enough to get out of the way. Stupid, worthless blood-traitors who had to play the hero, who hadn’t sense enough to know it was useless — Draco had realized it was useless long ago…”

I appreciated that you extrapolated the Malfoy Manor scene to show what was happening both before Harry and his group arrived and after Harry and his group had left, even though, after Harry left, Luna was not at Malfoy Manor any more. This first chapter was really mainly about Draco as a tragic figure caught in a horrible situation. It particularly struck me because I had recently finished writing a story about Draco’s son Scorpius (Dark Enough To See The Stars) and I had commented on the “continuum of decency” running from Lucius, through Draco, to Scorpius, so that the contrast between Draco’s life and Scorpius’ life was huge. I found myself wondering whether, when Scorpius was older, Draco would tell him anything about what his (Draco’s) life and experiences had been during the war. In general, how much do survivors of atrocities talk about their experiences afterwards? Not much, I’d guess. Perhaps it is untellable.

Of your first four stories on this site, I told you in previous reviews that my favorites were ‘Pat-a-Cake’ and ‘Bliss’ over ‘Bondage’ and ‘Innocents’, because the first two had more of a story arc, whereas the others were chiefly raw emotion. Yet many readers loved the latter two. In this story, ‘I Suspect Nargles’, you are capturing the best of both styles, the active story and the emotion, so all your readers ought to be pleased.

Your writing style is fluid and polished, with graceful sentences and apt word choices. The one thing that interrupts the flow is the presence of some editing flaws, not so much typos as homonym substitutions and a few grammatical bobbles. Another run-through by a beta knowledgeable in SPaG would put this story right up there with the upper tier of stories on this site. I see your story note that “updates may be sporadic.” Not too sporadic, I hope. I am looking forward to the upcoming chapters to see what insights you will present about Neville, George, and more. Very nice job.

Author's Response: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. As a young, aspiring authoress who writes fan fiction mostly as a precursor to writing publishable material, having an intelligent reviewer like you, who delves deeper into my story and shares honest, in-depth observations about it is such a wonderful - and flattering - experience. Yes, the intention of this story will primarily to bring about insights about the primary characters of each chapter (Draco, Dean, Neville), using Luna and her unique ways of viewing the world as a tool to bring about their self-discovery/personalities. Luna will act as a secondary, even tertiary character in most of the chapters, weaving through the different story-lines as a common thread, little details about her own character and life after the war emerging periodically. That way I can still subtly make her the main character of the story. I find getting into Luna's head to be a very difficult thing to do without making her sound too “normal” or sweeping to the other end of the spectrum and blowing her character out of proportion. I thought using the observations of others would be an easier and more interesting way to write a story about her character. I’m very happy you’re pleased with my writing style. I’ll look into those grammatical errors. I don’t use a beta reader, so all of the mistakes are slipups I didn’t catch on one of my many read-throughs. I have an irrational fear of beta readers, mostly because I’m still a teenager and reluctant to communicate too openly with people I don’t know online, even under an alias. However, I can see very plainly that using a beta would be beneficial to my writing as well as my readers, so perhaps I will look into it. Thank you again. I cannot tell you how much your feedback is appreciated.


The Summer Outing by BehindTheVeil
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 2]

Summary: A young Tom Riddle's trip to the seaside quickly becomes a voyage of discovery and destruction.

Categories: Dark/Angsty Fics Genre: Warnings: Abuse

Word count: 5013 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
07/22/14 Updated: 07/26/14

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 08/10/14 Title: Chapter 1: The Summer Outing

Hello, BehindTheVeil. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on your wonderful story The Summer Outing. It is an excellent elaboration of the events mentioned so briefly in Half-Blood Prince, and you have perfectly achieved your goal of being true to canon.

The structure of the story was quite effective. The first third of the story was from Mrs. Cole’s point of view. This allowed us to see how Tom’s nature and behavior appeared to other people, a set of observations that were diagnostic of a serious personality disorder. You included some vivid metaphors that described him precisely. “Like the wrong end of a magnet, Tom Riddle had repelled the other students…” when no other children would sit next to him, and “..the bitter cold of that night had in some way managed to penetrate the womb and leave its indelible mark upon the child inside,” describing Tom’s cold-heartedness, were two of my favorite examples.

The central third of the story, from Tom’s point of view, included a fascinating number of references to things that we later knew were characteristic of him. His use of Parseltongue appeared for the first time; he tortured the mouse as a prelude to torturing human beings (a step beyond pushing Billy out the bus window); and he encountered the cave where he would later hide a horcrux. Your line in this section, “He excitedly looked from one frightened face to another, adrenaline still coursing through him unlike anything he had ever experienced, and considered the options open to him, was a gem. This was the moment when Tom realized he could do infinitely more than simply bully people around. And I appreciated your explanation, sorely needed, of exactly how Tom had used magic instead of ropes to descend and ascend the cliff face with the terrified children, as Dumbledore explained to Harry many years later; that had always been a sticking point in my mind.

The final third of the story, from the point of view of the police officer Pete and secondarily the doctor Henry, showed a glimmering of understanding on their parts that went beyond that of the long-suffering Mrs. Cole. You gave us the line, full of foreboding, “…the men, now both united in the possible knowledge of an unexpected horror,…one they would have preferred and been happier not knowing at all,” suggesting that they were not going to tell anyone about their suspicions, losing the chance to do anything about it. And thus the story ended, with the menace still looming over the wizarding world.

Your characterizations are strong: Mrs. Cole, Tom (of course), and the police sergeant and the doctor; even Mr. Willis, the bus driver, had a bit of personality to him.

Your writing style is very fluid, with no awkward sentences, so it is enjoyable to read. The only thing that gave me pause was Tom’s first glimpse of the cave, where the story says that the cave entrance had ”…raged rock resembling sharp fangs all around the sides.” I figured that the rock was probably ragged rather than angry.

This story filled a gap that probably many Harry Potter fans have been feeling for a long time. Tom’s discovery of the cave and his activities there are important points in the story, and yet J. K. Rowling gave us virtually no details. You have shone a light on this crucial episode in the development of the darkest wizard the world has known. Thank you for writing.

Author's Response:

Thank you first and foremost for taking the time not only to read my story, but also going to such lengths in response. In particular I appreciated the help with the typos. After living abroad for a while and jumping between languages, I have started to notice a certain decline in my spelling abilities.

When it comes to literature, I have always believed that what a writer chooses to omit can often be of equal importance to what was written. Certain horrors are much worse when left to our imagination rather than committed to paper. J. K. Rowling knows this well and it is precisely these omissions that have driven many of us to write fan fiction. In retrospect this was the reason I opted to change perspective and narrator and, most importantly, why I didn't describe what happened inside the cave. There are other examples of these "omissions" that I have written and may upload here if I ever deem them up to standard. Lord knows when that will be.

I am relieved that my efforts to be canon compliant haven't backfired (so far). Had I known when I started what a minefield it can be, I probably would not have started at all. I enjoyed the experience, particularly creating parallels to the events in the books (the disappearing glass was a pretty obvious one), and will continue.

The line ("He excitedly looked from one frightened face to another, adrenaline still coursing through him unlike anything he had ever experienced, and considered the options open to him.") initially lacked the information between the commas and was therefore more about the options available to get out of trouble rather than your interpretation. This is how I imagine Tom Riddle at this age, constantly causing trouble and then evading the consequences by hiding the evidence. I am going to hold up my hands and admit that the other meaning was unintentional and ... I couldn't be happier.

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