It saddens me to have to remove the images from my profile, but an update was drastically needed.
I am a proud Hufflepuff, a former SBBC-er, and a member of the lovely group, SPEW. All of these can be found on the beta forums. I'm very proud of my participation and membership in all three and they've all helped me to expand as a writer.
I'm also exceedingly proud to share that I've won the QSQ for Best Reviewer. Well, I just don't have the proper words to express how much of an honor this is for me.
If you're here looking for something to review (which I invite you to do), I would like to request that you review some of my more recent work. While I appreciate reviews on everything that I've written, they're always twice as sweet on something that is rather new. That said, please don't review My Father's World (it is definitely on permanent hiatus) or Miss Myrtle (which exists only for sentimental reasons these days).
Other than that, please enjoy and explore my author page! Thank you!
Oh my. This is a fascinating premise for a story - especially a Gauntlet! Since the recent character revelations in DH, I think that Snape would resort to killing his past self so that Lily would live. However, perhaps he ought to think it through some more. If he hadn't existed at Hogwarts, who would Lily have befriended? Another Slytherin perhaps? Would someone else (who didn't care at all about Lily) have been the spy for Voldemort?
Yes, I'm enjoying this. Can you tell?
Also, I quite like your narration style. It really seems to fit Snape's sardonic little mode in which he often lapses into. Especially those little comments like, "Right." It just seems so very much like what Snape ought to be thinking.
Wonderful start to a story!
Author's Response: Thanks so much, Kelly! Yes, Severus *should* be thinking things through more, but he doesn\'t. He may like to think that he has everything figured out, but he just doesn\'t. And I\'m glad you like the narration style too -- I have entirely too much fun writing Sevy. :D Thanks again for the nice review!
That was absolutely stunning. I’m going to attempt to make this a coherent review, but I’m afraid that words may fail.
Let’s start with the writing.
I think that it would only be natural to comment on the perspectives first. I liked how they switched back and forth between the two characters. It was a wonderful technique in order to illustrate the parallels between Draco and Ginny. One of the rather stylistic things that I liked about it was how Ginny’s part is in italics and Draco’s part is in normal type-face. I don’t know if you intended it to be this way, but it makes it seem as if this is Draco’s story, and Ginny just kind of takes over his own thoughts in a way, even though it’s most definitely her. Usually, when I see a story where the perspective shifts between the two characters, I like to see about equal amounts of the story told from each perspective as it lends a nice balance to it. In this, though, I liked that the majority of the story was told from Draco’s point of view. For some reason, it makes it a little more tragic. It’s almost like the reader, like Draco, just never quite got enough of Ginny or her personality.
You are also quite good at portraying complex emotions in a very straightforward way that’s very striking. This was especially evident, I thought, when Draco was trying to re-light the fire (oh, the symbolism!). There were a few sentences in this that I thought were a little clunky. There really weren’t grammar errors, it’s just style. And, I’m just feeling really nit-picky – they’re not really a problem. Although I try to refrain from picking individual word errors out (because it’s really just a typo), this one really caught my eye.
He laughed hallowly that he had found out about her death from a newspaper.
It was just such a climactic sentence that I really noticed how that should really be “hollowly”. My apologies, again, for being so nit-picky.
One of my favorite parts of this story is the interactions between Ginny and Draco. I think that characterizing the pairing is one of the more difficult things to do, especially if you keep it canon. And you did a marvelous job. I’m quite fond of the way that they didn’t even use their first names until the very last moment. It’s like they were almost in denial over the implications of their relationship.
I actually would have loved to have seen how this would have gone, if Ginny had indeed saved Draco a year earlier. I’m just trying to imagine the possibilities of how Molly would react and (oh this would make me laugh) what threats Ron might hand down.
Another part that I liked immensely was Harry’s characterization.
She did love Harry. He was her husband, her first love. But he was her best friend, and that was probably all it should have been in the first place. Often she felt terrible, because she realised that she had married the name, her own version of Harry. But that wasn’t the real Harry – not the Harry she had to live with.
Oh, that was so painful to read. It was so easy to imagine Ginny in this situation. It actually kind of mirrors my own thoughts about Harry/Ginny – it just seems too perfect. I’ve always thought that either Harry or Ginny (or perhaps both) were kind of in love with the illusion of the other. They both idealized each other so much, that I would be surprised if one of them wasn’t disappointed. And I thought that Ginny was a much better candidate for the disappointment. This was just so painfully well-written and accurate, that even though I do tend to ship canon, I wanted Ginny to end up with Draco.
After thinking about this story for a while, I sort of wonder how Ginny died. She seems so resentful from her thoughts that the reader is privy to. My first guess, actually, was that she had committed suicide. I don’t know quite why that thought came to mind (or if you even intended for it to be read that way at all), but I almost thought that it had happened. Ginny just seemed to be in so much pain and suffering from so many delusions about her life that, even though she’s one of the strongest characters, I thought that it was possible.
Oh, and I meant to comment earlier on this, but the symbolism of the flames going out when Ginny died was beautiful. I’ll admit that it was a just a little bit obvious, but it was extraordinarily fitting. When Ginny dies, the little bit of light in his life (and past, mostly) is extinguished.
When he tried to light the fire, he failed. But that wasn’t surprising, since he had always been bad at that spell.
The first time I read that, it was a little bit jarring. After I thought about it for a while, though, I loved it. It really illustrates how Ginny helped Draco to live. She was the one who put the light in his life – he never needed to actually light a fire. Just…beautiful.
And, of course, Draco’s scene at her grave just about killed me. The last line was absolutely stunning. Like Astoria, my heart just ached for Draco and all that he had lost.
So, in an attempt to gather my thoughts, I loved this story. You did a lovely job integrating the two characters and really portraying the effect that each of them had on the other. Beautiful.
Rose was a Weasley. She never gave Scorpius Malfoy a second glance. They were sworn enemies, even though they’d barely even spoken to each other. But sometimes all it takes for love to blossom is a Potions lesson, a few snide remarks and a dropped book.
Two people. Two entirely different worlds that are suddenly intertwined.
Hello, my dearest SPEW buddy!
This was a lovely chapter. (Do note that I am reviewing the second chapter, not the most recent one).
I particularly enjoyed your writing style; everything flowed fairly effortlessly and at a nice, quick pace. I didn’t feel the need (not that I would ever do that when reading >.>) to skip sections or merely skim in order to get to the “more interesting” parts.
Rose blushed, and bent over her textbook, pretending to read. Albus and Anna exchanged a quizzical look, neither of them having seen the Slytherin wink at her.
Excellent description, there. You set the scene quite nicely with a minimum of words. I could really envision Rose, blushing behind her schoolbook as the adorable (pardon me) Scorpius winked. A lovely image.
What was really fun for me while reading was comparing your characterization of Scorpius to the rather different characterization that I had even him earlier. “Your” Scorpius (Rose’s, actually) seems quite a lot more sensitive and perhaps slightly younger than mine. I think he fits “your” Rose better than “my” Scorpius.
One of the things that stood out for me about Scorpius was his ability to be somewhat sly. He reminds me of his father with those rather snake-like characteristics. That quick wink sort of demonstrates his more cunning, shall we say, nature. On that note, another similarity between him and his father was that they were both Seeker on the Slytherin House team! Runs in the family, eh? I think that you should perhaps be a little more careful when doling out traits to the next generation characters. In my opinion, there really shouldn’t be too many parallels between Harry’s generation and his children’s. I certainly have noted the differences (since when did Draco read Pride and Prejudice?), but I think that there should be a tad more caution with their characters, especially with regards to quidditch.
Ah, Rose has quite the personality. She reminds me a bit of her father – hot temper and a certain reluctance to share feelings with others (be they friends or…Scorpius). Rose does, though, remind me of her mother. Now, Hermione probably wouldn’t have made that error in Potions, but Rose certainly did. I like the fact that she isn’t a mirror image of her mother or father – she has a nicely blended character.
The prejudice that still exists between the Malfoys and Weasleys seems just as strong as it was when Harry was in school. That was a very interesting touch. It’s not surprising to me, though, that Ron probably hasn’t let his old hatred fade, despite the fact that the Malfoys have probably made public apologies and offered some excuse for supporting Voldmort. I’m interested to see how much of that prejudice Rose (I very nearly typed ‘Juliet’) holds as the relationship between her and Scorpius grows. Also, it just dawned on me that, as this is a ‘Romeo-and-Juliet-ish’ story, the hatred between the two families has to be pretty strong.
I do hope, though, that you don’t go around murdering your characters; I’ve grown rather fond of them.
Overall, I thought that this was an excellent chapter. Your characterization was well-done, your writing style flowed well, and the plot moved at a nice clip. I’m very interested to continue reading and see where you take this.
Author's Response: *squishes* What a fabulous review, Kelly! Thank you so much for all your comments. I\'m thrilled that you like my characterisation of Scorpius. I tried so hard to make him a Slytherin, and a Malfoy, but still likeable. I see what you\'re saying about the Quidditch teams, it\'s been mentioned a lot. I began this story on a whim, and there are several things that I would change if I rewrote it now, but it\'s just too much work now! ^_^ And I won\'t murder my characters, dear, so no need to worry. :] Thank you so much!
That was a very powerfully written poem with a lot of truth packed into a few very brief words. I’ve always thought, actually, that the reason that poetry can be so wonderful and intense is because so much can be expressed with so little. It just makes the message ring a little bit louder and a lot more deeply.
The most powerful part of this poem is your definition of the hero. The hero is the one who always perseveres, despite the odds; the one who would risk himself (or herself) to protect another; the one who tries the hardest to overcome what is in the way. For me, this strikes a chord. We don’t live in mythological times and there aren’t knights in shining armor running around, itching to save a damsel in distress and be the hero. Even though that’s what everyone thinks of when they think of a hero, today’s heroes are of a different breed. But the underlying thread that connects those heroes of ages past to those of contemporary times are those qualities. They’re absolutely timeless and incredibly meaningful.
This is probably why I’ve always been exceedingly fond of Albus Dumbledore. He always emphasized that Harry’s actions were done out of love – for her parents, his friends, etc. – and that Voldemort couldn’t win because he couldn’t understand that. In my opinion, that love is what makes Harry the hero. He takes what was given to him and he does everything he can with it because of what and who he loves.
Why do we remember some deeds and forget others?
Although this is not, perhaps, the most important line for conveying your message, this one really stood out for me. I’ve always wondered that myself. If we take an answer from the HP world, it would be that things are remembered either because of their inherent goodness or because of their extreme evil. People either admire or fear and those extreme ends of the spectrum – admiration and fear – are the things that end up being remembered. At least, that seems to be why all of the evil in the world is always remembered and talked about in hushed tones (Grindlewald, then Voldemort) and all of the heroes (Harry, Dumbledore, etc.) are constantly talked about. The others with them, even though they may have been just as great or just as evil, aren’t really remembered because they didn’t inspire the fear or admiration in others. I’ll stop rambling about that, now.
I also really like the structure of this poem. The almost question/answer format really made the message clearer. The questions cause a little bit of doubt in the reader’s mind, but the answer clarifies and erases all of that doubt and then the reader absolutely believes in the answer.
Overall, I thought that this was an amazingly well-done poem. It applies and connects with so much more than just Harry Potter and the message is incredibly powerful.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for your thoughts and input. I write what comes to me, and sometimes I just maybe add just a twist to my real life to make it HP related...and sometimes, the poem can just be thought of a bit differently to fit into the HP world. Part of the fun of writing is to inspire others, to make them think, and to hear about their thoughts. Thanks again for sharing yours with me. Glad you enjoyed my poem, too. :)
Dear Hannah –
I have to start off by telling you that I was having a very hard time choosing a story of yours to review. Everything looked so interesting and intriguing! Then I noticed that this featured Albus and Gellert. I was hooked right there. I don’t write them as much any more, but they sort of hold a little corner of my heart because a young Albus is one of my favorite things to read in the entire world and I’ve always enjoyed the dynamic between him and Gellert. And your story was every bit as good as I hoped it would be.
What was really interesting about reading this was your characterization of Gellert. Certainly, this story is told from Albus’ point of view and the focus is more on him, but as a reader I felt as though I got a better sense of who Gellert was than of who Albus was. It’s like I absorbed Albus’ thoughts and who he was, but I was slapped in the face with Gellert’s identity. Frankly, I really liked your portrayal of Gellert. You could see so much of who he would later become, even though the reader saw him through Albus’ eyes and then only for a very brief time. He gave off that calculating and manipulative air while still retaining some of the emotion from his youth.
These lines really stood out to me as being so indicative of Gellert’s character:
“I have to go. There’s nothing worth staying for, I’ve found out everything this place can teach me.”
I thought that this was Gellert’s most powerful line. Here you have Albus mourning the loss of his sister and the imminent loss of friendship, and the only reason his “friend” gives for leaving is that the opportunities for learning have been exhausted. That is such a painful statement to read. I actually gasped at the line because I could feel how Albus was going to be hurt and absolutely devastated by impersonal-ness of it.
Even though this was a very short piece, you were very good at packing the emotion in. The line above is a perfect example of that as well. The words were very conducive to making the reader really feel what Albus was going through. At the very end of the story, you describe “…splinters to beat inside his chest.” By that point, it was as though I knew exactly how it would feel to have that happen. You have very powerful diction and you certainly didn’t mince words or dance around emotions; you described them very accurately and exactly.
I feel that a lot of authors (myself included) have tried to tackle the idea that Albus gave up on love while he was young thanks to this relationship that went so horribly wrong. I really like your interpretation of the story. It is very real in the fact that the characters both seem so young and immature, but possess parts of the personalities that they’re later going to grow into. The final paragraph is just so Albus Dumbledore, yet it also seems very young. There’s no seemingly wise sage butting in to utter a few statements from Albus - he seems very real and very much who he would be at that age.
I really enjoyed this story, Hannah!
Now, Britt, I realize that there is a co-author here (I’m sorry that I don’t know your name!), but I’ll address the review to you. Oh, and consider this a review for the entire story – not just one chapter.
Let’s begin with the basics: I really liked the story and I think that the two of you did a great job with the characters. I was especially fond of Lily’s thoughts – they seemed very real and well characterized.
One bit of characterization that kind of struck me:
A rather hasty and dramatic accusation, I know. But let’s dwell into a little back-story, shall we?
Just to clarify, that was the line that broke up the action; between Lily’s recognition of Bellatrix and Bella’s agreement. Although the little story that you gave between Lily’s line and the one delivered by Bellatrix was very important to the plot, it jarred me a bit. That was supposed to be a very dramatic moment and I think that you should have allowed the drama to build - There’s a Death Eater in the Hospital Wing?!? - rather than doing a start/stop thing to give a back-story. For the sake of the flow of the story, that little paragraph should have been evenly distributed throughout the scene (perhaps as thoughts flying about her mind), instead of having Lily stop the moment and give an explanation. The use of the word “we” also bugged me a bit – probably because I’m not fond of directly addressing the reader.
Now, then, what I really liked was the title and how it applied to the entire story. One of the most obvious and dominant themes of the Harry Potter series is that good will always (eventually) triumph over evil. I like how you’ve taken that and made it so that love will triumph over evil (of course, in the world of JKR, love usually equates to good – notice that Voldemort never fell in love – but I digress). Although James/Lily isn’t really a favorite pairing of mine, I’ve always liked it when it’s done well. I thought that you really nailed the relationship between the two of them. This was especially evident in the beginning, when James was fairly blind to his personal safety because Lily had wanted to meet him somewhere.
Also, I like the fact that James has the ability to nearly throw off the Imperious Curse. That’s a trait that I suppose must run in the family, as Harry has the ability to do so as well. Nice little characterization of James, there. The best part of James’ characterization, though, was when he would be confused over what he was supposed to do. I thought that those moments in his head – where he’s trying to rationalize why he’s killing her – were the most powerful of the entire story.
No, the other part of my mind screams. But I have to do it. This is my mission; there is no other option. My resolution is fading, along with my ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
Those were my favorite lines of the fic – see reasons above. The black-and-white perception (I have to do it/No) really highlighted the battle between James’ mind and the workings of the spell. Those are just incredibly powerful lines.
One thing that I was kind of surprised about is how quickly Lily realizes that something is clearly wrong with James, and yet she doesn’t run away when he first says that he’s going to kill her. Obviously, she was scared to death, but I think that I expected a little bit more panic out of her – I certainly would start panicking of a classmate started to kill me. However, I thought that the way she heeded James’ command to run, was done perfectly. She had the moment of hesitation – demonstrating that she was worried about his well-being – but then she had the good sense to actually run away as fast as she could. I thought that it was done extremely well. I also liked the little foreshadowing to the pairing when she thinks about the memories and one of the few that she specifically names is touching James. Very nicely done.
The ending, also, was very sweet and not over the top (which is always a danger when writing Lily and James first getting together, in my opinion). The last line was also very touching – they’re meant to be together. Aww! I liked that part a lot.
Overall, I thought that the story was very well done – the premise of having James Imperioused to kill Lily was especially intriguing and fairly unique. I’ll admit that I’ve never seen that one done before. It was well-written and quite enjoyable. Great job to you both!
Oh....I absolutely adore it! Thank you so much!
I thought that Severus' characterization was wonderful. You maintained his carefully greasy exterior and showed just how he might be a tad human when he ran from the werewolf. *grins*
I also liked Remus very, very much. He just...was Remus. He acted just the way I expected him to and his words and thoughts sounded just right.
And, how did you know that this was one of my favorite moments with the Mauraders? I love Snape and I love seeing at least some tension between the otherwise close friends.
Again, thank you so much! I love it!
Author's Response: You know, that was the only thing I was worried about this whole time, you liking it. I complained to just about everyone about it. XD Heh, I had no idea. But I knew immediately I wanted to do the Whomping Willow. The hard part was incorporating that quote. I\'m so happy that you loved it. =D *squish*
That was a very interesting premise for a story! When I started reading, I really had no idea that it was going to involve the Horcrux (and let me tell you – it took me a while before I realized that Sirius was looking for the locket). Obviously, I should have been able to notice this from your summary, but I had thought that Sirius was going back in time to find an actual founder. Apparently not…I did really shake my head when I realized my error.
I really liked the originality of this story. We all know that Dumbledore has probably enlisted many people other than Harry to do his bidding and I thought that Sirius was probably an excellent choice. Why not send him to fetch a Horcrux (though it would be impossible to tell him about what it was, of course)? That seemed like a very Dumbledore-esque thing to do.
I’ll admit that I was extremely surprised when Sirius tried to join the Nazi Army, assuming that it was what Dumbledore had wanted him to do. I immediately thought that there might have been a reference to Grindlewald at that point (as the battle took place roughly at the time of World War II), but I was very relieved when Sirius appeared to come to his senses. However, I would have been extremely interested, had Sirius been correct, to see how you would have explained Dumbledore’s wish that Sirius help the Germans to win the battle. That would have been very interesting.
One thing that really struck me while I was reading was that the story felt a little bit rushed. Everything happened fairly suddenly with very little time to transition (he’s in the battle, he escapes, he finds the locket, he tries to leave, he changes, he finds the missing piece, etc.). During the rather turbulent battle scenes, I actually rather liked this. Everything would have been rather sudden in a battle, as the situation would be so stressful.
The one place, though, where I really wanted you to expand a little bit was when Sirius accidentally killed the child. I really wanted to see a deeper reaction from him. He expresses an adequate amount of emotion, but I thought that the loss of an innocent life might have provoked a little bit more. Perhaps I was hoping to see a little bit more shock and horror on his part.
Oh, and another part that I wanted you to expand upon was the scene at the very end with Dumbledore. This is a bit of a personal bias of mine (I’m inordinately fond of Dumbledore), but the exchange between the two of them felt very brief. I was hoping that it would go on for a little bit more – perhaps Sirius would have truly pressed Dumbledore for what the reason was. Or, maybe it would have taken Sirius a little longer to get over the death of the boy. I think that I just want the story to be longer in general. :D
When I started reading this, it dawned on me that this was a World War II-centric story. This made me quite pleased (even though it is a horribly depressing subject), as World War II history is among my favorite subjects. I don’t really see many stories that combine that era with Harry Potter, so it made me very happy to see a story that combined two of the things that I’m most passionate about in my life. And I also wanted to tell you that you did a very good job at integrating the German phrases. They flowed very naturally into the story. I also wanted to mention that you handled the Nazi cruelty in a very sensitive way. It’s such a delicate topic, that’s filled with a lot of pain for so many, that authors have to be extraordinarily careful when they include it in their works. I thought that you did a fantastic job of not overdoing the brutality and not glorifying either.
Your imagery in the opening few paragraphs was also quite outstanding. I was really drawn into the scene with Sirius.
Explosions could be heard from outside, along with some smaller explosions from inside the building I was in. There were screams echoing off of every wall from unknown sources. I could hear a stampede of footsteps outside as the people in the city tried to get away.
That was an excellent example of the imagery that I was mentioning. I was particularly drawn to the “…screams echoing off of every wall from unknown sources.” That really embodied the chaotic and frantic mood of the piece. The reader knew that there were people who were fighting somewhere, but they didn’t know where. It really helped create that sense of urgency that Sirius felt while he was lying on the floor.
Overall, this was a very interesting piece for me to read. I don’t usually read Professor-rated stories that aren’t in the Romance category, meaning that I usually don’t read many stories with violence in them. I thought, though, that you handled the themes very well. The only thing that I really had something to say about was the length of the piece and the expansion of some ideas to create a little more depth for the characters. Other than that, it was quite good and I enjoyed reading it.
Overall winner of the Summer challenge!!
Oh my goodness. My jaw seriously dropped when I reached the end of this. To be more accurate, I suppose, it dropped somewhere in the middle. This story has utterly sparked a new interest in Trelawney for me. Amazing. I will attempt not to start entering a “fan-girl” mode, but it may be difficult. I was truly impressed by this piece.
I’m hugely fond of the idea that Trelawney wasn’t as she seemed in the books. She was simply too eccentric for me; she needed more of a purpose. Despite my tendency to agree with Hermione, I never doubted that she could See. I quite respected and believed her prophecies. One of the details that you included that fascinated me was how she changed her appearance for Dumbledore and the rest of the staff. She changed from what seemed to be a beautiful woman to someone eccentric and rather zany. Quite interesting, that. It made me wonder why she would have done that. Did she think that people wouldn’t suspect her of influencing the tide of the war if she appeared harmless and merely batty? If so, I would find it at least historically accurate that beautiful women are blamed for confrontations – look at Helen and the Trojan War!
I also really enjoyed the idea that Trelawney could change the tide of the war. It rather reminded me of the Butterfly Effect, where a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the globe could cause a storm on the other side. Essentially, it’s the idea that one person could change the world through a seemingly small action. At some point, Trelawney mentions that she cast a “small courage charm” in order to make Harry seem extremely good at Quidditch. That one small action dramatically changed the course of his life. He learned teamwork and proper flying skills which were, of course, utilized in the Triwizard Tournament. Although I am an amateur philosopher at best, the effect of one person on the world has always been one of my favorites to think about. I’ve always found it amazing how much influence one person can have. And, in this case, I was very fond of how Trelawney was portrayed.
If you are lucky, if you are very lucky, my silent hand may guide you all to victory.
This was my favorite line in the story, despite the fact that I was very impressed by the phrases throughout. I thought that this line combined just the right amount of haughtiness with the rather mystical nature that Sybill is known for. Although it doesn’t quite ring true with her canon description, it is exceedingly perfect for the Trelawney that you have described (which I like much, much more than JK Rowling’s version). She seems much more like a real person – a real witch, perhaps – in this story.
I like the “my silent hand” phrase. No one will realize that it’s Trelawney – a minor person, introduced and then forgotten. Her character just has so much potential.
The metaphor that really begins with the title is intriguing. I now have this desire to arrange the Harry Potter books as a chessboard. Voldemort and Dumbledore would be the kings and those who have died/sacrificed themselves for their respective causes would be the pawns. I’m not quite sure where I would put everyone else, but I like those positions. Chess was such an important theme in the Harry Potter books early on. It played an enormous role in the Philosopher’s Stone and made progressively smaller appearances after that. I like that you’ve resurrected this theme. It’s such an apt description of the events in this series. Every move is (usually) planned out so carefully and executed with the final strategy in mind. And Trelawney has the power to oh-so-casually pull a piece off the board.
I love it.
Seven years from now the world would be a changed place; that in itself was certain. Which of the two masters remained to rule it was something far more insubstantial.
Personally, I would have thought that Trelawney would have really cared about the outcome more than the process. I don’t think that Voldemort would have been as kind with her as Dumbledore was. She certainly can’t perform on demand and I really can’t see Voldemort accepting her. Although this is a completely minor point, it made me rather curious about the characterization. If, I suppose, that we see this through the chess allegory, it’s the process that requires the attention, not the outcome. Perhaps she figures that, as long as she works hard on the planning, the ending will work out well. Whatever it is, this just threw me slightly.
In that moment, she wished, just for an instant, that she could warn him, that she could save him.
I found it almost amusing that Sybill wasn’t above influencing Harry’s life, but wouldn’t warn Dumbledore that he would die. Knowing Dumbledore, he probably wouldn’t have acted any differently with the knowledge – he was too focused on getting the ring. (I do, though, share her sentiments and I do wish that Dumbledore could have lived).
Rhi, I adored this piece. It was extremely well-written, engaging, and thought provoking. I almost wish that I could see a continuation of this – perhaps later, when some of the chess pieces have been put in motion?
Thank you for writing it.
Author's Response: Oh my gosh, Kelly! I think my jaw just hit the floor! This review is absolutely amazing - thanks you so much my dear "squishes". I think I might just have to burble back at you, I have nothing intelligent left to say! But to answer your points - I do agree with you that Trelawney is an overlooked character in the books, and I also don't think JK really finished off her character. She's always seemed very one dimensional to me so that sparked an idea to give her a more involved purpose within the story. I just thought it'd be great fun to make her the one controlling the war, not the batty old professor stuck in the loft!
As to the 'seven years from now' point - I think maybe I phrased that pecuiarly. In fact, I remember doing a double take as I was writing that line and thinking that something wasn't quite right there, but I never found another way to phrase it. I actually meant exactly what you thought should have happened - that Trelawney did care about the outcome and was doing all she could to help Harry prevail, but as an unseen, silent commander from above. She was supposed to be looking into her crystal ball and 'see' that in seven years time either Harry or Voldemort would be victorious. However, because destiny is always changing and, as you said, every small action affects a much larger outcome, it was not clear to her who would win. The victor at the moment was inconclusive, insubstantial. (I think it was actually a poor word choice with insubstantial)
Anyway, that's what I meant to get across - that Trelawney would do what she could to make sure Harry emerged the victor. My bad.
So glad you enjoyed this though, my dear. Goodness I've missed you and your reviews! Thank you so much for just utterly making my day!! *huggles* ~Rhi x
Oh, yay, Jen!
I’m finally getting back into doing my monthly reviews, and what a way to start them off again! Goodness gracious, how I loved this story. Just…I loved the characters, their interactions – everything just seemed to work so well.
First off, I quite liked the title and how it connected to the story as a whole. Hermione, who is somewhat stuck in a relationship with Ron, can’t escape and Draco, who has rather suddenly fallen in love with Hermione, can’t escape from that either. I was kind of thinking for a few minutes that perhaps Ron was stuck in a situation that he couldn’t escape from either (dating Hermione? Not proposing?), but there isn’t one that really quite fits. He’s really more of the figure in the story who is right where he wants to be – with Hermione and doing the job that he loves.
I also thought that Hermione’s character was spot on. She’s a rational and extraordinarily logical person throughout, until she loses most of her inhibitions while drinking. One thing that I really liked about her character is how she knows that she is physically attracted to Draco, but knows that she is loyal to Ron. The loyalty is just one of those things in the Harry Potter series that JK Rowling emphasizes as being one of the most important things that humans can have. Loyalty and love. I really like how you incorporated those two ideals within Hermione’s feelings for Ron. While in a lot of just general fiction, the reader would have expected Hermione to stay with Draco because of the newly discovered passion and love, it wouldn’t have worked for this story. You tie it so nicely to canon by having Hermione go back to Ron (and not just because they end up that way, either) because she knows that their love and her loyalty to him is more valuable that the lust with Draco.
/long thought process to get to an idea
Although I thought that you did an excellent job with Draco’s characterization, I had a rather sticky moment when he was confessing his love to Hermione. Perhaps it’s because I simply can’t picture Draco in such a situation…Regardless, I didn’t really expect him to be so open and lacking cynicism. Perhaps it was the word “breathlessly” that got me. I can’t really picture Draco doing anything in which he wasn’t perfectly composed. But this is truly a minor nitpick of mine, as I thought that Draco’s characterization was excellent overall.
I also thought that the ending was simply perfect. I was worried for a few moments that it was just going to end with the proposal and then a happy marriage, but those fears were put to bed. I thought that, even though it was only a few sentences, the ending characterized Draco perfectly. Slightly bitter over what he had and what he couldn’t hold on to and then destroying any sort of sign that would remind him of his loss. So perfect.
Gah. I just loved this story overall, Jen. And that’s kind of interesting coming from me, as I almost NEVER read Dramione. Despite my limited experience with it, I think that you pulled off the pairing exceptionally well. :D
Author's Response: 0.o Thank you, Kelly! It's been ages since I got such a wonderful review. :) Your comments all made me smile so much, because I'm quite proud of this story. I'm very glad you liked it! With the characterisation on Draco - I was thinking about that part being OOC when I wrote it, but I decided that we've never really seen Draco with a girl he actually likes, and something has to unsettle him, especially after how he's changed because of the war. I hardly ever read Dramione too, let alone read it, so this was a new thing for me. ^_^ Thank you again!
“What we have is something special.”
“I thought so too until you cheated on me.”
They were the golden couple. They did everything together. They were totally in love, everyone could see it. But life is turned around when another girl comes into the equation. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Written for jojo_dolphin2394’s Strictly Summarizing Class.
What an interesting premise for a story! “Sirius-the-player” is a fairly common theme in fanfiction, I’ve noticed, but it is rare to see that from one of the girls’ perspectives.
One of the problems, though, that I have with deeming the Sirius that you have written “Sirius-the-player” is that he really doesn’t seem to be doing it on purpose. He’s simply giving another girl “the taste of her own medicine.” I think that this is a much more accurate portrayal of what a younger Sirius would have been like. He has such a great capacity to love other people, but he’s always been reckless and lacking common sense. You captured his lack of common sense, while still preserving his kinder character. This is really what makes Sirius seem real throughout the story. He seems just like an honest, teenaged boy who really didn’t think about his actions before he did them. Kudos to you for his characterization.
I winced a little bit at his failed explanation to Gwen in the opening of the story. First off, it was emotionally painful for me to realize what Gwen had walked into. Of all the awkward things in the world…Secondly, I’m usually a believer in second chances. So, I was feeling more sympathy for Sirius than Gwen when the story began. I realize that such a thing wasn’t your intention, but, goodness gracious, I felt rather sorry for him in the first part of the story.
While I’m talking about characters, I can’t leave out Gwen. She was a solid OC – clever, not perfect, and with strong feelings. I thought that you wrote her a textbook-perfect response to Sirius’ “cheating.” First, there was anger; then sadness; then the acceptance. The transitions between the emotions made for a nice flow within the story.
One thing that I would like to comment on is your word choice. While the words that were used here were all perfectly fine and appropriate, there were some that I thought could be tweaked a little bit so that the viewer could get a better image of the scene. Because this is quite nit-picky of me (and fairly OCD, if I might add), I’m really just going to do one example (also, there weren’t many more of them).
Gwen looked him in the eyes for the first time since he’d come out. “Thanks, but I’d rather be alone right now,” she said gently.
While “gently” is an absolutely fine word for the situation, I would have expected it to come from Remus, rather than Gwen. In writing, “gentleness” usually has the connotation of “comforting.” Thus, it usually is the person who is doing the comforting or the sympathizing who is described as “gentle.” In order to keep the same emotion for Gwen, though, I would suggest using “quietly” or “softly.” I know that there really isn’t much of a difference between all three of those words, but it makes the emotional tone of the story a little bit more even.
The word became a mantra, pounding in her head in between her heavy footfalls.
Cheated. BAM! Cheated. BAM! Cheated. BAM! Cheated. BAM! Cheated. BAM!
Now, those were my favorite lines of the entire story. The physical pounding of the footfalls really reinforced the way that Gwen was thinking. This is really how a person thinks: in disjointed thoughts and repeated words. Although it is common in writing, it is rare that an actual person thinks in complete sentences. Instead, they repeat things, they think in an illogical order, and they tend to focus on one particular idea (if angry, confused, or upset). You really nailed Gwen’s thought patterns with this two lines and I loved the image that I got of her running and thinking about the situation with every step.
I quite liked how the story ended, as well. I consider myself to be a feminist, and I was worried (albeit, for only a few moments) that Gwen was going to start forgiving Sirius for his actions and maybe even (no, no, no!) want to return to him. This worry kind of presented itself when Remus appeared to explain to Gwen what had happened. But, you expelled that worry very quickly.
The thing that I liked most about the ending was how Gwen accepted that her illusion had been shattered. Throughout the story, she’d described and thought about how she’d figured that she and Sirius had had a perfect relationship. At the end, though, she realizes and accepts that her illusion has been shattered. Gwen was such a strong character (mentally and physically – she broke his nose!), that it was very fitting for you to include her acceptance of the fact that she no longer really cared about Sirius.
Overall, Mere, this was an excellent story. The characterization, writing, and flow were all solid and I truly enjoyed reading it!
Author's Response: -stares- Oh. My. God. Kelly, I dub you Queen of Reviewers. This was seriously the most amazing review I've ever gotten. Thanks so much! About that line, I actually had 'softly' there, but one my betas thought it 'gently' was better.... Whatever, I'll change it back. :) Yeah there was no way I was having Gwen forgive Sirius or something. I actually wrote this with specifically planning on not having her forgive him. I really really hate that. >.< Anyway, thanks a lot! -hugs- xo Mere
What a very interesting story! I don’t think that I’ve ever seen one from Draco’s point of view while the prisoners were being held in his home. I thought that you did a lovely job with it.
Based on what we saw of Draco in DH, he was having a rather rough go of it. However, I always did wonder how he felt about having people imprisoned in his home. And, of course, not just people, but people that he actually knew. I could only imagine it being stressful and traumatizing. This is why I rather like the way that you’ve written Draco’s response to hearing Ollivander’s torture session. He’s clearly been conditioned to witness torture, but he still has enough feeling within him to feel guilt about the activities.
Although she has a small role, I was very happy with the way that you wrote Narcissa. She seemed very much like she is in canon. I mean, she tolerates torture and holding captives within her home for the sake of maintaining appearances, but that also connects to her more protective side. We saw, both in HBP and DH, that she would do just about anything to protect her family – especially Draco. Thus, having her stop Ollivander’s torture because Draco communicated that he was uncomfortable with it, was perfectly in character for her. The only part of Narcissa’s characterization that felt a little bit off was when you described her as “hesitating” before asking Bella to stop the torture. Although I think that it’s an accurate description of what Narcissa would have done, I think that the word “hesitation” implies a little bit less poise than Narcissa is always described as having. It’s amazing how individual words, even when they’re perfectly accurate, can affect the characterization and I think that, although this one was good, there’s a better one for the situation. Personally, I would have used the word “pause” just to convey a little bit more poise and sophistication.
I noticed that you have a very powerful way of writing. You consistently pulled individual lines/sentences and made them a stand-alone paragraph. This is a very good way to emphasize points within a story and I wanted to give you big-time kudos for not over-doing it. It’s very easy to get into the habit of over-doing that, which leads to over-emphasis, which then leads to confused readers. So, it’s nice to see that you have a firm grip on that style and an understanding of how to properly do it.
I’d like to open my comments about your characterization of Luna with a quote that I thought was absolutely stunning.
And I was enraged by the effect her presence as a prisoner was having on me. To have her sit there, eating the food I had provided, and challenge the person that I had tried so hard to be. But the hardest part about all of this was that within Luna Lovegood’s insanity, there was sense. Sense that even I could not deny.
Those were absolutely brilliant lines. I thought that you absolutely nailed the characterization of Luna. Especially those last two sentences in that little paragraph. It’s something that we all see in canon – Luna being eccentric. However, her words always have a lot of truth in them, even when they’re rather off the wall. Some of the insights that she had about Ron and Harry were absolutely amazing. A lot of authors don’t quite seem to grasp that Luna isn’t insane; she’s just brilliant and quirky. Hands down, your characterization of Luna was my favorite part of this story. She was just so true to her character that I was, quite frankly, amazed. It was absolutely wonderful to see a story in which she was well-characterized.
The ending of the story was also quite powerful. You added a lot of depth to Draco’s character in this story, and I think that the ending really summed that up. He and his mother are both putting forward a face – a persona – but they both really do have feelings and really do care about others, even if it’s very rarely expressed.
Absolutely lovely job, Cassie!
Dear Rhi for HP,
That was a very powerful insight into young Severus Snape’s life. Your writing style was very simple and very to the point, which I thought was appropriate for the story.
Even though the writing was very straightforward, you did an excellent job with your imagery. The opening two paragraphs were especially well done. I could really envision the house with boarded-up windows and a little Snape stuck inside. A rather depressing picture, but one that you did an excellent job of conveying. I was a little bit unsure about the line where he jokingly referred to his parents as vampires, but you made the reader certain that he wasn’t actually serious fairly quickly, so I liked it. It added a small touch of humor to a very depressing description. It also made it a bit more childlike.
I think that making Snape into a child is one of the more difficult aspects of writing this kind of story. We don’t have much of a frame of reference for it and we know that he was incredibly mature (in some areas) for his age, which makes it all too easy to throw in elements that don’t actually fit such a young character. However, I thought that you did a magnificent job at keeping Snape very young and yet older than his years suggest. He’s no dummy – he knows exactly what his parents are like and what they’re doing – but he doesn’t quite know how to control his behavior yet – clearly seen by overindulging on honey.
One thing that rather surprised me was the lack of sympathy from his mother. She’s supposed to be a fairly weak person, but I thought that, away from her husband, she might care for her son a little more openly. Perhaps by leaving him a secret way to get water during the day or by a little more comfort when he was clearly ill. I understand your characterization of her, but I think that my sympathy meter for Snape was completely maxed out and I just wanted to see some love for him.
One thing that I also wanted to see was the part where he eats the honey and then gets sick to be extended a little. It seemed like that – the action of the story – went a little bit too rapidly. I wanted to see a bit more description to even the pace out.
He swallowed a few times, trying to convince himself it was cool, fresh water sating his thirst. His mind eventually believed it, but his throat was too stubborn to swallow a lie.
That was my favorite line of the story. I loved how you used the two different meanings of ‘swallow’ to emphasize the point. Although it was a kind of a bitter moment, the really nice language use made me smile.
I thought that this was a really wonderful portrayal of young Snape and the unfortunate life that he ended up leading as a child.
Author's Response: Kelly! Thank you so much for one of the greatest reviews I've ever received. I appreciate so much the time and effort you put in for a wonderful, kind, thoughtful and helpful review. I really do. Thank you so much. <33333 Rhi
Oh! What a sweet story!
After JK Rowling announced that Draco had, in fact, not married Pansy, but some girl named Astoria instead, I’ve loved the speculation about how they might have been introduced/gotten together. I’ve read numerous stories – some good, some not – but I find myself extremely fond of the story that you have written, here. All three of the characters seemed to be quite well characterized. Although I do not really have a frame of reference for Astoria, you’ve depicted her somewhat like Narcissa (which is made all the more obvious at the end). I like the parallels between them and I believe that Draco would have been attracted to someone like his mother.
Astoria stared blankly at her, before saying to Draco, “Don’t you think you are a bit remiss in your hostly duties, Draco?” She boldly ignored the sharp intake of breath from Pansy.
That line, I think, was really indicative of Astoria’s personality. The words make it seem remarkably like Narcissa could have been saying them, but the description of Astoria being “bold” makes the line belong to her. Personally, although Narcissa has a lot of courage, I envision her more as “cunning” rather than “bold.” It probably has to do with her very Slytherin tendencies (at points), but that’s just how I categorize the both of them.
Structurally, I liked the switching perspectives at the beginning. By doing that, the reader is able to get more of an insight into the psyches of Astoria and Pansy. If the entire story had been from one point of view, the characterization probably would have been fine, but it would have gotten rather muddled and confusing - especially, then, when it came to what Draco was thinking later. With regards to the perspective, one thing that I kind of wished for while reading was for the perspectives to continue switching at the ball. You do this slightly, but what I was really hoping for was a switch immediately after the kiss into Pansy’s thoughts, again. Although it isn’t necessary for there to be one, I thought that the flow was a tad bit rushed at the end and it could have been slowed down just a little with some more introspection.
“Excuse me!” Pansy said loudly, as half of the room turned to stare. “Draco Malfoy, what are you playing at?”
That line made me giggle. It’s just so Pansy to completely interfere with whatever Draco is doing. I could really picture the scene playing out just like that. Perfectly hilarious. The one thing about the line is I just sort of wonder if Pansy would really excuse herself before interrupting. Stylistically, I think that it has to be there (the reader gets more of an impression about what she’s doing and the following line describes the room), but I think that Pansy might have been shocked enough just to start shouting at Draco.
I thought that the ending was especially sweet – and the parallels between Lucius/Narcissa and Draco/Astoria just made me think, “Aww…” I like your interpretation of how Narcissa and Lucius became engaged – much nicer than the usual Pureblood arranged marriage situation.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. It was very sweet and touching – just the right thing to bring a smile to my face over the holidays.
Oh, how I loved this story when I first read it in the swap. It’s such an incredible insight into the relationship between Sirius and Regulus. I know that you split the actual story in half, so I’ll try my best to only review the part that you’ve submitted as the first chapter.
It had been their thing, after all, he and Sirius. For his first four years, it was a ritual for them to meet as brothers, sneaking up to the top of this tower to talk, or not talk, and gaze at the stars.
Speaking of the relationship, I thought that this little part was really well characterized. I mean, Sirius and Regulus are clearly different and they both know it, but they are brothers. It’s one of those little facets in their relationship – that they actually do (or perhaps did, depending on when you want to speak about it) care about the other. Growing up, they were really all that the other had for playmates (I doubt that they would really want to play much with their female cousins), so they must have gotten along pretty well as kids. Anyway, I really liked how you emphasized that point right at the beginning – it really sets the stage nicely for the rest of the story to come.
One of the things that I really like about your writing style is how you do the dialogue. Dialogue is such a tricky thing to capture most of the times, and I think that you do it really well. I like that you don’t overuse the “…he said/she said,” at the end of every line. The fact that most of your dialogue stands alone really emphasizes what the characters are saying, as opposed emphasizing how they’re standing, breathing, or talking. (I only point this out because I’ve been working on dialogue recently and I have a rather newfound appreciation for well-written dialogue when I come across it).
“I wouldn’t get involved with her anyway.”
“Because you’re stupid.”
“Oy, what’s this? Aren’t you supposed to be on James’s side?”
Sirius shrugged. “You are my brother.”
“You’re such a girl.”
A perfect example of why I love your dialogue! Besides that, I also adored this conversation between Regulus and Sirius. Sirius was just perfect: he had the humor, the sarcasm, the quick wit, and the concern for James and his own brother. The fact that you were able to convey that in a minimum of words makes me worship your writing. Really.
At the very end, after Sirius leaves, you have Regulus talking about how he’s the quieter brother and Sirius is the leader. Although I absolutely agree with your characterization, I sort of wonder about Regulus and how he changed after Sirius left home. I think that he would have, perhaps subconsciously, taken on more of a leadership role in order to prove himself the exact opposite of Sirius and then flaunting that. I mean, the description of his room in Deathly Hallows just screamed, “Polar opposite!” I think that he would have tried desperately to prove that he was the “good son” unlike his older brother, even though he still cared for him.
Moving on, though. I love this story, Mar (could you tell?). The characters – even Rachel and Reeve – are absolutely superb. Just…love.
Author's Response: Oh, Kelly, thank you for your wonderful review! -squishes- And yay because you reminded me that I needed to put up the next chapter...
That was an extraordinarily interesting take on Cho Chang and her character. The idea, I think, is extremely unique and (unfortunately for Cho) not terribly far-fetched.
I rather liked your approach to the controversial nature of this story – almost complete openness. This was really quite apparent in the opening scene of the story. It was so frank about where Cho was and what she was doing. I think it really draws the reader in. Personally, I wanted to continue reading simply to find out what had happened to Cho and why she was doing what she was doing. You did really well on the structure of the piece as it really serves to draw the reader into the story.
When he touched her, her tears felt hot and angry, but she learned toys could never fight back.
I thought that that was a very powerful line. Up until this point, Cho seemed pretty much helpless and almost weak – something that I didn’t particularly like. I’ve always seen Cho to be a very strong person and this line convinced me that your Cho was going to be more like her canon counterpart. I thought that it was really a good moment for her character to realize how much she’s being used. And the fact that he calls her “doll” throughout the piece really reinforces the fact that she’s merely a plaything for them. I don’t know if you meant it, but within a few lines of this realization, the woman (I’m lead to believe that it’s Alecto) has no compunction whatsoever about “breaking” the toy. I think that this is where the title really jumped out at me – Cho is fragile and something to be touched and played with, but is easily broken. It’s an absolutely horrific thing to think, but I thought that it was extremely powerful.
There were just a few places where the wording within the story rather bugged me.
Cho snorted. “The real way? That didn’t work for me. Me, me, I’m done, just done, with respectable,”
The repetition of the word “me” wasn’t quite right. I understand what you were aiming for – that natural pause and repetition in speech patterns. While the wording technically works, I think that you should probably consider altering the punctuation slightly so as to convey that pause. Something like this:
“…That didn’t work for me. Me? Me, I’m done…”
I think that the question mark serves to break up the sentence better than the commas do.
Another small thing that I noticed was that every time you have dialogue, you explain what sort of dialogue it is. You have characters muttering, telling, saying, exclaiming, grumbling…etc. You do a very good job of not being repetitious with your word usage, but some of the dialogue should be able to speak for itself. For the sake of story flow, you shouldn’t have to describe every line to the reader. What you really want to do is to create a mood (which you have) for the reader to understand so that some of the dialogue (but not all of it) can stand on its own. This also works well for lines that you’re trying to emphasize.
One final thing that I wanted to add about this is your fantastic use of imagery. You really nailed the sort of creepy and disgusting image of some of the men in my mind. Let’s use this line as an example:
Her entire body trembled as the strong, paw-like hands yanked the strings of the corset tighter. Tears leaked from Cho’s eyes as she gasped for breath while he constricted her chest.
That line just really captured the animalistic and brutal quality of Amycus. It was so well described that I shuddered when I read it. A disgusting man.
It’s really quite sad the way you’ve described Cho, here. The last scene in the bar was almost physically painful to read, knowing what had happened to her and what exactly she was trying to do. I think that you did a wonderful job in capturing who Cho is and then creating a story for her.
Author's Response: Thanks! I agree with you on my use of dialogue. I try not to describe everything that's spoken, but it's a difficult habit to break. Sorry I failed a bit with the drunken dialogue. It's been mentioned that my drunken dialogue is a bit sub-par, and I guess I instinctively go and use commas to break up lines. I'm glad the imagery worked, though. The story has the overall open and honest feeling to it because I guess I imagined Cho as someone who realizes completely what her situation in life is, and I wanted to reflect Cho's character in the way I told the story.
Wow! I’m very impressed with how these four drabbles – which can be completely separate – unify and create an entire story. Although the brief length was clearly the purpose of the challenge, I would have loved to have seen a little bit more character and/or relationship development. However, I do understand the confines of a challenge and I thought that you did an excellent job on the characterization with the limited words that you had.
She turned on him, demanding angrily, ‘Were you afraid she would hear?’
That was a wonderful line for Hermione. Although it was a very serious moment, it made be laugh. Hermione is such a Gryffindor at heart – fierce, strong, and loyal – that it was the perfect reaction for her to have to Severus’ actions. There was just the right amount of jealousy in her voice – how could she compete with a dead and very much idolized woman? – to make it sound indignant and very Hermione-ish.
Hermione/Snape is always such an interesting pairing. Their intellects always seem to serve as springboards for the other. It interested me, thus, to see Hermione describe their relationship as a master and apprentice, with offices at Spinner’s End. When I read that, I was suddenly very curious as to how exactly their partnership had been formed. Once again I wished that you weren’t required to be quite so lacking in words, but I still understand the challenge aspect.
In the next moment, he had risen, jerking her to her feet, and wrapping her up in his arms, he Disapparated.
Although this sentence is absolutely fine grammatically, I feel that it sounds a little bit clumsy with all of the commas and actions. Personally, just for clarity’s sake, I would turn this into two sentences. The most natural place to end it would be after “jerking her to her feet.” Even if you just got rid of the “and” before “wrapping” and made that into the second sentence, it would sound a lot sharper and clearer, even though it’s fine as it is now.
I also quite liked Severus’ character. I thought that you did a wonderful job of having him still care so much about Lily and his past actions. He’s an extremely reflective and caring person in the books and I liked how you were able to emphasize those qualities in a minimum of words.
I’m quite fond of this story and I’m still quite amazed at all you were able to pack into it in less than five hundred words.
Ah, what a delicious story about Albus Dumbledore. He is such a fascinating character, is he not? The man has so many quirks, oddities, and personality traits that I find him to be one of the most enjoyable characters to read (both in fanfiction and in the series) and write. This is why I was particularly intrigued when I read the summary of yours; I simply had to see how you interpreted and played with his character.
Speaking of the summary, it was extremely effective. Writing a good and catching summary without sounding over-the-top is a true art form. Yours did a very good job of introducing the characters – Dumbledore – and creating an interesting situation that made the reader want to read more. As much as I liked the summary, it made me a tad wary when I started reading and realized that the opening paragraphs of the story also functioned as the summary. Having the summary essentially repeated immediately is rather jarring for the reader, as we have the same words put immediately before us twice. If you do, though, want to use a quote like this (because it was an excellent quote), I would recommend putting it in the summary in either italics or quotation marks just so that it is clearer for the reader that you are, in fact, using a direct snippet of the story.
The most interesting thing for me to read in this was your interpretation of how Dumbledore chose James and Lily for the Head Girl/Boy positions. It almost seems as though he chose them as a bit of an inside joke with himself. Initially, I questioned his characterization (would Dumbledore really be so devious?), but then I remembered him telling Harry about why he wasn’t chosen as a Prefect. After I remembered that Dumbledore is, of course, free to choose any student for whatever reasons, that final scene made me smile. It’s almost as if you wrote the Lily/James ship as fate, no?
It was also very interesting to read about the Snape/Willow/Sirius incident from Dumbledore’s perspective. It, in fact, opened a lot of very interesting avenues of thought about how he might react to the other crazy antics of the students (especially the Marauders). There are so many stories that deal with this little episode from the point of view of one of the students, so it was really fresh to read about it from the point of view of Dumbledore.
Your writing, actually, was also quite fresh, overall. You didn’t overly describe things, but rather had a nice balance between description, dialogue, and action. One of the things that really stood out for me was your excellent use of italics throughout the story to emphasize key phrases. This made the dialogue seem a lot more real, as it was easier to imagine the inflection and emotion in the character’s voice with the italics, rather than a simple description of how they were speaking that happened to be thrown in at the end of the line. Also with regards to the dialogue, I liked how you were able to leave some of the lines without a “he said/she said” or a variation thereof at either the beginning or the end. Good dialogue should, in some cases, be able to express its own emotion. I’m not saying that every line should be left without a clarifying statement at the end, but a few lines here and there that can express their own emotion makes the work more powerful to the reader. It makes the reader feel as if they were actually involved in the scene, rather than just being a reader. So, excellent job with your dialogue!
The way that you characterized Albus Dumbledore was extremely interesting for me. I think that you really nailed his little quirky sense of humor that appears in rather unexpected places. This line really solidified that for me:
He was merely patiently waiting for two peoples’ conversation to be over with so that he would not interrupt by walking past them, and he just happened to be in a place where he could conveniently hear what was being said.
Ah, it makes me grin. The combination of humor and intelligence, along with the rather twisted logic that ensures that Dumbledore feels good about his decision, was extremely in character for him. One of the things that he does throughout the series is to twist things around in his mind so that he believes that he’ doing the right/appropriate thing. The entire issue over giving the entire truth to Harry about his eventual fate was a prime example of this. Dumbledore didn’t share very much about it because, in his head, he didn’t believe it was the right thing to do, as it might hurt Harry prematurely. Even though this line was supposed to be quite a bit lighter than the very serious matter of death, I think that it really exemplified Dumbledore and his personality.
One detail that threw me about Dumbledore was how he constantly referred to James Potter by his first name. I know that Dumbledore refers to Harry by his first name frequently, but I believe that he refers to the vast majority of the other students by their last names: Miss Granger, Mr. Weasley, etc. Harry goes by his first name because he and Dumbledore have a fairly special relationship that exceeds the bounds of Headmaster/student. Personally, I believe that James doesn’t have that relationship with Dumbledore and I believe that he would have been referred to and addressed by his last name, simply as a formality.
To wrap up a bit, this was a really great insight into Dumbledore’s character. You really characterized him well and your writing style was excellent. A lovely read!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the amazing review, Kelly! I will definitely take into consideration your thoughs on the summary and the bit about James's name. I'm really glad you enjoyed this little fic, and that the characterization wasn't off. I hope you will take the time to check out my other one-shot as well! Thanks again :)
Dear Leah Lovegood –
That was a lovely portrayal of Snape-at-the-wedding. I’m afraid that I’m using the hyphens because there are so many authors who write stories centered on that moment. And why not? It’s such an interesting situation. And the really interesting part is that there are so many different ways to write it and so many different things to emphasize in order to make each story about this situation feel unique and quite fresh.
On that note, I really liked the fact that in your story Snape went to the wedding under a Disillusionment Charm. I think that using that was an excellent way to circumvent the problem of having a known and hated Death Eater show up at the wedding. I mean, could you imagine the riots if Sirius had seen Snape in the audience from the altar? Besides, we know that Snape is absolutely capable of a powerful spell like that. It’s very much in character for him to attend the wedding and be invisible just so that he could see Lily.
While I’m on the subject of Snape’s characterization, I thought that you did a marvelous job throughout the story of incorporating his rather more sentimental feelings for Lily into his rather more callous, Death Eater side. I find that some authors tend to have a real problem having both sides of Snape expressed in a story. It’s so easy to overdo one side and leave out the other or to have one and throw in the other in a very poor way because it needs to be there. You had a great balance, though, of the two sides of Snape.
I think the moment where I really realized that you’d nailed his characterization is when he was discussing Lily’s happiness as she walked down the aisle and how he didn’t want to ruin how happy she felt by responding to the ceremony and not holding his peace. It really demonstrated that Snape was more than just infatuated with Lily (something that a lot of authors tend to write). He really loved her enough to let her go. You really wrote that emotion well, so kudos to you for being able to write Snape so well. Not many people can pull that off.
Your characterization of Rodolphus was also quite good. He doesn’t get a lot of time in your story, but his dialogue, I thought, gave us a real insight to his character. Arranging a little torture session as a birthday gift to Bellatrix? That sounds about right. I would have questioned his character if he’d arranged to give her jewelry (although, in keeping with the fact that she is a Black, I’m sure that having both the torture session and the jewelry would have been an acceptable gift as well).
I also really liked Lily in your story. She wasn’t quite fully mature, but she came off as young with a little bit of wisdom for her age. One thing that rather bothered me with her, though, was how quickly and suddenly she dropped the bomb that she was dating James Potter. It was just fairly startling to the reader to have that pop right out of the blue. What I think might ease that information into the story a bit more would be some sort of warning that it was coming. Perhaps Snape asking if they could still be friends or having Snape see Lily wave good-bye to James before they talked or even having Lily seem hesitant (or more angry, depending on if she was telling Snape that in order to hurt him) before she tells him about James.
Overall, this was a lovely story that gave, I thought, a very realistic interpretation of how the wedding could have happened. Your characters were essentially spot on (especially Snape) and the ending was incredibly touching. Wonderful job on it.
Author's Response: Wow! Thanks for your review. As much as I love getting any reviews, this one makes me very bubbly inside! It means a lot that you took the time to write such an in depth response. I'm glad that you liked the characters. One thing that's so hard about fanfiction is getting the personalities right for characters you didn't create and sometimes (as much as we'd all love it) don't know completely. It's nice to know I got it right, at least to you. I really appreciate your critique about the Potter-bomb-dropping. It's the way I would have done it had I personally been in that situation, but I tend to be rash both in actions and thought process. I suppose in my drive to really shock Snape, I shocked the reader, too. This is probably the result of running off the story ASAP. I have this fear that if I let it sit, as I have let so many other stories sit, I'll never finish it. I'll try to think more about that next time. One thing I did hope it would emphasize is that Snape's last transgression sort of pushed both of them into their fates. He gave up on trying to be good to win her, and she went out with the boy he hated to spite him. It was, on her part, a little rash, but you're right that I might have foreshadowed it better. Thanks again for the uber-review! Leah
I know that I beta-ed this way back, ages ago, but I think that it deserves a lovely review with more than just my comments about trivial grammar things.
So…right. Have I ever mentioned that I adore this story? It’s so light and perfect when you need a small escape from the dreariness of reality. The happily-ever-after, bad boy/good girl, a party scene…it just has everything to make the hopeless romantic within me give a little happy sigh.
Rose is such a great character in your hands. She’s witty, practical, stubborn, and a little bit feisty. All of the exasperation that she has for Scorpius, while secretly wanting him, is really just great for her character. It makes her seem like a real person. It reminds me of some saying out there that says that the person that you always fight with is the one you love. That was a horrible misquote of mine, but you get the idea. It just seems like such a real thing for her to pick arguments with him to conceal that she’s attracted.
‘Stop what?’ he asked, moving his head back slightly to look at her.
‘Trying to seduce me.
This may sound a bit random, but have you ever seen The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft? If you haven’t, it’s a classic that you really must see. Anyway. The reason that I bring that up is because one of the most famous lines is when the character, Mrs. Robinson, says, “I’m not trying to seduce you.” Of course, she really is. And, well, since I had that knowledge, it made this little set of lines a little bit more meaningful to me. Even if it was completely unintended, the parallel is perfect – he is trying to seduce her and they both want it. An amusing (though perhaps unintended) coincidence.
On that same note of amusement, I loved the humor that you have thrown into this. Scorpius seems to be proficient at the nice, sarcastic lines. This one was absolutely my favorite:
‘Who said you have to be?’ he asked, acting surprised. She looked at him, and he smirked. ‘There’s always the wall …’
I giggled when I read that. Actually, come to think of it, Scorpius seems very much like his father in a certain respect: he smirks. Actually, I’ve noticed that a lot of authors, when describing the Malfoy males (from Lucius to Scorpius), have the men smirking. I’ve always wondered if it was genetic. Even though it’s perfectly apt for this scene, I think that it’s just a tad bit cliché for his character and that you might want to be careful when describing his facial features.
Anyways, Jen, that was a lovely read. It was cute and refreshing and I absolutely loved the play and banter between Rose and Scorpius.
Author's Response: This review was just what I needed, Kelly. :) Thank you. I'm so pleased that you like how I've written Rose - I love her as a character, personally. This Rose is a little bit fiercer than how I usually write her, but I think she turned out well. And no, I've never seen The Graduate, although I've heard of it. I guess I should watch that one day. That line was my favourite, too. :D Very naughty, Scorpius. I don't even notice that I'm putting the smirks in, though - I guess it just feels so natural for his character. Oh well. I'll have to think about that from now on. Thank you for this amazing review, dearie!