Summary: Runner-up for the QuickSilver Quills Award, categ. Best Alternate Universe
“No matter the time or place, people should never call their child Marie-Antoinette. There is no happiness in this world for a girl called Marie-Antoinette.”
1983. In a world where Voldemort has won the First War, where hope has fled from an Earth moaning under the Dark Lord's iron hand, marriages are broken and others are arranged in order to preserve the sacred purity of blood. James Potter loses his wife; now they have to find another for him.
Another great chapter! I am so loving this. There a lot of great little touches, like the clans, the battle painting, the way Madame Maxime's breath caused Marie's hair to flutter. :) And the sinisterness of the world is great, with Lestrange just dripping evil and the treatment of the half-bloods and Muggles. (Where did they all go? Dead? Relocated to Antarctica?) Again, no criticisms. Great job!
Author's Response: Thanks a lot! You\'ll know later what became of the Muggles. I\'m happy you love the story.
Fantastic, of course! I absolutely loved James and Sirius in this chapter. Sirius's loyalty and protectiveness of James was perfect, and James story of Lily was heartbreaking. (I almost feel like he gave up too easily, though. Couldn't they have Apparated somewhere far away? Lily wouldn't need her wand for that.)
One thing that stuck out at me was using "their" for Bellatrix. I know you wanted to hide her gender, but I think that would have been better done by rephrasing: "The cloaked figure took a step forward, brandishing a wand, and seemed to hesitate for a minute or two. Then, to my utter astonishment, the wand pointed at me and a voice came from under the hood:"
All of your characters are so well-written, and I'm glad that Marie has finally decided to stand up for herself! I'm hooked, on to the next one. :)
Author's Response: About the Apparition: they were taken to Lestrange by Death Eaters, who had most likely \"secured\" them by anti-Apparition bonds/wards. You also need to take into account that James was afraid to get his son or wife hurt by resisting the Death Eaters.
About the use of \"their\": my Beta didn\'t seem to see anything wrong with it. Thanks for the advice, though, I\'ll try to avoid the use of \"they\" in the future.Thank you for the constructive review. Hope you like the rest!
I am absolutely forlorn that the story ends here and you won't be updating for so long. I love that the story is turning towards Sirius! I didn't see how it would work with James when he'd never get over Lily, but I can see Marie and Sirius together perfectly. The way he thought about her in the beginning made my heart melt. Oh, this story is too good to fade away! Good luck in school, but don't forget to update eventually!
Author's Response: I won\'t! Thanks for the review, and you shouldn\'t lose hope about James... though I admit he won\'t exactly get over Lily... and now I\'ll stop before I give too much away =P. I\'m trying to update in the coming weeks.
Summary: When Maia's father dies, she finds herself believing that nothing is real anymore. So those letters that have been arriving must be a hoax, right? But Maia soon finds herself thrown into a new reality of wands and spells and potions, new friends, new enemies, a new life. She arrives at Hogwarts, only to find that the same prejudice people exist here too, even in her own house. Meanwhile, even though Voldemort was finally vanquished two years ago, there are still Death Eaters running loose, trying to start anew without their Master.
Great beginning! Maia's written well: cold, emotionless, but also vulnerable and wistful. I'll be curious to see more of her personality after the shock of her father's death wears off. I love the tone of the story, too. There are subtle details, especially in Maia's dialogue with her mother, that say so much. The characterizations are well-written that way. And I love the closing line; it makes me want to jump to chapter two to see her realize it is true. Nice job!
I love the psychologist scene! That was fantastic; I love how Maia toyed with that annoying woman. She had just the right amount of disdain and sarcasm. Also, the Instant Belief spell is a great idea. I was thinking there had to be more no-shows than just Maia, with so many Muggleborns, but that spell explains it nicely. I wonder why it didn't work on her mother, though. Is Maisi in that much shock or grief?
Nice! I felt like this was the chapter of Maisi. We've seen Diagon Alley from Maia's point of view through Harry before, but this was the first we've seen of a disdainful parent along for the ride. Maisi's character was showcased here, from her repeated "ridiculous!" judgments to her tendency to act bossy and overbearing in the face of uncertainty. It shows her own weaknesses, and also shows how Maia's life must have been growing up.
One part that confused me was when Maisi was going to open the door for her neighbor and then, next line, was staring at the map. On second glance, I saw that there was an extra blank line there, but sometimes those are hard to distinguish from a single blank line. I find that an asterisk on a single line between paragraphs makes those jumps clearer.
Oops, one thing I forgot to mention: there's a typo at the end, None and three quarters.
"No one would know her and everything would change." Oh, there's some tragic foreshadowing there! From what I know, I'm afraid she's in for rough times, but the new characters seem promising. I like how they're not overly friendly; Wiktoria being a little snooty and Kristiana being disappointed at first that Maia's Muggleborn. It seems that the two could easily become friends with Maia or just as easily turn on her, which really is the fear one has going to a new school. I can't wait to see which way it goes!
Ah, the trouble begins. Nice work with the Slytherin table; the danger for Maia there is almost palpable. I thought it was great that Kristiana gave her that warning before even saying hello or welcome. I'm curious how Maia is going to handle the adversity; whether she's going to be the tough girl in the pyschologist's office or the shy girl in unfamiliar Diagon Alley. You've introduced a lot of characters in this chapter and already given them distinct personalities. It'll take some juggling, but I think this story will end up with great interactions between all of them.
Summary: Dumbledore is gone, or is he? Harry feels the weight of the world rests on his shoulders, but he is soon to learn that his brooding nature and desire to face his fate alone may be his greatest weakness. It is his emotions, or rather his capacity for emotion that makes him strong, and his relationships his greatest source of strength.
When the summer begins and he faces a fortnight with the Dursleys everything he knows, or rather thinks he knows comes into question. Can he... should he do this all alone? And is he anywhere near ready?
Hogwarts is to be re-opened, the Ministry officially endorsing it as the safest possible place to be. As his birthday approaches there are monumental surprises in store for Harry. Who is he really? And what about his family, who came before his mother and father? Why is the Potter name so famous, and yet so unknown?
Encouraged not to run off to face his fate he returns to Hogwarts for his final year, but surprises abound at the school as well.
Can Harry become the wizard he needs to be to face the Dark Lord? Will he let the people he respects and love really help him? And what of help from unexpected sources; sources he might never trust?
As happy as he was for his two best friends, he just wouldn’t be Ron’s proper mate if he didn’t have him on about it some. I love that line! Sometimes fan fics have Harry being such a deep, angsty character that they forget to give him a sense of humor, so that was great. I would just propose a small change to the next part: “I can’t lie, Harry, there was a bit of snogging.” “Enough, Ron!” Harry exclaimed, “I may want to take the mickey out of you about it, but I don’t really want to know!” Harry's protest felt like an overreaction, since Ron didn't say anything more than what Harry already surmised. I know it's different to tease about it than to hear about it, but I think it would work a little better if you had Ron about to go on and elaborate. e.g. “I can’t lie, Harry, there was a bit of snogging. And at one point, we--” "Enough, Ron!” Harry exclaimed, “I may want to take the mickey out of you about it, but I don’t really want to know!” Or maybe it's just because he says "Enough," but Ron hasn't said all that much. Maybe an "All right!" or "Never mind!" would fit better then.
He was obviously prepared to accept that it was one of those things between his children that he was not meant to understand, and left it at that. That was my favorite line, just had to point that out. :)
The whole scene with Aunt Petunia was interestingly done. It was obviously out of chararacter, since that was the point of the scene, but you kept it nicely realistic with Harry's reactions, wondering if Vernon was going to steal the plate away (lol!) or whether or not he was in the right house. As she kept saying more perlexingly nice things, I kept thinking "Now, wait a minute," but then Harry's escalating confusion kept grounding it in reality for me. There was just one part where it was hard to read her, when her voice brightened about Dudley but then she frowned to let Harry know she didn't want to talk. It felt a little conflicting, because she seemed to be enjoying talking about Dudley. But overall, very nicely done and a good cliffie! Great chapter, of course, as always. :)
Author's Response: Once again a wonderful and insightful review, thank you so much!
Humor is something I am trying very hard to bring into my story with such lines as you first note. Honestly with the last couple of chapters it has been rather difficult, and sometimes the subject matter seems so serious… but I really am trying.
As too the “enough” line… let me think about that one for a while. I get your point, and I don’t disagree… On the other hand I think the problem might be one I encounter frequently, being the difference between British language use and American language use. I think that particular word is used more often in Britain in the way you suggest “all right,” or “never mind,” and neither of those would be used as commonly in Britain in that particular way. I think the problem is as you first suggest that Ron’s statement is complete and doesn’t suggest that he has any more to say. It may simply work to end the sentence with an ellipsis, or to add an “and” followed by an ellipsis. Let me think about it for a bit.
He was obviously prepared to accept that it was one of those things between his children that he was not meant to understand, and left it at that.
This is one of my favorite lines as well. Are you a parent? Seems like you have to be to really appreciate that line.
The scenes with Petunia have been rather interesting to write. In my head she is consistent with canon - just evolving, but I understand that different people have different interpretations especially regarding characters like the Dursleys. We’ll see how you feel about her after you have read the next couple of chapters. I am trying to keep her canon, but have her deal with a new situation that is causing some apparently OOC behavior. I have worked hard, and closely with my Beta, to keep Petunia’s basic personality traits intact. I am glad that you found a balance between Petunia’s behavior and Harry’s confusion about the oddness of the situation. Obviously I was doing it that way to try to achieve that balance.
Thank you so much for yet another fantastic, and helpful, review. I wish I could be as helpful when I review your work, but I am still a bit lost in the world of grammar. I’m not so bad at ideas, functional concepts and plot weaving though, so if you ever need that kind of help… let me know.
Oh, and if you’d care to Beta read for me? It wouldn’t hurt me to have another pair of eyes on my work.
People have talked about Draco's change, but Harry is going through one just as significant. Meditation is definitely a good direction for him; he's always been so unfocused and impulsive, that it seems necessary for him to go through this growth in order to have chance against Voldemort. And it was good to see him purge his grief as well. You're doing a good job of maturing him naturally.
The letters were great, too; each one was very much in the character of the writer. Ginny's in particular had that fiesty edge, and upon second reading, I was impressed to see that Ron called Petunia's reasons for talking. I was happy to see that, since I think Ron is cleverer than he gets credit for, and he tends to be right in his guesses. And the Whisper, of course, was lovely! Very imaginative, and it fits so perfectly into the world that it seems like it could be a JKR invention.
Now as for the money issue... ha ha, it seems you ruffled a few feathers with this. :) I'm not opposed to the idea of the Dursleys getting the money. Sure, I'd rather they didn't, but I do think it is a good opportunity for Harry to grow and move beyond his childhood. He'll be a better person for it in the end. I do have trouble believing that Petunia thought it was a joke, though, since she knew the money would be coming from wizards and would therefore possibly have a different currency. I also think she would have investigated further if she suspected it were real. I believe one of the books actually had Harry mentioning that his aunt and uncle's fear of the wizarding world probably wouldn't extend to a large vault of gold. You did give her several reasons why she didn't look into getting the money, and they do make sense, but overall I think her greed would have overruled them. Once I look past the reaons, though, it does make for a very interesting plot point. (And certainly explains her previous niceness!)
“Hatred is a powerful emotion – almost impossible to conceal from an accomplished Legilimens – but it is also a slippery, cloudy emotion, and easily twisted and disguised. Purer emotions; love, grief, happiness, are far more difficult to conceal.” Great concept, but I have one sugestion for the wording. Since you're making the point that hatred is more easily concealed than purer emotions, I would not start off by calling it "almost impossible to conceal," because that raises the bar pretty high for the other emotions that are "much more difficult to conceal." Also, I saw one section that I'm not sure if it's is a typo or not: He smiled, his eyes crinkling at their edges beneath his half moon spectacles. Life and Learning at Privet Drive It looks like the chapter title got left in there somehow, unless that was intended as a sum-up of the scene. But since there's no period, I'm guessing it was a typo.
Overall, I thought this was a great chapter for characterizations, with Dumbledore's lessons, Harry's growth, and his communications back from the Burrow. Great job with those; they really make the story real!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for yet another wonderful review!
So, let me address it in the order of it’s comments. First… you are right to note the parallel nature of the storylines. Both Harry and Draco are undergoing significant character development and maturing. As you have no doubt realized I am far from finished with either of them.
I introduced the meditation for the very reasons you suggest, Harry has seemed unfocused and impulsive… but I also felt it would offer a good contrast of the difference in approach to teaching between Snape and Dumbledore… it is a softer, less direct means to an end that will yield in the end a stronger result… it is principally an non-magic concentration technique so Harry can practice it, and Dumbledore can teach it in their present circumstances.
In my view… in canon – Harry is no where near ready to face Voldemort unless he is either, matured and educated – or unless he simply gets through on luck which has sort of been his modus-operandi thus far in canon… obviously, I as an author want Harry to become a true hero of intent and action. So… that means character growth.
I am so glad you liked the letters… they were perhaps some of the more difficult stuff to write. I wanted the edge to Ginny’s… and you called me on Ron’s as well. I have thought the same thing about Ron… that he is right, an awful lot of the time… he just needs a bit more confidence and self esteem. As the youngest of four brothers myself I have a certain empathy for Ron, that I hope will show in my handling of him in later chapters. – Oh… and the Whisper, like the Dumbledore CFB concept, that just came to me and felt perfect so I put it in… I love to come up with little things like that to add to the depth of the world. I suspect you will continue to see various such inventions all throughout the story.
Now, on to the money issue… well I have stated my position fairly clearly in responses to other reviews, so I will decline to revisit the reasons here… Suffice to say it is all part of Harry’s growth and it foreshadows even greater events to come. As for Petunia thinking it was a joke – I suppose that all depends on what you believe about how much she knows… and I do have her talk a little about her experience of the Wizard World. I guess I was thinking that her experience was fairly early, and rather traumatic so I thought she still hadn’t really put it all together that there was different currency for wizards. I will accept that it may be a weak point in the story. I think if it had not been for Vernon’s knee-jerk objections, she probably would have pursued the matter earlier.
“Hatred is a powerful emotion – almost impossible to conceal from an accomplished Legilimens – but it is also a slippery, cloudy emotion, and easily twisted and disguised. Purer emotions; love, grief, happiness, are far more difficult to conceal.”
Great concept, but I have one sugestion for the wording. Since you\'re making the point that hatred is more easily concealed than purer emotions, I would not start off by calling it \"almost impossible to conceal,\" because that raises the bar pretty high for the other emotions that are \"much more difficult to conceal.\"
I suppose that there may be a confusion of terms here, because ‘conceal’ and ‘disguise’ could be read as synonyms. I don’t see it that way though ‘conceal’ is here meant as ‘hide’, while ‘disguise’ is meant as… ‘to make one thing appear as another’ The point I was intending to make was that you couldn’t hide hatred… but you could make it look like it was something else… or perhaps more specifically that the reasons behind it could be twisted to cloud it. Therefore, as an example Snape would not be able to hide his hatred from Voldemort… but he could easily confuse just what to source and focus of the hatred is. So, I guess what I should do is change the final word ‘conceal’ to something else… like; camouflage, belie, or contradict? How about:
“Hatred is a powerful emotion – almost impossible to conceal from an accomplished Legilimens – but it is also a slippery, cloudy emotion, and easily twisted and disguised. Purer emotions; love, grief, happiness, are far more difficult to belie.”
The typo – yes, good catch, I don’t know how it happened, but yeah the title got dropped into the file. I have already fixed it.
Thanks again for such a careful and insightful review – and such high praise. I look forward to your next comments and insights.
Author's Response: CFB = Chocolate Frog (collector) Base
I'm impressed! This is going right into Favorites. I was intrigued by your premise on the forum, and this looks to be a promising beginning to an epic novel. Your writing style is very visual; I had an unusually clear "movie" playing in my mind throughout Draco's scene. Your descriptions are so thorough and detailed, however, that in a few places, such as the description of the granite pentagon and dais, it came off a little clinical. But I don't know how else you could have gotten such clear imagery across, and I think that's what's more important. I think my favorite visual was that of Narcissa crawling across the floor to Draco. It was just so palpable, the broken mother holding her broken son inside a circle of cruel onlookers. Good stuff!
There were just a few grammar spots: in the beginning, "muscle twisting and mentally dimming" should be "muscle-twisting and mentally-dimming." That will keep people like me from going into the sentence thinking, "What? There's a horrible muscle that's twisting Snape?" :) Also, "the edges of large flat squarely cut stones" needs a couple of commas and probably a hyphen for good measure: "the edges of large, flat, squarely-cut stones." And "The flame grew larger and brighter illuminating the cell" needs a comma as well: "The flame grew larger and brighter, illuminating the cell." And lastly, when Narcissa comes out of the Death Eater circle, you use the phrase "lunge forward" twice in a row. It's a great moment in the story, and it'll read smoother if you mix that up with a different phrase.
Now since I'd rather not end on grammar, I'll just say that you did a fantastic job and I'm really looking forward to seeing where this story will go!
Author's Response: Wow, thank you so much for the review and the notes! I must confess that I am rather Beta dependent when it comes to grammar and one of the problems I suffer from is the over use of commas. So, I find it interesting that you advise to add so many...
Don\'t get me wrong I am not trying to blame any Beta for errors in my chapters, for that I take full credit, and I will go back and take a look... it is after all never too late to edit.
I am gratified that you enjoyed the opening of my story and I hope you continue to enjoy where I am traveling. I do sincerely hope you review other chapters so thoughtfully!
Thank you so much.
P.S. I'd also like to say, after reading your other reviews, that you made the right choice removing the exclamation point after "And the Dark Lord was furious." The finality of that sentence definitely gave me the "Bam!" that the other reviewer felt was missing with the exclamation.
Author's Response: Thank you again! As you can see... I take reviews seriously and I am never above considering what someone has to say. You have good insight to bring and I appreciate it, thanks for taking the time.
Author's Response: I went through and made changes, as I agreed with what you had to say. Thanks again.
Aww, what a great ending! I can't wait to see how Dumbledore will be able to help Harry. I wonder, does his chocolate frog card work the same way as portraits of the dead, or is there more enchantment to it? Or do I just have to read to find out? :)
I'm loving where the story's going. It's interesting, because this chapter was quite different in tone than the prologue. There wasn't quite as much attention to visual detail, but that's not a bad thing, because I enjoyed the focus on Harry's emotions. I think you captured them well; you've continued his maturation from books five and six by allowing him happiness and peace even after Dumbledore's death, but he still has just enough sadness about Ginny and uncertainty about his future to make his character real. He feels more adult now, and I expect that that will be important in his journey to come.
Ron and Hermione were true to canon as well. I loved, loved, that Ron swore under his breath while asking Hermione out. That was just perfect, and so appropriate. I was a little bit distracted by Harry in that scene, though. It was hard to believe that he could stand there during such an embarrassing and private moment between his friends. You acknowledged that in this part: Harry heard Hermione’s breath catch, and he was suddenly aware of the intimacy of the moment, and how much he was the intruder. But, these were two people he cared for as family, and he couldn’t pull himself away, he had to witness this, he had to be sure that it was really happening. That made me feel better about Harry being there since he knew that he was intruding, but I think I'd give him a different reason for staying. Instead of him feeling that he needed to be there because they were his family, I think it would feel a bit more real if he stayed because he thought it would be awkward if he left, and that he just tried to pretend he couldn't hear them. The three are certainly close and a family of their own, but I think that for such a delicate and private event as Ron asking Hermione out, that closeness with Harry may not cover it!
Overall, your mechanics were great and your sentences have a very smooth flow to them. I just found two typos, professor McGonagall should be Professor McGonagall and Crookshank’s carry basket slug over one shoulder should be Crookshank’s carry basket slung over one shoulder. There were also a few commas I would move around, but we can just agree to disagree on those. :)
This story is really drawing me in with its tantalizing plot seeds and descriptive, readable style. I will definitely be going through and reading/reviewing it all as time allows. Great job!
Author's Response: Wow, yet another substantive review, thank you so much! and I am most grateful that you really seem to be enjoying the story. In the scene with Harry witnessing the intimate moment between Ron and Hermione... what I was trying to get at was Harry\'s sense of anticipation regarding this development and feeling he needed to see it to be sure it had really - finally happened. I debated it when I wrote it and decided finally that the three are so close that both Ron and Hermione, but most especially Ron, in some odd way gains confidence through Harry\'s witness... But of course Harry doesn\'t get to actually watch their first kiss.
I\'ll look into correcting those typos.
Thank you again so much! And I will look forward to your continued impressions. I do hope you will continue to enjoy.
Draco's departure, my favorite storyline! I must apologize for keeping you waiting so very long between reviews, but I'm happy to finally have time to come back and discuss this chapter. As you know, I'm a great fan of this departure, and I think the reason that it works so well is your fabulous attention to detail. The scene that really had me saying "Wow" and feeling like I was there beside Draco was when he first stumbled out of the hut: He found himself falling face-first into the dirt. It was moist and cool against his skin. When I read that, I could actually feel the cool, wet dirt on my own face. Now I wondered why that particular part spoke so clearly to me, because it's not the most important description of the chapter, and it's fairly simply written. But I think that's actually the reason. A far-off jungle is about the most foreign, non-British environment you could have in the Harry Potter world, and it's the kind of thing that could be entirely incongruous if not written well. But by describing it so vividly and allowing the reader a sympathetic view of Draco's confusion, you make it real. It's a huge departure, but the reader is carried along every step of the way.
As for Draco's emotional journey, it is a delicate thing to pull off, but I think you're doing it well. Part of me has a knee-jerk "That's not Draco!" response to him smiling at Nuncha and then picking her up later, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. First of all, we've been given an entirely Harry-centric view of Draco in canon. We never see him out of the element of school, an environment in which he has his image to maintain. I've personally had the experience of seeing "bad girls" from school in different environments and wondering at how much nicer they were without classmates around to impress. Everyone has a different face for different situations, so this is just a new one for Draco. It's not entirely new, though, which is good, too. When he yelled at Titchi to go away, that was true to what we know of him. It will be a balance of his different characteristics, but chapter eight already continues it nicely.
Now, on to a few concrits. In Draco's flashback, you start off using "had," as in Severus Snape had completed his task; he had been the one to kill Albus Dumbledore when Draco had hesitated. But then this part loses the "had": The place appeared to be a very small open grove in an otherwise dark forest, and it sounds like you've left the flashback and gone back to adressing the jungle. Obviously it gets cleared up shortly afterwards, but it did stop me for a minute. Some more sentences in the flashback lose their "had" after that too, so I'd change all of them to use that form.
Also, there was one part that just didn't ring true to me: Cutting a jagged “X” across his face was the yellow stain that the Dark Lord had called the ancient mark of the coward. Draco lifted his head skyward and screamed bayfuly, “No!” I'm afraid it's a bit melodramatic for me; I think a moment of disbelief or inner anguish would feel more real. One of my favorite lines, however, was He could hear the others giggling and it sounded to him distinctly like the twittering gossip of girls in the corridors at Hogwarts. I love the parallel and it adds to the sense of village life, too.
Great chapter and great job with this storyline. Despite the controversy, I think its uniqueness makes it one of the strongest aspects of your fic.
Author's Response: Wonderful! You are one of only a few people who have commented that they really like this Draco story line. Now, that is not to say that there have been lots of objections to it, but only a few true appreciative reviews.
Obviously it is an extreme departure, done purposely. First off I felt I needed an extreme departure in order to give Draco the sort of clean slate opportunity he needs as a character to have extreme growth. Second, as an author I took it as a personal challenge to go for something as different as I could possibly get from the canon world of HP, while still telling a canon compliant story.
Once again you demonstrate thinking very similar to my own. My approach from the beginning with this has assumed that within canon we have only seen a particular view of Draco – one that is very ‘Harry-centric’ as you say – and you hit the nail directly on the head with your example of environmental displacement baring a direct effect on behavior. As someone who has traveled a bit, I have seen this in myself, sort of in reverse. As a college student I spent a year in Scandinavia. When I arrived in Europe it was with a complete desire to be open to the years experience… so I didn’t notice the ways in which I changed and adapted my behaviors. When I returned home I suddenly noticed that I was very different from people who I had shared common background with and I had a harder time adapting to home than I did adapting to Europe. It is safe to say that such will very likely be the case for Draco as well.
I so appreciate your praise of my description. Sometimes I think I can go a little overboard with it. In the case of the Jungle, I have to confess that I have been in Rainforest/Jungle myself in Central America. I have even been to villages and lived without electricity, or running water in a jungle environment, and it is much easier to write from first hand experience than to make up experience – so perhaps I have and edge here. Or… I am just following one of the rules of writing, which is ‘you write best, what you know.’
Chapter eight is up now, so everyone else can declare whether they share your opinion on the ‘in-character-ness’ in the continuing Draco storyline.
As for the rest of your review… I will take a look at the ‘had’ issue and will probably re-load an edited version in a few days.
I will also revisit the passage you find ‘melodramatic’ because I agree entirely. I loved using the word ‘bayfuly,’ and I believe in an early draft it read ‘cried bayfuly’ but somehow the whole needs more definition… right now there is room for confusion regarding his emotion. What motivates him at that instant should really be a skewed sense of dishonor and the realization that he is helpless to do anything about it, which is a very frustrating place for a character like Draco, whose existence has been so much about keeping face.
I am enjoying writing this side plot, precisely because the whole canon character of Draco is a façade. I want to explore what ‘could’ be the genuine human being beneath the behavioral construct… but in doing so I realize I risk the ire of many fans who may view his character very differently than me. But, isn’t that part of what’s so fun about fan-fiction?
Thank you so much for a wonderful review!
I await your next with eager anticipation.
Another splendid (and long!) chapter! I have a lot of disjointed thoughts about it, so I will just make a list:
1. I think I know where the money came from! But I won't say, I'll just tell you if I was right when I find out. :)
2. I loved that Ron was clever again, being the one to think of using the Calming Powder on Petunia. Now that I know you're writing him with that in mind, I'm going to keep an eye out for other instances. I also thought this line was exceptionally Ron-like: “How much money are we talking about here?” Ron questioned somewhat tactlessly. Spot on!
3. Even though Harry doesn't have to worry about money, I still think he'd have some idea of the magnitude of the account. He's been shopping in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade for six years, so he'd know that if one Galleon buys lunch, then eight hundred thousand Galleons is a whole heck of a lot. Also, I bet his aunt and uncle discussed money around him, so he'd be aware of the magnitude of four million pounds. I agree that it would mean less to him than other people, but I don't think he'd be completely clueless. (Though the "Luna-ish air" was a great description!)
4. I loved the office-snogging! I was waiting for that to happen since he first saw her at the entrance, and it was perfectly executed. I also loved the image of them at the bakery counter... with the smells and the imagery of Ginny pointing out her favorites, it was just so sweet and happy. The kind of moment that will probably become scarce when the battle begins.
5. I have to agree with another reviewer that Harry's language was too formal in the bank. It was beautifully delivered, but Harry's just not that elegant, I don't think.
6. It wasn't until I read another person's review that I became upset about everyone bending over for Petunia, but your response that it was really for Harry made perfect sense. I am much happier imagining the Order going through all the intricate planning for his comfort rather than hers.
7. Finally, the money! I thought the stipulations on the account were brilliant, and I really thought that would have been the perfect way for Harry to have shown his maturity but also to have gotten the money in the end. I have to admit, I was disappointed when I first read that Petunia ended up with the money anyway, but the more I think about it, the better I feel. Harry really doesn't need the money at all, so it would have been a pretty hollow victory to just add another pile of money to his mountain. But what really clinched it was this line: To have been loved in their household and simply become another Dursley…to have turned out anything like his cousin, Dudley, from his point of view, would have been the worst disservice imaginable. That was amazing; I'd really never thought about what it would have been like if the Dursleys hadn't been terrible to him. We all rally against them for being cruel, but really, their indifference did save him from a terrible fate! And for that alone, I can reward them. :) The only thing I wish that Harry had done was mandated a certain amount of money to go to the Weasleys. It was his money and he had the power to do that, and the Weasleys both need it AND deserve it. I realize that it would be awkward for Harry to give them money directly, and I'm hoping that's why you have Petunia giving it to them instead (and redeeming herself a bit), but it still felt a bit unjust to allow her to make that choice, after all the Weasleys have done for Harry. Oh well, all's well that ends well, right? ;) Well done with a very difficult and complicated subject!
Author's Response: A list! Cool… I can deal with a list. I was awaiting your review of this chapter to see how you would weigh in on the whole money issue.
I’ll respond to each of your thoughts in the order you presented them.
1. Well, you may be right or not. You will find out in chapter 9, and you have now positioned yourself to be among the very first to know. If you are wrong… I’ll expect you to tell me what you thought.
2. Yeah… I really do like Ron a lot. He is a character I can really empathize with, and I am looking forward to getting to chapters in which he plays a larger roll. So far I have missed having both he and Hermione around the last few chapters… but they will most definitely both be back… and soon!
3. I agree… Harry would not be clueless, and if he thought about it he would realize the magnitude of the sum… But would he think much about it?
4. I liked the office snogging too… What I liked most about it is that it shows both how much command Ginny can exert over her brothers, and how much the Weasley’s already regard Harry as a member of the family. A lot has been made of how protective the Weasley boys are of their little sister, both in canon, and especially in fanon. My approach however is that the Weasleys sort of see this relationship between Ginny and Harry as a forgone conclusion… Like they all saw that it was right and perfect and inevitable before Ginny knew that it was more than a childhood crush, or Harry sat up and took notice at all. Harry is already a Weasley in all ways that make family, family, except for blood, so if he and Ginny become a couple that just formalizes the inevitability. And you are correct… there will not be much sniffing around pastry counters later in the story.
5. I will just have to accept this criticism. I don’t disagree… but I’m not going to re-write right now either. 6. So glad you agree… it is often easy to overlook true motivations in favor of the apparently obvious. It certainly looked on the surface as though everyone was focused on Petunia.
7. I always wondered what would have happened to Harry if the Dursleys had accepted him… He just wouldn’t be Harry would he? I am not going to say a lot here about your lengthy number 7, just a few key comments. First… wait and watch the money. Second… it’s not a mountain – it’s more like an entire range. Third… The Weasley’s don’t need money – they have the twins… and they have Harry too… They are not likely to need much else which they don’t already possess in abundance. Fourth… to not give Petunia the choice would have been to insist that she is incapable of growth. At least this way her decision affects her character. And last… Thank you so much for the wonderful comments!
Wow, I'm so impressed by Dumbledore in this chapter! You really have him down: his speech patterns, his humor, his gentle leadership, pretty much everything. His segue about the lemon drops was perfect; I thought that read like canon. I also loved: He was glad that the one entity that deserved the whole story didn’t feel it was so important at the moment. That was a lovely line and also particularly true to character. And then his whole speech about Harry's gift for love... yeah, you nailed it. :)
There were a couple typos, but luckily they were in the same sentence so that makes it easy: Finally his mind rested upon the serine, contented and oh so strong Ginny who’s hand fit perfectly in his own. Serine should be serene and who's should be whose. Also, whenever someone is addressed in dialogue, like "Forgive me Harry," a comma should go before the name, like "Forgive me, Harry." (I know, I know, those pesky comma rules!) :)
I sneaked a peek at the other reviews and I'm afraid I may have been spoiled about the fate of mini-Dumbledore! But it's good to know that; I agree with your assessment of Harry needing a little help getting over the deaths of his loved ones, and I think the card is a great tool for that. Plus, it's realistic. Harry's going to need help finding Horcruxes, there's just no way around that. I just hope he sticks around for a while, because he's written so well!
Author's Response: Thank you once more for such a wonderful review! First off… I’ve made the corrections that you pointed out. (Never let it be said that I let my ego get in the way of being corrected) Thank you so much for the fixes. I consider your observation about my Dumbledore characterization as particularly high praise; I cannot tell you how flattered I am. I will tell you my trick though… Dumbledore is a derivative character which J.K.R. plucked from multiple sources to create a composite heroic guardian/father figure that is at once brand new, and an archetype. I thought of all the casting for the films the one absolute fit was Richard Harris as Dumbledore. I have been a fan of Richard Harris since I was a kid and first saw him in the role of King Arthur in the Musical Camelot. My Dumbledore follows Harris’s voice which I have recorded in my head from multiple sources. The man himself was a bit of a screw up, as many actors are, but is characters were almost always something special. His death was a real tragedy for the films… but that is another conversation. Oh, and don’t fret too much about previous reviews… as a creative individual I reserve the right to change my mind and alter plot decisions at any time when a better idea occurs to me… Hmm, it seems to me I may have recently changed some other significant decisions about character fates… I love the Dumbledore card, and I considered it an inspired idea when it came to me. It has a purposeful role to play… and the point is that Harry has to realize that it is ultimately not the real Dumbledore. There will be a time for a final goodbye… but I don’t think it will come too soon. Thank you so much for the wonderful and insightful review!
Summary: This story elaborates upon the day in Broderick Bode’s life when he was Imperiused by a Death Eater. As we know, he was forced to take the prophecy from the shelf, but he did not succeed.
Written for the Harry Hospital Wing Project: The Department of Mysteries by Dumbledore Prince of Gryffindor house.
Great story, SPEW buddy! I'm sorry I didn't review sooner. I never thought of what happened during Bode's "missing day," but I like how we get to see how he was Imperiused, and also what the day of an Unspeakable is like. When we see the archway in OotP, it's completely unknown and mysterious, so it was interesting to see the Unspeakables talk about the research work they've done to try to figure it out. You made it practical and scientific, while still retaining its mystery.
I found the beginning sad, seeing him say goodbye to his daughter and also learning that he usually only goes in the morning. Was Lucius waiting for him specifically, or would someone else have been Imperiused if he hadn't gone in that night? There wasn't too much more emotional connection to Bode after that until he was put under the curse, but you did say it was more about the plot, which was quite well written. All your descriptions are realistic and visual, and the action is paced well. Sometimes the dialogue sounds kind of formal, but I think a few contractions would help that. For instance, I'd change "I do not know why Mr Fletcher wants to look at a few prophecies, Bode. I am sorry, but you should know... Nevertheless, I will allow you to look at them" to "I don't know why Mr Fletcher wants to look at a few prophecies, Bode. I'm sorry, but you should know... Nevertheless, I'll allow you to look at them" Contractions help make dialogue sound more natural, since we usually use them while speaking.
You said this was written as a suspense fic, and there are great elements of suspense throughout, when the woman gets on the elevator with him (did you make her look like Bellatrix on purpose?), when he hears the noise behind him, and when we see him helpless under the curse. I think a little more of a glimpse into Bode's emotions would help the suspense along too, but it was still effective as is. Lovely work!
Author's Response: The woman on the elevator is a random person. I didn\'t realise she looked like Bellatrix. Thanks for the review! I see your point about the contractions, but Alfred Cole popped into my head like an old man whose speech is more formal. I\'m thinking of tweaking the last few paragraphs ... I\'ll have to look into that sometime later.
Summary: Missing scene in my year six story. Harry finally stops playing the hero and goes with his gut.
I found this while searching for good Harry/Ginny stories, and I was not disappointed! Many times I find that romance fics suffer from bad characterization, because let's face it, Harry's certainly not the most romantic guy in the world. But here, his feelings came through in a very real way (muddled, angry, confused) but still show how much he cares about Ginny. It's the un-smoothness of it all that makes his words ring so true.
Ginny is my favorite part of this, though. It may be sacrilege, but I really dislike JKR's Ginny, and your version makes her fiery nature seem real and admirable, not irritating. It's a great mix of "Damn it, I love him, but why is he being such an idiot?" Like Harry, Ginny's not particularly romantic, so what is essentially her grand gesture to win Harry back comes across as frustrated, unsure (of him, not herself), and wonderfully real.
I really couldn't find much to concrit, except for the flow in this one part: Her gaze drifted upward. His forehead was pressed forlornly into his hands. His lackadaisical hair peeped between his fingers. His aura pulsated with repressed grief. The four short sentences in a row interrupted the flow for me, but I'm not sure if you intended to do that for effect. In any case, that's not much to criticize, and this is a great view of Harry and Ginny's oh-so-unrestful relationship.
Summary: I remember the first day I saw them together. It was sixth year, before Mum and Dad came and got Padma and me. I was walking up to the Shrieking Shack and I saw them, pressed up against a tree, kissing.
Two sisters; one too proud, one too prejudiced.
Parvati Patil reflects on her sister's girlfriend and how it affected not only her sister's life, but her own as well.
This is such a beautiful, positive story. I love the ending; it was subtle but still powerful, with a wonderful message of acceptance. Actually, that can be said for the whole story. I like how you expressed the theme without ever going over the top. I think the last fight between the sisters was a little rushed, because they went from arguing to storming away unexpectedly quickly. But otherwise, the conflict between the two felt realistic. It's nice to see such a painful subject handled so well. Great job!