I'm Janice McCready, I live in the North of England with my lovely family; one husband and two delightful (most of the time) kids.I'm a buyer for a UK retailer, but spend my spare time reading and writing. And then any other spare time I spend online! I'm a moderator here at MNFF and have been known to beta read occasionally!.
I have one novel-length fic up (The Daughter of Light) and am currently working on its sequel, The Severed Souls. It wasn't supposed to be about my OC and Snape, but they ended up taking over! I've also got a few one-shots up and copious amounts of poetry.
Summary: Three years after Voldemort’s first fall, Tonks and Ninette, a metamorphmagus and a dancer, each struggle to find their own identities apart from the deceptions of mirrors. Meanwhile, in the caves underneath Hogwarts, someone may be searching for things better left lost.
Wow. I had no idea whether I would like this fic or not, as ballet is something I have a very limited experience of. But I do like it, a lot, for the simple reason that, although ballet is important here, it’s the personalities that count and their actions. And boy do you have some personalities here. Aunt Edris is a demon with just a smidgeon of vulnerability. I think she is one of the best OC’s I have come across in a good while. You write her so well and I think you almost have a touch of compassion for her because she and her sister ultimately failed. She has her own values and places them on Ninette with no thought for what her niece actually wants or needs. There is no account taken of the fact that Ninette has effectively lost her mother, and been blamed by her mother for her mother’s loss of success. This is all such great characterisation for the young girl… we have empathy with her right from the off and yet we really see little of her outward character in this chapter, everything is very subtle. I’ll go through the chapter in a minute but the one line from the whole thing that really caught me was…
“Six-year-old Ninette, twice abandoned, promised.”
I thought that was the subtlest of lines, so very understated and yet so completely summing up how this girl is feeling. She’s been abandoned, she’ll do anything to please…. She’ll promise her life away in order to not be abandoned again. As a writer I think this is a wonderful thing to be able to do…pare it down to the minimum it needs to be, recognising when to use words and when not to.
So, the little bits of concrit I picked up. “being other than herself,” I thought that was clunky and could be changed to ‘…this being that was her and yet wasn’t her, and which…’ to achieve a better flow. “And then came a time that was hard for Ninette to remember.” I found that ambiguous. It could mean she couldn’t remember it very well or that she didn’t want to remember it because it was painful. I would clarify a little. “As she read – the letter and the enclosed packet which gave her background on the Wizarding world – she felt a sort of soaring sensation deep inside her.” I’d punctuate that differently to get the flow moving better. “As she read the letter, and the enclosed packet, which gave her background to the wizarding world, she felt a sort of soaring sensation deep inside her.’ This also contains another of my pet peeves… the use of sort of…either she does have the sensation or she doesn’t…LOL! “Seeming supremely unaware of…” As a beta I see supremely used a lot in situations like this and I generally advise authors to replace it. Maybe it’s personal preference or maybe it is because I do see it a lot, but I think it’s commonplace. Even completely would be better here than supremely. “agreed the store owner” I think that’s a bit clumsy sounding, although I know why you’ve used it. I’d just use Madam Malkin again. Normally I’m a repetition nazi… but I think names are an exception when not over-used. Platform nine and three-quarters is always words not numerals and you have a typo with talked/talking. British spelling should be Neighbour, theatre, favourite, spiralled, and colour (although if you aren’t concerned about American spelling then ignore that bit! J) Also write me should be write to me and Christmas break would be the Christmas break.
So, end of nit-picking! I though you had some really wonderful lines in there. Great imagery and great characterisation. These characters are living and breathing and walk off the page. You connect things through the chapter…like the bobbling…which makes it feel very well rounded. There are some nice touches of humour there too… “The man behind the counter flashed them a grin, revealing widely spaced brown teeth. Ninette thought it rather a nice smile despite the dental peculiarities, but she felt, rather than saw, her aunt recoil.” That made me chuckle to myself… especially the ‘dental peculiarities’.
I don’t think I can say anything else without sounding live I’m raving, but I did really like this. Loved your style and your characters, not at all concerned about the lack of a traditional Harry Potter opening…I think in this way you have created a platform for your OC which is completely necessary when bringing OCs into the HP world. Great chapter, great start…looking forward to the rest.
Let me copy you: wow! That was an absolutely wonderful review, the type that sent me around the rest of the day smiling. Thank you so much for taking the time to say all this . . . I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I was afraid that Ninette was pitiable to the point of becoming a Mary Sue, and that Aunt Edris was too much of a monster . . . so I'm very glad of your reassurance!
Edits/nits - fixed. Thanks for going through so specifically. I'm always disappointed when I see that people have found errors in my story, because it means I'm not perfect (surprise, surprise!) and yet I'm very grateful when they are pointed out, so I can run over and fix them and go back to pretending to be perfect. :)
There is absolutely nothing like the sensation of getting a good review from a writer you yourself really admire . . . I'm still bouncing up and down. I put off answering your review, actually, because I wanted to savour it a little longer first! You've praised my story for the subject which matters the most to me - characterization. I love my characters; I love writing them, I think about them at work and in the car and when I go to bed . . . so I am delighted that you are enjoying them as well. Thanks once more for the beautiful response!
Summary: Will Ginny's love be the salvation or death of Harry?
To my fans I would like to say that I am back to writing, and I have now updated many of the chapters! Some changes are just grammer edits, but there are many adds and changes to chapters. Some based on your reviews or small things I felt needed to be added. Please take a look at the changes and let me know what you think. I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say about the changes and up comeing chapters.
You have a very good writing style. It flows along so well and keeps the reader really involved with the story. Harry seems nicely in character, although the bit were he offers to help the Dursleys is open to question. Perhaps that’s just the heroic Harry that we know and love coming through, making the choice that even thought the Dursleys are horrible he needn’t be. The rest of the time I think you captured his tone and way of thinking perfectly. You also have some gems of characterisation in there – Vernon being braver for knowing that he won’t have to see wizards again, Remus being quiet and reserved and most importantly Ginny’s strength of character after having lived with six brothers, the line about her suffocating brothers was great. Can’t wait to see how she goes about getting her man!
The one thing I found slightly distracting – and I know this is the opening chapter and so this probably won’t happen again – is the rather flat summarizing of the previous books. I think you need to assume that most readers will know what a Muggle is and know what happened in previous years, at least for the most part. There’s nothing wrong with summarizing to help alert your readers to where they are in the story but I felt that this could have been cut down a little in this chapter. I also found a few Britpicks… namely gotten and dorm room, neither of which wouldn’t be used. Overall your grammar and spelling is excellent… there were just a few sentences that slipped into the wrong tense. As an example…
Today was Harry’s seventeenth birthday, the day that Harry finally comes of age in the Wizarding world.
Comes should be came. But it’s fairly minor and doesn’t distract from the rest of the writing, which is a pleasure to read. My last nitpick would be about the use of Harry’s parent’s house. General consensus seems to be that it was destroyed and there isn’t a house left any longer. There is a possibility that a new house has been built in its place but I don’t think there would be much left of the house they were living in when they died.
Really nice opening chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I will definitely be back to read the rest. You have a great way of drawing the reader in.
Author's Response: Wow, now that is a long review. I really enjoyed reading it. I am glad to see that you think I got the more inportant things right. I have gotten other reviews on chapter on saying they did not like the rehashing of past events, but it was needed for me to get things off the ground, and set the tone. As far as Britpics go if mrsgeorgeweasley does to point them out then I have no hope of getting them right. She is the frist person who sees it, and is a Brit herself. You are right on tense as I have little sense of it when I am writing or rewriting. My grammer and spelling are not that great either but thats what betas are for. None of the three betas I use have pointed out the tense problem to me so I am still blind to it. Your right Harry's parent's house was distroyed, but I explain that later on. Ok I think I covered most of your points. I never mind someone constructive help. I really like the fact the you just did not tell me the tense was wrong, but gave an example. thank you. I am glad you liked reading it. Thank you so much for the great review. I hope you like the rest of the story.
Summary: Hermione's confused about things, so decides to draw up someone's Arithmancy chart. She's rather pleased with the results.
Nice concept. Of course Hermione would go to numbers for her solutions. She is like the super-intelligent witch that would shun her horoscope in favour of numerical answers without realising that the two were more connected than she could ever realise.
It reads very well. I really enjoyed the image of it spreading gloriously. If it's telling her what she really wants to hear then of course it would spread gloriously...and all those numbers adding up... that would be glorious for Hermione.
But do numbers really never lie? I like the fact that this comes right at the end. Mathematicians put such faith in numbers. It seems to contradict everything we know about love and the human heart. Can a heart really be reduced to numbers? That says a lot about how Hermione would view romance. If it can't be quantified then it's not worth the effort or the risk?
Author's Response: Um, well, I don't know if that's exactly what I was heading for . . . but I do imagine that something like this has happened in Hermione's teenage life. It's just a more sophisticated way of, as you said, viewing horoscopes. Also I couldn't help but be happy when I found that "Boy" and "Hermione" had the same heart number, the concept for this poem came from that.
Summary: Every story must have an end. Harry Potter must now face the greatest adventure of his life. Lives will be lost and love will be found. The only difference between a muggle and a wizard is his ability to believe. Based on what occur in book seven.
The first thing that sings out at me fron this chapter is your characterisation. You have them all spot on. Snape, Draco, Narcissa... they are perfecly canon, without anything to distract from the fact that these are Jo's characters. I also can't fault the way the story is headed and the way you drew Snape away from the events of the night and Dumbledore's death. Perfect interaction between Draco and his mother, Snape is beautifully in character... although I think this dithers slightly when he is with Voldemort... but only slightly.
There are a few places were the prose could do to be tightened up a little and thank you is not hyphenated. Occasionally word order and semtemce structure could take some polishing...but that's minor compared to the beautiful characterisation. You did a great job with this opener!
Author's Response: Thanks for the review :) You're right Snape did fall a bit out of character towards the end. I'll try to work on tightening up my sentence structure. The hyphenated Thank-You is an old habit that is dying hard. Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy the following chapters.
Part I of Romance Slytherin Style - Somewhere Only We Know by SeaIsleWitch
Rated: Professors [Reviews - 78]
Summary: Near the end of sixth year, an overdue confrontation between Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy leads to an emotionally charged evening, that neither will forget. This story depicts a missing scene from HBP and includes a humorous cameo of our favourite Potions Master. (Complete - 3 Chapters)
Part I of Romance, Slytherin Style - A Trilogy
* Let me change your mind about the Slytherins you love to hate. *
Okay, how could I resist a fic with the title of a song by one of my favourite bands?
I’m enjoying this alternative look at Draco and Pansy, a view I would not have thought of myself but which is entirely plausible and gives an insight into what goes on in their minds and manages to stay within canon. I’d never really considered Pansy as coming from money, perhaps it is her last name, but I like the background you have given her. I like the whole concept of the two of them, well-bred, moneyed, high expectations. You would expect an arranged marriage for them, marriage prompted by the need to maintain blood lines… but I’m getting the definite feel, early on, that this is a love-match, not a status one.
You have a lovely writing style. It’s almost poetic in places and you put in detail that is sadly lacking in other fics. Your characters are treated with such care that even though I do not particularly like either Draco or Pansy, I am feeling sympathy with them. I am listening to them as characters and that is your doing. The insecurity between the two of them is palpable. Both of them seem to feel the same love for the other and yet they are unsure of their positions. You have put enough in the opening of this chapter to make us see they have a connection but kept the uncertainty. This line…
She has everything any proper wizard could want: beauty, breeding, and intelligence; and yet she is so much more.
… was so telling. Draco still retains his need to breed with someone of standing yet he tempers it with an acknowledgment that Pansy has that extra thing that could make a happy marriage. And Pansy is playing games with him, coy games that she enjoys. I wonder if they are both playing games and if they realise that the time for games is over? Pansy’s fervent hopes that Draco wasn’t going to tell her he loved another was quite heartbreaking and very well written.
Would she go with me? And how human does that make Draco? That single line was enough to convince me that Draco was feeling the strain of his task, feeling insecure enough to shake his confidence in his own name.
And I love the adultness you have given to both of them. Yes they are teenagers exploring love, but you seem to have given them more than that. There is a backstory that makes their love seem more than just a passing phase, it’s very real, very important. (I can’t believe I am saying this about Draco and Pansy!)
“I shall explain.” He was right behind her and she could feel his hot breath on her calves. She knew he was staring up at her feminine features. Fans herself! Nice image. And then you had me laughing with Draco’s comment that the view was good! And I applaud me for having Pansy say ‘unhand me’.
Curses for the Savvy Witch LOL! I really enjoyed that in the midst of such a tense, emotion-ridden scene. And the notion that Pansy’s father was using Occlumency against her mother was wonderful… just what is her father up to? And then there is the hint of jealousy and suspicion with the holiday romances. Draco mentions again that she is pure. This is just enough to keep it in the spirit of Jo’s story and yet keep your own take on it. Very clever. And you continue to switch POV between them in a way that it never gets confusing… a feat in itself. And it’s the little things that mean the difference between an average read and a good one, things like…
She gave Draco a quick smile of encouragement..
…little things like that make you feel you are reading a real piece of fiction.
I’m intrigued by Pansy’s ‘goodness’ Her family’s willingness to work with the Ministry. I hadn’t expected that but I can see the conflict it would cause for her and Draco. And I’m shuddering at what it cost Draco… I’m actually feeling sorry for him!
And that was one of the sexiest, none-cringe-worthy- sex scenes I have come across. And then there was Snape. Having given Snape a rather saucy witch in my own fics, I can see the humour in shipping Snape/Madam Pomfrey. It made me smile!
Just a few nitpicks. Gentile should have been genteel. Alright should be all right…and …erm... that’s it! LOL
Loved it. You have a great writing style. Looking forward to the next one!
Author's Response: Oh, Magical Maeve! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your intelligent and flattering review! SQUEE! Ok, I’m calming down now. *sniff*
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how this story would be received. There are very few Pansy/Draco love stories out there. I knew it was a risk, because my take on them is entirely different from what we “see” in the books; yet I tried to remain as true to canon as possible.
I am extremely gratified you found my characterization of Pansy believable; as the intelligent, attractive, talented and passionate young woman she actually is. (Harry's eyes need to be checked! *snigger*) Her character is further developed in Part II – However Far Away, which I am laboriously editing.
My treatment of Draco is directly a result of what transpired on the tower that fateful night. He’s a product of his environment; yet he has obviously been influenced by Pansy's opinions over the years--although he never realized it until now. As mean spirited and sinister as he appears, and is, to Harry, he is still a vulnerable, conflict young man, who is capable of recognizing a good thing when he sees it. He is very much loved by his family (there is much canon evidence for this), so it is not far fetched to believe he would seek out the passion he sees between his parents, for his own life.
This is a coming of age tale for Draco, as well as Pansy. The insecurities of their romance, so far, have been due to their immaturity. After all, they did meet when they were only 11. *smiles*
I am absolutely, unbelievably astonished that you not only understood the nuances of my story, but you started to actually sympathize with two previously unlovable characters. Everything that you pointed out in your review was precisely what I was trying to convey. As a beginning writer, that makes me uncommonly happy! :) The knowledge that you “approve” is extremely satisfying. *smirk*
Thank you for pointing out my misused words. They have been fixed in all four copies of this story. Again, I thank you for your lovely words and amazing support of my writing. I am truly humbled by your generosity.
Summary: Some animals are just not meant to be pets. A tale of friendship, choices and many, many familiars.
Well, it goes without saying that your writing has a flawlessly smooth and engaging style that is thoroughly entertaining. This story was no exception.
From the opening lines you have your trademark little snippets of human observation... such as the reflection on owners from their choice of pets. I loved the characters you served up for us. Tortoises, snakes, cats and finally the monkey all leapt out of the screen. My own particular favourite was Allan the ice king....that was a very perceptive analysis of a persian. I lived with one for many years and she was the snootiest cat imaginable! I loved this line... '...savours the sensation of his smooth scales sliding against her skin.' Holy alliteration batman! Enjoyed the fact that she feeds the snake fresh food and feeds herself frozen meals... so typical of many animal owners that they will treat their pets better than themselves. Brynhild is a great creation with lots of little thoughts that really build her as a character. I thought her comment about bragging about pleasure given being vulgar and indelicate was lovely.
Monkeys don't make good pets.
Indeed, especially when beneath their simian skin they have hidden depths! I just thought this whole concept was brilliant. Trying not to say too much because I don't want to give away spoilers, but you pulled it off beautifully. I never guessed....even knowing that your stories are all centered around a certain person!
Brilliant one-shot, brilliantly written. thank you!
Author's Response: :-D Something told me you were going to pick out that alliterative line - which, to be quite honest, at one point was my single motivation for continuing with the story and finishing it (I didn't like the original ending and somehow it took two months to find a better one) - I thought I couldn't let that line go to waste :-)... The first idea of what eventually became "Monkey Business" was a tale entirely from the snake's perspective, but in the end I worried that nobody would find it interesting as there was hardly in Snape or even Potterverse in it, only an OFC and a snake.
Glad the monkey worked! In most stories, black cats are the usual suspects, so I thought I'd lay out a red herring :-P.
Brynhild has a loooong history and will come out to play in my long WIP too.
Thanks so much for the review!
Rated: [Reviews - ]
I haven’t read too much of your work, Pat, but what I have seen has a really lyrical touch to it. You have a wonderful way of interrupting the narrative with lines that are by turns beautiful and disturbing. I just love the line...
“The Devil sent Hell to attack the innocent and to disrupt the worried.”
…it sets a marvellously dark tone for what is to come. Devils use their little visions of he hell to wreak their havoc and achieve their goals without having to do much of the more mundane devilment themselves. I think you re-iterate this with your talk of Death Eaters attacking the Patil’s. Not the devil himself, but his hell in the form of his followers.
I have always believed there was a softer side to Lavender. Of course she comes across as shallow in the books, that’s her purpose; the slightly flighty, giggly girl. But there has to be more to her, and it’s good to see it explored here. Your writing flows well, the interruptions well-placed and relevant. My only problem is with naughty, nitpicky grammar things that creep in and can distract. For example…
” They unfortunately were successful, and before the dawn of the next day, the bodies were found.”
I would re-punctuate that to read…
”They, unfortunately, were successful and before the dawn of the next day, the bodies were found.” This sentence jumps up and down a bit vocally, but it makes better grammatical sense that way. I think you just need to keep an eye on comma use here and there, to keep your sentences flowing correctly. I also love your use of imagery, it’s really delightful, however I found one instance where it didn’t quite work for me…
“…could prevent the sharp creaks of tranquility from entering in the open window and wrapping itself around the minds of two women…”
I’m wondering about the use of tranquillity with creak and what the sentence is trying to achieve. I think that image could use some tightening up.
This “Why should I, mum? Why should I suffer-” ... Needs a capital M on mum.…And here… and it was she who had asked to let the Brown’s… you need to lose the apostrophe in Browns… but this is beta read territory now and I’m drifting from the point….
All in all, this is a lovely prologue. Thoughtful, insightful, and something that sets us up well for the chapters to come. We are now concerned about Lavender, even post-HBP, and I’m looking forward to se where you take her.
Summary: Snape has some unfinished business with Dumbledore.
Submitted by lunafish of Ravenclaw in response to the extra credit challenge "Letters to Heaven." Posted before DH.
Gah! I can't believe I haven't actually left a review for this. It was a worthy winner of its category.
Fantastic atmopshere right from the start, a sense of complete hopelessness permeates everything. I think you have captured this little moment in Snape's life so well, and with such conviction, that it left me feeling so utterly sad for him. But to set atmopshere to one side for a moment, what this one-shot is really about is a relationship, and a one-sided relationship at that. You give us a man balancing himself before death, coming to terms with his life, and accepting his deficits. He's not afraid to be honest with himself, not afraid to share his thoughts with Albus, but only when he knows that the other man can't read them. I wonder if he would have dared say that to him had they been face-to-face in the cell? I could pull quotes from the story, but really, you pitched Snape so perfectly that it was all good. Most of all, it makes me sad for the man Snape could have been, and for the way the man he was was misunderstood by so many. And we can see his courage in admitting that by killing Dumbledore, he was commiting an act that he knew would result in the loss of his own life. Such a stark message.
I have this now saved on my hard drive, just so I can remind myself during the writing of SS what resolute man this character is. this is a litle piece of fanfiction perfection. Thank you.
Author's Response: Coming from the Queen of Snape fanfiction, your words mean a lot to me! Thank you so much!
Summary: It's nearly the end of his fifth year, and Severus has just experienced the most embarrassing and lamentable moment in his life. At a time where the wizarding world is becoming unhinged, he must deal with a few unexpected events that will change his life forever.
Back again! I do try and review on a regular basis but sometimes I don’t manage it. :-) You’re straight into your excellent characterisation from the outset of this chapter. I really liked the way you have Severus fully aware of his cosmetic faults and dismissing them as merely unfortunate. Much has been made in the HP world of Severus’ rather unappealing appearances, so to have the man himself shrugging it off is very gratifying. And you give us all this introspection and half-gloom and then hit us with the mirror, a wonderfully lightening moment. And again, little details that build the character, like checking the ceiling to see what the weather was doing; such an insignificant detail but one that separates a great fic from a good one.
Now this was an interesting line…
Severus ignored the voice and kept eating, assuming the person was speaking to someone else at the Slytherin table.
I couldn’t decide if that was Severus being clever and trying to keep his head down to avoid conversing with someone, or whether it was a sad reflection on his popularity in that he believed no one would seek him out to speak to. And then onto James entering the hall, which I thought was perfect writing. It’s well paced and we really get to see how Severus’ mind works when Lily asks him for the homework. Most people would come to a decision very quickly, but not him… It comes down to what will benefit him. The whole exchange with Lily is perfectly pitched and I loved his demand that he would require something of equal value back if she damaged the notes. And then this…
At least Evans had sense enough to see Potter for what he really was. Snape decided that alone deserved a look at his notes.
So what happens to Lily to change her mind and I do hope we get to see this from you at some point.
Nice smooth bit of relatively new canon slipped in there with the book and his work on the Sectumsempra spell, and even more interesting to see the way his mind works. It’s all about survival for Snape, survival and things that benefit him. But I think that, so far, we haven’t actually reached the crux of what it is that Snape actually wants from life. The scene with Potter (you’re making me loathe the Marauders btw!) was classic. And then Snape thinks The Gryffindor was anything but subtle. and I think that encapsulates the gulf between them. Severus has a superiority complex when it comes to the things he values and so it is no wonder he looks down on the antics of Potter and Black. And in these little scenes, in which Severus is really the main focus, we see lovely glimpses of the Marauders and the way they treat Peter.
,br>“Fair enough.” He frowned slightly, and it suddenly dawned on him that she was waiting for him to return the courtesy. “You?”
Perfect Snape! He understands social interaction, but it takes him a little time to get there sometimes. The rest of the conversation is by turns excruciating and electric. Lily’s interest in him is entirely justified and their exchanges about Slughorn are excellent, including Severus’ dismissal of the Slug Club.
The tension between Potter, Black and Severus erupts nicely in the little scene where they draw wands, the way you weave other people in is very interesting. I enjoyed seeing Lestrange get involved. And then he say’s this and we start to get a feel for the oppressiveness of the whole blood-traitor, pureblood thing.
Lestrange watched them for a moment, and then looked down at Snape, his mouth twitching at the corners. “Twice in two days, Snape. Twice in two days.” Though Lestrange’s comment seemed innocent enough, it was, Severus presumed, a discreet jibe.
You are giving us two distinct camps, very much along the lines of West Side Story/Romeo and Juliet and I think I feel it more in this fic than in the actual books themselves. There is a very adult quality to this that is sometimes absent in Harry’s escapades, despite the fact they are similar in ages.
‘… himself to a couple sausage links…’
You need an ‘of’ in there.
’… Severus turned his attention back to strange…’
And a ‘the’ in there.
“Oh, sorry Snape,”
You need a comma after sorry.
‘bottle for analyzation’ That should be analysis.
Nitpick on language use… Not even a few minutes later, Severus saw her march out of the aisle of books, smoothing out her robes. I thought the ‘Not even a few minutes’ sounded awkward, and with your work nothing ever sounds awkward! Just moments later might flow a little more smoothly.
What else can I say! You continue to impress me with both the quality of your writing and your characterisation. This is fast becoming the best FanFic I have read! I’m falling in love with all of your delicious characters and find myself rooting for the Severus/Lily pairing, despite having Severus firmly paired off in my own fic! LOL
Author's Response: Honestly, you leave the best reviews, Magical Maeve. (Not to mention the tips on grammar, punctuation, and spelling that sometimes slip through the cracks once I've read over a fic umpteen times.) You know, it's so easy to gloss over Severus's appearance in writing, but I figure, as an adolescent boy, you're very aware of how you look. Severus just strikes me as the type to accept it and move on. As for him keeping his head down and ignoring the person talking to him--you're right on both counts. I do love the marauders, but from Severus's point of view, they're bullies, basically. In the HP series, we always see this tainted version of the Slytherins from Harry's POV, so I really enjoy reversing the situation. And yes, there is the distinct camp between the two houses. Considering this pairing is called the SS Cliched, it's hard not to have the starcrossed lovers theme...Severus is Heathcliff and Lily is Catherine. I hope you continue to enjoy this story. Again, you've made my day with a wonderful review. Thank you so much, and I really look forward to hearing your feedback, should you choose to give it! :) Thank you.
Oh, what a box of writing delights this is! I almost don’t know where to start. Okay, I do… Let’s start with Severus and the fact that he is by far the most convincing Severus Snape I have ever come across. You have really slipped beneath his skin and made him so completely compelling and believeable. Every facet of his behaviour has a reason, and it all adds up to the Snape that we see in the later books. The details range from big things, like the fact he will find a devilish way to punish transgressors, rather than simply try to out-face them in the Great Hall to the tiniest things, like the fact he doesn’t really appreciate what he is eating. But what I really love, what I really find attractive about your portrayal of Snape is the fact that he doesn’t get all whiney about what happened to him in his worst memory scene. He immediately begins plotting his revenge rather than crumbling into a black ball of angsty apathy. It was that opening paragraph that really hooked me because you summed up ‘my’ Snape in that short piece of writing.
And then there is his first direct meeting with Lily after the incident… and the first meeting we see between them on screen so-to-speak. I loved the tension there. Severus couldn’t see it, he was too caught up with his own indignation and yet I felt there was so much there from Lily that didn’t get spoken and I think that’s perfect canon. We know so little and you’ve taken it and built on it. And if your Snape is believeable then my goodness, so is Lily. I am very much looking forward to seeing you develop her.
The meal was deliciously well handled. The interaction between the Slytherins was spot on. They are a really edgy bunch, aren’t they? And Severus once again knows what’s coming and he’s brave enough to face it. I wonder why? Does he really have the heart of a Gryffindor, or is it just that the verbal and physical taunts don’t bother him that much? Severus’ attitude to the other Slytherins is interesting. He has to put up with their company because he is part of their house, indeed, he seems to find some value in it… But he’s always above the ones he keeps immediate company with. Although he’s clearly not above the Slytherin goddess that is Bellatrix. And how smoothly you’ve portrayed her. All seduction and the hint of the sadist beneath it all.
I loved this quote. It was just Severus through and through…
The rest of dinner had been rather uneventful, though Severus now had a small list of about a dozen students who would be perplexed to find their notes and test parchments missing, blank, or inexplicably ridiculous in their contents later. He was rather looking forward to crossing each and every name off of the list.
… So methodical and vengeful. It had me rubbing my hands together with glee. And there’s the way you have him putting up with Rabastan, who again is characterised so well. All of these characters are walking straight of the screen at me. The upshot of this little altercation – punctured in a great way by Evan – is that grumpy old Severus begins to feel something he can’t identify. I think we might know what it is but he doesn’t and that last line was perfect…
As if she could, anyhow. No one would overcome Severus Snape without a difficult struggle. It just couldn’t be allowed.
…Well that just sets up the story, doesn’t it.
You have a fantastic writing style, easily one of the best I have come across, and I’m looking forward to reading more of this story. I have absolutely no criticism to give you, this is Marauder-era perfection and thank you.
Author's Response: Magical Maeve, you have no idea how absolutely flattered I am by your review--not to mention thrilled. It has to be the very best one I have ever received. Snape has long been one of my favorite characters to write about and to hear (or read, really) you say that you think I've done him justice makes me very relieved. He is fun to write and I only worry that I'll have greasy hair and a permanent sneer on my face by the time I finish this. The other Slytherin boys (who I've grown very fond of as this fic progresses) have developed their own personalities, which I will continue to play with until JK writes book seven and this universe is changed into an alternate one. As for Lily, well, let's just say that Snape has found his match... Again, thank you for the lovely review. I feel like I should print it out and post it on my refrigerator. I only hope that you will be as pleased as you continue reading.
Summary: For the first time in her life, Minerva McGonagall had Seen. Buoyant after her first ever success in a Divination lesson, Minerva receives an unexpected owl. On an icy November night, Minerva finds herself betrayed by the promise of omens but discovers the certainty of the stars. One-shot.
I think everyone else has probably already said what I’m about to say so I’m not going to read the other reviews first or I’ll end up not reviewing at all… so here goes .
The first, and most striking thing about this chapter is the wonderful imagery and descriptive passages. The line that just sings out is…
Surrounded by stillness and stars and tears, Minerva heard the distant chime of the castle clocks.
That’s one of the best lines I’ve read in FanFic. It’s almost poetic. And there were so many others. You use words and her surroundings to reflect her inner turmoil and it makes for a beautiful bit of reading. And I like the way you opened with the young Minerva breaking rules when the one thing we know that she is a stickler for is rules. This attitude immediately alerts us to the fact that she has undergone something traumatic. I also like the way you show her seeking challenges. She has her favourite subjects but wants to push herself, to be good at something that she has traditionally found challenging. How very Minerva-ish! And there is an almost desperate quality to her wanting to See her parents fate. It's as if she values the skill for what she think it will bring her, and when it ultimately lets her down she concludes that Divination is a sham.
Ironically, although she shuns Divination for its false promises, she holds onto the stars as a steadfast rock to cling to. And yet astrologically they are probably more powerful than the fire. I liked that twist, the contrast between the flightiness of flames and the solidness of rocks. And I liked the rationale you gave her. It was very much in keeping with the older McGonagall and yet it had much of the immature child in it, a perfect blend of the two…and not an easy task to pull off.
I don’t have much to nitpick. Drought should be draught and you need spaces beside your dashes, e.g.
“…tasty – large helpings of bangers and mash – and there had been Bread Pudding for dessert.”
And I found this sentence awkward…
“Arithmancy had been wonderful as always; she never lost the sense of exhilaration she felt at working out a perfect cycle of numbers and conditions.”
I think you need a comma after wonderful and I would lose the semi-colon and put a full stop in there and start a new sentence.
But that was all I could find. The rest of it is perfect FanFiction. Thanks for such a moving and beautiful read.
Author's Response: I went back and fixed the issues you pointed out days ago, but it's taken me a while to get to this. First of all, thank you for taking the time to write me such a lovely review! I'm glad you like how I've done the characterization; I was quite nervous about it as I was writing it. Young Minerva is hard to pull off believably, and I wasn't sure I had managed it. I feel honored that you took the time to read, and moreso that you enjoyed the story. Thank you ever so much.
Summary: Originally for October Challenge 6: Romance: write a 'ship you don't necessarily support. In his fourth year, Draco discovers that the Malfoy prejudice against Weasleys may have a flaw. Alternate warning: outright lewd.
Now, an SSP warning normally makes me rush off in the other direction (Not because of the SSP, just the SSP within the Potterverse), especially when the author places ‘thanks heavens’ next to the One-Shot title. However, as I have been fangirling about your fics all over the place, I thought it was high time I sat down and reviewed one. And being as my mind is slightly unhinged, I thought I’d start with the SSP one.
It was interesting how you took me through a few scenes I would normally find toe-curling, and delivered an interesting little bit of romance, if romance is the right word. Out of necessity, Draco and Ron must be OOC, but I think you kept them as IC as possible given what they were up to. I found it interesting that you referred to Ron as Ron in the narrative and Hermione and Harry as Granger and Potter. Was that a bit of conscious distancing for the other two members of ‘the trio’? I also liked the way you slipped this whole thing in, almost as a missing scene from GoF. I haven’t seen the film yet, but when I do this little one-shot has added an interesting perspective. You write their conversation very well, snappy and confrontational slowly changing to uncertainty on Ron’s part and even, to a degree, on Draco’s
Several lines made me smirk. “Is your Head of House a nosy, micromanaging Legilimens?” and “I prefer tadpoles, thanks. Ever tried them?” are two memorable ones! You have a nice turn of phrase that’s evident throughout the whole piece, and it’s that which keeps the reader reading what would otherwise be an outlandish pairing.
But what have we here? *Holds up a squirming, bedraggled word* Gryffendor? How did that little monster creep in and displace Gryffindor?
And here…“He’d still not care to have a Blood-Traitor Weasley about – assuming, of course, I was about. Which I won’t be.” I don’t know; you might look up Percy.” …I think a naughty, random quotation mark snuck in and joined the party. But that’s all the nitpicking I’m going to do. The ‘thank heavens’ leads me to believe you might not want to revisit this chapter for an edit. *grins* Neat little ficlet, but I’m glad I got the SSP over with first!
Author's Response: Strange spelling of GryffIndor and pesky little quotation mark removed. Also the "thank heavens," as I'm getting oddly fond of this little fic after all. If our stories are our children, this one may be my redheaded stepchild, but I may as well give it some loving all the same. "Outlandish pairing" is an apt term, I'd say, but I thought it was easier to make it work than, say, Harry/Draco. That was indeed conscious distancing, by the way. Thanks for the review! And for the fangirling!
Rated: [Reviews - ]
Fabulous! A humour fic that's actually original and funny. Looking forward to reading more of this!
Summary: Tonks is rich in family and friends, but the wages of a new Auror keep her short of funds. A side job brings something into her life money can't buy.
*Nominated for a Quicksilver Quill for Best Romance- Canon.*
Well, I guess after chasing this fic around the queue for the past month I really ought to say a few words. It's been fun and a pleasure to read this fic. A great take on Tonks, who is apt to be very cliched and horrid, but here she's a feisty gal and more than Jo makes her. This is smart and sassy and funny and lovely and will be my Christmas memory of 2005. (If only for the occasional amusing email from the author).
Sequel??? Did someone say sequel?? *hides*
But seriously, well done. Originality always makes my day. You made my month.
Author's Response: Happy New Year to you! Mine's already shiny and happy, thanks to you. ^_^ Like Isaac Bashevis Singer, I'm "thankful to God for each story, each idea, each word, each day." I add you to the list of blessings, because without your Slytherin cunning, Gryffindor boldness, Ravenclaw brilliance, and Hufflepuff good humour, my fic wouldn't have posted in record time. (I don't believe any mod, anywhere has posted more chaps faster than you have, in peak holiday time, when you could've been roasting chestnuts over an open fire or something!) The encouragement on top of everything else is like hot fudge on an already delicious dish. I wish I could send roses delivered by the actor you most fancy or really expensive chocolates, but all I have is heartfelt thanks and my promise to make the sequel as grammatically correct as possible! Merci, O Magical One!
Summary: "You did not come here to play chess."
On New Year's Eve, Minerva McGonagall finds herself without the usual distractions of students and staff. She decides there is only one way to solve the puzzle before her, and that she will have to take a rather large chance.
This was a submission for the Redemption Challenge and contains huge howling unavoidable HBP spoilers.
I always get around to reviews eventually. At this rate I'll have returned to reviewing ItEoO by 2010!
So we return to my favourite Severus, and he's cooped up with Peter, poor man. It is interesting to put McGonagall and Severus together like this, with mutual understanding on both their parts. I find the interaction between them both convincing and touching, and, of course, you keep them both entirely in character throughout the story. Severus is dry, as always, and yet there are touches of warmth between them, and remembrances of better times. The coffee and the fire were both lovely touches in a life so completely darkened. I particularly enjoyed the reference to Cyanide in the coffee! Shades of Agatha Christie. As always, your descriptions are tightly writen and evocative, from the overview of the industrial wasteland where Severus lives -- although I do wonder how much McGonagall has protected Severus. One would imagine the Ministry could find him at that address if they so chose. -- to the descriptions of the characters.
"She would return, or she would die tidily."
The ability to sum up a character so well is a rare gift and one that is a delight to read. One thing I did find, however, was several repetitions of the concept that something minimal from Severus was something of magnitude from someone else. I think you could have made that more effective by only using it once. But I'm reaching to find something to crit now, and having to reach far! His reasoning, via you, is always impeccable. I found his analysis of who Dumbledore was with that night compelling and very Severus-like. And the line that made shivers run down my spine...
He met her eyes for a long moment, expressionless. "I would appreciate that more than you could possibly imagine."
Another lovely ploy bunny beautifully brought to life.
Author's Response: And in 2010 I will still be delighted to get your thorough, and thoroughly lovely, reviews. Thanks! One would imagine the Ministry would be smart enough to figure out Stan Shunpike, too, no? I think I probably repeated the minimal/magnitude matter just because there is so much about Severus that is too subtle for Harry to catch, and the reader might not be in the habit of noticing either. Better safely repetitive than obscure -- or maybe not.
Summary: Severus has never seen the appeal of repetition, particularly of things that ended badly the first time. In his life, he has kept one pet, owned one broom, and had one close friend.
Winner of Mod Quicksilver Quill for Best Novel! Thanks, all!
Rating and warnings do not apply to all chapters; I just didn't want anyone hooked and then shocked.
*Gets to put in the first review for shiny new fic and therefore not repeat things that everyone else has already said*
Your youthful Snape is rapidly becoming my favourite. We have a background for him that is thoroughly believeable and could have walked straight out of the pages of canon. His mother and father are well drawn and, while is father is presented just as I envisioned him, his mother is somewhat different. She is stronger than I imagined her to be and yet she is also weak, weakened by the life with his father and by the loss of whatever she might have wanted her life to become. We see touches of her dissatisfaction not only in her general demeanour, but also in her snapped lines to her husband. "Why should you care?" his mother snarled back. "It isn't you who makes the money." I think that speaks volumes about their relationship and the frustration they must each feel with each other. His father is demeaned by his wife’s power in this respect. Eileen’s need to organise her family makes her lack qualities as a parent, and she seems to starve her son of the love that she never had as a child. And so that cycle repeats and repeats. And the mention of his birthday was almost painful to read. "Yesterday. ‘Appy birthday." And that was the end of that. Ouch! Poor Severus. I was intrigued by the fact that you gave him a sanctuary of sorts. Somehow, I’d imagined him to lack an extended family, maybe because so many of the main characters in HP don’t have one. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, this uncle does for his nephew in the future.
Some great understated humour again, Severus just seems to invite it, doesn’t he. No matter what he did, he'd still be scrawny, pale, short, and nervous, and he'd still be mostly nose. and A girl about his own size, in the next seat forward, popped up to make a face at him with stunning monotony. Repetition had never held much appeal for him. made me smile. Who hasn’t had that happen on a train and wanted to throw the offending child out of the nearest door? And I loved the detail about the robes, and Severus thinking they looked a little dress-like, but he would put up with it to get away from the Muggles; perfect Severus. The search for the right was wand was just what I hoped for. Severus couldn’t just have something ordinary, after all. A chimera… interesting choice. Loved the detail about Ollivander collecting the sinew himself and Severus’ quick reappraisal. It’s good to see a boy so under whelmed by the world at large be impressed by something or somebody. And a nice contrast with Harry in PS, because Harry didn’t seem to like Ollivander at all. His mother’s brief talk on the train back was another painful conversation. *Realises at this point she just wants to give Severus a huggle, and knows he would be horrified at the prospect. * "Severus, look out for yourself. Anyone who protects you will think less of you for needing it." What a crying shame this line is. A reflection on her own meeting with her husband… But what a legacy to pass on to your child. And Anyone who would bother to protect him would still have to think more of him than anyone he currently knew. I need a Kleenex now.
I think you have created a wonderfully perceptive Severus, not a trait he’s commonly known for. We have the makings of the man already, but it’s going to be a tremendous journey seeing how you get him from this to the Death Eater that we love.
A couple of Americanisms, the naughty gotten again, the lack of an ‘of’ in things like ‘looked out the window’ and register/cash register would more likely be referred to as a till.
I love this already, mainly because of the quality of the writing. Any fic that can make me believe it’s more canon than canon is a blessing in my eyes.
And Severus being an accomplished horse rider. Who knew? LOL
Author's Response: Wow. (Makes note to go back and proof next chapters another 32 times...) The "huggle" really made me laugh. At this age, the mental picture I'm getting is that the effort, if you managed to catch Severus at all, would be rather like hugging an extremely puzzled and anxious fence post. I'll work on that "naughty gotten." The missing "of" is going to make real problems, as one of the rules of grammar long ago drummed into my head is that "Harry raced out the door" but only Nearly Headless Nick can race "out of the door" and that's my model for everything. I'll check that. "And Severus being an accomplished horse rider. Who knew?" Who would? A horse is hardly a practical creature in a Hogwarts dungeon, and the man is awfully busy as Professor Snape. Besides, it's in some of those more mysterious genes.
Summary: Challenge #4- for Hufflepuff house.
The inspiration for this version of "12 Days" is one of my favorite xmas tunes "The 12 Pains of Christmas". At the end of each stanza, the lines in parentheses are Harry's musings on the gifts of that day. I fixed the 8th day, thanks everyone!
Just had to say that this was very amusing. I particularly liked Hagrid's offerings and Harry's concerns about them. Nicely worked out, well done!
Author's Response: Hagrid's are my favorite too! Thanks for the encouragement! This is my first submission
Summary: Remus Lupin tolerates mischievous friends and lycanthropy, while the prophetic Ariadne MacDougal negotiates a misguided family, and everyone must deal with the Death Eaters. A rather dark coming-of-age story about the death of innocence and the renewal of hope during Voldemort’s first war.
Part I of The Moon-Cursers. Now updated to be DH-compatible.
You covered such a lot of ground here, and it didn't feel at all rushed. Your development of Ariadne is a delight to read. She is the perfect childhood innocent, trying to play by adult rules, but not quite understanding what they are yet. And what an awful, and yet realistic, punishment she recieves. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to shown who really is the head of the household. And I would have liked to have popped into Lucius' head when she came out with her little truths at the table. I wonder just what names he was calling her under his breath?
As always, your descriptions and attention to detail are lovely. The care with which you describe the day to day activities of the farm really bring the place to life. The Potions brewing is so well done, and the sense that the family is old and established is implied through clever narrative, rather than told explicitly.
Just a couple of nitpicks.
“That is too sad for a little girl to know,” was all she would say.
You have a really close repeat of sad there. The sentence that precedes it has Ariadne using the word, and I wondered if it was intentional. If not, I think it would be better to change it.
By the time when it no longer seemed like play to help Mamma with the chores,
That seems a bit clumsy and could do to be reworked.
But everything else was just a treat to read. Thank you for such an engaging story!
Author's Response: Dear MM, Thanks for such a long and detailed review. In your own words, a delight to read! I agree about the clumsy sentence; I think it's already reworked from an original that was even clumsier, so clearly I don't have my thoughts in order yet. I don't remember whether the repetition of "sad" was deliberate; it had more to do with realistically imitating a conversation with a four-year-old than with complex literary effects. What Lucius was thinking of Ariadne can't possibly be written down for a respectable site like Muggle-Net. One advantage of keeping the PoV strictly with Remus and Ariadne (I don't think anyone else is permitted a look-in) is that I can keep the language restrained. Lucius need not worry, however. There is no way his aunt and uncle will accept the word of a four-year-old over that of a wealthy almost-adult. The MacDougals are indeed a very old-established pure-blood family, and this point will be of some importance to the plot. Thanks for your support, GhV
Gah! Everything about your writing is so completely convinving that it's in danger of overtaking canon in my mind. I could have wept for Remus' innocence, especially with the line about going to St Mungo's just to have plasters put on his fingers. And I loved the lack of drama you put into the confrontation between Fenrir and him. That was so understated and so convincing. Fenrir is a heartless creature, so I can imagine him doing this in a calculated manner to get his revenge. And how chilling was the discussion with the man from the Ministry? I was gritting my teeth through the whole of that conversation. This is a wonderful example of officialdom in action, caring little for people's feelings, but caring a lot about their forms. I love the way that Remus' innocence mirrors Ariadne's. If anything, he seems a little less knowing than she does. You also lock them both in a darkened room, for different reasons, and give us the chance to see how they deal with it. Clever writing. And when he says he hasn't cleaned his teeth? You really know how to make a poor reader feel for the characters. I wonder what his parents thought? They must have been able to hear him cry for them. Perhaps my only crit is that sometimes I would like to see other's reactions to what is going on in the story. But it's a minor crit, and probably just me being lazy. I'm perfectly capable of imagining what they are thinking! And so Remus and Ariadne both learn that lying is sometimes acceptable, or ignoring a falsehood is allowed in order to save face. What lessons to learn at such a young age.
I liked your depiction of his schooldays, although I'm not entirely convinced by his teacher's attitude. It's not my experience of being a pupil, or my children's, but I accept that there probably are teachers like that, and it suits the story well. The attitude of his peers, however, seems spot on. And you also give us his parent's desperation to find a cure. I think that's something that translates perfectly to those with a serious or terminal illness, trying desperate measures to help them or their loved ones.
All in all, a sad chapter. But there's nothing uplifting about lycanthropy.
Author's Response: Dear MM, I'm glad you were convinced by this chapter, because I actually wrote it pre-HBP, before I knew that the werewolf was Fenrir. I decided it didn't really need revising, but I did wonder if he seemed aggressive enough. I had fun writing that horrible Ministry official. There wasn't room, writing from the child's PoV, to include his name, but I gave him one: it's Castigatus Clerk. You're not the only one who found this section distressing. My seven-year-old begged me to read him the chapter, but he didn't enjoy it at all. He was on the point of tears, and told me, "I don't want the little boy to be locked up in the garage!" I knew at that moment that this was a PG-13 chapter. I'm glad you noticed the parallel between the childhood experiences of Remus and Ariadne. Chapters 3-16 are written as seven complementary pairs, so the parallels will continue. The question about PoV was interesting. It's current literary convention to adhere to one main PoV (two in this case, since I alternate between the two main characters). That means we can't know everything that every character is thinking, since people don't always reveal themselves to the audience. I agree it might be interesting. I'm certain that Stanley and Edith were heart-rent by what was happening to their child. However, However, they couldn't hear the crying; they had to put a sound-proofing charm on the garage so that the Muggle neighbours wouldn't hear the howling. You're lucky if your schooldays didn't include anything like Remus's experience. The school down the road from me actively discouraged parents from teaching their pre-schoolers to read. It was school policy to have all the pupils begin and the beginning together, so that none was ahead of the others. A child who arrived at school already literate was defying the system. My parents sent me to the school in the opposite direction! Yes, it is all pretty dark, and it can only become darker in a time of war. I hope there will be some lightening in later chapters, but I'm afraid it's humour and valour rather than real happiness. Thanks for your support, GhV
Author's Response: P.S. Forgot to add ... I wouldn't say Remus was more "naive" than Ariadne, but definitely he's a less acute judge of character, and more inclined to believe people's lies. This difference between them will be developed as the story continues. What they have in common is that they both hate deceit in all forms.
Fascinating start. You managed to squeeze quite a lot into a concise opening. The first thing that struck me was the characterisation of the three people we meet in this chapter. We see a Remus Lupin that has stepped straight out of canon, a young girl who seems unremarkable, yet very real, and with her dedication to her family we already see a side of her that, I am sure, you will develop nicely. And then her mother, who you said so much about when you said that was as close as she came to giving an order. It's this sort of economical characterisation that I love in a fiction.
I also like the choice of location, away from the usual home counties and your depiction of the house and its Transfuguration problem was intriguing. A magical twist on a common problem when having a large party! So you have sucessfully set up characters, location and have nudged us in the direction of a future plot with the mention of the party and the fact that Remus has washed up on a farm. Nice bit of sympathy aroused with the mention of him wishing to be a teacher... And we all know he was an excellent teacher. *worries for poor Remus*
My only nitpick, which isn't huge, is the manner of speech that the characters use. They all seem to speak exactly the same. Now, I would expect a young girl at Hogwarts to be slightly less formal. It's not a huge problem for me, but I do like to see some differences in speech patterns. But we have seen so little of her that it's hard to pass judgement at this early stage.
Your writing is excellent. No errors to be found, but then having two PI betas would ensure that! So...on to the next chapter!
Author's Response: Dear MM, Thank you for putting so much effort into such a long and thoughtful review. I am sorry it took me so long to reply to you, but the respond button is eratic on this thread and isn\'t available every time I log on. It is so nice of you to find so many positives in such a short chapter! There could be no higher praise than \"stepped straight out of canon\". Who wants to be original when it\'s fanfiction? You are right, characterisation is a huge part of the point of this story. A great deal hangs on the character of Ariadne, who is not (I hope) completely unremarkable, but is definitely understated. You could forget her after one meeting. Her mother represents one of the \"conflict\" elements in the plot. Of course the MacDougals don\'t live in the home counties. The Highland purebloods are a sub-culture in their own right, and their isolation is one of Ariadne\'s formative influences. It also explains her speech: think grammar-book-with-a-Highland-accent, and you\'ll hear her and her mother. Remus, of course, is an Englishman. Don\'t expect me to be too kind to Remus in this story. We know that the years 1981-1993 included many hardships, so the farm will be no rest hotel for him. He survives there simply because the MacDougals are so insensitive to his real needs. Thanks for all your input, GhV