Well, I'm Anna.
*throws all her grammar and phonetic books away and sits down at the pc* Well, at least I’ve waited a while with putting this review together, so now I won’t feel so bad about repeating myself – surely you’ve forgotten all of what I wrote before? ;)
Lord Voldemort! Oooh, he was creepy! His attitude towards Pettigrew was spot-on, as was his reasoning on Severus: ‘“I will see. Certainly the killing of the old man indicates he was not working for him. My question is, is he working for me?”’ - this gives me a lot on the Dark Lord. Firstly, the most obvious thing is how intelligent he is, how I must accredit him for the way he sums up his questions on Severus’ loyalties. One does not become a nominee for ‘Evil Lord of the Century’ without being reasonably clever, and I much dislike it when authors describe him as nothing more than a mad-man. He’s insane, yes, but not in a blunt butcher’s way. The way you write him makes me think of Hannibal Lector, and for some reason he almost comes out an evil reflection of Dumbledore.
…which so conveniently leads me to the next thing I want to bring up from the quote. He mentions Dumbledore as “the old man”, which is simply descriptive, there is really nothing condescending about how he speaks. The late Headmaster might have been an “old fool” to Voldemort, but he still respected him (probably against his will?), and this shows in your writing. But most interesting is that Voldemort actually doesn’t speak Dumbledore’s name! Does he fear to do so? Does he in some way feel the same about the name of Dumbledore, like most of the wizarding world does about his own? Very interesting…
I like how you’re giving McGonagall a hard time, with staff and students alike trying her patience. ‘“Please allow me to get through this evening with the minimum of fuss.”’ - so McGonagall, brilliant choice of words, perfect tone. Her first Welcoming Feast as Headmistress did not go smoothly, but she was not about to let anyone push her because she’s new in her position, nor was she going to give empty, fluffy words of comfort. ‘“Very well, what are you waiting for? Sit down and eat.”’ - I thought this was so sad, just so sad. She sounded so harsh, but I can see the heavy weight on her shoulders, how she doesn’t want to be there, how she would love to step aside for Albus, could he only come back. I fear all of this is going to make Minerva age a lot, just like I fear she will become even more stern and closed-up under all of this pressure. *sigh*
But on a much happier note - Roderick! :) Thank you, thank you, thank you! *huggles favourite bad-boy Auror* I didn’t dare hope for it, wasn’t sure how much of him you would offer in Severed Souls, but this position only becomes more suitable the more I think about it. You have yet again put him in a very flexible spot (and being much kinder to us readers than when he was supposedly dead!), free to bring forth whenever you have use for him. Yet there is nothing forced with him as DADA teacher – it makes sense from both Ministry and Hogwarts views.
I’m not going to repeat my compliments on Severus’ character in the Shrieking Shack, you already know I loved how he was written, how you presented so many layers of him and made them all believable. No, I was going to quote something:
‘“It’s possible, but inadvisable, that you could retrieve it alone. I think taking Potter with you is the best plan, considering he is so intent on fulfilling Dumbledore’s quest personally. He must not know that the information is coming from me; it could jeopardise the whole thing.”’ - I can’t help wondering about Severus’ reasoning here. He is, perhaps in an unkind way but still, showing faith in Harry when suggesting Maeve should take him along. Does Severus actually believe Harry has got the qualities to be useful on such a mission, or does he know something about Harry, something about his participation being important for success? (*is staring at her own words and shaking head* Did I just write that? Pardon me!)
Hmpf, I’ve got no suggestions for improvement now, or any corrections to pester you with, since that’s already done. :) Now we just have to support the mods and coders, hoping that Chapter Eight will be up soon to gather all its little reviews around it.
Right, I won’t be grumbling about the early hour, but instead I’ll get on with reviewing. :)
A chapter with lots of interesting things, but most important to me is Albert. Yes, I’m still ignoring any previous discussions about him, and simply letting myself enjoy things as they come. I agree with other reviewers that his knowledge of the Wizarding world is very suspicious. Not only does he know where to find Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, that I could accept without further thought, but how on earth does he know the way to the Gryffindor common room, to lead Neville there? And, “normal” Muggles, or Squibs even, don’t usually tend to take command amongst Wizard folk, do they? But, in the end, what I find most interesting is Albert’s lost son. Oooh, Jan, it’s all so exciting!
This is also Roderick’s chapter. To begin with, I’m all too relieved that it wasn’t him the Death Eaters got in Hogsmeade. Then it’s the identity of his lady friend. I had sensed Jenny Fitzwilliam around the edges of the story, but I certainly didn’t expect to find her in Roderick’s company! I still think that she’s got something to do with that claiming of Darkacre, and now I wonder if Roderick has got anything to do with that business – after all, he did advise Maeve to just give it away…
From certain sources, I happen to know that Roderick might be about to be shipped. If this should happen to be accurate information, I think it’s very clever of you to present another woman who might be of interest to him. This is especially interesting if they have any other secret dealings together, but… No, I shall continue to support the idea of Narcissa and Roderick. :)
In his first appearance in the chapter, Roderick is his usual, teasing self, and yes – you’re going to have to bear with me while I once again quote some favourite lines.
“Oh, fabulous,” he breathed. “My glittering icicle is jealous. You’re too divine for words sometimes, cherub.”
“You know how to wound a man,” he groaned. “But seriously, gorgeous, can’t it wait?”
“Going to ravish me, are you?” he grinned, softly closing the door behind him. “Can’t wait.”
- this is Roderick! His dialogue is as brilliant as ever, I can see his face expression accompanying them in my mind. But, then you surprise me, because this is new, but this is also Roderick:
“Unfair or not, it’s true. What am I, some Mr Fix-it?”
“Of course I’ll help you, that’s inevitable, but sometimes it feels as if you only ever come to me when you are in trouble.”
“I don’t know what I want.” He gave her a cracked smile that was filled with a surprising amount of self-doubt and insecurity.
- all of a sudden, you’ve added another dimension to a character I already thought was complete. And the result? Well, looking aside Maeve’s reaction in the fic, I so badly want to snog the man right now… >.>
So, now I have stated that Albert was most important, but that the chapter was also Roderick’s. Let’s confuse things a bit further by saying this was also a very important chapter for Maeve. Yes, all that is sensible within me keeps shaking its head and wondering how on earth she can be so irrational. But at the same time, her actions make my heart beat so hard, I’m proud and I almost feel like shouting “Go, Maeve!”, although there hardly is an appropriate place to do so. You didn’t create a character to sit around, not even to play a lesser part, no, Maeve was always too much of a woman, wife and witch to sit safe within the walls of Hogwarts. Also, no matter who Albert might be, for some reason I trust his judgement and if he advises Maeve to join Severus, that’s another excellent reason to do so.
Narcissa can’t go without mentioning. I know I’m repeating a quote again, but this is where I finally felt thoroughly sorry for her:
It was cold, colder than the grave that Lucius would soon be occupying, as Narcissa walked slowly through the centre of the town.
- my feelings weren’t mixed here, for a while she was just Narcissa, I forgot all about who she was and I only saw someone who was cold, and who had just lost her husband. Her complete character comes back to me after that, but you keep tormenting her – the Knight Bus ride in itself, what a disaster for the poor woman. And then, Draco’s appearance… Oh, how well written it was! His behaviour towards Eric Shunpike totally matched his canon acting towards people like Madam Malkin and Mr Borgin. I found it fascinating to read Narcissa’s thoughts and emotions concerning her son, and it’s possible that I felt a bit sorry for her again…
No, I’m going to be naughty and not mention Remus – but simply because I know there will be something major Remus:ish to squee my head off about in the next chapter. Amazing work here Jan, as always!
First off, Lian, I need to tell you something about your writing which I just realised. I’ve noticed it before, but it wasn’t until I read this chapter that I understood it wasn’t something about the individual stories, but about your style. It’s like music. Music, in the sense that the tone of your writing is a melody, and the words its lyrics. No, don’t laugh, I’m being perfectly honest. What I mean is that you can write about extremely sensitive topics without making it too hard to bear. As a reader, I can enjoy the melody of your fic, such as language flow and word choices, and choose how much of the lyrics, the actual meaning, I want to take in. It’s not something I see often, and I value it a lot.
Really, it is unfair to have me review this (yes, I know I could choose what to review, but this felt like the obvious option ;), because I’ve read the chapter three times and not come a cross a single grammar/spelling/formatting mistake. Also, your language is fantastic, and I’ve only got one small suggestion on improving a sentence:
…praising her discipline and her trim figure. She glows at their praises —— no one has ever admired her or praised her this much before.
You work very well with clever repetitions (as in Now Parvati is crying. Crying desperately. Crying achingly. Crying as never before. *loves*), and in all other cases in this chapter they create a captivating rhythm, but here the use of ‘praising’, ‘praises’ and ‘praised’ gets a little repetitive to me. It might be intentional, but I think you would get a better flow if you found a good synonym for at least one of the three words – something I know would only be too easy for you.
But that’s it. That’s all the advice I’ve got to offer. So, what else can a poor reviewer do? Gush, that’s what.
I love how you include ‘Lisa and Laura’, as it shows how much Padma’s friends’ attitudes matter to her dieting. With the emphasis you put on them being Ravenclaws, Padma especially, you show us that intelligence isn’t always the same thing as wisdom.
You release a small monster inside me when you bring up one of my pet peeves: parents who expect too much of their children. It makes me so angry and I want to scream at Mrs Patil. You’ve used the twin’s parents well in this chapter, with a strong tie to canon. You show us several of Padma’s reasons for dieting, but it’s her mother’s high demands that get to me.
Parvati is crying, crying out months of hidden frustration and clandestine pain. Padma is staring, suspended in unreality. It has been years since she last saw her sister cry. She believes in a sister who is the embodiment of strength and resolve —— a sister who does not truly exist.
Lian, that paragraph is as beautiful as it is serious and touching. And ‘clandestine’ might just be my new favourite word. ;)
It is May, and Padma decides to stop dieting, just for one day, to assure herself of her control. She discovers that she cannot stop. Cannot. And she is spiraling. Spiraling.
Spiraling in the realization that her diet, her control, is just like everything else. Her control is only illusion.
This, together with the couple of italicised paragraphs above, scares me. You manage to convey the feelings of hopelessness and loss of control with a clear, crisp reality, and yet it’s poetic. It is not easy to imagine what Padma (or any girl in her situation) must be experiencing, but what you write doesn’t only make sense but it’s truly convincing as well.
Now I don’t know whether I should ask you for a third chapter or not. On the one hand, I would love to read more, but on the other, these two chapters with their two viewpoints, the two titles reflecting each other, complement each other beautifully. Though… I feel that I’m aching to see what happens next, to know what happens to Padma and Parvati. I want to know how bad Padma’s anorexia will turn out, not because I generally enjoy reading about pain, but simply because you write it so darn well. Bravo, Lian!
Author's Response: Words have always seemed like internal music to me, so your observation about my writing being like music is neither silly nor surprisng. Just very insightful, which is unsurprising. Good point on the \'praise\' repetition. I think I went and fixed that, but it was so long ago that I can\'t quite remember. *snuggles*
First off, I’d like to thank you for writing a story from the pov of Charlie Weasley. He’s the one Weasley brother we know the least about, and the one that entices me the most. We have some information on him, but his character still leaves a lot of exploration to be done. Before I get onto the actual review I also have to mention the title, even if someone might accuse it for being unoriginal, it is catchy! :) But, here goes the review:
I agree with your idea that the death of Bill is probably what would hurt Charlie the most. I take it that this one-shot is pre-HBP? Otherwise, I think I would have liked to see a mention of Fleur somewhere. Something else that came to my mind around the “last battle” scene, was: ‘His victory and battle injuries were pushed out of his mind as he saw the scene in front of him. Those ginger heads sobbing together over Bill’s body would be burned in his memory forever.’ - here it seems like you’re jumping to Harry’s pov. It happened briefly with Molly too, but that didn’t bother me because it still flowed nicely with the text. Later you switch to Lauren as well, but that was well done and felt natural as she became the other main character.
I like your understanding for Charlie’s character, and I like to bring up a few examples where this shows best:
‘Charlie expected to finally have some relief once he was back in the Carpathian Mountains where the dragon sanctuary kept its inhabitants safe and hidden. Unfortunately, the weight on his heart remained. He was blessedly distracted during his shift. But once work was done, Charlie was lost.’ - pardon me for such a long quote, but I thought it was both beautifully written and that it gave us a good idea of Charlie dealing with his loss.
‘A lot of Emil’s employees were danger-seeking, adrenaline junkies with egos the size of a Ukrainian Ironbelly. Charlie’s talent far exceeded that of his co-workers, but his down-to-earth nature made him likable and easy to work with.’ - another extended quote, but this is a fairly long one-shot so you’ll have to bear with me. I think this agrees with all of what we have seen of Charlie in canon, and it’s a great comparison between him and the people he moves around.
‘“Oh! Charlie, sorry,” he answered. “Forgot my manners there for a minute. Do you have any more luggage?”’ - I think this is an excellent bit of Charlie dialogue, I could just see the picture of him in my mind speaking the line. Well crafted!
‘He wished he could talk to Bill about Lauren. Bill was much better at dealing with women than Charlie could ever dream of being.’ - oh, I love these two sentences, you can really tell how much he still misses having his older brother to talk to. Since I’m on the sentence, I wonder if it should rather be ‘Bill had been’ instead of ‘Bill was’?
There are only a couple of things I’d like to point out that didn’t entirely match with my image of him. You write that: ‘Dragon tamers spent a lot of time in the infirmary –’ - but I’m not sure I have ever heard him spoken of as a dragon ‘tamer’? You don’t do it throughout of the story, so I think it would be very easy to correct if you so wished. Charlie is always mentioned to be ‘studying’ dragons, or ‘caring for’ them, but never taming them. And if I’m not very much mistaken, JKR has stated that it’s impossible to tame them anyway.
It came to my mind, that Charlie used to be a very successful Quidditch seeker. I think it was said that he could have played for England, if he had not gone to Romania to work with his dragons. So, since this is one of very few stories focused mainly on him, maybe it would be a good idea to mention it? I imagine he misses it sometimes, being busy with his dragons. Anyway, just a suggestion.
Now to your most prominent OC, Lauren Petri. When you first introduce her by the letter, we already know two things. One, she was supposed to be dead. Two, she’s around fifty years old. The demanding tone of the note fits fairly well together with the strength of an older woman, so when Charlie went to meet her I expected to see a middle-aged woman. It was an interesting surprise when she looked so young, and I loved the detail you made up of her feeling warm in the cold weather – it really caught my interest on her. She seemed very down-to-earth as well, and when she touched Charlie’s hand on the steering wheel you showed us that she is a physical person, but also confident enough to reach out to someone.
I’m not quite comfortable with Lauren’s relationship with her father. They seemed to have been very close when she grew up, having the interest in dragons in common. But after the accident, she just disappeared? You sort of give us a reason, ‘“The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to come back. I knew it would be hard for people to adjust to the fact that I seemingly didn’t age.”’, yes, that might be true, but I think that weirder things happen regularly within the wizard community, and if she was so close to her father should it really have mattered that much?
When Lauren comes back, I’m okay with how she quickly makes up with Emil. How someone would deal with that is very individual, and since these are both your OC:s you are free to decide that to suit the story best. What I would like to point out is this: ‘“He’s going to be okay!” she squealed in Charlie’s ear.’ - even if Lauren doesn’t look it, she’s still around fifty ears old, so would she really be squealing? Throughout the story you keep her fairly steady and calm, so I thought this didn’t quite fit in. Her father is going to be all right, sure, but she has not been in contact with him for so long, and I can’t make up my mind if that should be a reason to squeal or not.
But, moving on, I’m very taken with her as a character, and I love the relationship with Charlie that grows. I’m going for a long quote again, but this is one of my very favourite parts of this one-shot:
‘Charlie was reminded of the times when his Mother would open jars that his Dad couldn’t budge. She would always say that Arthur had loosened it for her. This seemed to appease his Dad, but the Weasley kids always knew the truth. Charlie has the distinct impression that Lauren had just done the same for him. He laughed to himself at his revelation.’ - I just thought the comparison was so sweet and true.
I thought the incident with the dragon was interesting and original, and I found the lingering results of it very believable. We already know the uses for dragon heart string, dragon blood and hide, and I enjoy how you use the idea that their considerable life-span could be partly transferred to a human.
I like how you use expressions like ‘The rest of winter sped by for Charlie and Lauren.’ and ‘Those nights became some of Charlie and Lauren’s favorite memories from their first year together.’, without actually saying so you let us know that this relationship is going to last. Therefore it comes as no surprise, more a pleasant confirmation, when Charlie proposes to her. His actual wording also ties back to the title in a very nice way, making sure you did not just pick it by accident.
But even if there is a “happy ending” here, you have not let us forget about Bill. Charlie’s pain is still very much there, and it is something that will stay with him forever, even if the wounds are healing. So, a lovely romantic ending, but still with a serious undertone.
I’ve got three tiny things that wants correcting:
‘Well, I guess whoever told me that was wrong,Charlie thought.’ – there needs to be a blank space between ‘wrong,’ and ‘Charlie’.
‘“I need to examine him,” insisted Healer McDavid. “Please give me a few minutes”’ – the point is missing at the very end.
‘“Err…you sat on it my accident?” Charlie suggested.’ – a sneaky typo, it should be ‘by’, not ‘my’.
Well, how to wrap this up… I think you’ve got a nice one-shot here, Jenn Weasley, with your understanding for Charlie as the most important ingredient. I actually put up a question on the Forums when they re-opened, if anyone could recommend a good Charlie-fic. I didn’t get a reply for a story on MNFF then but if anyone asked me today, I’d be able to recommend yours.
- Yes, of course. :) I’ve read one of your works before, Cruciatus, but I never got around to reviewing it. So, when I stumbled across this and found that it was equally wonderful, I really didn’t have a choice. But before I even begin to comment, I’m afraid I must say that I haven’t got much to add or any improvements to suggest. I couldn’t find anything in the way of grammar or spelling errors, so what you’ll find below are mostly my words about the parts I liked the best from the first two chapters.
I really enjoy reading your style of writing. Normally, I would have been sitting here having thoughts about too many adjectives or adverbs in sentences or paragraphs, but you use them so cleverly and create a flowing rhythm instead. Well done.
The first chapter, focused on Sirius, is very touching. I really feel for him, and I’m not sure if I want the chapter to end, for the pain to stop, or for it to go on forever in a novel-length fanfic all about Sirius’ suffering in Azkaban. You really make me want to be that saviour, the powerful figure to burst in at the door and cry out his innocence, tell the world that someone else was the traitor. At the same time, since this is seemingly canon, I know that there won’t be anyone to speak for him, as I know how his days will end, and that makes everything so dark and hopeless.
Life in that place is much easier when he is a dog; in human dreams, the roiling abysses of his memory drag him inexorably back to Hallowe'en, to watch and re-watch everything he loves slipping away from him again; when he is a dog, Padfoot dreams of rabbits.
- Here, I particularly like the ending of the paragraph. The contrast between your flowing words and descriptions and a short, simple set of words like Padfoot dreams of rabbits. is very powerful, almost like a short-numbered answer to a complicated mathematical problem.
You’ve got so many spot-on pieces included here I can’t possibly mention them all, but some I really like are the bizarre “beauty” of the Dementors, James missing his glasses, the moon reminding him of his friends, the hate towards Peter and above all – the fact that Sirius is young. You’re completely right, he isn’t much more than a teenager.
In chapter two, well, I already knew that I appreciate your view of Peter. Yes, he’s still a coward, but you do give him some credit and write a much more complex Wormtail than we usually come across in fanfiction. He’s afraid, he’s confused, he finds his friends stupid and annoying, yet he still depends on them. I agree with MithrilQuill that the hints of the future are well selected and embedded in the present of the story.
lol, you know what? I did find something to point out when I re-read a part: …he wanted nothing more, now, than to be free of his powerful, brilliant, flamboyant friends and free of the fear of death that came with them . - there is a blank space before the full stop, that shouldn’t be there. ;)
Noldo, I really enjoyed reading this, and when time allows me to, I will make sure to come back to your author page for more!
What an intriguing title and start to this story! How could I not leave a review?
To begin with, I really, really like your use of language. It’s very mature and artistic, something that exists in fanfiction but that we are certainly not spoiled with. It seems like you’ve put thought into every sentence resulting in a lovely flow almost all the time. I particularly liked the two following sentences: ‘Breaking out of a trance of deep thought, Lupin realized he was wasting time, indulging in the comfort of his procrastination.’ and ‘…as Lupin jerked his head in the direction of the source, snapping out of the pool of thoughts he was once again swimming amongst.’
The only thing I can really advise on your writing is to be careful with using several adjectives and adverbs in one sentence. Most of the time you do this with skill and it’s comfortable to read, but it bothered me a little in two places. Firstly:
‘The view outside was welcome, taking into consideration the dusty furniture, musty smell, and depressing empty space that inhabited his cheap apartment.’ - I react on the number of adjectives and adverbs, but it’s a difficult sentence to sort out because I like all the descriptions. But to be useful at all, I could suggest you loose either ‘dusty furniture’ or ‘musty smell’, and the ‘cheap’ before apartment. By taking away either of the first ones, you could keep ‘depressing empty space’ which is what I like the most, and that Lupin’s apartment is cheap almost explains itself.
Next, ‘The contact’s dark, matted, hair worked well with his tattered clothing and unclean face.’ - yet again I have problems with finding something to leave out, but I think the sentence would work better if you rephrased it to something like, ‘The contact’s hair was dark and matted, and it worked well with his tattered clothing and unclean face.’ A very minor change, but at least it splits the sentence up a bit. These are of course just my personal preferences. :)
I’ve come across a few other fics where Lupin is somehow working with werewolves, but then it’s just mentioned in passing while the story focuses on other characters. I really like the idea of taking a closer look at what such a mission would actually be like, it’s a storyline that leaves excellent room for darkness and mystery, completed with a character like Lupin who carries such a burden. Your words paint not only clear a picture of where he moves, it also creates a spot-on sense of how he must feel. Well done!
I’ve got two more things to bother you about, firstly: ‘Once again he was mildly startled by the cold rain falling on his exposed head as he pulled the hood over it.’ - I like this line, but I think it could be even better if you swapped the ‘as’ to ‘before’.
And the very last thing is the paragraph where Lupin is thinking, I’d really like to see his thoughts in italics. That would make it much more obvious that he is in fact thinking those words, and I find it more pleasant to read.
So, you end the chapter in an excellent way, taking an even firmer grip on your readers’ attention. I realise that I care, and that I’m curious about what has happened to Lupin. I’ll definitely be coming back to look for another chapter, and I hope there will be more dark deeds in this gloomy air you’ve created.
Tee hee. Remember that I was going to review you last period, and never did because I got busy/ill/kidnapped by aliens? Well, this was what I was planning to review, so wasn’t it very fortunate for me to get you as my SPEW buddy? :D
Anyway, onto reviewing. I very rarely read humour, not because I don’t enjoy it but because I’m simply too lazy to go searching for the gigglifying gems in the so-often-strained mud. I’m quite easily amused when interacting with people, but when it comes to reading it really takes some creativity and cleverness to make me smile. And why is this relevant to the review? Well, because this one-shot really had me laughing at several points.
There seems to be a slight formatting problem at the very beginning – there isn’t a blank line between your Author’s Note and the beginning of the story, and it bugged me a little.
I’m very impressed by how you managed to turn everything upside-down, even down to the shape of Dumbledore’s glasses. I thought your work on the Houses’ characteristics was hilarious, especially the unsociable Hufflepuffs. But what really made me laugh in the first part was Hermione’s reaction to Dobby; although I had understood by then to expect everything being different, it still surprised me. =)
An ear-piercing ring is heard, echoing off the ancient walls of the Great Hall. Each student takes this as a signal to finish their food and gather their equipment ready for lesson. At the signal of another ring, they stand and march out in single file.
- Here, at the end of the first scene, you suddenly change the tense. I know of several authors who use this in their writing, but I’m not entirely comfortable with reading it. While I guess that it quite effectively draws attention to the event, to me a switch of tense disturbs the flow of the text and hence the reading experience. I’m not exactly suggesting a change here, but simply pointing out that all readers aren’t comfortable with this. =) It appears again here: Okay, she had received a Troll in her last mock paper and was well behind everyone else in class, but that is no excuse to punish her for it. - but that looked more like a typo to me?
The next highlight is definitely Snape’s dungeon. With an enchanted rainbow that spread across the entire room, sunflowers growing up one wall and a stereo that boomed out Bob Marley classics, this place was known by all the students as the House of Fun. - That is just priceless! XD Really, it’s the details that make this great: Snape’s dreadlocks, Draco’s work for inter-House unity, the Life Spurters and Lupin’s bunny transformation.
It can’t have been easy to write a good end to this story, but I think you have managed to really do so. Writing directly to the reader is most often a no-go, of course, but here it simply adds to the humour. The final question is so simple, and I can almost see you winking at your readers when putting it there. This is such an amusing read, Laura, that it almost makes me want to tell you to give up on everything else and focus on your humorous talents. Well done!
Blergh, I’ve got to stop revising grammar for a while now, otherwise I’ll go mad. So, it seems like a perfect opportunity to write and post this over-due review. :) I know I’ve commented on this one-shot before, so you’ll have to forgive me if I repeat myself.
This is enjoyable reading already from the beginning, even before we come to the actual meeting. You always seem to get the details right, here I especially like the empty atmosphere of the streets and Gringotts, the cold outside compared to the warm air meeting us inside. The repeated mentions of ‘Gringotts’ and ‘vaults’ connect so clearly to your author names, it might just be something I react on, but it somehow makes it more personal.
I want to quote everything from this: “She closed her eyes against the blurring images as they descended further into the depths of vaults, and tried to steady her breath, organise her thoughts.” to this: “She couldn’t decide if it was one more memory to treasure, or one more nightmare to regret.”, because all of it show us Siobhan’s set of mind so perfectly. When she first arrives to Gringotts it’s impossible to know exactly why she is so nervous, because she the nervousness could be either because of fear or excitement. I like how you write her feelings mixed, it makes me wonder about the details of their past…
As if you hadn’t been building up to this a very long time anyway, I feel how I’m leaning closer to the screen by each step Siobhan takes, how I realise that now, now it’s time, at long last I will be allowed to see them in the same scene…
…and, Jenna, wasn’t it worth the wait! A great big shiver went through my whole body when he spoke her name, and the emotions, the vibes - they’re all in place.
I’m not sure what I had expected, but I’m very pleasantly surprised to see Siobhan’s attitude, her slight anger, towards Lucius. Not that she lets all her thoughts and emotions show though, no, it’s the fact that she’s withholding, how you only hint the true depths of what she feels, that makes it fascinating. And Lucius… His acting towards Siobhan is what I had hoped for, he is the superior and arrogant man we know, but at the same time he is feeling something, perhaps against his will but still. After only a few lines, my mind is buzzing with images of the relationship that might have been, of ideas and guesses of joys and pains they have shared, of what they have discovered together. Your writing is drawing a complex image in my brain, not that relationships are every simple but the difficulties these characters must have lived through in order to spend time together are extraordinary. It wasn’t easy to pick, but I sill decided to quote a few favourite lines here:
‘“The truth of the matter is, rather simply, I had to see you again.”’
‘At this, Lucius dropped his façade, and spoke more softly, “Perhaps not.”’
‘“Is that not the point?” Lucius asked. “That, despite knowing how you feel, I did those things anyway?”’
I love the brief, heated argument that starts with the question of murder, continues with both of them asking for the other’s love, and takes a brief pause from the wonderful ‘“Come here,” he requested, holding his hand to her.’ to the equally touching ‘She had dreamed of being this close to him again, but she could not let herself break. Not when she was coming so close to forgetting him.’ Then, when all I want is for them to hold on and never let go, despite who this man is and despite all the awful things he has done, you don’t give them, or yourself, or me as a reader, that kiss. Instead you, and quite rightly too, write even more strength to Siobhan, you make her demand an answer and the truth. After another few lines exchanged, you present the possibly best line of the entire one-shot, “I would choose you.” These words become so powerful spoken by Lucius Malfoy. Taken out of context it could be a soppy line from any bog standard R/Hr or H/G romance, but here it’s got meaning and strength, although us readers don’t know all if it there is still obvious history behind this answer, and it shows a clear and simple longing in a man I thought were no longer capable of feeling.
And then she walks away. She walks away and my heart swells of pride in its chest (yes, quite a worrying sign of my interest in this character, don’t you think?), because no matter how much I wanted that kiss, and how much I still wish for a future reunion, by walking away she becomes more Siobhan than she has ever been to me before. I feel like I’ve discovered a completely new side of her, that I always knew was there – if that makes any sense?
Of course, I wonder about the letters, and I wonder about the future. I think about the story’s place in the Blood Debt universe, I think of what happens around this time. I find that I want Lucius out of prison, but if that would happen I’m not sure if I want Siobhan to go back to him, or to turn away and find someone better.
And haha, SPEW shall not be able to suspend me, because I did find something to point out as well:
‘She stood in could hardly be called a vault, but a passageway.’ - it looks like there should be a ‘what’ between ‘in’ and ‘could’.
I’d also like to suggest something on this line: ‘“I need the truth,” she said sadly.’ - there is of course nothing wrong with it, I just think that you could do better than the ‘said’ + ‘sadly’, it doesn’t flow quite as well as the rest of the text. I’m not one of those ‘said’ Nazis, I just thought it clashed a little with the ‘sadly’ here. Undoubtedly it would be easy for you to change.
So… am I supposed to be ending this review now? Actually, while writing it I have been able to place the one-shot better, to begin with it was just a piece of wonderfully emotional Siobhan/Lucius. Now it has shown an idea of Siobhan’s secret background from Blood Debt, it has given us an inkling of what she has experienced and what world and set of mind she lives in at the moment. I’d never claim to understand Siobhan, but her character has just become a little bit clearer to me. I’ve stopped wanting to save her, I’ve stopped trying to think up ways in which her life could be turned back on track, because I’ve realised that she’s doing that all on her own. Spectacular, Jenna.
When Harry’s quest for the horcruxes turns desperate, he leaves the security of his homeland to seek out the advice of an ancient and most unusual Council – one whose allegiance is only to themselves but whose knowledge is so vast it may be his only chance. What Harry discovers there will change everything. Soon, he comes to see that this is all so much bigger than just he and Dark Lord – his role, though pivotal, is terribly minute compared to the challenges the Wizarding World must now face.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, a young witch uncovers the truth about her bloodline. But only when catastrophic events begin to unfold, does she realise her importance in the greater scheme of things...
It is a tale of epic proportions: bringing in the truth behind Slytherin's betrayal, and the choices the Founders had to make to ensure the longevity of their world. Enemies must unite, lines must be crossed, and children must forgo their innocence. And behind it all, fly the Spirits of the Storm, waiting, watching, scheming. Welcome to the greatest epic war the Wizarding World has ever seen.
Chapter 11 is posted.
Haley, Haley… What am I to do with you? How is it that everything you do is brilliance? Am I going to marry someone… not human? ;) Anyway, perhaps I should stop with my fangirling for a moment (Ha! Very likely!) and try to focus on the review. I love that there has been a lot of Lanette lately, though I’m getting a little impatient for more Harry. Which also leads me to the fact that I can barely wait until I get to see Harry and Lanette together, not just in different parts of the same chapter but actually in the same scene. Though, at the same time as I really want that, I’m impressed by how you have taken the time to let us get to know Lanette before she bumps into canon HP characters. It’s been harder for you, of course, having had to design an entire world for Lanette instead of just transporting her to Hogwarts as one of those transfer students, *giggle*, but I can tell you that your effort has paid off well, because Lanette’s world does not only add information to her character but is also an extremely interesting story element on its own. And I must say I think you are doing a wonderful job as caretaker of this American magical environment, adding the perfect amount of detail and painting a colourful picture of the surroundings and daily life of a young, high-society witch.
Mmm… I love the parts concerning the source of magic. What you have written really matches my own, personal thoughts on the subject. And, you know, this is deep… Deep, but you still manage to keep it on a level that suits your story and makes it believable. In a few fanfics I’ve read, similar ideas have been introduced but in a much more pompous way, making it exaggerated – like giving a heavy line of dialogue to an actor who can’t do it justice and ends up sounding comical instead of awe-inspiring.
Toad-Girl is cute! She makes me happy! If she was going to Hogwarts, I bet she’d be a Hufflepuff. In fact, my reaction to her is pretty much the opposite of my reaction to Deirdre. Also, the toad reference is really good, as it sends your readers’ thoughts to both Trevor the Toad and Umbridge, fitting your story even better into HP-verse.
Deirdre… *shudders* Yes, she’s an excellent creation of yours, but so creepy. The “heavy lidded eyes” are so Bellatrix Lestrange, and this whole sentence just made me want to hide under my cover: Lanette was tall, but Deirdre had a sort of fierce presence about her that made her seem almost otherworldly. I wonder if she has got any British relatives?
Look! Yay me, I picked up on the tiniest mistake ever made: If offered more pain to her leg than comfort to her soul, but at the same time, Lanette was glad it was there. - The first word is supposed to be “It”, not “If”. =)
WHAT is Lucius Malfoy doing on that side of the Atlantic? What mysterious business is Mr Death Eater up to? Gah, I hate to put it simply, but the fact is that I just really love your writing style and this product of it. There are so many levels of SotS, so many details, yet there is no cluttered feeling whatsoever. Malfoy showing up here, the Spirits of the Storm, Harry’s quest, Lanette’s loneliness and her legacy, Ron and Hermione’s love… it all just blends so nicely, just like the different images in your graphic art.
Extendable Ears! What an amazing detail! And, wait… yes, that sort of confirms my suspicions that Deirdre must know someone in England… But who? =)
Tomorrow… Yeah… You know… ;) Better late than never, right?
You know, as I came to review this chapter, I realised that it held a lot more than I registered at first. There is more than Hermione, or even Hermione and Ron, here. For example, you found an excellent way of including a bit of Hogwarts history, with how there used to be a castle there before the school was built. (I’m particularly pleased that you let Godric find ruins, as opposed to a whole castle, because I have a suspicion that canon at some point told us that the founders actually saw to the castle being built.) You make sure to address the Horcrux issue as well, which makes me happy. It has become a mark of your writing, that you are an author who can be very original and find space for your own ideas, and still stay true to that glowing thing – canon. I also liked how you used the Horcrux “goose chase” as a way to temporarily unite the trio – once again, as it was meant to be after HBP.
Friendship… *nods* You’ve put some excellent emphasis on it in this chapter, and I suspect it was also a very good time to devote chapter space to it. Now we know where we have the trio, you are free to go for more action, and their later reactions should be well founded. Now, Anna is going to do some quoting. :)
It was a battered but beautiful gold pocket watch, the kind that told you far more than the time if you knew what to ask it. – Such a delicious sentence. It’s a wonderful gift, and your words about it are intriguing: what, exactly, might the watch tell you if you ask the right question? Also, I think it says something about the Ron of your story, that he chose this gift. I mean, a watch that once belonged to his grandfather (not even grandmother) is hardly your average young-boy’s-gift-to-girlfriend, is it? You’re not likely to give something so personal to a friend you plan on losing…
Instead, he preferred to work by himself, going off for long hours in the fashion of his old mentor. - I know that an even clearer sentence describing Harry’s feelings follows this one, but this was what filled my eyes with tears. It’s perfectly in line with Dumbledore’s man, through and through. The age difference between Harry and Dumbledore was so great that it can hardly be discussed, the older man’s experience was so much vaster than his student’s. Yet still, I always thought that Harry and Dumbledore had something in common, like seeds from the same plant, and I love how you have included something of a similar idea.
“Must you always be useful?” demanded Madame Pomfrey once, when Hermione came to her asking for something to do. – It’s an excellent, spot-on line of Poppy’s, and it sums up Hermione’s character and current situation so well. I would like to mention though, as I’m quoting this line, that I think it’s supposed to be “Madam Pomfrey”, without the “e” on the end. I thought this might be from the American versions, but I checked the Lexicon (which most often gives the American names, I think?), and it said “Madam”. It appeared at some other place in the chapter as well.
Brilliant use of Pensieve, and the “plops” – oooh, they made me realise the silence Hermione sat in, how the castle is deserted of everyday noises of students. You play on all my senses, Haley.
Ginny… I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll continue on that thought. Even if you have no intention of ever reuniting them (people can die in comas, I’ve heard *cough* – and I’m saying that as a non-Ginny-hater) I like to see that you continue on your true-to-canon road and allow Harry to have feelings for her. I’m very much looking forward to how you will handle this particular situation (as far as time allows, this is not in the romance category after all), and I’m also very curious about when Harry will meet Lanette… >.>
I spotted a few things apart from the Madam-e:
-Hermion, though, was of a different mind; she couldn't help but miss the days of lugging schoolbooks around and learning intricate and subtle new magics. - you’re missing an “e” at the end of “Hermione” at the beginning of the sentence.
-They're hungry, they're desperate, they're evil, and they're ready. - There is a quotation mark missing a the end of this paragraph.
-I love you both dearly, but until you two get over your damned issues, I will not be attending these nightly unpleasentries. - A bit of Harry’s outburst. I’m not sure what I think of the very first part… In my mind, I can hear Harry say “I love you both, but…” without the “dearly”, or even less emotional with “You are both my friends, but…”, but I think the combination of “love” and “dearly” might be a bit too pompous. This is only my personal view, though, and I’m willing to accept the change in Harry’s dialogue if it’s because of the serious times and/or because he’s been reading a lot of Dumbledore’s writing and been affected by his way with words, or something similar.
And the final line – OMGSqueeeYAY, Haley awakens the R/Hr shipper in Anna! (If this is a good thing or not, I’ll leave it for you to decide.) Oooh, the embrace… Mmm, way to end a chapter, dearest. All in all, this comes through as one of – if not the - best chapters so far. Thank you!
*looks at excellent reviews already posted for Ch 7* No, I will still review. Because this is as wonderful as it is terrible. I know this would fascinate and frighten me from the first glimpse you gave me.
I like the distance you keep, how you introduce and mention details about Ron and Remus, as if we didn’t know them already. This makes them less important, in the sense that they are just two members of a big team, no more heroes than anyone else. Yes, Ron’s reactions are of course important to him as a character and to show us how awful this is. I’m fond of Ron, and I think you’ve made an excellent choice in letting him experience this. He might not always be the brightest crayon in the box, but he has a good heart and spontaneous reactions – a perfect set of eyes for us to see this through.
I’ve noticed quite a variation in year 6, 7 and post-Hogwarts stories, in how violent the authors choose to portray the Death Eaters. With this chapter, yours just became one of the worst (as in most violent), in a shocking way. Death and destruction are not easy to write, partly because your readers will be used to it. I mean, turn on the telly… you only have to flip between very few channels to face either violent series or films, or even worse, news. Still, here you have me feeling slightly sick, from a blend of poetic details, clear and straightforward telling of what’s before us, and Ron’s reactions. Yes, you know I sometimes cry when I read, but here it’s different. I just cover my mouth with my hand and mumble “Oh my God…” and close my eyes for a moment. It was just a baby. Just a baby. Haley, I don’t know if I’ve ever hated the Death Eaters this much.
The little girl… Oh, my heart aches. I can’t see how you could have written it any better. She’s telling it with such detail, but still in the words of a child. Her words… and he adults’ silence. *shudders* And Greyback, the bastard, specialising in children. Is it understandable that I want to strangle him with my bare Muggle hands?
I found a tiny thing to bring up, that had not been mentioned: “Professor Lupin, we have to stop them . . . just a baby . . . helpless . . . .” - you’ve got four points at the end there, as opposed to the usual three. Talk about being picky, eh? ;)
I saw that Patrick mentioned it in a review, and I can only agree. You’re a woman with so many talents, and being your friend and admirer is most rewarding. I’ll review Ch 8 tomorrow, and I’m hoping to see 9 before too long. *huggles*
So, I’ll try to limit the amount of fangirl squeeing of a newly-engaged and try to focus on the actual reviewing instead. =) Yes, I know that there have been Lanette chapters before this one, but they have held so much information about other things that I have sort of forgotten to look at her personality. After reading this chapter I feel that I have a better idea of her, sort of in the way that I would recognise her from her words and behaviour if she would appear in a chat one day.Grunting in a fashion that Salem's society mistress would find terribly improper, she rose and drew the draperies across the window. - Hee. I must simply love this sentence. Lanette is so refreshingly normal. The other Salem girls remind me a bit of the girls in that film… what’s it called again… yes, Mona Lisa Smile, appearing to be such products of the society they live in.
She was just Lanette Little—a plain, overly tall, lonesome teenage witch who attended Salem Institute by day, and was somehow supposed to help aid in the change of the very definition of Wizarding kind by night? - Another one of my favourite parts. The first bit, “She was just Lanette Little”, reminded me of Narnia and Peter’s, “But we’re no heroes!”. But it also makes me smile; the whole by day/by night idea made me think of classical super heroes and defenders of peace, such as Batman. *giggles*
Deirdre Bennings – I’m not sure I like her, and I feel very suspicious indeed. Her seemingly-friendly attitude has got a bit of Death Eater to it, I think, and I don’t like her interest in Hogwarts and Lanette. No, I’m keeping my eyes on her, and wishing Lanette good luck with getting her hands on Hogwarts – A History. Oh, and speaking of it, the titles of the books are supposed to be italicised, aren’t they? I thought about the same thing for the banner above the bathroom door, the text on it is pretty long and would be better separated from the rest of the text if written in italics.
In this sentence - “And I'm sure you know that far more about that than you let on.” - you need to remove the first “that”. It makes me smile though, because this is exactly the sort of mistake that I make all the time when I write.
One last thing to pester you about:
“You're not as ignored as you think you are, Lanette Little. You're like magic in that way—hardly as simple as you want people to believe.
“Oh, and nice necklace.”
If you want to keep the two lines separated, there needs to be an end quotation mark after “believe”. But I thought about suggesting something else, because it looks a little odd the way it is, with two of Deirdre’s lines at once. You could just move the two parts together, but then you would lose that little pause. Perhaps you could stick something in between them, something like “She paused and gave Lanette a closer look.” (Or whatever, I seriously couldn’t come up with a good suggestion there, dear, but you get what I mean.)
Grumbling about Salem girls and their strange obsessions, Lanette stuffed her rolls of notes into her satchel and left the library. - *giggles* Oh, I’m growing so fond of Lanette! The “strange obsessions” is perfect, whether it’s referring to their unusual willingness to study or to their fascination with the English wizarding culture. Lovely chapter, my dear. I would really, really like to encourage you to spend more time with Word and less with Photoshop, but I’m not going to. Everything you do is brilliant, and if you were writing instead of designing I would be missing your graphics work. No, I think we’ll just have to think of a way to give you more hours every day. =) *hugs*
To begin with, what I like best about this chapter are the descriptions. Therefore, you will have to bear with me when I make a really long quotation:
‘Harry Potter was encased in a circular room with a domed roof of midnight blue. The walls were paneled in silver and marble encrusted with gems of extraordinary value. They created interweaving designs that gave the impression of raging winds and crashing waves. The dancing light that reflected off their smooth surfaces came from windows in the cupola, which were cut in the shapes of stars and crescent moons.’
- I simply love this, it’s absolutely beautiful and I can see the room before my eyes. I know that some readers might thing the descriptions are too much, but to me they are perfect. I wouldn’t say “the more, the better”, but if it’s quality descriptions like these – then yes please! :)
“Don’t stand around, use it!” the mirror told him. “All that patchy hair on your face makes you look like a turnip.” - *giggles* Excellent! This would of course be very funny even if a reader was not aware of the whole turnip business, but having an idea of what it (at least partly) refers to makes it all the better. I like how you included the talking mirror, it appears here and there in fanfiction, but only so often that it feels familiar and right, not cliché.
The Harry of this chapter simply gives me spaghetti knees, you’re a master at playing on my not-so-secret Mr Potter-crush. I feel sorry for him feeling a bit lonely and missing his friends, but I admire him all the more for his determination and independence. My first example of the adorable-Harry-ness:
‘ In his place was a man, hardly recognisable as the child who had graced so many front-page stories in the past seven years.’ - Is it terribly wrong of me to be thinking that Harry was actually born in 1980 and really want him, even if he might be a bit young in this particular fic? >.> I really enjoyed his moment before the mirror (also apart from the humorous part), because isn’t that something we all do at times, examine ourselves in the reflecting glass? It’s got nothing to do with vanity, and Harry deciding he likes how he looks doesn’t mean he thinks he’s good-looking. Letting him look into the mirror doesn’t just say something about his appearance, but also about his set of mind. Lovely.
And, *trying to keep a straight face*, I must give him respect for this: ‘He was going to prove himself in whatever way he could—even if it meant suffering this kind of torture.’ - I think I’m one of the few people on this site who can actually appreciate how much he really suffers here. Anyone who has been closer than two metres to one of those cans is a hero to me (or a fool if they didn’t have to do it), never mind actually eating it! Also, it’s well worth knowing that Harry and I have the same opinion on surströmming. Just in case, you know.
Lastly: ‘ He discarded his worn robes and slipped on the blue ones, suddenly feeling very fine.’ - Hee, looking very fine too! At this point, where you have had his character undressing (twice!), bathing and shaving before us, I must admit I wouldn’t be able to put up much of a resistance. Good thing he’s out to save the world and not to mix with the locals… (No worries, not assuming anything about the location, just hoping.)
I’ll bug you about a few things:
- “Athera!,” his guide – Idel – shouted. - There shouldn’t be a comma after the exclamation mark.
- “We will send for you when we have decided your”—he found his eyes encompassed in hers’ again—“fate.” - I think it should be just hers, not hers’.
- ‘After all, it was an incredibly valuable object, amoung other things.’ - spell checker tells me it should be among.
Also, I have a thought concerning: ‘Most of the room was taken up by a four-poster which must have been twice the size of his bed at 4 Privet Drive.’ - ‘must have been’ indicates that it’s not clearly twice the size, and I always imagined his bed at the Dursleys’ wasn’t a very big or comfortable one at all, and that his bed in the Hogwarts dormitory was probably twice its size. You might not have intended the bed in this room to be huge, but by putting that sentence there in the first place made me feel it was at least something he noticed. So, what am I trying to say? Well, not that it’s a big deal, but if you want it to seem like a big and comfortable bed, perhaps it should be even bigger than twice the size of the Privet Drive one? Maybe three times the size? ;)
And, looking at the bigger picture, I really like where the story is moving in this chapter. There might not be extreme plot developments, but very interesting things are going on and I find I can’t wait to read next chapter. Now I just need to start thinking about how I could get it from you as soon as possible… ;) Great work, Haley!
You're right about the whole Bed thing as well. Damn I knew that whole bit sounded wrong. But alas, I was too lazy to work with it. Will get back to that and the nitpicks very soon. In the meanwhile though, I'll be working hard on Chapter Six as to keep up with your good opinions of me (not to mention Harry).
*won't.. fail... anna.. *
Oh and... I deeply apologise, and Harry does as well, but the Council is just not letting him out and about any time soon to mix with the locals. He would truly like to though. He's heard stories about this pretty girl named Anna with long blonde hair and a delightful temper...
Hello, Haley dear. No, this is not a review to get me chapters seven and eight, this is a review I want to leave for this, for what’s here now.
You know, I thought I had read chapter six before, but it turned out my memory was tricking me and I had only read the very first bit of it. That is to say, I had not entered the Menagerie before. And what a Menagerie it is! It must be a treat for all your readers, but for someone who loves animals like I do, it’s pure heaven. Your imagination, originality and descriptions, they paint a colourful picture of this place, and with …Harry made his way across their ranks, stroking a flank here, combing a mane with his fingers there. - I can almost feel their coats, feathers and manes, almost smell their horse-like (but still not horse-like) scent. I find their reaction to Falcor very interesting, especially combined with how Harry feels about the Thestral. It’s beautiful, yet sad, how you’ve managed to write a connection between Harry (who we think of as the hero, the man of light) and the dark horse, as opposed to the creatures of light, strength and warm magic. I love this line you’ve written: While the others were beautiful, they seemed to represent a part of Harry that had long ego been erased by pain and loss. And while still in the Menagerie, I must mention the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, not that I thought you could have missed it in a place like this, in this location, but I’m still grateful that you included it. Precious little details like that serve to tie your work to JKR’s, even though this is all refreshingly original.
Speaking of JKR, I also like to see how you’re writing Harry. You’ve managed to keep a good amount of his impatience and youth, why, he’s even his rash old self. Still, I you still communicate someone more mature – yes, I think so, even if he’s under a bit of stress and pressure at the moment. :) Well, what I’d really like to tell you is that I don’t think you need to worry about writing a really good Harry if you keep it going like this!
Another interesting detail, also related to how you work with Harry, is Ginny. At the moment it seems like some fanfiction authors “forget” about her as they send Harry (or even the whole trio) off on adventures to find Horcruxes. Well, even if you’re no H/G shipper, I like to see that you deal with what’s there from canon, that you devote some time to make things more believable by letting Harry think a bit about her. (Even if it took a bit to get him to do so… >.>)
I found only two things to point out. The first one I suspect I’ll be the only one to pick up on, because it was the tricky sürstromming - the umlaut should be over the o, like this: surströmming. ;)
The second thing was in this sentence of dialogue: She's been a coma since . . . but she's safe. - I’m guessing it should be “in a coma”?
Idel is excellently superior, the Storm is intriguing and I’m dying to know what the Council has to say… In other words, I’m really looking forward to the next couple of chapters!
*giggles* I know I took my time getting to Ginny's story, and for that I apologise. But, I was really waiting for the right situation to come to me... and now, I have it. I didn't just want to kill her off, because to an extent, I do like her as a character.... But I also didn't want it to be what everyone was expecting. Besides... Lanette ;)
Thanks, Love, for another wonderful review. I really appreciate your devotion to this story.
For the fourth time today, I open my review document in Word. See, this review should probably not be written now, because I’m in major fangirl mood and I have a mad R/Hr shipper dancing wildly inside me. But I’ll trust you to be as understanding as ever. :)
Remember I mentioned a shiver rushing up my spine at the very beginning? Yeah? Well, it was just after reading this: And upon her flesh, her skin rippled with undefinable energy. In that moment of resolution, Lanette had bound herself to fate. - powerful, so powerful. It’s like she, up until that very moment, had a choice, and perhaps without knowing it she made a decision, and now there is now going back. The mood for the scene is of course already perfectly set with well-chosen descriptions, and you show us that shivers don’t run up spines by coincidence, no, there is a well-written path that lures them that way.
In the next paragraph, you have us realising that the chapter title - Chosen By Fate - was not about Lanette alone. No, you clever thing, you had me thinking that it applied to only her here, just to remind me a few sentences later that canon has put Harry down as the “Chosen One”. It’s not that I forget – it’s the fact that I was focusing on something else and you made me go “Oooh, yes, that’s right! I knew that!”.
Then… *blushes and is delighted* Ron and Hermione. I see that you have changed the scene slightly since graciously allowing me a peek, but it is only for the better. Very good of you to combine the worried letter with the warm morning scene, it kept it far and well away from the risk zone of cheesiness. If Hermione had been all smiling and relaxed, a line of Ron’s like “I just wanted to say that I'm so glad you chose me.” (*silently dies in front of her laptop*), might have felt forced and false. As it is now, the previous day’s events – both horrible and more pleasant – seem to still linger in his mind, and he is calm and peaceful like we have so rarely seen Ron; yet I find him to be both convincing very much I character! And oh, am I glad that you, in your almighty position of author, let Hermione go back to bed. *smile* Though… one thing… I know I have admitted having a thing for red-heads, but that does not mean you can make me like Ron simply by letting him show off a freckled chest and some new muscles. Honestly, I would never… >.>
And, the final scene… When I look at it again, I realise that it’s really not that long. But oh, *shivers again*, the words you’ve chosen are the right ones. Clear in a way, yet mysterious, revealing tiny things that make me want to roll on the floor and scream for more chapters. And the very last line: “Yes. Tonight, the Spirits of the Storm ride once more.” - you’re doing it again. The story title has been there from the very beginning, I’ve read it countless times. The very thought has even passed through my head, that The Spirits of the Storm would lay within the fortress. It’s been there constantly, but still not on my mind. And here, you just show it to me, knock me off my feet with images and realisation. They are the Spirits, and in a frightening flight they have taken off to fetch Lanette… I’m practically bouncing in my chair.
During my über-excited reading I only came upon two mistakes:
- She really had to get that letter sent off to Harry. . . . - four dots, where I think there should be three?
- She found herself collapsing back onto the bed and taking Ron's hands into hers'. - according to my Bible-resembling grammar book (I had to double-check, of course), there shouldn’t be an apostrophe on the very last word, “hers”.
Well, what do you know? You sent me an innocent IM, telling me that Ch 9 was posted, and now you’re stuck with a fangirl. We’re demanding creatures, you ought to know, who crave excerpts and sneak peeks and whatnot. But fear not, for we are rather cuddly as well. ;)
*grinning* I’ve secretly been waiting for this story, or rather any story from you, for a while now. Why? Well, because I figured that someone with such fine taste is bound to be a talented writer herself. ;) And do you know what? For once, my ‘logical’ reasoning was accurate!
I like your style already from the summary and disclaimer. You have a lovely way with words, words which you use to set a brilliant grim tone. There is something mature, and almost poetic, about your writing. Lines like this one, ‘It wasn’t a look that became a boy so young.’, manages to completely catch my attention.
I’m intrigued by what you’ve presented of the story so far, the idea of Harry being away on a quest on his own. I’m full of questions, like, why is he riding a Thestral and not a broomstick? Where are Ron and Hermione, who said they would be with him? Is the Order aware that Harry is away all by himself?
I love the references to Narnia and The Neverending Story, little details like that can do wonders for a fanfic.
There were a few things I’d like to point out:
- You mention the word ‘thestral’ several times. I haven’t got my books where I live at the moment, but I’ve looked around online, and it seems like it should be ‘Thestral’, capitalised.
‘He quite famous among the witches and wizards of his time.’ - there seems to be a ‘was’ missing in this sentence.
‘Another flash of lightning split the sky, much closer this time. Falcor reared in the midst of the sky, which was a slightly terrifying experience.’ - you’ve got a fairly close repetition of the word ‘sky’ here, and it bothered me a little. Perhaps you could change the first one for ‘the heavens’ or the second one to ‘the air’? Just my personal thought, though.
‘Perhaps those luxuries would still not be available to me, he reminded himself. After all, I’m not exactly welcome where I’m going as it is.’ - I’d like to see Harry’s thoughts in italics, it’s so much easier to catch the fact that he’s actually thinking then.
Nice take-off here, Haley! It’s short, yes, but it’s powerful and makes me want more – and isn’t that the whole point of a prologue? I’ll be keeping an eye out for coming chapters, be so sure!
You're right about "Thestral". Not only was I not capitalizing it, I added an extra r in there, for some reason. Thanks for pointing it out; I think I fixed all of them.
The sky repeat I noticed earlier, and than forgot about. I used your "heavens" suggestion, if you don't mind. It works perfectly.
Also added the italics. I usually remember to do that, hmmm... This is the kinda stuff that happens when I don't use a BETA.
I'm loving your observations and your questions. You're asking the right questions - in good time, they'll be answered. But I'm the kind of writer who likes answering with more questions. *shrugs* It's fun.
Most of all, thank you for your compliments. Like I said above, coming from you, they mean a lot.
Chapter 1 should go to the queue tomorrow, if my BETA ever gets it back ;) I've written up to the end of 2, and have started on 3... So you'll see more soon enough. Hopefully your good opinion of me won't waver too much.
It’s not every day that I find another northerner on MNFF, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across someone from Iceland here. I’m from Sweden myself, but I’ll still write this review in English – which I guess will be about a hundred times easier for you to understand, lol.
To begin with, I’d like to compliment you on your English. I know only too well that it’s not easy to write fiction in a foreign language, and I see very few mistakes that I think come from you not being a native speaker/writer. I’m guessing it’s quite a big step for you (it was for me) to submit your first chapter here, and I’m hoping that you will find it was worth the work. :)
This opening chapter gives us a fair idea of the state of things. Harry, what he has been up to and how he has changed. The whereabouts and feelings of Ron, Ginny and Hermione. We get a glimpse of the rest of the wizarding world, and a well-in-character Molly Weasley is exactly what was needed to set a good tone. All in all, this is a good foundation for you to build your story upon, for you to lean on as you focus on getting things going.
Since I’m a member of the noble SPEW, I’ll offer you some (hopefully) constructive criticism, hoping it’ll be of any use. Overall your spelling is very good, and so is your grammar, apart from the occasional missing comma. I’ll point out some specific points below:
“He had developed rifting, but not really bulging muscles through fighting and all remaining baby fat was all but gone.” – Firstly, I’m pretty sure there should be a comma after “bulging”. Secondly, as much as I’m enjoying the idea of a well-trained Harry, I should take a moment and mention your use of the term “baby fat”. I know it’s often used to describe children, but Harry Potter has always been carefully described as “skinny” in the books. Perhaps you could change it to something like “…and the once so skinny boy was all but gone.”?
“She looked out the window and saw the trio, as usual sitting quietly on the patio looking at the trees.” – I would like to advise you to be very careful with the term “the trio”, as it normally refers to Harry, Ron and Hermione. It seems very natural to use it here, from Molly’s PoV, because a trio is exactly what she sees as she looks outside. But a bit further a long in the text you have used “trio” to describe Ginny, Ron and Hermione, from a narrator’s PoV, and then I was back thinking of them as the “original trio”. Just a word of warning – I hope you agree?
“That’s, Molly thought was where Harry was wrong, no one she knew had ever been so selfless, so ready too risk anything just too help someone in danger, even a stranger.” - Here’s a minor mistake; it seems like you have forgotten to add the italics tags to Molly’s thoughts. Also, the sentence structure is a bit odd to fit the thought. How about reconstructing the sentence to something like this: “That,” Molly thought, “was where Harry was wrong.” She had never known anyone so selfless (or perhaps “as selfless as him”), so ready to risk anything just to help someone in danger, even a stranger.
“Ron and Hermione had gotten closer to one another after Harry left and they slept in Ron’s and Harry’s room together.” – Hmm. I’m not sure what Mrs Weasley would say about this? I don’t think the main reason Hermione shared a room with Ginny in the books was because Harry was with Ron. The wizarding world comes across as rather old-fashioned, and I think they would not openly share a room at night. (Remember that Fleur had to share a room with Ginny at Christmas, although she was much older and engaged to Bill?) Plus, with Percy (and Fred and George?) gone from the house, there should even be a spare room where Hermione could stay. I mean, no one would have to know if she left that room at night, occasionally… ;)
lol, that looked like a whole lot of remarks, but it really wasn’t. You’ve already come far by having your story accepted, and it can only get even better from here. A good start, which I understand will soon be followed by more action. Keep up the good work!
Leslie! I never knew that you had written Salazar/Helga! It actually happens to be one of my favourite pairings, much as it contradicts canon and with all its difficulties. As Hufflepuffs, I think that both you and I are aware of the charms of a Slytherin, and that we can relate to Helga’s feelings.
I think you’ve pinned down Helga’s feelings very accurately, and you convey them to us with an honesty that is very fitting for her character. In fact, Helga is very well-written overall; the only issue I have with her is her dialogue, which sounds a bit too modern to me. I’m not saying that you should change it all to Old English or something, and I’m not exactly looking for a more formal tone because I don’t see Helga as a particularly formal person, but maybe her words would have been more convincing had they been a bit more old-fashioned.
We all know that Helga was the most accepting of the four Founders, so I’m completely willing to believe what you tell us about her being the one to raise her voice against Salazar’s pure-blood ideas, even if they were lovers. But it also makes complete sense that Godric would be the one responsible for the big fight – cleverly done, dear, because by letting Godric take that blow, Helga seems just about sad enough for this story to work. If she’d been completely broken, you would have had to use a much more depressing tone and the story might have lost some of its charm.
Now, the Sorting Hat! With the Hat lies the true genius of your story – its voice is perfect, entirely non-human even though it has become conscious through the work of humans. It is the ideal confidant, so much better than a Pensieve or a magic mirror, and of course you have the advantage of the Hat “knowing” Salazhar; why, part of it comes from him, even!
I love that you used the, “better to have love and lost, than never to have loved at all” theme, as it happens to be something I truly believe in. It really is a very clever Hat. ;)
How you manage an uplifting ending here I don’t know, but you certainly do manage it. It’s very touching that the remaining three founders seem to still think of Salazar as one of their own; I get the feeling that they are sorry rather than angry.
This is a lovely piece, Leslie. I would love to see you write more Helga/Salazar. Perhaps he did return to Hogwarts someday..?
At first, when I saw the wonderful reviews that you had already gotten, I wasn’t going to write one myself because I was worried I might just repeat what other people had already said. But now I just can’t seem to help myself. ;)
I was really interested in your one-shot from the moment I saw your post about it in the SPEW Story Updates thread, and even more so after skimming through it before I made the banner. I have written something quite similar myself, and was really curious to see if our ideas were at all alike. It turns out that they are, and it seems that you and I not only share a first name but also an opinion on what Rodolphus’ and Bellatrix’ relationship might have been like.
To begin the actual review, I must agree with the previous reviewers; your description of Rodolphus’ appearance is simply excellent. You don’t get stuck on the adjectives and adverbs, but manage to mix a lot of colourful verbs and nouns into the picture as well. My favourite sentences about his eyes are really good examples of this:
They frightened some and fascinated others. They penetrated, cut; were a consolation and a source of pain.
- You expertly tell us not only what the eyes look like, but what they do and what they are. Bravo!
As we are on the eyes bit, I’ll point out the only formatting mistake I could find:
…amount of pain, sadness and… death.They haunted - those eyes…
- There is a blank space missing between the two sentences.
My next favourite piece is this:
It reminded him of the seconds of his life going to waste, and each resonance of the timepiece filled his chest with dread.
- Apart from this being a simply beautiful line, I love how it strengthens the feeling that Rodolphus is restlessly waiting for something. He seems to know that he can’t escape this and that he is afraid, and your excellent imagery makes the fear grow with every second.
The man attempted another stab at his supposed surprise. "I was told you were away."
- Oh, this is perfect. I always thought that Rodolphus and Bellatrix must have a huge distance between them in their marriage, as we have almost never seen them together in canon. I’m convinced that she would not tell him about her whereabouts, but that he would have to ask someone to know if she was even around.
- My favourite part of Rodolphus’ thoughts. It’s difficult to point it out with the quote alone, but those little words create such mighty pauses in the flow of your text, and it’s fascinating to see how he is questioning himself even at the very end. The “Yes.” would have been good on its own, a small word to make a big difference, but the little question, the “Truly?”, is what sets this apart.
The only change I would lie to suggest concerns this:
A wide, greedy grin spilled over her face as she opened it, but in a flash it was gone.
- In the last part of that sentence, “…but in a flash it was gone.”, it was a tiny bit confusing what the “it” was referring to. When re-reading the sentence it’s perfectly clear that it means the “wide, greedy grin”, but when I first read it I thought that the box had disappeared because she opened it. It might be that I’m the only one confused enough to make that mistake, but to make the sentence even clearer that last “it” could be changed into something like “her pleased expression”. Or even “her greedy expression”, if you remove “greedy” from the beginning of the sentence. Just a small suggestion from an old, confused mind. ;)
The ending comes as a surprise, and it’s perfect for the one-shot. I find myself wondering what happens after his, what Bellatrix will report to Voldemort and how they go about looking for the locket, which I assume Rodolphus has destroyed or hidden well… This is the first taste I’ve had of your writing, Anna dear, and I must say that you have managed to thoroughly tickle my appetite. Well done!
Author's Response: *squeals* *huggles Anna to death* Thank you for the truly marvelous review, darling. Coming from you, it means so so so much. Oo, you have a fic like that? I\'m going to go have to check it out! I love that you like the part on the eyes, because its my favorite part too. When I sat down to write, I wasn\'t going to include that but thought of it at the last minute. I am also happy that you loved the \'Yes. Truly?\' part because it took a while to get it right. Because even though Rodolphus might regret *some* of his actions, he\'s not going to regret all of them, so I couldn\'t leave it at \'Yes\'. So I added the \'Truly\' and let it stay that way, which I think works better than explaining it in the fic. I can see where you\'re coming from on that last sentence...I\'ll go fix it eventually. It\'s not because I don\'t agree with you, but because the tags mess up everything. You cannot know how much I am honoured and delighted that you review my fic, Anna. Much love and kisses to you darling!!
I feel like I haven’t really had a chance to welcome you to SPEW properly yet, so I thought that I would read one of your fics and hopefully get to know you a bit through it, and then leave a review so that you can get to know me a bit better. Makes perfect sense, don’t you think? ;)
This is a very enjoyable one-shot, and I can tell you at once that I’m very impressed by your language and your style. Your words are fairly formal, but they suit the mood of the story and they never seem forced. I love to see that you have used an original character; when they are well written I appreciate how much freedom they give to the writer. It was also interesting to read something from outside England/Scotland (meaning Hogwarts), and Ireland is especially exciting since it is a neighbouring country that would logically be affected by the war.
My remarks in the review below are all only nitpicks, because I have no general advice to give to you concerning word choice, grammar or style – it’s all lovely!
Fabulous Irish summer, isn’t it, he thought sardonically.
That thought really made me smile. Someone once explained to me that one of Enya’s albums is called A Day Without Rain because that is something so very rare on Ireland, and your story seems to agree with that. Your imagery is lovely in the whole fic but in the first paragraph especially; it was like seeing a beach scene from Tristan & Isolde being painted before my eyes. Senan’s ironic thoughts also says something about his character, and for some reason I find that I warm up to him instantly. (That could be because he’s Irish, though.)
In the second paragraph you mention the ‘radio’. It might be that you want it to be slightly different since the setting is Ireland and not England, but I believe that in the books, the radio is usually referred to as ‘the Wireless’ (short for Wizarding Wireless Network/WWN). Every reader will obviously know what you mean by a ‘radio’, but calling it ‘Wireless’ might give yet another HP touch to your story.
And in the third paragraph you surprise me completely. I had no idea what to expect, but not this:
If the Dark Lord won — which appeared to be the way things were going right now — all well and good;
With the way you have constructed the sentence, most of your readers will think at first that your OC is worried about Voldemort winning the war, and then be completely surprised when you add the ‘all well and good’. Nice work with the words, Brosna!
…apparently, she was not as yet trusted enough for her to have taken any steps to support the Dark Lord.
This is the only sentence (or part of a sentence, really) that I found to be a bit awkwardly worded. I can decipher the meaning easily enough, but I think there might be a better way to write it. Perhaps something like, ‘…apparently, she was not yet trusted enough to be allowed to actively support the Dark Lord.’ Just a friendly suggestion, because I’m sure that you can find a much better way to rephrase it.
Oh, I can honestly say that I love everything you have written about Genius. I’m a fully fledged ‘dog person’ myself (I have four) and everything you write is just accurate and so spot-on. Senan seems to be genuinely fond of his dog, but at the same time he’s willing to admit its faults. I also thought that this was an interesting observation:
Nothing that wasn’t of the purest blood would be allowed to grace the draughty manor that was his home. But Genius was living proof that good breeding did not mean good brains.
It never struck me before that pure-blood families would also be concerned with the purity of their animals. Perhaps there are even lines/families of house-elves that are more sought after than others? And Senan’s observation on the non-existent relation between breeding and brains is so clever, and again, shows us something about his character.
rather vertically challenged
I simply have to comment on the use of that phrase, because it is something we used to joke about in Linguistics class at university when we discussed political correctness. Here, though, you have used it very cleverly and I just wanted to note that I appreciate your use of it.
Oh, I have a small remark on your use of ‘house elf’. I was fairly sure that it is supposed to be ‘house-elf’, with a hyphen, but I thought it might be something that varies between the different editions of the books. But I went to look it up, and it is supposed to be ‘house-elf’ (at least, according to the HP Lexicon). I also looked at ‘You Know Who’, but apparently both that way of writing it and ‘You-Know-Who’ are accepted, so I won’t bug you about that. ;)
I want to give some special phrase to the two paragraphs where you describe Senan walking through the quiet house. Yet again you make use of some powerful imagery, and I can almost hear the silence and definitely feel a chill creeping up my spine. Lovely!
He backed slowly out of the room, and slowly climbed the main stairs, tensing at every creak.
In the quote above you have a fairly close repetition of the adverb ‘slowly’. I would suggest that you replace either of them.
…rounding up anyone connected with the Dark Side….
Here you should remove the full stop after the ellipsis, at the very end.
You have spent quite some energy at building up to the ending of this fic, and I think it was well worth the effort. Senan’s worry and fear is tangible and real, and his anger with Malfoy so justified; you make me believe that he is really on his way to make Draco regret what he has done. The very last line is so poetical in all its simplicity, and it is a perfect ending to the story.
To round off the review, I just want to add how I appreciate your Author’s Note concerning the pronunciations at the very beginning. I don’t know if you are familiar with Jenna’s/GringottsVault711’s Irish OC, Siobhan, but for the longest time I was mispronouncing her name. It was quite a relief when she finally told me how to use it correctly. Anyway, Brosna, here’s to a wonderful one-shot! Great work!
Author's Response: Wow. *rubs eyes that are hanging out of head at such a review* Thank you so much for this.
I have a habit of using long words when I\'m writing, especially if I\'m after reading a \'classic\' book, such as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. I can get a bit carried away, lol, but I don\'t generally notice myself.
Senan is Irish partly because I am myself, and it\'s easier to write about areas I know about. The weather in this fic is typical summer weather! As for winter... well, right now my garden is a patch of mud. I totally forgot about the radio/wireless - I\'ll definitely edit it.
I have to say I really enjoyed writing about Genius. It\'s funny because shortly after I wrote this we got another puppy whose behaviour is scarily like Genius\'.
Senan\'s issues with Draco are vital for the other fic he\'s in (he was supposed to be a minor character, but... he\'s wangled a bigger part for himself now). I was seriously debating whether or not to include the last line - thanks for reassuring me on that! And thanks again for such an amazing review. Go raibh míle maith agat!