Lovely Fatima is an English Teacher living in Miyakonojo, Japan.
When she is not attempting to finish the next chapter of her HP fanfic, she is either practicing kyudo, Japanese archery, studying Japanese, or working on her original novel.
A Voice Upon The Waves is her sole venture into the world of fan-fiction, and is intended as a novel-length work.
I started writing this story in November of 2005, and it was my first attempt at novel-length fiction. As such, it was always a writing experiment for me. Here in 2007 and at the mid-point of the story, I decided that it was time for a major re-write. The reasons for this were many. Primarily, I felt that I had made some unsatisfactory characterization choices. I also had some woefully underdeveloped characters, issues with phrasing, and scenes/dialogue that needed to wear more flesh.
As these changes were extreme, I was told I needed to delete the old story from the MNFF archive and re-submit the new chapters as I would a new story. I'm posting the old version [marked (O)]on my website (see above) so that readers can still access it. I will also post the new version [marked (R)] in later days so you can see the differences between the two versions.
Brilliant. Get thee to an agency and start writing your own original fiction. You have an immense talent.
You have a beautiful style. It's almost clinical, as if you are observing the events through the lens of a microscope. There was only one thing that wasn't quite clear: When Seamus watches his best friend leaving, is he watching Dean or someone else? Otherwise, I thought this was excellent. I look forward to more.
A nice opening chapter. I found it a bit rocky at first, but then, once James came home, you hit your stride and the narrative flowed much more smoothly. But let's chat about that rocky start first before we move on to the great stuff....
In the first scene or two, I felt as if you'd left out key words that I needed to understand what was happening or where Lily was. For example, you wrote: "Lily daydreamed about holding her son in her arms. Her two-year-old would reach his hand out to the stars". Just a few sentences prior, you said that Lily hadn't delivered yet. Now suddenly she's imagining her son is two??? Why two years old? Why can't he do the same thing as an infant or a one-year old? Then again, you write, "The sky had completely darkened, the shadows of fear over her." I was confused by your sentence structure. Did you mean that clouds darkened the sky and CAST the shadows of fear over her? However, the most confusing thing was when James arrived and, more importantly, HOW he arrived. I never figured that out because things were a bit jumpy up to that point. One minute, Lily is bathed in sunlight, the next she's looking up at the stars wondering where James is. Then, suddenly, he's appeared and is helping her sit back down on a bench I never realized she got up from! I guess what I'm saying is that it seemed a bit rushed and confused.
HOWEVER....anything that might have been awkward in the beginning, you more than made up for in the second half of the story. Your descriptions of James fumbling about the house trying to gather everything they'd need at St. Mungo's was spot on and very funny. I also liked how the healers had to sedate James as well as his wife! But the best part of this story, by far, was James' reaction to his son. "Lily, I'm a daddy." My heart just melted.
I think if you go back and fix those few things at the start, you'll have a truly solid, knockout first chapter. I know I'm hooked and I look forward to reading more.
Author's Response: Wow Fatima! A nice long review! I hadn't realized I had yet to respond until just now when I saw it. I've actually sent off this first chapter to a beta because I have felt like it has a lot of little errors and kinks that need to be worked out. Your comments help pinpoint areas that I need to smooth over in this tale. I really appreciate you taking the time to go through it like you have. Thanks so much for reviewing! Sorry it took so long to reply.
I think this is one of the best beginnings I've read in recent months! You manage to capture a quality in Dumbledore that is both apprehensive and certain at the same time. I absolutely loved the repeated "I wonder..." at the end of that segment. Moving on to the next segment, I must say you've nailed Sirius' character spot-on! I like that you made personality decisions for him and stuck with them. Plus, your dialogue is fresh, funny and full of the subtle nuances of friendship. Leaving us with the scene in the courtyard, rain and champagne reminded me of that song called Champagne Supernova that was out in the 90s. It was such a wonderful moment of friendship. Excellent chapter! I look forward to reading more.
Again, another great chapter, but one thing jolted me from the start: Sirius using the nickname "Dumbles" to refer to Dumbledore. It seems to me that for all of Sirius' swagger and informality, the ONLY person he would maintain formality with would be Professor Dumbledore. Of course, that's just a matter of opinion. Others liked it, but it didn't sit well with me. However, your dialogue was crackling right along again, and Sirius' statements made me laugh several times. I want to see more of Peter though. Why wasn't he there for Harry's birth? Why don't the other Marauders seem to embrace him? These are the questions I have, and I hope they will be answered in subsequent chapters.
Good chapter! I really think you managed to show Sirius and James at their immature worst, even though we know they're not bad people. As someone else (I think it was kaltaru) said, I like how you give Peter a personality instead of shoving him into the background or avoiding him altogether. However, I think my favourite thing about this chapter is Remus' inability to confront his friends for what he clearly feels is wrong. I've always felt that Sirius and Severus are more similar than either of them would like to admit, so I was impressed by Remus' observations in the same line. Severus' reactions to being drenched in pumpkin juice as well as the reactions of the other students made me feel so much sympathy for him. I look forward to reading more.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review! It was only while writing this that I realized how much Sirius and Severus were alike. (Which pained me, because I do love him!) I'm glad you liked it. :)
Okay, so I love her! McKee is such a delightful character to read and to follow around as she silently passes judgement on her fellow Slytherins. I found that I was pleasantly surprised by the relationship between herself and Draco. I was also interested by the people who are now dead in your fic. A nice touch to make Narcissa pay to keep her husband's bastard child silent.
I really had no critique, other than liking the way you've characterized Draco and the other members of Slytherin. I haven't read your Year Six fic yet, but I plan to. If McKee is involved, I know I will definitely enjoy it.
Author's Response: She's in the later chapters. Thank you so much for reading, and you have no idea how happy I am that you liked her! :) Thankee.
Another brilliant one-shot, this one showing a different side of McKee, something darker and more vulnerable. And yet, in the midst of that, she's still always in control. The gravity never gets the better of her. This is something I like about the character and about your style of writing.
You have an amazing ability to turn a phrase and to take the familiar sights of Hogwarts and give them to us in a new perspective. McKee's affinity with the Giant Squid was beautiful. Also well done was the comparison between her and the moon. You manage to strike a balance between her emptiness over her mother's death and her inner strength, hidden though it may be. Again, I haven't read any of your longer works, so it's nice to come to this character in these one-shots and form a solid opinion of her. Excellent writing!
Author's Response: Thank you, Fatima. I was hoping you'd get the chance to take a look. I thought this one-shot was necessary. First, it had an important plot piece. Second, the reader needed to know she's not a complete wall. I wanted to show how things got to her...
At the vehement urgings of Magical Maeve, I have read your story. Now, I am so glad that I have. Your use of language is brilliant, and you have quite a way with dialogue and description. I was able to immediately see the young Snape in my head, and his mother's voice was clear and distinct - perfectly in character. The boy's questions fit his age beautifully and said more about his intelligence and determination than descriptions of that kind ever could.
My favourite part of this story has to be the explanation of the difference between Dark Magic and White Magic (which terminology, incidentally, I had no difficulty with). As a real-life, honest to goodness, card carrying Witch and Priestess of Wicca (or la Vecchia Religione as it is called in my family), I was pleased by how accurate Septimia's lesson was. Magic, indeed, does not have good or evil characteristics. There is only energy and intent. I've always seen the Dark Arts as being that sort of magic that is done more for the immediate and specific personal gain of an individual than for his/her general good or wellbeing. You are correct in that there is sacrifice and that what makes people fear "Dark" magic is the idea that some would give up a great deal for the gift of knowledge and power. Likwise, I loved how you addressed the idea of Karma or the three-fold law: everything you do bounces back to you. Another distinguishing factor of Dark Magic is being prepared to accept responsibility for the consequences of your actions.
I felt the gift of his grandmother's cross was a bit odd in this respect. So often, well...at least in American Christianity, Christ is seen as a scapegoat and His followers are notorious for misinterpreting His willing sacrifice as a free license to do or ask for whatever they want in His name. Either Septimia and her mother understood the true nature of Christ's sacrifice, or they are very enlightened Christians indeed! Nonetheless, I liked that you did give her a foundation of ethics and morality - boundaries as she calls them - that have their origins in mainstream religion. It would have been very easy to make her Pagan or non-religious as is the case in many other fics. I'm glad you made the more interesting choice.
That young Snape didn't quite understand everything his mother said rings true and ominous. We know the man he becomes, and the ending of your story leaves us pondering whether or not he heeded his mother's advice. Sadly, his involvement with Voldemort as a Death Eater already shows his temptation to lose control, and yet I still get the feeling that redemption is possible for our Potions Master somewhere down the line. A fic that makes me think long after I've finished it is a rare thing in the HP fanfic universe. I commend you.
Author's Response: Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful review, Lovely Fatima! I am very glad that the story made sense to you as a Wiccan. I tied a lot of things together while writing, drawing on both my Christian background and my reading about Wicca and other religions. I find that the three-fold law has its equivalent in Christianity, and that opened up an interesting line of thought for me. It also helped me to make sense of the difference between Dark and White magic, which in canon remains to be explained.
As to making Septimia and her family Christians, I had several reasons for that. The first is very pedestrian - namely that it seems reasonable to assume that some British wizards should be Christians, the majority of British people being Christian; and I have read so many fanfics in which wizards and witches are all Pagan. Call it wilfulness on my part :). The second is that I see a lot of Christian themes in canon, and from the moment I started writing Snape, I knew he'd be Catholic - it made sense to me, and confession was the key. The wonderful thing about Catholicism is that you can be forgiven and start anew - provided that you are truly penitent. I think that opens perspectives for Snape.
Finally: yes, some people will use Christian beliefs as an excuse to get away with anything, but I think that is true for most beliefs. However, such abuse does nothing to deminish the value or beauty of the religious core, and it does not *have* to be like that. Septimia is in some ways 'enlightened' and tries to pass her comprehension on to her son. In other ways she is very flawed, and unfortunately Severus is a bit unlucky when it comes to what he has received out of the gene pool...
- But enough rambling. I'm delighted that you liked the story, and your review has made my day! -S.
Vader, this is my first time getting around to your stories, and I must say that it was well worth the wait. I know that this is only the first chapter of what you probably intend to be a multi-chaptered fic, but I have to say that it stands alone by itself very well. I love how you describe the prison atmosphere. It reminded me very much of The Count of Monte Cristo and how the hero of that novel deals with his imprisonment and the disgusting conditions of the prison. Particularly gruesome was the maggoty stew! I found myself intrigued by your OC. His case seemed very much like that of Sirius Black and it led me to believe that perhaps he was a victim of the ministry wanting to "crack down" on criminals following Sirius' escape from Azkaban. I like that he's smart, observant and calculating. Hopefully if and when you decide to finish this fic, we'll learn more about him. Until then, I'll have to satisfy myself with your other fics and your poetry. Great job with this!
Let me begin by saying that I'm not a big fan of the good ship HG/SS. However, I find that given the logic of Snape's decision and his desire to let her grow up a little more, I kinda like it in this story. I thought Hermione's tactic to force Snape to call on her was brilliant, even if he did take points away. I also like how you show that Snape is well aware that Draco has very few talents to recommend him, and that he acknowledges Harry's "adequate" abilities in Potions. Is the apprentice thing something you thought up? If so, I think I like it. It certainly makes sense, as there really isn't any mention of training schools for those who wish to be Wizarding teachers. But why Potions? I mean, I know it serves your story, obviously, but I would think Hermione might gravitate towards something like Transfiguration, Ancient Runes or Arithmancy just as much as she'd go for Potions. Hopefully this will be explained in later chapters. So although Snape's plans for Hermione leave me feeling a little ookie inside, I like where this is going. You've got an interesting story here!
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Lovely Fatima! This started out as an exercise for me -- to see if I actually could write Granger/Snape and keep it believable.
Apprenticeship is used a lot in fan fiction. I merely borrowed it for the plot. I agree that Hermione probably would be more interested in Arithmancy, Transfiguration or Ancient Runes, however, Potions is another disciplined field of study that requires precision and I think that might appeal to her. And it did serve my story. :-) Thank you very much!
Okay. Snape is just a smarmy bastard and I LOVE it! The implications of his little spells of manipulation are staggering. After all, why WAS Ron coming on so hot and heavy? I liked how you described Hermione's thoughts while Ron was "drooling" over her. Waiting for her body to take over, indeed. Somehow, though, I'm finding Hermione a bit...off. I'm not willing to say OOC, but just not quite herself. Perhaps its because in canon, Hermione's words and reactions to Snape are seen through the Harry-filter and we all know that Harry despises Snape. However, I would think that Hermione might show a bit more revulsion to being touched by Snape and looked at by him - especially at that electric feeling she got when he did touch her. Then again, that could be my personal bias talking. At any rate, I'm hooked into your story well and good now. And Snape does have redeeming qualities. His admonition that a man who would use fear to coerce a woman into his bed is half a man was the sort of chivalric thing I'd never have expected to come out of his mouth, and yet it sounds perfectly in character. Bravo. I look forward to Chapter 3.
Author's Response: Thank you, Lovely Fatima! Hermione though is always the one to insist that Snape be given respect. This was my first attempt at writing Hermione so I really appreciate the feedback!
At last I feel like Hermione is herself in this chapter - and what a wonderful chapter it was. Snape's observation that those who give gifts often want something in return was spot-on for him. Her timidity and his...well...Snapishness blend so well that when he places his hands on her shoulders, any ookie feelings we might have had about the two of them together suddenly dissolve into a sort of rightness. I am very happy that you are taking time with this relationship and that you have Snape acknowledge that he does indeed want Hermione as a woman, not as a girl or a student. Excellent work.
Author's Response: Thank you, Lovely Fatima! I don't like stories that feature Snape and Hermione-as-a-student. That's just... WRONG (forgive me, WIKTT). This is a slow moving story and I hope you keep on enjoying it.
Scheming snake, indeed! Part of me LOVES Snape for his ability to so smoothly manipulate Hermione into doing what he wants her to do, and then again I absolutely hate the fact that he's being so damn manipulative! His handling of the Bill Weasley situation - loved the tight pants and earring reference, by the way - was brilliant. How do we make Hermione do what we want and make it seem like her idea? Simple, involve the enticement of new and formerly forbidden knowledge. That along with his calculated decision to use her first name was pure magic. I honestly feel like *I* am being seduced by Snape right along with Hermione. I'd love to read some of your other stories because this one is outstanding!
Author's Response: Thank you, Lovely Fatima! I think this is probably the way Snape would go courting... it refused to believe he has any sort of a chance unless it was sneaky and manipulative. I hope you do go on to read some of my other stories, however, most of mine are housed elsewhere because they are NC-17. I've got rather a long one with Snape and an OFC and I just submitted another one here with Snape and Hestia Jones. You might get the feeling I write Snape. :-)
This is so different from your other work, and I think that is a good thing. Why? Because it shows that you are growing as a writer. Where I've often complained before in ASL that you were going too fast, in this prologue, you have just the right pace....languid and unhurried, much like the day Sara, Harry and the kids are spending at the falls. Your descriptions are gorgeous! I wanted to BE on that rock with her as she sunned herself. I could feel the cool water of the stream and hear that little baby laughing! Also, I think you've created an interesting character in Rhea - that the snakes are the only ones who understand her gives us flashbacks to Harry's conversations with the boa constrictor at the London Zoo in Book 1. Likewise, it's interesting that Harry describes her as "errant". I look forward to reading more of this!
Author's Response: Hee hee, this is your first review in a while where you haven't been on my case to write a more in depth chapter! Yay! This fic is my baby. ASL is downright fluffy compared to this ;)
Hooray! It's finally up and validated! I have to say that you've made a great deal of small changes since last I read this, and I love every one of them. I felt that the argument between Ron and Hermione in Ginny's room was wonderfully in character and generated the perfect amount of tension and angst. Poor Ron! He never knows how or when to say the right thing, does he? I also loved the interlude with Molly Weasley. Her realization that she was in the dark about her childrens' lives - including Harry's - was beautiful and sad. I really felt sorry for her. Finally, I don't think I can say this too much. I love Rhea. Love her, love her, love her. She is so precocious and careful - what a wonderful character! I look forward to seeing how her mother deals with her acceptance into Hogwarts! Great job!
Author's Response: Yay! You'd already seen most of this, I wasn't sure you'd make it over to read the final edition. I'm glad you like the changes and after all of the tantrums, it does my heart good to hear that you think Hermione is IC ;) Thank-you!
Wow. This was one of the most interesting Marauder fics I have read in a while. The interlude with Peter was the best I've seen. You managed to get his character down perfectly as well as convey his frustration at being left out. I was not as comfortable with the implication of a romance/fling between Lily and Sirius, but I could get over that because of your brilliant portrayal of Sirius. I could actually SEE him burning himself out even as he rested with Lily. Such a tortured image of him is rarely written in fan-fics. The comparison between the Marauders and saints is a rather interesting one, especially since we know that Lily and James - even Sirius are looked upon as Martyrs. I haven't read your other fictions, but based on this one, I plan to. Excellent work!
Author's Response: Thank you :)
It's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of reviewing for you. :) In gearing up for the release of Deathly Hallows, I'm suddenly seized by the need to read fan-fic again. Therefore, I went back to one of my favourite authors, and MY you've been prolific! ;-}
Anyway, down to business. I love monologues. They lend themselves to so much in terms of characterization, and an author can reveal surprising depth within a person who might otherwise appear superficial or shallow. What I love about *this* monologue is the clarity of voice, and how that voice leads us to the underlying emotion while chattering away with smalltalk.
You've painted a great portrait of the kind of woman raised to believe that any talk or show of real emotion or substance should be reserved for private family conversations held behind closed doors. For Neville's Gran, the tea service and the Axminster carpet, the digressions about baking and Floo powder, and her grandson's relationships with plants, all these serve as means to escape and avoid the openly embarrassing business of airing one's emotions and private difficulties in public. She's been taught that one must keep up appearances, no matter how absurd or horrible it may make one appear.
Ultimately, it's the little things that make this piece shine. The incident with the Punch and Judy man had me giggling for several minutes after I read it. The same holds true with her disdain of the Muggle Women's Institute and their talk of nothing but cooking and knitting, though that's all she's done up until her mention of those particular Muggle faults. You've given the impression that Mrs. Longbottom is a real person with quirks and faults, and a genuine capacity to feel anguish as well as love. I applaud your craft and your skill, and I look forward to reading more of your wonderful words.
If there is one thing that you excel at, it is characterization. Narcissa, in particular, was so perfectly crafted in this chapter that I really forgot that I was reading about fictional people. Her words, her responses, her struggle between hating Maeve and needing information about her son were all spot-on accurate. I could feel every ounce of anguish, tension, jealousy. It was amazing.
I also like how you've introduced a subtle mystery. We thought Maeve and Severus were open with one another at the end of HPDoL, but now we find that he's hidden yet more secrets AND that Narcissa is involved with him beyond the Unbreakable Vow. Introducing that kind of suspense is difficult, and I applaud you for doing it so well.
The only thing that bothered me in this chapter was the re-appearance of Lugh and the way he seemed to ease Maeve through the difficult situation at the Ministry. While I understand that his presence was necessary to re-introduce the necklace and her bond to it, I really would have rather seen how Maeve managed to get herself back into the Ministry to explain things. Lugh's appearance was quite literally a bit deus ex machina for my tastes. Then again, I like to see my favourite characters suffer!
To leave you on a positive note, I want to mention the joy that I get from reading scenes with Maeve and Remus. I know that Maeve's heart belongs to Severus, but a girl can still dream that she might one day get together with Remus. He loves her so painfully, and I think that the reader feels that whenever she rebuffs him or pushes him away. Great job!
When I read your explanation at the start of the chapter, I thought I knew what I could expect. However, I like how you've managed to combine your story with Canon and make it flow together. Removing the murder from Hogwarts to Godric's Hollow seems like an interesting choice, and I'm curious to know why you did that. Is the impregnability of Hogwarts security critical to another part of your story, perhaps?
I don't normally read AU fics, but this one stays so close to the original tale that it's not quite so jarring to read. I loved your descriptions of Harry 's feelings and the comparison with Maeve's. Her heartbreak was palpable. I'm looking forward to digging in to the rest of the chapters, especially now that I'm wondering what's going on with Narcissa!