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.
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.
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, Bliss 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 ”She was starting to sound hysterical.” 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 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hi, Neil. I am enjoying your story, as I do with all your works. Just wanted to let you know that you have done me a favor. I am writing a story for my creative writing class here in Oregon, based loosely on some hpff ideas I have had, but with all the names changed, of course, and I have a scene in which members of the police inspect a skeleton that has been uncovered in the course of an excavation. I didn't know what title to call these policemen, but I saw that you had characters who were identified as Detective Constables, so I googled that term and found much information on the British police; that turned out to be the very title that I needed. So thank you.
Author's Response: Thanks Vicki. I try to keep the "Muggle police" aspects of my stories (particularly the MIT stories) as accurate as possible, to the extent that I've even noted the date the Metropolitan Police's specialist firearms unit stopped being SO19 and became CO19 (2005). Now, they're SCO19. I'm no expert, but if you need any information, just ask. -N-
Hi, Ken. I’m so glad you got this chapter posted, sad though it is. Poor Jeffery, he loses everyone who is important to him, his family whom he had to leave behind in England, then his Army buddy Clay, then the woman he loves. He must be wondering what is the point of going on.
I am looking forward to your next chapter, and so is my daughter, who said she hoped you intended to finish the story, but I am sure you will, because that is your custom.
Hi, Laura. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I have just read your story, and I really enjoyed it
. I like the characterization of the three Next-Generation kids, showing the influence of their families but definitely not just clones of their parents. You show them as eager, optimistic, and well-adjusted, but still like children, as seen in the delightful scene of playing make-believe with pretend twig "wands" and in their awe at seeing how big the lake really is. We can see the changes that have developed with the passing of time: Scorpius speaks freely of the damage to the Slytherins' reputation because of the events of the war, and there seems to be less stereotyping in the children's minds based on House affiliation.
The sudden arrival of their parents and Professor McGonagall at the lakeside seemed a little fortuitous, since I wasn't sure why the parents had realized that their children had left the tour or that the lake was where the children had gone, so I would suggest including something to indicate how that came to be. Since the whole story is from Albus' point of view, you can't just suddenly cut back to Harry or Hermione, so maybe you could have one of the parents say something on the dock, such as saying that the tour had ended and they had asked somebody where the three kids were, and someone had said they saw the kids sneaking toward the lake or overheard the kids saying that they were going to the lake. If you edit in a few sentences of that sort, then the transition point where the parents arrive on the dock would be a little clearer.
Your idea of some children being able to visit Hogwarts before their initial enrollment is a good one. It always seemed to me that it was a bit of a shock for eleven-year-olds to come to Hogwarts for the very first time on the night of their Sorting, and then be thrown into classes the very next day in such an unfamiliar environment.
You have neatly tied the beginning and the end of the sort together with the theme of Albus' learning about the Second Wizarding War, so that your story has an arc. Interesting that you didn't deal with Allbus' siblings; since James had already been in school for at least a year, James must have known something about the War, but apparently he didn't pass that knowledge on to Albus. I wonder if this was a secret between James and his parents, that they had told him not to tell Albus or to tease Albus by saying "I know something you don't know," as kids so often do. :)
Nice job. Thanks for writing.
An interesting idea, to have Harry playing with and against professional Quidditch players. We tend to think of him as the boy wonder of Quidditch because of his youthful start on the Gryffindor team, but he did not actually play for several of his school years, and you remind us that the caliber of school-yard play is less than that of the professional leagues. And the unique setting makes this game less ho-hum than many of the other games we've read about.
Thanks for noting the 10th anniversary of MNFF. It deserved to be mentioned somewhere. I enjoyed your story.
Author's Response: Thanks Vicki.
A reviewer on another site wasn't happy about which side won, so I'm glad you can see my reasoning. Even if Harry is a good amateur, he's likely to be a little out of his depth against professionals. He missed at least one (possibly two) of the three games in his sixth year, and didn't play at all in his seventh. At the time I've set this story he's a few days shy of his 22nd birthday.-N-
Nagini, I loved this poem. You have such a vivid image of these rotting corpses rising up from the graves. Every little detail is so perfect and so spot-on. I loved the dirt in their unhinged jaws. Your choices of words never falter. All the line are imaginative but keenly observant and perfectly clear. Very, very good job.
Author's Response: Thank you! I really liked this one, too. :) If only more people had entered the challenge... Then it might have won a place!!!! Keep reading. ;) ~Nagini
This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I have been following this charming story, and it is hard to believe after all these pages, that the story has covered only a few days in time. You have included lots of good detail, and in many places there are delightful little observations, little flashes of imagination, that make the story fun to read.
Your writing style is plain, simple, open, artless, simply good storytelling, and your story line marches forward briskly. Tonks, as you portray her, is clever, resourceful, brave, loving, and always optimistic. And I enjoy how you have pulled so many well-known canon characters into your story.
I am looking forward to reading more of the Adventures of Tonks and Remus, as we might say. Thank you for writing.
Author's Response: Thanks for the great review! :)
Hi, Kylee. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I have read your first two chapters, and so far you have some interesting scenes that are enjoyable to read. The Marauders at the end of Chapter Two are well characterized. I hope that your main character Cera will not be a “permanent chip on the shoulder” type of person, and that we will see other aspects of her personality other than the whiny one in the upcoming chapters. I have read fics in which the main character (almost always female) is whiny throughout the whole story, and it got pretty old pretty fast. But there is plenty of room yet for exciting things to start happening which will show her particular strengths of character and reveal sides of her personality not immediately apparent. I am looking forward to reading more. Thank you for writing.
Author's Response: Hey, thanks for dropping a review. It is 1) nice to hear from a fellow Slytherin and 2) wonderful to hear that my characterization of the Marauders is good. Writing the Marauders means that I have to worry if I'm doing them justice. As for Cera, I do worry about her a bit. I mean, she has to make the choice to be happy, and sometimes, we make the wrong decision. In the end, though, it's my job to entertain even if my main character is a whiner who holds grudges and wants nothing to do with forgiveness, hope, and reaching out to people. So hopefully you'll enjoy the story that surrounds the annoying main character. And maybe she'll stop being annoying at some point.
Hi, Andria. this is Vicki from Slytherin House. I'm really enjoying this story. It's imaginative and different, and I am always pleased to read about the Second World War. You seem to have a good handle on the culture of that time period. The writing style is polished and there are just enough details to set the scenes well without being overstuffed or draggy. I am looking forward to the upcoming chapters.
Author's Response: Thank you for the review. I was born in the wrong period. I've always been fascinated by WWII (and WWI and the Persian Gulf and the Bosnian War...) and I felt that Rowling dropped the ball by not doing more with Grindelwald and his potential influence on Potterverse politics. Heck, IRL we're still dealing with the fallout of WWII, so it made no sense to ignore such a big chunk of history. Also, I really really like Big Band music. Hellzapoppin!
I am really enjoying the complexity of this story, all the story threads, and the strong historical background. Plus you are an excellent writer. I really appreciate the clear, straightforward style and the fine characterizations of all your characters. Looking foreword to more chapters!
Author's Response: Thank you! Flattery will get you everywhere, I'm a total Gryff that way.
Hi, Marissa. This is Vicki of Slytherin House commenting on your interesting story. I liked it and am interested to read further. In your second paragraph you stated, “Draco felt ashamed and isolated,” and I wondered if we readers were going to hear more narrative that illustrated his shame and isolation, and yes, we did.
I was interested to read the third paragraph, the listing of Draco’s sins. At first I thought it was what he was thinking, that he was reviewing his faults in his head, but then in the fourth paragraph you reveal that it was a synopsis of what the members of the Wizengamot were discussing aloud. A neat touch.
It’s true that there is a lot of reflection in this opening chapter, and not a lot of dialogue (well, Draco didn’t have anyone to talk to in prison and wasn’t allowed to say much in court), but that’s okay for this opening chapter that sets the scene and the situation. In fact, an entire story done this way can be successful: read Vanishing Green by Armagod 679 in these archives for a good example of that. And I’m sure that, this story being a romance, there will be plenty of action and dialogue in the chapters to come.
But you have a good start here. There is some unusual development, in the surprising testimony of Hermione, and some mystery: what will the Wizengamot’s decision be, and why? How will Draco be changed? What exactly happened to the members of the Malfoy family after the war ended, and how they coped with their terrible situation, has always been a source of great speculation among us readers. Thank you for writing.
Hi, EmmaGM. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, commenting on your interesting and imaginative story. It has lots of nice, clever touches. I like the way you take so many of the details of the first book and turn them all, neatly but believably, upside down. There’s a lot of imagination here to make the plot flow so well. The bits of dialogue, although completely opposite to what is in the original book, are quite in character for the people being portrayed.
What is the favor that the Sorting Hat is going to extract from Harry later? (How clever, to include this idea.) And what will Snape’s relationship with Harry be, now that Harry is a member of Snape’s own house? You have set up a lot of intriguing possibilities here, and that is what AU is all about —familiar characters being themselves in very unfamiliar circumstances. Thank you for writing.
Hi, Neil. An interesting idea you have here, a formal funeral ceremony which is unique to the Black family and which suggests that their custom of choosing star names for family members is based on something more than a consultation with a celestial encyclopedia.
I liked your portrayal of 'Dora as a six-year-old girl. My granddaughter is also six years old, and you have hit the right note of young but not babyish.
Thanks for continuing to write (and for that kind plug you gave me, much appreciated).
I'd like to think that the Blacks have a system. Bellatrix the warrior, Andromeda the chained woman (shame about Narcissa's lack of a star name).
My kids are no longer little six-year-olds, so I had to rely on memory. I need to keep the memories of their youth alive for Strangers at Drakeshaugh.
I am enjoying your story immensely, and I certainly should have not let so much time go by before reading chapters 2 and 3. Your background material makes this story immensely rich; I almost feel inspired to write something historical myself. All your characters come to life for me, and I can easily envision all the Grecian scenes. It is a pure joy, among all the travails of life, to spend a few minutes reading your story. I hope that further chapters will be coming soon!
Author's Response: Thanks, Vicki. I did spend some time on background material for this one: the idea was to add the Potterverse to another culture where magic had rather different connotations. No need for a Statute of Secrecy here: everyone in the ancient world knew that magic was real, although it wasn't always respectable.
Hi, Geoff. How nice to see another story from you. I presume that your young Ollivander is a distant ancestor of the Ollivander who sold Harry his wand. Interesting to see your use of the word 'mugloi'. I had always thought that 'Muggle' sounded derogatory, but 'mugloi' does sound as if it could be a Greek word, so it is more satisfying simply to think of 'Muggle' as derived from the Greek.
It will be fun to see a magical story played out against the sunny Mediterranean scenery instead of the darker, damper climes of northern Europe. I look forward to your subsequent chapters. Thanks for writing.
Author's Response: Hi Vicki. Yes, I'm imagining an unbroken line of descent: 24 centuries' worth of Ollivanders. I'm afraid I didn't invent "Mugloi": the Ancient Greek translation of Philosopher's Stone (which I'm sadly unable to read) uses "Mugaloi", which the translator says means "field-mice". Hope you like the story; there's another chapter already in the queue.