Well, I definitely know I read this chapter, because I remember loving it. So, to commence quoting [the lazy reviewers way, you know...] : “Are you that well known?” asked Sara quizzically. I don't know what it is about that line, but I love it. Not only is Sara's husband a wizard from another world, he's ridiculously famous. It's very "coming out of the wardrobe" I think.
“Do you care if they do?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
“No.”. -- And this is the part where, if you don't love Rhea already, now you just have to.
“You weren’t in love with James Potter, it’s not the same thing.” Besides being hilarious in general, that is such a Hermione Granger comment to make :D
Okay, I shall retire the quoting process. I'll mention how convient it is that Algie, Elsa and Rhea were all born within the same September-July year ;) [/teasing] I love the Ron scene, the flashback to his thing with Luna. And I like how you chose to make Molly biased and disapproving instead of supportive. I think she could go either way, actually, but I like it this way. Other than the fact she annoys me, it brings something to the situation and to Elsa's character that would leave it kind of boring otherwise.
*bounces* I like this chapter, it's very... it just builds an exciting tension. It tells you not that everything is about to explode like it does at the end of a story, but that the story is about to get damn interesting. [I did not just mentally compare that description to sex.]
Author's Response: Bleh, just replied to this and the freaking site logged me out. Damn moochie. Anyhoo, the crux of it was (minus the teasing) that I love Canon Molly and I think her to be often misrepresented in fanfic by parent-hating teens. From my other fics, you might know I tend to make her a little more understanding. I don\'t think I\'ve deviated from my overall sense of her character in this fic, I\'ve just given her an untenable situation to deal with. Nothing went right, none of the children did what they were supposed to do and none of them has kept her in the loop. Even her own husband tells her nothing. She\'s stuck in a mother bear rut with no way to really get out and get over. Perhaps Harry can help her with that....
GAH! I love it. I resolved to read five chapters at a time, and I wasn't going to tell you until I finished this set and did a quick little review [but you ruined that, you RUINER.] Anyway :)
I love SO much. Andrea is awesome, I just want to quote her on everything. “This is me ignoring you by the way.” *settles for just one quote*, but gah! love. And your Dumbledore is inanely in character. It's magnificent. And Fred & George are perfect too... I think you brought this cast of OC's almost seamlessly into canon. [I say almost, because I think it's rather impossible to do, and that's because of JK Rowling's habit of leaving out other characters to the point it seems anti-canon to include them]. But, it's very, very easy to accept it all in my mind. And I adore the way you set up the girls' dorm.
What else, what else? I love the thing about the parents knocking eachother off their brooms and falling in love. I hate Draco - -he reminds me sooo much of my Draco from Sins [btw, Siobhan is also loving this]. I think Sophie's character is fantastic, too... I really felt for her. It never really occurs to me that there's someone second-best to Hermione out there, always getting passed over. For a moment, I wanted to take the badge for Hermione and give it to Sophie. But, I was also resisting the urge to tell Sophie that Hermione breaks the rules for very very good reasons... Am I still talking? I love it. I'm sorry I didn't start sooner. Hopefully I'll be caught up by the end of the week :D *lovelovelove*
Author's Response: I didn\'t make you tell me. I\'d resolved not to disturb your reading, and you disturbed my non-disurbance. ;)
I love that you were able to latch onto Andrea, and that particular line is one of my forgotten favorites. :D And I\'m so glad that someone validates my Draco. He really is a slimy git who chases after whichever girl interests him. Andrea is appealing to him because she\'s one of the few Gryffindors that \"hates\" Harry. I guess more people are anti-Harry in OotP, but still...-shrugs- I\'m so pleased that DBD is IC...I felt pretty confident about him, and people confirm that, and that\'s why I wrote him so extensively. There\'s a reason that I only wrote Snape once. I\'m proud of my OC\'s (here\'s me gloating about myself) but it\'s really just like you said: Sophie is Hermione\'s shadow...she was supposed to shine, and she can\'t because Hermione is so brilliant and has caught everyone\'s attention. Every time I reread these beginning chapters, I sort of ship Andrea/Ed, and Pat (as of chapter 8) is convinced that it is the ship that should be victorious, hee hee.
As I adore Quidditch, I decided to have a very Quidditch-driven family, and I think it\'s fun. We\'ll see more of them at Christmastime.
And Siobhan loves it too? How wonderful!!!
And, you\'re in luck...I should be finished with LB by the end of the week. :D
-squishes teh annej-
Nobody does first person like you, Josh. You have such a feel for character voice, and you use it to it when writing in this point of view. I love that – it makes it so real. And, while I’m not usually a fan of first-person narrative, I like it when it serves a purpose. This story is about observation, and so this pov really brings something to the story – it feels like we really are watching them change.
I like the style you went with – her views of each of them; Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed Harry’s change the way I have in this story. I’m so used to seeing it gradual, that even in an analysis of his canon character, the changes are unclear. But you display is growth with each year, his hardship and maturity that come far too early in life. I see a young boy being forced to become a man, and the toll it takes on him.
And Ron and Hermione are done with equally brilliant perceptions – not on Susan’s part, but on yours. And of course, that does become Susan, and you portray it so well through her eyes. You’re writing descriptions and changes of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but in doing so, you create a character of Susan, too. I love how you write her as a watcher, and a sympathetic observer. Just knowing that she’s there, inwardly rooting for each of them, it gives me a small comfort – knowing that the Golden Trio has people watching out for them, even if they don’t realize it.
The only thing I’m unsure of is the organization. Somehow, either because of his importance or because of the depth you went into with his character – it feels like Harry should be saved for last. I can see her talking about Ron and Hermione, and then – Harry. Growing, changing, burdened, courageous Harry. The most important of all – the one supported by Ron and Hermione, the one they give their all to, the one it’s all really about. The current organization is nice, but it feels anti-climactic, and it doesn’t have as much of an ending *OOMPH*. [Whatever that is, lol].
I think the shining attribute of this writing has to be your understanding of the characters. It seems so natural – not like you sat down and tried to figure out what each of them were about. But, you just wrote. And it came out beautifully.
First I want to state I am a R/Hr shipper, and don't see H/Hr together at all. But I decided to review a H/Hr chapter today, and let me say: I am very glad this is the one I chose.
I found this chapter immensely entertaining, from Seamus & Dean's guy talk at the beginning, incorporating Ron & Neville's reactions, to the hilarity of the entire "7 Minutes in Heaven" drama.
You portrayed R/Hr platonically (don't worry, I won't rag on you), and did it very well. You paid attention to the defining traits of their relationship (something many H/Hr shippers just ignore). They bickered, and it was hilarious, but they were not malicious to one another (even many R/Hr shippers make that irksome mistake). As for H/Hr's relationship, you have that down pat as well. I especially liked Harry's ability to recognize her reaction has fear over anger; I liked their coinciding mumblings ("You would,", "Oh, joy"/"Just lovely,"). I picked up some Ginny/Neville, and I must say that was also done adorably. ("She smiled demurely..." teehee) A very well written line: "what had begun as a study session was, from the sound of things, rapidly deteriorating into an impromptu party. "
I find your ability to keep the characters true to their canon selves is exemplary, and done very naturally. It shows a great understanding of those whom you are writing, something very important to the fan fic writer. The only crit I can scrape up is that the first sentence scared me a little into thinking this would not be written well (which I was glad to find to be an incorrect assumption). Perhaps you should rework that sentence, I think it's the only noticably *average* line in the chapter. I might have also like to see you drag Harry/Ron/Hermione's torture out a bit longer. Perhaps while the other couples were in *Heaven* we could hear Harry's train of thought. A longer more elaborate chapter would definitely improved this, if only because it was unfair to give me such a small taste of this enjoyable chapter. Try to make the next chapter longer, and I will return. (Wow, I'm returning to a H/Hr story! Give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself to a Frappucino!)
That was a lovely ending. I do have a few criticisms I’d like to get out of the way: Lavender made a very understanding and mature comment, that seemed entirely OoC for her – I’d expect Ginny to have offered that line about Harry & Hermione needing to sort it out by themselves. Also, the Forbidden Forest bit… that’s rather cliché, and I don’t know why people continue to place romance scenes there. You didn’t draw to much attention to it, though, so that was good. But for future writing, stay away from the forest. Harry has only had bad experiences there, and I doubt it’s likely to change. One last nitpick: Seamus said ‘barking mad’ – that’s a British colloquialism that the Irish aren’t prone to, and I can’t imagine him ever using it. But that’s tiny, most people would never notice.
As for the positive, there’s a lot. You have a very natural flow of narrative writing. It’s consistent and smooth; there’s no awkwardness, no redundancy. Excellent word use, a constant variety of adjectives and adverbs, descriptions, etc;
This was a immensely entertaining ficlet; it was sweet without being sickeningly fluffy, and the humor was handled with good taste. You took a simple concept and transformed it into an original story. You handled the characters very well, overall, and I think the emphasis on their development, their dialogue and your overall exploration of their feelings is what made this your own. You deserve a round of applause and a pat on the back.
I feel that you understand Harry and Hermione’s canon relationship and feelings perfectly. You have a more romantic spin on it than I do, but it still fits beautifully. In my opinion, Harry and Hermione have an untouchable dynamic, and you have conveyed it wonderfully in this story, particularly in the last scenes, with the characters inner monologues. Harry cut off her flow of words in the only way he knew how—he clamped his hand over her mouth. Hehe. I loved this line. I also adore the closing line; completely perfect, it was. You made an H/Hr story enjoyable and believable even for a devout R/Hr. Be proud, and please keep writing!
That was just as funny as the first chapter. I had to grit my teeth through some of the H/Hr bits, but I think you did a very 'logical' job of explaining Ron & Hermione's bickering, and of believable Harry & Hermione attaction. (And I'm a tough critic here). I still can't completely accept it, but you did a very good job. You were very, erm, *descriptive* about the kiss, and I still can't decide if that was very in character for Harry & Hermione. I think Hermione could be a very passionate person, but she wouldn't just jump into it, even with someone so close to her. And Harry is a bit more awkward too. I get the feeling you tried to convey a natural comfort between the two, but it just didn't feel true to the canon characters. I'm on tenterhooks to find out how the others react upon opening the cupboard though. Hehe. Before I go, my favorite line: "'After our WE-ARE-FRIENDS-AND-THAT’S-WHAT-FRIENDS-DO-WITH-NO-OTHER-HIDDEN-MEANING-hug,' " Good job, hon, keep up the good work.
Best chapter ever, Lex! Goodness - where to begin? I'm upset that McGonagall interrupted that little scene - I was so looking forward to how that was going to turn out :( Ah, well... I'll have to wait a little bit longer, eh?
'Your. Father. Didn't.' - Officially my favourite McKee line. That was perfect, and she was right, you know. I have to say, I enjoyed the Lucius flashback, not just because it was Lucius - okay, maybe a bit because it was Lucius - but it was amazing. That last bit about him realising McKee was the real Malfoy... awesome!) - .
Malfoy's spell was quite creative - poor McKee, having to regrow a liver, yech! I'm hoping that McKee shows some kind of 'human emotion' soon, because I don't see Bill coming anywhere near her again if she doesn't. He's right, though, to witness a kidnapping and then walk down to town for a drink, without a mention of anything... highly callous. But that's McKee, isn't it? I'm dying for more, give me more... please?
I was all prepared to give you a gung-ho review, but now I’ve been moochied, and I am less enthusiastic. :( But here I go, anyway.This chapter was, again, very entertaining. There is something about your style and tone (for this story in particular) that just grabs me. Not a dull moment; I think this is the first piece of work I have ever read where I fly through each chapter and always find myself left wanting more.
What I found most interesting in this chapter was McKee’s interaction with Dumbledore. It was fascinating, not only because I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any character, original or canon, treat Dumbledore that way, but also because you pulled it off extremely well. I think Dumbledore’s response to McKee’s lack of respect was perfectly IC. I loved both the dialogue and McKee’s inner thoughts. Nice job. DD ‘good enough to be canon’ quote of the day: “Knowledge is most easily received through the ears. Listen, and you will learn infinitely more information.”
As far as setting up for a believable Bill/McKee romance, I think you have definitely covered all your bases, especially now with the inclusion of McKee’s defiance of Dumbledore. You have brought so many factors to the equation, and they all fit seamlessly into the plot. All the pieces are falling together to make this an entirely credible scandalous liason. You’ve been very mindful of your plot, as always – great job.
Two lines that stood out as being very artfully crafted: Yet, a satisfied smile kissed her lips. I just love the use of ‘kissed’, as opposed to the usual ‘graced’ or ‘played across’ --- it’s perfect, too. And only a few paragraphs later, you have another hit and run: “The next morning was spent in an unfortunate dose of double Potions.” Excellent word use. I envy you your ability with words.
I loved the scene in Potions, from Snape’s tiny subtraction from Slytherin (which both conveyed is leniency on Slytherins and apparent immense dislike for McKee in a single swift action) to the ‘It was occupied by two unicellular organisms bent on using up oxygen when they best served the world by holding their breath.’ (Teehee). Excellent.
A couple more notes: I’m intrigued to learn more about McKee’s feelings where her mother is concerned, and I’m excited to see more and more of Ginny’s reactions. To finish up, I’ll inform you why this review has so far lacked any criticism: I have none. Honestly, I found nothing wrong with this chapter in the slightest. No errors or unsettling characterizations: nothing. I loved it.
Author's Response: YAYYYYY! ME LOVEY YOU. ahem. There will be bits and pieces of her history being pulled out like threads of a sweater. The next chapter has a bit about her mother. Look out for it!
The corner of McKee’s mouth sneered upward... This line bothers me. Perhaps it's just me, but usually people sneer, and not the corners of mouths. It would be like hearing "the corner of her mouth smiled..." - it just doesn't feel right. I would say either the person sneers, or the corner of the mouth drifts upward into a sneer, or something along those lines - again, it might just be me.
Her irises grazed her upper eyelid. Hmmm... is this a verbose way of saying she rolled her eyes? *Eh...* It feels like you're trying to be wordy.
McKee took pause, savoring the scent of the foul, gas-emitting drink. Her pupils flickered upward after a slightly dizzying spell. “Honestly,” her tongue rolled, “you’ve drunk worse items before. It’s only a dirty glass.” Then a thought struck her mind. “Of course, if you’d prefer, you may have a sip of my beverage.” Honestly, it took me a about five reads through to understand this paragraph. It's a tad confusing (for me). If I were The Lex, I might consider adding in an extra sentence between the two lines of dialogue to perhaps better explain the relation between them, or who she's saying what to (herself or Ginny), etc; (Just to help us slow ones, o' course).
The entire establishment held the smell of live animal. I love this detail - and McKee's name for dear old "Abe". I always have sympathy for Aberforth, and I feel that you hit his character right on, even with the tiny amount of canon nformation available on him. Purely brilliant characterisation. I liked the interaction between him & McKee - I had to feel sorry for the man ;)
Speaking of characterization, Ginny is pure canon (OotP of course...). I loved her; you have her feisty yet nonchalant attitude down pat. (You might not believe it, but I am a Ginny lover, and she's one character I'm nitpicky with, when it comes to seeing her written in fan-fic. But you've satisfied me, so congrats.)
"...and discovered it to be only slightly dissatisfying."Not sure why, but I love this line. There is an indifference to it, and it's such an eloquent way of saying 'not bad'. Only slightly dissatisfying, hehe... "It was always a bit disturbing when McKee graced the world with a slight grin." I love this line, too. I think it explains a great deal of the essence of her character, specifically the world's reaction of to her."“Do you have any name?” Margaret asked impatiently." I love this for a few reasons: a)'Tis witty, made me laugh out loud. b) with this line, I feel an establishment within Bill/McKee dynamic (early, I know - but it's definitely there). c) The simple fact that you used her first name for the attribution, as Bill asks for her first name. You don't inform Bill, but you inform the reader."Quite the dragon, you are!" Ah! Wizardisms.... love those so much. Especially original ones that I haven't seen used *everywhere* before...(Merlin, I hate it when people overuse a Wizardism...)
I like that you compare/contrast Gin & McKee's talents as far as dueling/battling are concerned. You are straightforward with the fact that Ginny is powerful, but also incredibly subtle (both leaving more to the reader's imagination, and bringing grins to the faces of your Year Six fans...). You admit that McKee is not very talented magically (a rocket launcher in the face of Mary Sue-ness if there ever was one), but she makes up for it with her *stealth* and cunning; she still has an advantage over the enemy. She's not hopeless. A lot of writers try to counteract Mary Sue-ness by simply giving random negative traits, weaknesses, etc, but McKee has been superbly crafted, as though she just fell into place. Her weakness and qualities suit her 'realness' (word?).
Bill. Let's talk about Bill. - I really like his entrance. Very *Aragorn bursting through the doors back from the dead in 'The Two Towers'*. It provides nice imagery, and marks that he's important to the story. I like his attitude, also - he, too, is living in canon with your characterisation of him. I also like the Bill/Ginny dynamic. It represents not only the brother/sister, but oldest/youngest relationship. I get a sense of admiration from Ginny towards Bill, and protectiveness from Bill towards Ginny. Despite the protectiveness, however - Bill doesn't seem to underestimate Ginny whatsoever, and he seems to recognize that she's not a 'kid sister' due to his reaction to finding her in the Hog's Head. He seems like a very "cool" older brother. And not in a "I can be a cool mom, too..." sense. Just naturally. I think you've highlighted the aspects of his personality that suit him to McKee, making him both compatible to her and a challenge for her. ( I feel that McKee needs someone to stand up to her just a bit in her relationships, or to not take her so seriously; Ginny provides this very well as a friend. Natural she would look to another Weasley to provide it in the romantic arena...)
To, *ahem* wrap up... I like the last segment as far as Bill/McKee interaction. I love Bill's warmth and playfullness towards her, and how she strives to remain indifferent to it, but has difficulty -what with all the hormonal reactions ;). I also like the development of the general Weasley Family association with McKee, and their feelings concerning her. And the last bit, inserting Ginny's lovely sisterly/friendly intuition, just in case any readers managed to miss what was going on. I enjoyed the chapter in general; it was very eloquent and entertaining, as well as well written as far as plot establishment and characterization, etc, etc, etc;
Author's Response: Holy crap. This is the longest review I've ever seen. Woot! This will be one I'll re-read over and over. Each in turn: 1) I know 'sneered' isn't typically used in this context, but I liked the imagery it brought to mind. It was very ... snakey. 2) *lol* Right in one. I was purposely being verbose. There aren't many ways to say 'rolled her eyes', and I despise repetition. So... that was the quickest thing I came up with. *lol* Again, I liked the imagery. 3)*snort* The Lex? The Lex thinks she inserted a sentence to make more clear, as it was the general consensus that no one knew what I meant by that. *lol* Therefore, I think we can stop calling me The Lex now. 4) Poor Abe was going to be Herman before I did a little research. Good thing too, because the man wrote himself. He's mysterious, so I kept him that way. So glad you think he's brilliant though ;). 5)I originally wrote Ginny as sort of tagging along here. But here's the deal. It's Valentine's Day (I know, I kept this horrifyingly out of the script. I would cringe if it was made a big deal). She actually ditched Harry for McKee. That in itself speaks of a strong . . . something between the two girls. Oh...the plans. I'm so excited about the plans. 6) Ah, the Bill/McKee dynamic. She doesn't share her first name. I think of it as the number one rule in her book. So imagine how annoyed you would be if some hot shot strolls in and expects for you to just tell him? Pshyah! Indeed, their dynamic is established. She doesn't make anything easy. 7) I originally had something more mundane there, but dragon flowed out rather nicely, so I stuck with it. Hee hee, I caught your joke. *giggle*. 8) Ah, McKee's magical prowess. Or rather, the opposite. Now, don't get me wrong. She's alright. She can do simple spells and incantations. She can make a decent potion. Really, she's a Marvin of All Magical Trades. Just scrapin by on nearly everything. Of course, she doesn't really care. She's in school for the money. You didn't think she went out spending all that, did ya? ;). She lived a Muggle kind of life. Yes, she lived in a Wizard Orphanage, and so there were unconscious magical doings, but her mother was Muggle-born and a traditionalist. She did most things the hard way. Oh...I think I'd better PM all this background...or else let you as a reader discover it as you go. You didn't think Bill was going to let her remain a mystery, did ya? 9) I keep losing count of what number I'm on. Now! Bill. He'll have to be in my dreams, it seems *glares at MJ*. He only has a paragraph on him in the Lexicon. However, I have known a charming man or two in my day. He follows suit. The most wonderful thing about him, is that I don't have to manipulate him in any way to get him ready for McKee. He's ready just the way he is. I also have a few siblings, which works to my benefit in all my MnFF stories. Their dynamic is sheer experience on my part (hey jay). Anyone who's hung out with Gin lately, notices that she's no little girl. In fact...if you read my 6th year (I know you do ;) ) she's becoming quite the little warrior. 10) Hormonal reactions? *lol* She actually was more afraid of him learning about her than feeling hormonal. The earring caught her attention though. She was hypnotised by the swinging. There was a reaction, but not one she notices yet. Oh geez. I think my response may be nearing the length of your review. Erm, if you have any more questions or comments, I can write that novel later ;). Thank you a thousand times over for taking so much time and effort to review. This was amazing. I couldnt' ask for a better review, or more thorough one. Thank you so much!
Where to begin? – I’m annoyed at how you drag me along, Lexi. I keep allowing myself to hope for a happy ending, and managed to delude myself that, after Ch. 13, McKee would have to allow acceptance to surface. However, you refuse to let it get that easy, just yet. I think it would be kind of unrealistic and rather cliché and sappy [and horribly un-McKee] if you were to give me what I want just yet. You’re developing the characters, their interactions, and the story very believably. With this chapter, I feel incredibly satisfied – yet completely hungry for more.
I’d like to quote every paragraph, but I won’t. One part I particularly loved:
No you don’t. “No you don’t, effin . . .”
She said aloud what she only meant to think! Correct me if I’m
dreaming wrong – but is that a wall in her defences I see crumbling. Is that McKee actually letting someone in? That was awesome, the implications perfect. It’s so much better than some kind of conscious realization with an paragraph of inner monologue dedicated to it. *sighs* And of course, when she removes her leg, perhaps merely ‘just in spite’, and then it feels cold – I really liked that part too, and I felt that was a metaphor for their entire relationship. Wonderful writing is Love.
And, the legs. Oh, I loved the legs ‘…if your leg regrets my leg’s presence…’ *snicker. That was a great piece of work, right there. And I have to commend you on this line: “Honor doesn’t come from birth; it comes from your actions.”.
I really like the growing characterizations – I loved Bill in this chapter, and I felt that – despite her usual angstiness – McKee was, in an odd way and maybe only one part of her, happy? They’re interactions are becoming more familiar and accepting, and deeper, too.
The only part I was lost on was the… blood. And ‘does it hurt’, and the ‘blue blood’ and ‘red blood’. I got most of it, but a lot went over my head. I’m kind of vague on what exactly they were talking about That might have just been me. *blush*, but it’s also the only piece of criticism I can conjure.
Overall, better & better, I’m still wanting more. 15?
Author's Response: Thank you! Now, about the blood. One type was how she feels physically. After all, he did just deflower her, and it wasn't comfortable...methinks. The other was how she feels about him. How she's feeling emotionally.
Lex! That chapter was brilliant! Now, you know I love Bill/Fleur, but you did a nice job of making me not give a damn in this chapter. I nearly fell out of my seat when she walked into the pub - and McKee's lines about Bill saying Fleur was a terrible lover... L.M.A.O. And then - the kiss? WOW. Brilliant, wonderful, perfect. This chapter was great and I am poking my hardest ever for the next chapter!
Author's Response: She is relatively good at pulling things out of nowhere and making them look correct, eh? I had a bit of a problem with the kiss, and spent at least an hour really trying to visualize the scene to see how Bill would kiss her. After all, he can be a sensitive fellow, it's an awkward situation. I thought settling for him just grabbing her near the nape of her neck and kissing was perfect. Thanks for the compliments! Squeeeee!
One of my favourite things about McKee, is how you use her to make inferences about the wizarding society – specifically, the pure bloods. The thoughts about all the Slytherins sharing facial features was excellent! Even better, you have a way of writing these thoughts that, mostly, aren’t even necessary elements for the development of the story and characters – but they fit so well, and they bring something more. I have difficulty with that myself – whenever I’m writing anything, I find that anything that’s not necessary often becomes boring, and it makes my chapters move to quickly. But your chapters and your stories move smoothly and naturally, because they take out the time, without dragging the reader down with dull paragraphs.
Every Spring, something disastrous happens to him. I find awful for finding that hilarious, poor Harry. But it was clever. Because, when you look at Harry’s school years realistically, it does seem a bit silly and predictable, even a year end climax is necessary to the plot structure– but then when you throw a comment like that right into the story, and somehow it feels excused, because one of the characters themselves points it out.
Dumbledore called attention to his ridiculous-looking robes. A description of Dumbledore so often read, but through another’s eyes. McKee’s voice is brilliantly maintained in the narration, and it makes otherwise dull descriptions much more entertaining ;)
This chapter feels so familiar, because it reminds us of the events at the end of Year Six. Something about the entire Ginny/Harry/Hermione/Ron situation makes me shift uncomfortably. I’m not sure why – a huge part of me is saying that it’s because I never agreed how things ended with the four, emotionally, and now I see the continued effect. I don’t think that what happened to Harry and Hermione would cause them to drift from the others in the sense that it did. But, that’s neither here nor there. I do, however, think you developed it well, and that Ginny’s dialogue was perfect – both, the words themselves and the characterisation. The emotional was very real, but not in a wangsty way. It was… a pleasure and a pain to read at the same time.
And on that note, I’m enjoying the interaction between Ginny and McKee. They fit each other so well, in my opinion, and it was warming to see McKee actually make an attempt to give her advice, even if she didn’t put in a lot of effort [because she was so unaware of what she was doing]. But she didn’t just ignore her… it was nice.
The entire chapter begs one question: Where’s Bill, and when is he coming back? :D
First thought: Wow. If I could only say one thing about this chapter (though I obviously will have much more to say...) it is that it is entertaining from the first sentence to the very last. There isn't a dull moment - the style, wit, description, and Ms. McKee herself - everything just grabs the reader and pulls them through until the last word.
One thing that unsettled me a bit was the first-person. It threw me off, because Chapter 1 was in third-person. Was this intentional? Is there any particular reason behind this? I was majorly confused for a minute.
monotonous tone. er. a bit redundant, I'd say. (Mono-tone) Perhaps monotonous drone? timbre? ramblings?
Apparently, I was single-handedly overthrowing school traditions. - sarcastically witty brilliance, right there.“Really? And are you capable of nothing but the simplest of thoughts, imbecile?” - I love that she just says things like this, with no remorse whatsoever. Haha. I'd like to say this to some people, who shall remain nameless.“What the hell?” I shouted, no doubt causing the spineless bottom-dwellers in the room to scurry into hiding. oh, this was hilarious.The red firework must die, I decided ::tears, tears of laughter:: “You are not my brother, nor my keeper,” said I, cryptically. A Biblical allusion from McKee? Intriguing. Nice all the same; any rudeness to Malfoy is greatly appreciated.
I think I've found a bonding point with McKee - her complete lack of respect for the Daily Prophet. Having once been an aspiring journalist myself, I understand how fun it can be to scowl at inferior newspapers. I just loved that you included this about her, though, not just for me. It doesn't seem to be important plot (keyword: seem), but it brings the reader closer to McKee as we learn more about her. It also just shows how in touch you are with your character; I feel like you know her inside-out.
The references to 'Lady Malfoy' are interesting; especially since I don't believe McKee's connection with the Malfoys has been introduced in this particular story. I love the way you've interwoven this with Year Six and your McKee one-shots. It's like you've created a world, and the fact that it's not restricted to one story gives it wonderful layers, and room to move about. 'Let's go somewhere only we know...' (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
I didn’t unseal the scroll until the end of the day, in the privacy of my bed Something I've done before (not that I recieve scrolls too often...) In her mind, her reasons are just so she isn't bothered by the 'spineless bottom-dwellers' she rooms with, but I think this shows a vulnerability, which I like to see in any character, especially someone as indifferent and aloof as Ms. Mckee. She so often 'doesn't care' what people think, but there's certainly a reason why she's chosen to keep her letters secret. It softens her just a bit, and gives her depth.
“Ug!” Chuckles had returned! He brought with him some message, and signs his letters ‘with thoughts’. As if he’d had any real thoughts in his life! He was a jolly moron. Poor Bill! (Though I love the reference to him as 'chuckles') She really is set on disliking him, isn't she? Well, it just makes the romantic aspect all the more interesting :) It would be boring if she were taken with him right away. Nice ;) I get the feeling that Bill is very perceptive of McKee as a person, but he's persistent in a very fun way. He's no stranger to stubborn women (Molly & Ginny are very hard-headed in their own non-McKee way), and McKee's personality just seems to bounce right off of him.
The magical bit with the letter was wonderful, and highly creative. I need to learn to do that. Sounds handy. The last line was, as Chander might say, *perfection* What a great place to end it - kind of like a cliffhanger, but a bit more soft, so that your readers don't want to throttle you. And I just love the way Bill greets her; no hello, just 'I thought I told you to bring a cloak'. It's like he says some of the things she might, but in a friendly way.
Overall, I feel that this chapter mostly focused on letting the readers warm-up to McKee, because the advancement of the Bill/McKee plot, though very significant, was a very small portion of the entire chapter. Something so simple that many writers may have squished into a couple of paragraphs without a moment's hesitation. I like your way better, of course. I think it allowed for some great character development, and it eases the readers into the story without resorting to boring exposition... Awesome job, Sexiness! Oops, I mean Lexiness.
Author's Response: Ach well, I'm not responsible for all of this. McKee decides what happens in the story. She's so freakin' stubborn! She barely lets me do any romance! Grrrr.
Just when you don't think it's better for a story to get better... this completely blew me away.
Let me first comment on what stood out to be more than anything: Bill/McKee dialogue. Yes, the long awaited B/M dialogue - flawless. It was just superb. By the time I reached Don’t pretend you can fool everyone, little Slytherin.” I was so overwhelmed I actually jumped into the SPEW chatroom and proclaimed 'ah! Lex is the QUEEN!' (ask Josh if you don't believe me). The quippy insults were brilliant on both sides. I don't think I can convey how much I thoroughly enjoyed their dialogue....*wow* “Obviously not. Since you were disinclined to enclose this ‘information’ in a letter, I have to suffer your presence.” -- “Oh, I don’t think you came for the information . . .” He slowly circled her, as if savoring the sweet frailty of new prey. “No, you would have demanded that before exchanging pleasantries if that was the case.” This is what I'm talking about, the formality of it all just thrills me. They have an air often carried by Shakespearian characters in their mannerisms, I just love it.
“Oh, did I hit you? Pity . . .” she quipped sarcastically, turning around with inward glee at the anticipation of seeing the damage. I laughed here, but sadistic much? “Does that mean you find me devilishly handsome, or as ugly as a troll?” he taunted with a movement in his eyebrows Ooh, sexy smartass, Bill is. And the movement in his eyebrows? Nice way to change up that familiar raised eyebrows - I like it. “You can put it down, you know. I solemnly swear I will not say your first name, or otherwise bring your fury upon me,' Have I mentioned I love your Bill? Another great line, among the many. Though, I do wonder why she is so adamant about not having her name said..
. His voice escaped from the darkness - I LOVE this line, and then to take away my breath... “I’ve decided I’m going to find out all I can about you.” ah! *gaspshockdies* in a good way.
I suppose if I were to criticise anything it would be this: "Electricity passed between the two. She saw a seductive combination of fear and charm in Bill's eyes, and he saw truth in hers." It seems like a pivotal line introducing a cliche sex scene, lol. It's well written, and I like what it conveys, but it reads so dramatically in my mind, like the narration of soap opera-esque romance novel. Oh, and to *nitpick*: Insolently, he pat the surface of the fabric as a gesture for her to sit. Though I love that you included 'insolently', hehe, 'he pat the surface' sounds awkard; I believe it's grammatically correct, but I think you might find a better phrasing. Perhaps he could just gesture for her to sit there, rather than patting, too. Bleh, I don't know. Perhaps you should leave it, but it just sounds 'off' to me.
McKee's denial that she was out to meet Bill is wonderful - yet another glimpse at her more vulnerable side. Someone who truly doesn't give a damn would just admit that she had left to see him, but it's clear that McKee doesn't want anyone to have a sense of power or control over here. I'm relating to this girl more and more everytime I read her. ...“Why?” she asked, struggling to keep the fear and embarrassment from lending a waver. Fearful and embarassed? McKee? No way! Nice - I like it. She's not as tough as she likes to pretend. Are these layers I see a-peeling? I guess ogres aren't the only ones like onions... Wait a second! OMG! McKee = Shrek. I mean, not exactly... but in so many ways. (Bill = Fiona, at all? I think so....) We'll discuss it later ;)
Leather pants - nice ;) Very sexy. As is the confidence Bill wears them with. You're definitely making me wish I were in McKee's place (more so than usual, as Bill always has been my favorite Weasley)God, if he isn’t the embodiment of pestilence! - For some reason I keep reading 'pestilence' as 'pleasure'... oops. But pestilent, he is. I'm loving your characterization of the eldest Weasley.
Suddenly, he understood something about her and it blazed through his mind in an epiphany. Ooh - nice. She's not just a girl, is she? Something of a force to be reckoned with, and no longer underestimated by Mr. Bill Weasley. Important to his perception of her, and an important element to weave into their dynamic.
The thought struck her. What was he doing here, attempting to annoy a seemingly randomly selected fifth year? This, and the paragraph which follows, is another wonderfully incorporated development of the Bill/McKee connection. It shows McKee's curiosity about Bill; I think it's something that is necessary to maintain McKee's interest in him. His 'pestilence' alone won't be enough to intrigue her.
“Reacting like a teenager caught in the throes of angst won’t help you,” he said pointedly from just over her shoulder. The sound was so close to her ear, she flung her forearm back instinctively, and only realized she’d hit him when she heard a quiet, muffled groan. A series of great lines here. I love that he called her out, and rubbed her age in her face... and something about how close he was when he said it just intrigues me even more. And interesting reflexes - I do wonder if there is something in her past that has made her instincts so defensively violent, or if it's just a greater reflection of her personality.
Okay, well, another *awesome* chapter, honeybunches. Keep up the great work. This story is immensely entertaining, and the product of great talent ;)
Author's Response: Thank you. :) I laugh aloud while reading your reviews. They're so wonderful!
Waaay too short. What are you doing to me? I can't live like this.
'I speak a bit of Gobbledgook. It is quite a romantic language to the native ear.' Have I mentioned how much I love your Bill? He's sexy. Even in letter form. I'm dying with anticipation, here. How long are you goind to make us wait? *whimpers*
As for the nitcpicks: One thing really stuck out to me, and that is McKee's use of the word nasty. Does she mean it like 'gross'? If so,: big, fat, ugly Americanism. If you mean it like bad or evil, then I'll give you the green light, even though I don't think it fits the context well. '...plan for you weakling of a father...' 'you' should be 'your'.
It's so hard to pick a favorite line, between McKee's spoken insults and inward growls, but 'How dare he notify me what he thinks?' wins. I love that, and will be working it into my speech sometime in the near future.
McKee's a little overdramatic, it amuses me. In her mind, she seems to see herself as dark and menacing, and yes, everyone else seems to get that image from her too (and no, I wouldn't want to be caught in a dark alleyway with her), but Bill's right, she's not quite what she plays herself out to be. Threatening people with daggers... hehe. I love her dagger. She rocks.
I loved the flashback scene, especially younger!McKee. As for the bit with her mother, you've only intrigued me more. *scowl*.
Well... I'd make this longer, but since the chapter was so short it's out of my hands. (::hint, nudge, wink::). Thanks for another great read, Lex!
I liked the premise of this story a lot, but I wish you'd made it longer. I don't think it needed the lyrics - the story could have stood on it's own very well. I like the pairing, I like the writing, and I like the plot.
My favorite aspect was your interpretation of the Malfoy's marriage - that's exactly how what I imagine their relationship to be - a pureblood arrangement. I also think it fits in wonderfully with Snape's character - I think it's very clear from OotP that he has suffered terrible heartbreak. And the descriptions of Narcissa were perfect. Beautiful, and clearly through the eyes of a young man in love.
Some parts I think you could improve on: characterization. Though some of Snape's reactions/dialogue were IC, he just wasn't 'Severus' enough for me. Same with Narcissa. I think it was very fast, and not developed as much as it could be. One-shots require a lot of detail, and you shouldn't be afraid to make it longer. I'd advise going over this and elaborating, and fine-tuning the characters, maybe get a beta who could help you with elaboration and characterization. This premise combined with your writing has great potential - I would love to see you reach that! (I'll even beta myself, if you so desire any more of my opinion ;) - just contact me.)
Oh, wow. Great piece of work, dearest. The emotion is so real it hurts.
A couple of errors: First paragraph: She walked beside to him. And later on you use 'banish' in reference to, I assume, the Banishing Charm. I believe that should be capitalized.
The only thing I feel unsure about within this story is the extent of Ms. Peabody's knowledge pertaining to the incident. I've always assumed that the specifics about the Fidelius Charm was considered classified information. I would imagine that the story of Sirius betraying the Potters would have spread like wildfire, but I don't believe the general public had specific details. I could be wrong, but that is how I have interpreted what we've been given in the books
Onto my praise ;) This ficlet was highly enjoyable in a thoroughly miserable kind of way. You've shown three misfortunes in Lupin's life: his unreturned affection for Lily, his lycanthropy coupled with the troubles it causes, and to top it all off: his loss of everyone dear to him. You kept a nice balance though. I enjoyed the opening scene between him and Lily. Remus sighed contentedly, relishing a rare moment of solitude with the girl he fancied. A bittersweet moment. *sigh*. I like the use of the word 'fancied' as opposed to 'loved' -- it gave the scene a more youthful feel, and a much needed dash of lightheartedness.
"thankful that the hateful moon was absent from the night sky" I loved that line, and the description of the moon as 'hateful'.
I think it is most unfortunate that in times such as these, you remain as coldhearted as you are dense. May misfortune befall your house. This line made me laugh, and at such a perfect place to. Right when I was feeling miserable for Remus, and before even more bad news befalls him. Excellent use of Gallow's Humor.
Mrs. Peabody had a happy entry, and for a moment I was unsuspecting. But the second she proclaimed that she had wonderful news, I realized what Remus was about to hear. I think the fashion in which you revealed the information was perfect. First Lily & James, then Sirius, and finally Peter. Despite my hatred for Peter, I felt the stab of pain that Remus must have experienced when he learned that he, too, was dead.
As for characterization, I felt that Remus was spot-on, and I enjoyed jovial Ms. Peabody. I'd like to see more of her someday. I could go on for a bit about how you've captured every facet of the tragedy of the Marauder's, but that wouldn't achieve much, so I'll just say that you've done an excellent job here. You have a knack for angst. Keep up the great work.
Author's Response: Hi Jenna! *waves* I love your reviews. It's wonderful that you put so much thought into them. *feels toasty inside* Thanks for pointing out the errors. I'll go correct the beside to as soon as I can. :) I don't remember putting a Banishing Charm in this chapter. I'll have to look it over to see what you mean. Mrs. Peabody has quite a few charms of her own. Her knowledge comes from a rather surprising source, which I will be going into in a companion fic later. (Companion of a companion, tee hee) I'm so glad you liked this one shot as well. Thank you for pointing which parts you really liked. Makes me feel glowy inside. ;)
I am a huge Molly/Athur fan, and I am so happy to see someone else writing them! This entire chapter gave me the warm & fuzzies, and brought a smile to my face. Nicely done.
You have a great narrative style, you must be a natural story-teller ;)
I was surprised to see that this was a missing scene - I knew that you would be giving us the backstory on that Love Potion from GoF, but I really like how you wove it into the scenes at the Burrow during the summer, pre-World Cup.
Onto the critique, as I have a few canon/character nitpicks: Hermione would never talk about that Polyjuice Potion so lightly, to Mrs. Weasley nonetheless. As more Mrs. Weasley, she would have chastised Hermione (not quite as much as she would Ron... but she wouldn't have reacted so calmly). I would imagine her getting all puffed up, and perhaps Arthur letting something slip about the Love Potion, at which point Molly gets flustered. I just think that Polyjuice is a rather serious case of rule-breaking.
Molly probably wouldn't be scrubbing dishes, either. *wink* There's magic for that.
I think this was an awful lot of story for one chapter, I felt that a chapter break would have fit in nicely before Arthur tells his side of what happened, it makes more sense there and organizes the events better in the mind of the reader. You could have also had a nice setup with Arthur finishing the chapter by saying he needs to tell his side of the story, setting up for a second chapter with is own tale.
On another not, not positive or negative, you have a different take on M & A that I do. I've placed them in the same year, and I've always pictured Arthur has having a crush on Molly. He just seems the more bashful, secret-love-harboring type than Molly does. This is an interesting spin from my own PoV, though. What I found *really* intriguing was Genevieve, because she resembles Maeve, Molly's best friend from my imaginary world of Molly & Arthur's school days. I just found it really cool that the characters were so close, and that it must mean we have a similar image of who Molly would befriend, or what she would need in a friend.
Overall I liked it, keep up the good work :)
Author's Response: You're absolutely right. I had a lot of trouble writing this, even though I really wanted to, because I wasn't quite sure that the characters would react properly to make the story work. Your version is much better. Had I not already written it, I would go back and change it ... if that makes sense. :) But the second chapter of this story has just been rejected for those exact reasons. Do you do any beta work? If so, I would love to hear from you. I need help on this one. :)
Another awesome installment in the Gift of Love series. You have your own subtly distinct writing style, and it has remained consistent through Gift of Love and Gone, creating a cohesiveness amongst the fics. I see the same style here, but I feel that it is stronger, and it flows more smoothly.
Nitpicks: Takes all the fun out of it if he did. Verb tense confusion. 'Took all the fun out...' or '...he does' would make more sense. And this line: How could I not see? Peter’s always had a hard time dealing with pressure. Always. Clearly a first person thought (the first line, at least), but not italicized like your other first person thoughts throughout the chapter.
One thing I would have liked to have seen is, instead of a 'pick', a knife for Padfoot's breaking and entering, similar to the one he gives Harry. I think it would have been nice. But the pick was definitely another delightfully mischevious addition to his character all the same.
Onto the positive :) I adore Sirius/Motorbike. I imagine it's very IC for pre-Azkaban Sirius, and it is immensely entertaining. Yet another clever way of incorporating some humor into yet another angst-ridden story. The first paragraph caught me off guard, and the clarification of who Sirius was professing his love for made me laugh aloud. 'I will return!' Hehe. Very nice touch. Sirius's character, in general, was IC and consistently so. I'm very picky about my Sirius characterization, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, but I felt you had him spot on.
Again the air pressed against his face, but now, to Sirius, it felt like an oppressive force him, trying to keep him from his destination. Very impressive line. Shows how quickly the tables can turn. I especially liked how well it contrasted with the description of his first journey on his motorbike, his 'rendezvous with the stars' (another line I loved). You have some great wording in this chapter, far too much to point out all the individual instances, but definitely awesome. Not only does it provide great imagery, but it prevents reduncancy and just makes it a very enjoyable read altogether.
Your flashback scenes are always so smooth. Subtly tied into the flow of the story, without being an italicized dream sequence but without being completely random. I really loved how you incorporated the moon charm, it really tied this into Gift of Love, and it still means something for anyone who has (for some silly reason) not read the original story that has inspired these spin-off companions. I also liked how you tied in Hagrid and Harry, it all seemed very canon.
Great job, again. I hope to see a Peter PoV installment soon. ;)
Author's Response: Jenna, can I just say how much I love getting a review from you? They're completely awesome and they always make me feel so glowy inside! You brought up the tense, which both of my betas brought up. I don't know why that part stumped me so much; I seemed to get it wrong each time I had a go at it, lol. And thanks for pointing the non-italicized part. I missed that. :) And wow, I wish I had thought of the knife. I kept trying to think of alternatives to pick because I used it as a verb as well. Thanks for your nice comments about my characterization of Sirius. I was worried I'd have trouble offsetting his chucklicious nature with the more serious plotline. I'm also glad you liked some of the lines from this. *huggles* Thank you for the loverly review. :)
The writing is better than a lot of fanfiction I've seen, but though this beginning is definitely enjoyable and rather original it isn't completely remarkable. My first and foremost suggestion is that you change your title and summary - there are way too many authors just writing a sixth year fiction because they have some ideas floating around. Pick your common thread, and get an intriguing title and summary - if you want readers, you need to stand out.
Nice description and imagery, definitely. Good job with using a variety of words, too, and avoiding redundancy. A very believable, undoubtedly canon-like opening chapter, and more original than many 6th year first chapters I've read.
It was to be one of the worst thunder storms London had ever seen, and that’s saying a lot since London is known for its rainy weather. Eh. Though England is known for it's rainy weather, it isn't known for thunderstorms. It's more of a constant drizzle, and thunderstorms are more rare than you would find in more tropical climates.
Harry looked from his aunt to his cousin and then his stare met his uncles. - 'uncles' should have an apostrophe before the 's'. And all of Dudley's 'mum's' and 'dad's need to be capitilized, because he's using their titles as names.
It had made a popping noise that sounded so much more like a wand tightly clinched than his knuckles, that Vernon couldn’t tell the difference. Nice one :) Good on Harry! A few minutes later Dudley was outside with Harry, being beat heavily by the reaping wind and rain --- I liked this, too. :)
I found the Daily Prophet article remarkably spot-on. Not something you would find in the NY Times, but definitely fitting for what we're used to reading in the DP. Good job.
about Gilderoy Lockhart’s blunder in which he had escaped St. Mungus, during a Death Eater attack at Diagon Alley, and was spotted signing autographs for the screaming fans just before Dumbledore himself had took him away. *wipes tear of laughter* wonderful, just wonderful.
You have great characterization, everyone is in character, the dialogue is convincing (the only characterization nitpick I'd make is that I'd imagine Hermione to be more concerned about Harry in that letter, considering how griefstricken he is going to be). Everything and everyone else was great.
Overall, good job. Keep going with this, but do try to to take my advice and come up with a nice attention grabbing title and summary, and you'll get more readers as well as more feedback.