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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

The List by panther_mlb

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: This is the life story of Bellatrix Lestrange, based upon the theme from Wicked, that villians are not born villians, but made villians.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/24/13 Title: Chapter 3: Chapter 3

Hi, Miranda. I see that you wrote this story, and your other one, a while back. I hope that you have continued writing, if not on this forum, then somewhere else, because you do seem to have some talent for storytelling, as well as a love for it.

I enjoyed this story, as far as you went with it. The part in the first chapter when Bellatrix was a little girl was strong; you seem to remember well how it is to be a little girl, how young children think and talk. You have a simple writing style, using short sentences, and although your story is not in the first person, it very definitely is seen only through Bella’s eyes, so these short sentences seem to be a reflection of how she was thinking at that age. Similarly, your characterization of her father, his inattention to her and his amoral values, shown in a few isolated incidents, reflects how little children think; a single incident can color their whole opinion of a person. It makes me wonder if one answer to that unanswered question, WHY did Bellatrix give all her devotion to the dark lord, might be that, among other things, she was looking for a father figure.

I liked the idea of her keeping lists. Not only did she see things in black and white, as you said, indeed, as children do, but she had a determination not to forget; she was learning revenge. Good point.

Of your three chapters, the first two are the most effective. In the third chapter, the evilness of Mart and Jean is emphasized to the point that they seem to be tyrants. Other people in their school might be terrorized by them, but not necessarily wanting to be like them; if terrorists are outrageous enough, other people will start taking them as examples of what not to do. I would suggest some moments when they display some attractive characteristics also, so that others, such as Bellatrix, would accept them as role models and begin to be influenced by their attitudes and behavior.

Of course, there is a lot more to this story that unfortunately we don’t know yet, and I wonder if you will ever finish it, or go back and rewrite it from the beginning with the increased skill or insight that you doubtless have by now. I think that even in our earliest stories, imperfectly presented as they may be, there are important grains of truth that deserve to be explored.

A Primrose in Bloom by Cinderella Angelina

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Primrose Dobbs is fairly happy, until someone reenters her life unexpectedly. Then she's ... still happy. Mostly. It would help if Fleur Delacour wasn't in the picture.

Cinderella Angelina of Hufflepuff checking in with my final exam for the Charming Characters class!
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: A Primrose in Bloom

This is a fun little story, even though it ends on a more serious note, and Primrose is a refreshingly charming and down-to-earth character. She must have had a good home life, since she sounds so well-adjusted. And I like the little touch of her translating the runes on recently acquired treasures; it sounds like something that I would enjoy doing!

I enjoy seeing the creation of original characters that are linked to established characters like Bill and Fleur,and it's a treat to get a glimpse of Bill and Fleur in their Gringotts milieu at the beginning of their relationship. And although it looks as if there's no romance for Primrose in this little episode, despite her imaginative daydreams, one need not worry for her; she's a great girl, and some wizard (other than Basil) will see that soon enough.

This piece is well-written, with a light, deft touch. I'm not sure what the last line refers to ("something good could come of this news"), but it is just like Primrose to be optimistic, even in the face of You-Know-Who's return.

Thanks for writing.

In Pursuit of Greatness by PoeticallyIrritating

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: This is Bellatrix Black as a student, a wife, and a faithful servant. A child and a prisoner. She is exactly who you think she is, and much more.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/16/13 Title: Chapter 1: Elegant

This story certainly deserves more reviews than it has received so far. It is very well-written, with no awkwardness in the phrasing or the flow, no questionable choice of words, or poor timing of the pace.

It shows us a a young Bellatrix, amoral and conscienceless but not yet criminal, focused but not yet obsessed, a bully but not yet a psychopath. I am left wondering whether Bella at this point in her life could still have been salvaged and rehabilitated, given an opportunity for that, which of course never occurred.

The glimpses of the characters of Dumbledore and Slughorn are right on -- Dumbledore who was unable to be manipulated and Slughorn who was unable to avoid being manipulated. The statement "Everybody knew the Slytherins were prejudiced, but nobody knew it went that far" exemplifies Slughorn's unfitness as Slytherin Head of House. He didn't know what was going on and could not have controlled it even if he did. His refusal to change Bella's dormitory assignment was not based on moral principles but on a fear of losing his job, a weak response.

Bella's keen interest in Rodolphus Lestrange is a bit harder to understand. Her relationship with him is the same as her relationship with other people -- manipulative and self-serving. But what does she need him for? What value does he have for her besides being handsome, smart, and pureblooded? Chapter 3 is all about her seduction of him, but to what end? Given her nature as depicted, she obviously has something up her sleeve, and love is most certainly not it. Perhaps she has some goals in life (other than eventually becoming Voldemort's most worshipful follower), something more than being the wife of a pureblood and the mother of his children. It will be interesting to find out what her plans are.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your review. I'm really grateful that you put so much thought into this! I'm glad you like my Dumbledore and Slughorn. I struggled with Dumbledore especially. He's a difficult character to manage, especially because he was dealt with so extensively in the books. It's easier to write "in character" if we don't know much about the character, haha.

White Jade by AidaLuthien

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The youngest prince of China prepares to leave the capital to go to the Dragon Pearl.

This is AidaLuthien of Hufflepuff House's final for the Charming Characters class.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: Leaving Home

What an unusual story. It is a simple tale, but its charm comes from the blending of basic magical principles into a very different culture. The details give the appearance of being researched and are sufficiently plausible that they might be accurate. (Were phoenixes really a symbol of femininity in China? Did regular army soldiers rotate in and out of palace guard posts? I guess so.)

The references to magic are few, just enough to show that this is a magical story -- a wand, Apparition, shrinking the travel trunks, Polyjuice Potion, Veritaserum.

The story gives hints of questions we will have to answer for ourselves. What is the time period? Were members of the emperor's family always magical? Were the "lesser schools" also schools of magic? And how will the prince's experience be, studying alongside both commoners and scheming aristocrats? It boggles the mind to think of the amount of research that would be needed to describe even one ordinary day at Dragon Pearl.

As usual, Aida's writing is skillful and graceful, easy to read and easy to follow. A good blend of background, description, thoughts, dialogue, and action.

It is assumed that witches and wizards are present in countries all around the globe but we tend to imagine them only in Western-culture countries. Aida has opened up a whole new vista of possibilities. Will anyone follow her lead? (No, don't look at me.)

The Institute of Marriage by Half_BloodPrincess

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: For many, marriage proclaims love, for others, it shows pain.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: The Institute of Marriage

This little story has a refreshingly imaginative thesis. What I like: the "marriage bonds" which turn out to be a sort of telepathic notification of romantic/emotional feelings in one's spouse; the long time span; Hermione's constant eluding of her erstwhile husband (at first we don't know who or why); the notion that a Voldemort victory ultimately didn't make much difference to the Muggle world.

Even though we have an AU where Voldemort wins and Hermione is Imperiused to marry Draco, her character remains the character we knew in the 7 books, and when she is released from magical mind control, she is old Hermione, opposed to Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and she flees. There is no need to cudgel our brains trying to figure out why Hermione is behaving so sympathetically toward the Dark Side; she never does.

We get the feeling, even before Hermione realizes that Draco is about to die, that she has achieved a peace and tranquility in her life. The whole piece has a gentleness to it. And when she does see him for one last time, on his deathbed, there is no expressed anger, but no forgiveness either. For Hermione his death means neither triumph nor tragedy, just a final freedom.

This piece is very well-written, and the style is pleasingly different. So much is packed into just a few pages.

An Act of Love by hestiajones

Rated: Professors •
Summary: Salazar Slytherin has a dark secret, one that only Helga knows. Will she let him get away? Or will she hunt him down?

This is an adaptation of my drabble for the SBBC Cliche Redemption Challenge: Vampires, as well as an entry for the GH Inaugural Cotillion Challenge.

Disclaimer: I am not J.K.Rowling. No copyright infringements intended bro.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I'll bet this story never got into "Hogwarts: a History". This story is an interesting expansion of the character of Salazar Slytherin and speculation about his backstory and his motivation for leaving the new school. So little is established about these early times that the door is open for the development of the Founders' personalities and actions in any of a number of directions.

The story cuts back and forth between present (for the tale) time and flashback, including a dream sequence, but it quickly becomes easy to follow, and the characterizations of the four Founders are true to canon, with one reservation.
Given Salazar's long-established elitism and his condescending attitude, it is a bit of a stretch for me that Helga, with her egalitarian nature, should develop romantic feelings toward him (or he toward her).

The concept that he was actually a vampire is an imaginative stroke. Has he been thus for most or all of his adult life? During all of his twenty-plus-year tenure at the school? When did the Muggle mob dump him in the vampire's nest? How was it that he survived that encounter when his own victims do not? How long did Helga know that he was killing and consuming Muggles before she finally confronted him and he fled? I imagine that it could not have been long, since she acts resolutely not long after.

The developments of the problem with Salazar and Helga's desperate plan unfold slowly and steadily. The cutting back and forth between present time and flashback supports the mystery by allowing us to know that she has a plan to do something momentous without revealing too soon what it's all about. A straightforward timeline would not have accomplished the same thing.

The ending is ambiguous, no doubt on purpose. Salazar does not bite Helga, that is clear, but for some unexplained reason she has a sudden urge to sample the blood spread out over the floor (and why is half of his body gone?) But she quickly recovers and leaves the accursed cave. I wonder whether she will tell the other Founders what she knew, where she went, or what she did. Would Salazar have continued to be revered as one of the four Founders if she had told them?

This story is well-written and the sentences flow smoothly (as per the author's usual achievement). It was enjoyable to read. I can't fathom why it has so few reads and only one review.

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Helga/Salazar is tricky, and in Rowling's hands, they prolly wouldn't end up in each other's arms. But I can see the appeal, too. I have tried to tone down Salazar's character a little during his early days at Hogwarts for this purpose, to make it sound a little plausible.

Helga does get bitten and dies at the end :) The story couldn't have gone on any other way.

~ Natalie

Hesitation by Writ Encore

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Benjy Fenwick waited too long to ask the question he'd meant to ask ages ago.

This is Kuri of Ravenclaw writing for the Great Hall Cotillion Challenge.

This piece contains information pertaining to Pottermore, and I wouldn't want to ruin that for anyone. So, if you haven't had a chance to experience that, please don't read this.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/30/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Hesitation

Hi, Kuri. I like this story the best of yours that I have read so far. I appreciate the fact that it flows well and the action is easy to follow; one does not have to struggle to understand what is going on.

Benjamin is for me a new character, but you have given us a good feel for what he is like, what his issues are, how he sees his world slowly changing and is reluctant to change with it.

The overall tone of the story is more upbeat than in your other works I have read. The characters are more open, less enigmatic, ands their worlds and actions are less arbitrary. I like that because I like things to make sense.

Your description of the wedding scene (you seem often to have mentions of weddings in your stories) was touching, in a very simple way. For once, things seem to be going well for all your characters and everyone is pretty happy. That fact alone makes this story unique for you, but it is nice to know that sometimes you feel like writing this way.

Author's Response: Hello, Vicki. Part of the reason I stopped writing for MNFF is because I realized that a lot of what I wrote, especially the male characters, followed the same character. I am really trying to strive and piece things together in my writing so they do flow and they do make sense,at least better sense when it comes to the plotline. That comes with practice, I guess, and I suppose that I should thank you because you've made me realize that writing needs practice, structure, and time. There are hopefully less holes because I realize they are there and they need patching. They need work. I've always found Mad-Eye's photograph a interesting thing in the books, Thanks for reading.

The Most Unlikely Romance by RoseHyperionMalfoy

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: A story of how Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy evolved from being two people who never spoke to each other to being two people who broke all of their families expectations to be with each other.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/04/14 Title: Chapter 3: Chapter 3 - A Friendship Forged?

Hi, Agata. This is Vicki of Slytherin House reading your story and commenting on it. I am glad that I have discovered this story because there are many good things to say about it.

I like the alternating viewpoints in the successive chapters. It is good to see the situation from each of the main characters’ point of view, and devoting one entire chapter to each of the characters allows you to explore their viewpoint fully. This really helps in developing their personalities.

I liked the discussion, in paragraph three of the first chapter, of the household atmospheres and sibling relationships in the Weasley and Potter homes, as experienced by Rose and Albus. Surprisingly enough, most next-generation writers that I have read don’t address these issues, at least not as eloquently as you do. Your insights sounded original to me. In fact, all of chapter one is good. I was a bit surprised to discover at the end (the chapter title notwithstanding) that most of it was a reminiscence, but the transition into present time, four years later, was very smooth.

Originality in the ideas of the details that flesh out the story is a really strong point for you. (Hope that sentence wasn’t too convoluted.) It is definitely not the hackneyed “same old stuff”. Here are some good examples: Scorpius and his family car; the gently humorous imaginary headline “Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy seen speaking face to face!); his spunky mother who shakes up the Malfoy family atmosphere. And I really liked that line “He pretended not to have noticed but all that came to mind was, Damn,” when he realizes that he has already given away his thoughts to his mother and it is too late to prevent it; that is such a familiar feeling, to realize that you have let the cat out of the bag.

However, in the second chapter I think the character of Adrianna Parkinson is less successful because she seems to be too much of a Pansy Parkinson clone. I would prefer to see her behavior toned down somewhat.

Chapter three is not quite so noteworthy because it is more like other stories I’ve read before (Rose thinking about how she is attracted to Scorpius, etc.). It gets better when Rose and Scorpius start talking about their summer holidays, with the humorous touch of Scorpio’s reference to the family mansion as the “family mausoleum”. The last paragraph, Rose’s stream-of-consciousness thoughts, works well because this series of short sentences jumps around the way a person’s real thoughts jump around when he or she is thinking, so it sounds realistic.

You are a good writer, better than many I read here. I like the fact that you present sensible characters being kind, intelligent, and basically on the right track, but with distinct personalities, not stereotyped, not wishy-washy, not forced. It is refreshing to read about people like this ” they actually have a chance of succeeding. They may well be compatible with each other, and a romance between the two is believable.

I see that it has been a while since you posted any more chapters in this story; that’s too bad, because it has real possibilities. But even if you never continue it, this unfinished fragment has value as a well-done piece that is enjoyable to read.

Bloodshot Eyes by MistReader

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Theador Mist is assigned to a dangerous task that could change his life forever. It is only a matter of time when the truth about whether he can survive it hits him hard.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/24/13 Title: Chapter 1: The Silhouette of a Beast.

Hi, MistReader. I have read your one-and-only chapter of Bloodshot Eyes, and would like to comment on it.

The best part of this short chapter is the description of Theador’s first encounter with a werewolf at the age of nine. It is a succinct bit of narrative, but you have included vivid details that make it easy to envision the action, and some unexpected touches, such as the fact that the werewolf turned out to be a boy and that he was later murdered by villagers who burned him in his house.

The story sounds as if you were young when you wrote it. Now almost two years have passed since you posted Chapter 1, and if you were to visit this topic again, you would probably amplify the first four paragraphs, adding more explanation of his investigation of the reports, a longer conversation with the old lady, perhaps another Auror to accompany him, and a more fleshed-out plan of operation for the evening.

Your ending hints at unexplained twists of the plot. We wonder why the bad dreams ended when Theador received his Hogwarts letter. Did something special happen then? We are assuming that Theador will save himself at the last moment from the jaws of the werewolf.

Do you think you will come back to this story?

A Box for Your Soul by Free_Elf

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: For years, Lucy Weasley bared her soul in the letters she wrote to Lorcan Scamander. Now, as they are in the process of moving in together, she discovers a box filled with each and every one of those letters; her essence in written form. Presented with irrefutable proof, can Lucy like the person she finds? In her turmoil, she writes to Lorcan, of course.

This is Free_Elf of Hufflepuff finally getting around to writing for the Great Hall Cotillion.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/30/13 Title: Chapter 1: A Box for Your Soul

Hi, Bec. I think I have read this story before, but did not leave a review at that time.

This is such a sweet story. It works, even though there is not much action, just Molly sitting on the floor (at least, that’s how I envision her) reading letter after letter after letter. Your combination of flashbacks, provided by the letters that trace her childhood history, and her self-criticism about the contents of the flashbacks provide an interesting way to juxtapose her childhood thoughts and behaviors with her adult judgment.

Most of us probably have seen a few letters that we wrote as children, something sent from summer camp and saved by our mother, for example. It is usually embarrassing enough to read just one or two such letters. It would take a true act of self-discipline to force ourselves to read a whole boxful of them. But it would be a maturing exercise also, as Lucy eventually discovers, that it is natural for children to be childish (often thoughtless and self-centered), and that the world in general does not expect them to be otherwise.

You make a good point in observing that there are two ways to regard Lucy’s long litany of complaints and problems as written in her letters: either she was self-obsessed and self-pitying, using Lorcan as a dumping ground for her negativity, or she was showing him her great trust by allowing him to see her innermost feelings and secrets. By showing us everything through Lucy’s eyes throughout almost all of the story, you keep us assuming the first interpretation, until, at the end, you spring the second, more forgiving interpretation on us as a surprise. That was neatly done.

A couple of thoughts came to mind as I read this. First, what was in the box of letters that Lorcan wrote to Lucy? We have seen only one of them, the one he wrote at age five. I realize that what was in those letters is not the point of this story, but my curiosity is piqued. How did he react to her written tales of woe?

Secondly, should we be surprised that all these letters, even the very first ones, have been so carefully saved all these years? Why were they not discarded, shortly after having been received and read, like all the other flotsam of childhood? Were they particularly precious to these two children because both of these children felt alienated from their other family members? Or are letters more highly prized in a culture that does not have telephones, e-mail, text messages, and Skype? (Perhaps our pioneer ancestors felt the same way.)

You have managed to write an emotional story without becoming maudlin, and that is a feat. Lorcan’s last letter is very well written, with many good phrases, just enough, not too much. It ties the story up very neatly. Good job.

Vicki of Slytherin House

Author's Response: Ah, wow, thank you so much for this review, Vicki! I haven't been around MNFF properly in a while now, it was such a pleasant surprise to see the email! Letters are such an interesting thing; like you said, it can be difficult to reread childhood letters, but also it can be a rewarding learning experience to see how much we've grown. I'm also glad you pointed out the different interpretations of Lucy's character. Given how we have only really been given her name, I found it fun to give her a little depth like that. On the point of all the letters being saved, I think things like letters do have different value for different people. I, for one, still have nearly all the letters I received from friends in pre-email and texting days. In the context of this story, it's a little headcanon I have about Lorcan, I guess, that he would have had a bit of an unsettled childhood with parents like Luna and Rolf, travelling all over the place and that regular letters would be loved and kept because of the unconscious sense of stability they would give him. But anyway, thanks again for all your comments and praise. I'm so pleased you enjoyed this little old story of mine :) Bec/Free_Elf

Mary Macdonald's Healing Garden by SnapeLives

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: Mary Macdonald sows healing plants wherever she goes. She studied to become a master herb gardener after graduating from Hogwarts. Now she wants to return to work there and hopes, at the same time, to heal her lonely heart. Dumbledore has finally given her a job, and Mary is hoping to capture the heart of that lonely, dark-haired boy who captured hers so many years ago.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/30/13 Title: Chapter 3: Chapter 2: Hello, Goodbye

Hi, Heidi. I read your bio after reading this story and drafting a review, and now I understand more, seeing that you and Snape share a birth year; that is why you can write a story about a more adult person (because you are one!)

This story is very nicely written, and although you indicate that it is an uncompleted story with possibly more passion coming in the as-yet-unposted chapters, it could stand alone as a complete story just as it is; in fact, that’s what I thought it was, at first. You include lots of details, and none of them are extraneous (thank you for avoiding extraneous details); they really flesh the story out, keep the pace steady, and make the scenes easy to visualize.

I specifically like: the description of Mary’s cottage, the setting and layout of the gardens, Mary’s work at Hogwarts, the elves who help her, the details of what is growing, Mary’s backstory. It all makes sense and is not just an arbitrary add-on of a feature to the Hogwarts campus; it probably actually was there but was just never mentioned before (kind of like their woodshed for firewood, or their compost pile for kitchen and garden waste). It also makes perfect sense that Professor Sprout would have a non-teaching assistant to deal with a lot of the work of actually growing the plants.

You story has a good balance of action, dialogue, description, and inner thoughts. The pace is just about right.

There is good dialogue in Mary’s job interview with Professor Dumbledore. The language is very straightforward (I like it when dialogue is not affectedly stylish) but thoughtful and in depth. You have captured Dumbledore’s voice well, and have shown well how Mary has matured in wisdom, self-knowledge, and courage/strength since her school days. I get weary of stories about adults who behave childishly; Mary does not, even as she retains an optimistic and hopeful outlook. She must be about 35 years old in this story, a good age for having arrived at some wisdom; her daughter Natalie is no slouch either, by the way.

The episode of Snape’s and Mary’s stroll through the herb garden is also very good. You have captured his voice and manner very well. I can just picture these characters in this setting. And I appreciate Mary’s strength and inner humor; she is in command of this encounter, and she knows it and glories in it. And that little observation “he grabbed the edge of his robe that wasn’t keeping up with him,” is a tiny bit of genius; he has no patience with even inanimate objects that don’t meet his standard of performance!

Your final scene, between Snape and Dumbledore, is also great. You have captured their voices and manners spot-on again.

A question arose in my mind. Why does Mary love Severus so much? The prologue begins as they both leave school for the last time; by this point in his life, Snape was “perpetually grouchy-looking”, made “snide remarks”, and was “on his way to join the Death Eaters”. Not an attractive guy. She must have fallen for him much earlier, before he had developed such a “bristly exterior”. It would be nice to insert one sentence in the prologue to say so.

I would very much like to read more of what you may write about this pair, because Mary is interesting and you do Snape so well. There’s no reason this couldn’t fit neatly into canon, though that would require that they develop a good working relationship but no torrid romance, and of course Snape would need to die on schedule after that final and most unromantic year (which you probably don’t want to do). I hope that you will not let this story die, but will find the time and inclination to finish it up.

Vicki of Slytherin House.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. Actually, I had really forgotten about the story (well, not forgotten, but it was so far on the backburner that I think it would have been left there to completely boil away) and was happily surprised to see a review for it in my email. Thanks to you, I'm going to take up this project again (it's winter, anyway, and I have a bit of time to spare) and will folllow your advice: I'll try to keep it true to canon instead of what I had in mind for it before (and no torrid romance! LOL), try to explain why Mary has such a thing for Snape, and try to work in a surprise or two...it may be some time before this story is complete, but I hope that it will be worth the wait. Thanks again. I really appreciate you taking the time to write up your review. It's a really nice surprise for the New Year and will help keep my wrting going in 2014.

What It Takes to be a Black by PInk_Witch

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Three sisters. One Dark Lord. This story is about how the choices they made affected who they turned out to be.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/24/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

This is a delightful piece, Pink Witch, and it should have received a lot more reviews. You have created a wonderful stream-of-consciousness for each of these three women who originated in the Black family and traveled in such different directions.

There are plenty of stories on this archive that are elegantly crafted with sophisticated sentences, but your story sounds as if an oral historian had simply stuck a microphone in front of each woman and pressed “Record”. And thus we get an intimate look into each woman’s mind; we see who they really are. We often observe someone else’s behavior, shake our heads, and say, “What could they possibly have been thinking?” And in the seven books of the Harry Potter series we see these women’s behavior and hear what they say, but you have taken that crucial next step, to figure out what these (admittedly fictional, but they seem real to us) characters are thinking.

These monologues ramble around, like people speaking whatever comes into their heads, but they manage to touch on quite a lot of details. They hit all the points, in a completely realistic conversational tone, with too many clever and charming sentences and phrases to list.

I certainly hope that you will continue writing; you seem to have a talent. It was very enjoyable to read your story.

Sticking Together by iLuna17

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: During the reign of the Carrows, Dumbledore's Army fought against them. The D.A. also had each others' backs, no matter what happened. But it wasn't always that way. It took a fourth-year, a little black book, and a plan the size of Hogwarts itself to make the D.A. realize their only chance of survival lied with each other.

This is iMusic17 of Slytherin writing for the Outstanding OWL's prompt in the School of Mischief Challenge in the Great Hall.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: Sticking Together

This is a clever story about a guerilla mission by Dumbledore's Army during Snape's tenure as Headmaster. The action moves along quickly in the students' multifaceted caper, and it was necessary to re-read it a few times in order to grasp all the actions and their purposes. The story fits into the canon timeline of events by taking place at the same time as the D. A. attempt to steal the (false) sword of Gryffindor from the Headmaster's office. The Carrows are depicted, as usual, as brutal but not very bright.

There were a few points I could not get sorted out precisely at first. In the first scene in the Room of Requirement, Hannah is present and delivers a few lines; then Nigel asks where Hannah and Terry are, and Anthony says "Hannah and Terry went to get the first years..." I think they mean to speak of Susan and Terry, not Hannah and Terry; shortly thereafter, Susan and Terry burst into the room.

When Anthony, Demelza, and Nigel invade the detention room, Susan seems to be in there, tied up and having recently been tortured, but how she ended up in there is not plain. When Hannah and Ernie, playing the role of turncoats, escort Demelza and Anthony "to the Headmaster's office", the story seems to refer to them as the three Prefects, but there were only two of them.

These editing defects are easily overlooked after one studies the story to feel confident that they are just flaws that escaped the beta's eye.

In the last conversation in the Room of Requirement, where Nigel reveals his actions in the back room of confiscated objects, he speaks as if he wrote the weird love letter in the duplicate book while he was in that room, but I can't imagine he had time for that; the second book must have been all prepared before the caper began. (Tell me if I'm mistaken.)

I also wondered whether the Carrows noticed the Stupefied bodies of the six Slytherin torturers lying on the floor.

But all of these points are very minor and easily fixed up with a few minutes of editing. The story is fun; we all enjoy a clever scheme. And the writing was good; the sentences flowed easily and the principal players, who are mostly minor ones in the books, were well characterized. Anything that helps fill in the mystery of what was going on at Hogwarts during the 1997-1998 school year is a welcome addition to the whole saga.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review! (Just a warning I wrote this about a year ago, so I'm not sure how much I remember :/)

I know that it's a little hard to grasp, and thank you for pointing out the wording errors (*headdesk* on my part). Nigel did have that letter prepared, he just chose not to spread it around because no one knew that he was planning to switch the books. Susan was serving detention for having been caught with the book, but I should have made that clearer. I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and thanks again!


Magic Beyond The Seams by christyvourcos

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: This is a poem I wrote originally to describe my experience at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida during Infinitus 2010. Through my creative writing course in college (for my English major), I received some comments about it and made the poem towards my experience of the series & the fandom. As soon as I registered for Alohomora, I noticed there was a section for submissions and my first thought was to share this poem.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01/06/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi Christy. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, and I was sufficiently intrigued by your Poem Summary to read your poem. It is unique in that nobody else addresses the interface between the Harry Potter fictional books and the real world; we just speak and act as if we believe that the story is true.

Like you, we imagine ourselves approaching the castle, walking inside, seeing all the things that J. K. Rowling describes, thinking how we would function in a place like that, what kind of life it would be. I have sometimes wondered what it would be like to visit a Harry Potter theme park; would it seem real, as if I actually were at Hogwarts, or would the plastic underpinnings peek through, and the walls prove to be no more than painted styrofoam? Perhaps it depends, as you say , on if you have magic within you.

The last four lines of your poem are thought-provoking; how can these moments come to life as we create magic within ourselves? In fact, how do we create magic within ourselves? And would the magic of wands and spells actually improve our lives over what we have now? Or are we talking about some other sort of magic that does not and never did requires wands?

I enjoyed your poem. You describe yourself in your bio as a staunch fan of Harry Potter, so I hope we will see more of your works here.

Mortal Thoughts by noblefate

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Dumbledore's dead, and Tonks has just said she loves him, but Remus is still too afraid to go after what he wants. Here's hoping Molly Weasley can get him to take matters into his own hands.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: Mortal Thoughts

An interesting little story, a continuation of the conversation that took place by Bill's bedside in the Hospital Wing after the battle in the tower. After Harry leaves the Hospital Wing we do not know how that conversation played out, but the author assumes that Lupin went into the Great Hall to see Dumbledore's body, then returned to the vicinity of the Hospital Wing but did not re-enter. The author gives a good exposition of Lupin's sense of being alone as, one by one, everyone who was close to him dies and he is reluctant to get close to anyone again. But he does not entertain the notion of a romantic attachment with Tonks until Molly comes out into the hall to pursue the discussion that was cut off earlier by Hagrid's arrival.

Lupin reiterates his negative opinion of himself -- he is a monster, he is a risk -- which has dominated his self-image all his life (encouraged no doubt by societal attitudes and restrictive laws), but Molly encourages him to break out of this self-imposed strait jacket, and eventually he decides to follow Lily's advice "...you don't have to let it define you." This is a realization that all disabled or damaged people will hopefully come to, sooner or later, that they can learn to manage their disability and go on to live a rewarding life that is normal in many respects.

In this story, Remus concludes that what holds him back is, first of all, fear, an emotion which comes not from Fenris Greyback or from society, but from within himself, and which he can conquer.

The story is nicely written. It's just a little slice of time, a little bit of dialogue, but a turning point for Lupin and Tonks. My only suggestion is a word choice in the final line. The word "feelings" sounds too tentative for a 37-year-old man like Lupin. It sounds like a word a teenager would use, in speaking about his first crush. Given that these were grim times, in which Lupin and Tonks would marry, have a baby, and die within the span of a year, I would have said "love".

Author's Response: Thank you for your extensive review. I always appreciate seeing my work through someone else's eyes as it gives me a sense of perspective, and I understand the critique of the story's ending. Thanks for reading! ~ Megan

Waiting for Morning by Writ Encore

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Elphinstone Urquart doesn't listen to sense, or rejection, because he's seeking an answer. One that sounds good to his ears.

Dedication: For Etsuko, my Japanese spirit.

For Ruth, James’s Ruthie, who taught me to read.

And, to the old man who just left us, James, who introduced me to Ernest Hemingway and said I belong with the girls in the Roaring Twenties. I walked the wrong road.

And, lastly, to my friend, Akay (padfootpatronus), who has held my hand through all of it. I love you all and miss you all.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 12/23/13 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter 2: The Kiss

Poor Elphinstone. He can’t win for losing. Your story is, so far, the first two chapters of an expected multi-chapter fiction, though I wonder if we will ever learn how it turns out. The two chapters you have given us so far show Elphinstone as a youngish man and then as an old man, relentlessly wooing Minerva McGonagall but getting nowhere. The extended canon tells us that she eventually did marry him, so I suppose that the persistence with which you have characterized him did finally pay off. I’m not sure who is waiting for morning but he sure is waiting for Minerva.

I am surprised that you write Elphinstone as a person incapable of managing his personal affairs very well, and certainly not his relationships with other people. I cannot help comparing him with characters in your other stories who, though exhibiting normal human flaws are more in control of their lives. Elphinstone reminds me of the comedian whose signature line is “I don’t get no respect.”

Elphinstone’s various meetings and encounters with so many canon characters, and a few non-canon ones, brings to mind the image of a silver ball in a pinball machine, randomly bouncing off posts and bumpers in a seemingly uncontrolled way; the presence of these characters provides some stability to the narrative, and the many descriptive details give a vividness to a story whose arc is not plain (yet).

I am left wondering if you will someday finish this story and show us how your protagonist manages to take charge of his life, or whether he will be left wandering forever.

Overcoming by Kaitlyn Snape

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Ginny is torn apart by Fred's death. He was the only one of her brothers who understood her, and now he is gone. Yet despite this, she knows she must go on. She must continue to live despite this. And to live, she must accept his death, no matter how hard it is.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/13/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Beginning Again

If you've never experienced such an unexpected loss of someone so close, it's hard to understand how a person would feel in that situation, and therefore it would be challenging to write it. We know that there are various ways of showing grief; this story describes an extreme reaction for Ginny and George. The author puts this in perspective by saying "Slowly each person in the family manages to return to living. I can't. George can't." It is good for the author to point out that most others recover functionality much more quickly.

Except for George, no other character is explored in depth. Ginny makes short-sentence bald statements of what the others are doing, almost as if they are mere acquaintances, not family members. Ginny is pulling back from the very people who could help her integrate this loss into her life experience. She makes scant mention of Harry. At first "Harry is alive," as if that mattered to her, but quickly she pushes him away from her psychologically, and he becomes a focus of blame. It is common for a wounded person to want to pin blame on another person; "fate" is too impersonal to blame, and God is too far away. There is no more mention of Harry except "Harry travels across the country, repairing lives" (but not her life), and by Christmas he is no longer mentioned at all.

The staccato sentences in which this chapter is written sound the way a grief-stricken person would talk. The sentences could be combined to make longer sentences, one idea flowing into another, but that would change the tone of the piece

The timeline of the chapter is notable. It begins with a long section describing Ginny's and George's ascent from the depths of grief over a period of about four months. Then follows a very quick synopsis, only a few paragraphs covering a span of time of at least two years, Ginny's last year of school and at least one year with the Holyhead Harpies. This section feels like a bridge between the four month period after Fred's death to some new episode which the reader expects to be explored at some length again.

The implication is that something important is going to happen involving the game with the Montrose Magpies or during the timespan of the game. Ginny says "The dreaded day comes." Why is the day dreaded? Is it just a game like all the previous games, or is there something special about this game?

Ginny speaks in short sentences to the very end of this chapter, giving the impression that, despite her assertions to the contrary, she still has a large reservoir of grief under her facade of moving on and resuming a normal life. Her recovery feels stuck.

This first chapter sets us up for further developments in Chapter 2, but it's hard to guess where this story is going. We shall see.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for sending me this response! I really appreciate that you analyzed my chapter, and I'm not being sarcastic. I like that you included very specific details. I also like the questions you asked me, and I will hopefully be able to answer some of them in my next chapter. Your analysis of my chapter has actually helped me to understand something I have been wondering about for a long time. I am currently in high school, and we have been analyzing literature very in-depth in English. Something I have been wondering is how authors end up with all of these interesting symbolisms, syntax, and tone. I now know that it just happens. Thank you! I will try to post Chapter 2 soon, but I am having a little bit of a hard time finishing it. I also have to say that you're prediction that something important will happen during the game is correct. The question is- what will it be? Once again, thank you for your lovely and lengthy review!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for sending me this response! I really appreciate that you analyzed my chapter, and I'm not being sarcastic. I like that you included very specific details. I also like the questions you asked me, and I will hopefully be able to answer some of them in my next chapter. Your analysis of my chapter has actually helped me to understand something I have been wondering about for a long time. I am currently in high school, and we have been analyzing literature very in-depth in English. Something I have been wondering is how authors end up with all of these interesting symbolisms, syntax, and tone. I now know that it just happens. Thank you! I will try to post Chapter 2 soon, but I am having a little bit of a hard time finishing it. I also have to say that you're prediction that something important will happen during the game is correct. The question is- what will it be? Once again, thank you for your lovely and lengthy review!

Hard-Faced by LollyLovesick

Rated: 6th-7th Years •

All that matters is the face you show to the world.

Hard-faced, but in love.

What’s a girl to do?

This is LollyLovesick of Hufflepuff submitting my entry for Rosmerta's Mini-Gauntlet being held in The Three Broomsticks over at the MNFF beta boards.

Nominated for Best General Story in the 2012 Quicksilver Quills. Thank you!

Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: one-shot

I read your story through a few times to completely understand all that you were saying. This is a great story, and it deserves more reviews. It does a good job of describing a girl who wasn't malicious, but just doing what she had to do to survive. The series of vignettes establishes her careful attempts to balance her mother's advice, her place in the social milieu of Slytherin House, and her own repressed need for love.

It is posited in this story that after Draco betrays Pansy (in her mind) by marrying someone else, she decides that she wants to take revenge on him. It is a little hard for me to understand why she has this reaction. True, she hoped that after the war he would come back to her by default (having no other friends), but when he does not, why does she react so strongly? Because without him she has no future (paying job, dingy flat, nights in clubs drinking, nothing like the status she was born into, no respectable man with money to feed and clothe her)? Or because she wanted him so badly that she began to believe that it was guaranteed she would have him? My father used to remind me and my siblings that "Wantin' ain't gittin'", and I quote that wisdom often.

It is amusing to read Pansy's wild fantasies about how she might take revenge, including something as ridiculous as abducting Draco's baby. But she shows her cunning nature, which has gone far beyond mere survival now, in the elaborate plan to have Draco make a fool of himself with a prostitute in front of his wife. When at the last minute Pansy doesn't go through with her plan, what is she thinking? Sympathy for Astoria? For the baby, which whom she suddenly identifies?

There is a subtlety to this story that invites re-reading and pondering. A lot is suggested in a few sentences here and there. Well-written.

A Death in the Family by GDPeg43

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Lily Potter has been confined to her Godric's Hollow home for months now with little contact to the outside world, so it comes as a great surprise to her when she learns of her Muggle mother's death. Lily's strong urge to go to the funeral and say good-bye to her mother would mean putting herself and family in danger in multiple ways - and possibly seeing her estranged sister Petunia.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I read this story when it was first posted, and should have reviewed it then, but better late than never.

I am impressed by the good descriptions all around, of the actions and interactions at the Potter house in Godwin Hollow, the neglected yard, the baby throwing the wand against the wall, and so on. You captured well Lily's severe stress from the threat of You-Know-Who, from being virtually imprisoned in her house (with an uncertain future and no end in sight), and now from the loss of her mother.

I also like the depiction of Dumbledore. Although he knows that going to the funeral involves a big risk, he does not forbid Lily to go and he even brings the Invisibility Cloak for her to use. He leaves the final decision to her, without a long conversational harangue. But was it realistic to think that she could actually go to the funeral without talking to any of her own family? When Lily returns, Dumbledore chides her for taking the risk of revealing herself to Petunia, but after a sentence or two he lets the matter drop. I liked that.

I loved the brief description of her town, her house, and the mourners and the funeral. It was just right, not too much or too little.

The blow-up between Petunia and Lily was wonderful. Again, not too much or too little. It seemed very realistic, making clear the depth of the animosity that Petunia had built up toward Lily, ever increasing over the years, as resentment bred resentment, topped off by what seemed the final blow, her mother's asking for Lily on her deathbed.

On top of the old sibling rivalry is superimposed, in Petunia's mind, the terrible stress of taking care of sick and dying parents, a job that, in real life, typically gets foisted off on one of the children and creates bitterness toward the other siblings who got off scot-free. Petunia is far beyond any openness; she will never let bygones be bygones.

The chilling part of this story is that we know (but Lily does not) that in a few months her beloved son will be sent into the care of this woman who will continue the battle for years, not with an adult sister but with a defenseless child.

Dumbledore mistakenly believes that his relationship with Aberforth is a good yardstick to measure Lily's relationship with Petunia. He was not in that church. He did not see their confrontation. He does not know.

There is a timeline problem. James tells Lily that her mother died "yesterday", Wednesday, May 20th, and that Mrs. Jenson saw the obituary in the newspaper "yesterday" and mailed it to them. The obit would not be published on the same day that Mrs. Evans died. Then Lily says that she will attend the Saturday funeral "tomorrow morning", so this day must be Friday, Mrs. Evans died two days ago, not yesterday, and the obit was published on Thursday morning and immediately cut out and mailed by Mrs. Jenson, to arrive today (Friday). James is obviously mixed up about what day today is; it's Friday the 22nd, and he thinks it's Thursday the 21st. Easy to do if you are cooped up in the house all day, day after day, and don't go to a regular job.

One other hint: the story says "...it donned on her..." What you want is "...it dawned on her..." "Donned" means "he put on clothing," as in "he donned his hat and coat."

All in all, a good story, and it contributes to the understanding of why Petunia behaved as she did when Harry was put in her care. Nicely done.

They Brought the Great Alastor Moody To His Knees by The Last Marauder

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Alastor Moody’s house was impenetrable. The door had ten locks on it, each requiring a complex spell to open. All his windows had been reinforced with all the security spells in existence. At least two Sneakoscopes were perched in each room. He had taken every precaution. He had added every security measure under the sun. He had thought of every possible entry point and fortified all weak areas. No one could get inside, no one, but they did. They did.
Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: Brought to His Knees

I am blown away by the sheer mass and richness of detail in this story. You must have sat up late at night thinking of more things to say about Alastor Moody. In writing like this, you run the risk of becoming repetitious or too wordy, and I read critically with an eye to phrases I would blue-pencil if I were your editor, but in truth I found very few.

The title of your story is good in that it promises the reader that, after the long build-up describing Moody's character as an Auror and his circumstances as a recently-retired pensioner, there is going to be some action eventually. Lacking that promise, a reader might give up about one-third of the way through the story (right before Moody gets out of bed for the first time).

It is hard to imagine that Barty Crouch Jr., masquerading as the false Alastor Moody, could be as detail-obsessed as the real Moody was; probably few people except Moody's four allowed visitors really had an inkling as to the extent of his detail obsession (looking for codes in the newspaper articles?), and of them only Dumbledore was at Hogwarts. How did Barty Crouch Jr. manage to impersonate such a complex character as Moody so successfully, given that he, Barty, had not seen Alastor Moody for years? How did he manage to fool Dumbledore?

The fight scene is vivid and well-described. The fight goes on for quite a while, the advantage switches back and forth from side to side, and Moody's courage is impressive. But, because he was a skilled Auror, I wonder why so few of his shots hit their mark. And Pettigrew and Crouch seem pretty skilled in fighting for men who have spent their recent years as a rat and a shut-in respectively.

I also wonder how they managed to overcome Moody's protections and blast a hole in the side of his house. We are not told of the protections that Moody had on his walls, other than the windows and door, though he believes "the house was impregnable." But nothing is perfect, even Moody's protections, and how they got in is one of those things that we will probably never know.

This story is an amazing elaboration of the personality of Alastor Moody. After reading it, one is tempted to go back through Books 4-7 and re-read the sections which include Moody to see how his depiction there reflects the descriptions in this story.

One nit: in several places the story uses the word "passed" where I think the word needed was "past". But that's a little thing. The story is awesome.

Author's Response: Hi there, so sorry for the delay in responding to your lovely review, I only just noticed it! I am so glad you liked this, I had a lot of fun writing it, and you are half right, I did spend a lot of time just sitting still in an empty room, thinking, observing, and plotting, trying to get into the head of Mad-Eye Moody, and I had a lot of fun with that, so I am glad you enjoyed. I know what you mean about being repetitious and too wordy, and I was conscious of that. It is a very wordy piece, and not a lot happens for a while, which I thought would be problematic. I was focusing more on Moody's character at the start of the piece, and less on action. I am just glad it worked, because people do seem to like the story! In terms of how Crouch managed to impersonate Moody so flawlessly, well I was basing that on that fact that Crouch kept him alive and under the imperious curse, so he could question him and learn his habits and quirks so he could fool even Dumbledore (he does say that in GOF, that he kept Moody alive to question him and learn his character and personality) I am glad you liked the fight scene. In terms of Moody being a skilled Auror and not a lot of his shots hit their mark ... well, he is older now and battle worn and scarred. He has lost his leg. I was trying to capture a hero in decline. He is not as fast, or fit or as skillful as he used to be. I wanted to capture him like that, because I think it is really sad, that his once brilliant and great Auror has to face up with the fact that he can't be brilliant forever, that everything has its time and must end, and his story is a sad one - where he was forced to retire when he himself was not ready to let go... Sorry about the issue with passed and past - I will go and fix that now - thanks for pointing it out! Anyway, thank you so much for your fantastic review, it really made my day. I am just so happy you liked this little story! Thank you so much, your review is awesome.