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Kickin' It at the Top by Soap

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: A Marauder-era fic - this story takes a look at all the characters we've come to love (and hate), as well as an OC or two thrown in for good measure. Follow the Marauders through seven years at Hogwart's, with appearances from the infamous Black sisters, Lucius Malfoy, Regulus Black, and of course the one and only Severus Snape.

There are a bunch of pairings in this story (although romance is not necessarily the central theme) to include James/Lily, Lucius/Narcissa, a splash of Lucius/Bella and unrequited Snape/Lily, and finally, plenty of Sirius/OC. Enjoy!

Over 120,000 reads! Wow! Thanks everyone!
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 10/09/07 Title: Chapter 10: Prefects

Wow! This is soo good. You’ve restored my faith in fan fiction. The suspense is superb. Your politics degrees really come through. The treatment of Remus so far has been so deliciously subtle too.

“Bet he was proud when you got your letter,” said Sirius.

Remus merely shrugged.

That is a particularly powerful line. It does so much with so little.
I’m heartily sorry to see the elder Slytherins depart; as they had such a ruthless feline sort of calm. Its quite unnerving, and great fun. Surely Lucius will want to keep a helpful eye on his “little one”, and Ms Lestrange should dote on young master Regulus, a proud slytherin, pureblood and seeker? I hope that there marriages have included clauses for, say, moderate fidelity???

Your portrayal of young Snape seems temperamental, proud, secretive and paranoid. Its fascinating. I look forward to seeing how he develops.

Your characters so far have seemed sort of short termed, sole goaled hedonists. (We all are really, but one likes to hear about something else in stories). It could really benefit from a couple of subplots, be it quid itch or sneaking out to Hogsmeade.

Please update soon!! :)

Author's Response: Wow! I love reviews like these! They\'re so helpful! I, too, love the Slytherins and don\'t worry - they will have plenty of cameo appearances as we progress. Snape continues his temperamental-ness throughout (much to his cousin\'s dsmay, at times). I appreciate the (incredibly) constructive criticism, and I agree! I shall definitely sneak in something for my guys and girls to get up to.

Author's Response: Wow! I love reviews like these! They\'re so helpful! I, too, love the Slytherins and don\'t worry - they will have plenty of cameo appearances as we progress. Snape continues his temperamental-ness throughout (much to his cousin\'s dsmay, at times).

I appreciate the (incredibly) constructive criticism, and I agree! I shall definitely sneak in something distracting for my guys and girls to get up to.

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 06/05/08 Title: Chapter 1: Prologue - A Look Back In Time

Splendid! Just finished reading chapter fifty.

Your handling of Peter has been superb. I think it surpasses that of Rowling herself. He always seemed one dimensional, to lack any dignity, a mere caricature of a person. One was just left wondering why the other Maurauder’s had the tolerance/affection that they apparently did for him. I also love the ominous foreshadowing that you have maintained. It puts me in mind of Agatha Christies “Cards on the Table”.

I curious as to where you shall cut it off. Will we see the death eaters briefly after Voldemort’s fall, in that strange power-void? Will the Longbottoms grace the screen of my computer again?

I have a slight grinding sensation in my mind when I think of this story now. Its similar to the feeling of an essay that you know you really need to get down, or when you were small, and was glumly aware that school would be starting soon. I just really don’t want this story to be “over”.

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 06/15/08 Title: Chapter 1: Prologue - A Look Back In Time

This is just amazing! Well done! I hope you write lots more; I'll certainly be looking out for your work. :)

Snivellus and the Head Girl by SeverusSempra

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: The summer after fifth year, Severus Snape realises that he has to decide between Lily and his Dark companions and pursuits. Now all he has to do is get used to life at Hogwarts with no friends, get over his fascination with the Dark Arts, survive the Marauders, and convince Lily to acknowledge that he's alive.

Easier said than done.

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 04/05/09 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1- The End of the World

I made the transition to actually printing your story off a few months ago, all 78 pages of it. Perhaps this is not the most healthy of developments, but have I mentioned in passing just how very much I love it?

As Rowling has a somewhat sporadic tendency to be rather Dickensian with names (Remus Lupin, Lucius Malfoy), I went looking for Llewllyn. As a duel reference to Celtic gods of a solider and a healer (thanks wikipedia) it seems aptly ambiguous. I doubt this is just a happy coincidence. Excellent choice.

A couple of ultra low key quibbles with the slytherin placement…
- Isn’t Nott, to whom Avery is going to speak to about the game, a “rather elderly” widower, thus not in a age range with Severus? Perhaps this is another Nott relative though, its partly your universe here.
- I thought Regulus, at fourteen would be of an optimum age to be a Quidditch player, rather then an admittedly wiry, small Avery. At any rate, it would be fascinating to read even a very brief view of your take on their interaction. One can easily imagine some terrible acts of petty hatred through association on Severus’s part.

Its refreshing that you made Mulciber “almost handsome”. Slytherin needn’t be by default damned of any attractive qualities; wasn’t that a chief theme of the Deathly Hallows. As ever, I’m burning for the next instalment.

Author's Response: Sorry it has taken me so long to reply! I'm catching up on three chapters worth of reviews at once. You know, I have downloaded a few stories from other writers onto my computer, so I know what you mean about printing the story out. There are ones I don't want to lose if the author decides to move on or gets in a fight with the moderators or something. I'm honored you like this one so much. :) Re: Llewellyn-- I started with the celebrity relative angle, quite honestly, but since there are plenty of those as possibilities, I liked the Welch aspect of things. And when I looked up his name, it meant a combo of "leader" and "image," which is kind of intriguing for a rather complex OC. Anyway, glad you liked it! OK, Nott-- I read somewhere that JKR had said that about Theodore Nott, so this is just a cousin or something. It seems to be a fairly limited set of surnames, especially in Slytherin with the aversion to the fresh blood that Muggleborns bring. Re: Regulus and Avery-- I think of Regulus as tall like Sirius (not Gary Oldman) :) even at fourteen, so I was thinking of him as too lanky to be a Seeker. I've pictured Avery as never getting above about 5'4 or 5'5 or so, but being something of a dominant personality unlike, say, "little Peter Pettigrew." Good point, though-- typically you'd think Regulus would be younger and therefore smaller. I just figured he'd be tall like his brother. As for Mulciber, I pictured a guy who lived on the floor in my dorm in college-- a predatory good-looking frat boy with these dead eyes, the kind of guy who was probably the type behind those occasional newspaper stories of date-rape at fraternity parties. The kind of stories you'd overhear him telling his friends in the dorm lounge were chilling in his total lack of any kind of a conscience. Mulciber just throws in the blood-status thing there, I guess. To conclude, thanks as always for such a thoughtful and interesting review-- I hope the more recent chapters are working for you also. I'm plugging away on ch. 11.

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 11/16/09 Title: Chapter 12: Chapter 12- Yet Another Thing to Hide

Thank you for continuing with this. You can write, and what you have to say is interesting. Your manner of expression enhances the scope of the HP related world rather then diminishing it to plot driven events. I suppose the million dollar question now is whether you can engage the emotions in characters and a plot that readers aren't familiar with. Part of what is emotionally satisfying in this story is the atonement like sense of experiencing a reprieve for anothers' suffering. Though there are variety of interesting puzzles in getting a catharsis on behalf of a fictional character!

Llewllyn continues to be his wonderfully enigmatic self. Reminds me of Dumbledore. He's certainly one tainted, though whether this is more from suffering or evil is unclear. May it long remain thus.

p.s. Carrying on a earlier thread by ...to my mind, 'Triping the light fantastic' does make sense put in reference to the great ball. I can't understand what action beyond dancing a person could draw out of this. Tobias Snape's bookshelf, described as a tattered collection of cheap paperback classics or suchlike furthermore puts Severus in position to access to this kind of a literary work. Whether he would is a moot point, on which I oscillate. On the one hand, he faces a dire shortage of activities and a abundance in hours. On the other, it may be going a bit far to portray even an intelligent teenager brooding over some great works of poetry. Why not give him a goblet of wine, rename him Bryon and be done with it all?

Author's Response: Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful reviews-- I think it's fairly safe to say that Severus Snape is the most complex character in the HP universe, and I'm trying to craft a different fate for him while still doing justice to that complexity. And I believe that Lily, if she could have been his friend all those years and if JKR isn't talking a load of nonsense when she says that Lily could have fallen in love with Severus if he hadn't pursued the Dark Arts and become a Death Eater, can't be as one-dimensional as she (unfortunately) sometimes seems (even, at times, in the canon). Good point about tripping the light fantastic-- you know, I've heard it bandied about so much that I think he could have picked it up from a somewhat classically educated parent or Muggle novels of a certain era or even just TV announcers trying to be clever. :)

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 10/10/08 Title: Chapter 6: Chapter 6- Death Eater Boyfriend

I’m glad that you got “death eater boyfriend” up before the que closed, and am now checking and re-checking for the next chapter…

I’ve realized another thing that I really prize in your writing – you always have so many loose ends the works. In somewhat narrow, plot driven focus of many books and t.v. shows, these periphery references to outside events are wonderful. They just dangle, present yet unapparent as the reader is just left speculating. This then offers so many directions in which you may move e.g.
- what did James and Sirus do to make Remus insist upon the change of seating arrangements?
- does Severus maybe build up a friendly acquaintance with the ravenpuffs?
- ‘It was Black, interestingly enough. “It can cause nerve damage that can’t be repaired,” he stated, uncharacteristically soberly. “And madness. It can cause madness.”’ What was the nature of the scene in which Sirus became aware of this?
This all contributes greatly to the realism of your writing.

Your certainly right about it being the ambiguity that is so engrossing. I always found Voldemort an particually odd sort of a villain as he seemed so very inhumanly, unambiguously, disinterestedly “wicked”. In something so wholley alien its difficult to respond with dislike, or any fierce sentiment at all. Conversely, it’s comparatively easy to hatred for Dolores, contempt for Peter etc.

Again, I’m really looking forward to the next chapter. My new fav line is ‘and harder to create Latin incantations for. Why were so many Wizarding incantations derived from a language that possessed a one-word verb for “to run someone through with a sword?”’

Author's Response: Hello again-- I am re-reading the next chapter for last-minute changes, so I'll submit it soon. Nice one noticing the loose ends. :) They're one of the things I love about the real JKR Harry Potter works-- I remember re-reading the first book and having Hagrid's passing reference to borrowing his motorcycle from "young Sirius Black" suddenly coming alive for me, and now that the seventh one has completed the series, there are so many seemingly inconsequential bits and pieces that are actually important or that I can see in a whole new light. I completely agree with you about Voldemort being so one-dimensionally evil that he's not that interesting relative to many of the other characters. Given the info on his childhood that we get, he seems like he's always been a sociopath and that's about it. There are fanfics that flesh him out and make him more intriguing-- I really liked one about himself and a smart, sarcastic girl who happens to be Eileen Prince (Snape)'s sister, More Than a Game, I believe-- it keeps him appropriately sociopathic and yet allows him to be a bit more human and comprehensible. But back to the canon Voldemort-- I read a review once (unfortunately, I don't remember where) that points out that Voldemort is so unambiguously evil that Snape is a much more interesting character for Harry to love to hate. The same goes for Dolores Umbridge, Peter Pettigrew, etc., just like you said. Anyway, I think that ambiguity is part of who Severus Snape is, and not something that he can just erase-- even for Lily. He certainly hadn't by the time of his death at 38 in JKR's works, not even after 17 years of being on Dumbledore's side for Lily's sake. Anyway, thank you again for a helpful, interesting (and long) review. :) They really help with writing this. Anya

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 08/08/12 Title: Chapter 18: Chapter 18- First Day

I hope that you haven't entirely abandoned this? (Though as the writer and of several incomplete chapters of an unpublished story I can understand how you might).

It is still the best thing that I've come across in a long while, and I still have the chapters saved to an external drop-box. As I may have said before, the ethos of the story puts me in mind of Atonement; and you balance a brilliant tightrope walk between the desirable and believeable. Its quite satisfying to have some closure in this manner.

All the best, and I'll keep periodically checking under Authors for updates!


ps 'Dirty old Town' - a 'The Pogues' reference?

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 02/18/10 Title: Chapter 13: Chapter 13- Half Empty

Both characters points of view contained in a single chapter. A significant structural moment.

I am utterly baffled at the Mary/Severus interlude. Is Lily being obsessively paranoid? A streak of odd extremism seems to be shared.

Author's Response: Yes, I included both of them on purpose. :) Good pick-up there. As for the Mary/Severus interlude-- Lily has (in my take on it, anyway) fancied him off and on for years, and she only knows part of the story, and she's mad at herself that all he seems to have to do to get her attention is pay attention to her friend and win a showdown with another guy. To be explained soon. Really. I know it's a bit weird.

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 01/12/11 Title: Chapter 17: Chapter 17- Dirty Old Town

I found the conversation about the favoritism of Llewellyn and Slughorn for Severus and Lily retrospectively immensely entertaining. Their reflection on this was well incorporated. Why was Nott "worse then useless". Sounds like there could be an interesting story behind that.

Still reading and enjoying.

Many thanks as ever.

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 07/02/08 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1- The End of the World

This is an amazing story. I came on for ‘just a quick look’ at an internet café, and wound up spending an hour and half just reading, then compulsively rereading.

You have a very gentle touch with words. I particularly enjoyed…
“The warm early-summer daylight filtered in through the window, with dust motes floating gently around in and out of a sunbeam as Severus stuffed his things into his trunk, disturbing the quiet air and sending the dust briefly into swirling eddies. Empty, abandoned rooms like this always made him feel elegiac and mournful, but this year was worse than ever. Everything made him feel mournful lately.”
Its beautiful, and your characterizations are so immeniently plausible; the ‘inner life’ so believable.

I frequently get the feeling that in constructing Severus people have a tendancy to be overly generous, to give him too lose a reign. It’s a sort of kindness with which they erase him. It just seems as if the desire to become a death eater would not have been there if he had been like that. As it is, your narrative is perfect.

Author's Response: Thank you so much-- there are stories on this database that I can\'t stop reading, and I\'m truly honored that someone else likes this one that much. I agree with you about, as you put it so perfectly, \"erasing him\" with too much generosity. Obviously there are characters who fit unambiguously on one side or another -- on the Death Eater side, Fenrir Greyback or Bellatrix or the Carrows spring to mind. I think it\'s the ambiguity of a character like Severus Snape or the Malfoys or (although we\'re not told much about him) Regulus Black that make them so interesting. I don\'t believe he can be turned into a basically nice but sharp-tongued guy who is misunderstood and picks the wrong friends, and still be himself; the anger, pettiness, hatred and (at 16, anyway) bigotry need to be there also along with the bravery, brilliance and devotion. Obviously I\'m trying to write how I think he would be if he tried to change sooner rather than later for Lily-- we all know that he did at 21 in the canon-- and it\'s a very fine line, especially since the 16-year-old Severus has neither the experience/ maturity nor the loss of the 21-year-old one to make his decisions easier and his way more clear. Anyway, thank you again for such a kind review-- I really appreciate it.

Dumbledore's Delight by Vindictus Viridian

Rated: Professors •
Summary: Family problems derail a young wizard's trip to Greece in the late nineteenth century, and Godric's Hollow feels more than a little too small. However, a stranger in town keeps the world from feeling too far away.

Dumbledore/Grindelwald, with other ships passing in the night.
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 08/01/08 Title: Chapter 1: Prologue: Beginnings and Ends

Please update soon, the agony of not knowing is too ghastly for words. Please!

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 05/26/08 Title: Chapter 1: Prologue: Beginnings and Ends

I can’t do justice to the sensation in which it thrilled me to the core of my being to see that you had taken up this story. Firstly, because it has been strident in its near total absence, and secondly because I absolutely love your writing. You just seem to possess an unrivalled feel for the characters, darkly scratching away at motives that few would readily suspect. I was mildly surprised that you elected your patron to be Jane Austen. In my ignorance I would have classed you as more a favourer of the Brontes.

I think part of what’s holding people back on Dumbledore era is the crippling vacuum of ambiguity about other details of the time. That is, it is a difficult task because Dumbledore seems to be more defined by what we don’t know then by what we do. Throughout most of the stories he just exists, omniscient and untouchable, usually only appearing to make profound/quizzical remarks at the end. Not really one for sustained experiences in short. Around him is created this aura of mystery and extreme power that its difficult to be candid about.

Though I’ve never written a damn thing in my life, and intend not to, I have a bunch of shitty thoughts about this story specifically and the situation in general that I’m going to put forward for you to feel free to take, discard, mock, and do well nigh what you please with them.

-Arriana’s unhingement or what will you seems to have been treated a little flippantly since her appearance. Perhaps this is a reflection of Dumbledore’s carelessness, but it thus far seems to lack a sense of foreboding, or real problematic danger, that the story would perhaps profit from being sculpted. I always envisioned it producing pity, paranoia and resentment in the brothers, combined with the remarkably duplicity of character that Dumbledore and his mother seemed to possess in pretending nothing was wrong. Possibly another source of Aberforth’s resentment?

-Arriana’s situation is paralleled uncannily by that of another of Rowlings characters, that of Barty Crouch Jnr. After suffering vicious experiences both are kept at home secluded and deranged, for there own betterment, to some possible displeasure on behalf of there keepers. What would Dumbledore feel, hearing Barty’s story all those years later? What other echo’s in the situation might there be?

-I would be very wary of trying to invoke pity for Dumbledore through being “left out”. It doesn’t seem very plausible with the few facts that we’ve been given. One can win sympathy with the anti hero for other reasons.

-Gellert’s character, since receiving a speaking role, seems to be developing a bit into a spiritless flibbertigibbet. If the teenage D. finds this charming, then it is difficult to empathize with the emotion. He just seems to lack some of the wilful, fierce liveliness that Rowling seems indicate was part of his powerful appeal, that combined with brilliance, was enough so to disregard any signs of wickedness or downright cruelty.

Author's Response: Hmm. I'll have to go over the impending chapters carefully with these comments in mind. Gellert is -- Gellert. He keeps running off on me and turning chapters inside out, which is entirely in character though sometimes the chapter's portrayal is NOT. In short, he's a pain. I haven't found out how to bribe him into behaving just yet. Ariana has her moments in the same vein. Right now, she's spending a lot of time with Aberforth and is happy about that, but give her an inch.... But you didn't comment in order to hear about my staffing problems. This is very much a story that writes itself and lets me in on the developments when I read them. Alas, this means the writer's block also happens more than I'm used to. Perhaps a bag of lemon drops would help. Thanks for reviewing! Oh, and Austen is part of a large family, or "crew" if you follow Melville, of influences. I just led a discussion group on P&P and fanfic this term, is all.

Founders Four by sudreyjar

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Hogwarts was founded by four witches and wizards, great friends, and said to be the greatest of their age. But how did they meet, and what started them on the road to greatness?
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 10/16/08 Title: Chapter 1: Prologue

This is a beautiful story. I just luxuriate in the descriptive quality of your writing, and the fine attention to detail. Something in the idea of the weary traveller Salazar wandering through the ancient city in a search for knowledge casts a potent spell of mystery and suspence. Already, there’s something of Umbert Eco’s ‘the name of the rose’ in the atmosphere. You seem to know a great deal about history and religious studies

When I first read the philosophers stone, I would frequently think about the founders. There seemed to be a powerful story there, and a tragic one at that. I look forward to seeing how you will set the scene up.

I’m not wholly clear on the relation of the church to the magical world. The abbot seems to know, yet its unclear if the bishop does. The entrance Salazar seeks is concealed. Could you please illustrate what the relationship between the two is a little more??

Author's Response: Apologies for the delay in responding, and thanks for the review - as a fan of 'The Name of the Rose', I'm deeply flattered by the comparison... To answer your question, I was working on the basis that although the church as a whole would be as in the dark as everybody else about the magical world, there could still be some communities of monks or nuns from magical families in out of the way places. I hope that helps!

Desperate Measures by the_dragon_childe

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Gilderoy Lockhart is five years out of school and still a nobody. He's so worthless that even his best friend, who rules the press, can't seem to make a story out of him. A despicable idea comes to mind, one that he's been resisting... but it's foolproof, and he's starved for attention. She wants a story? He'll give her the story of a lifetime. [Light humour, Lockhart/Rita]
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 09/20/08 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

This is immensely satisfying. I never realized how beautifully those two go hand and hand. I would have liked to have seen a little more character analysis, but as it is, I really like it. Well done.

Lavender, blue - A Gryffindor true by Equinox Chick

Rated: Professors • Past Featured Story
Summary: When Lavender Brown returns to Hogwarts for her seventh year, she knows things will be hard. Professor Dumbledore’s death has scared everybody, and with her Muggle-born mother in hiding, she makes a promise to her father to stay safe.

But to stay safe she must ignore her instincts and turn her back on her friends.

This is a Lavender Brown/Blaise Zabini story, but also concerns that last year at Hogwarts when the Trio were a'hunting Horcruxes.

Thank you to Laura (bookofsecrets) and Terri (mudbloodproud) for beta'ing the first chapter, Alyssa (Harry4lif) for the second and Emma (Amortentia x) for taking over the reins. And Natalie for the last chapter.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. I doubt that surprises anyone.

This story won the 2010 QSQ for Best Chaptered Non-Canon Romance. Thank you to everyone who nominated, appreciated and judged.

ATTENTION: Because of prissy glitch on the archive, stories with a rating about 3rd-5th cannot be read. I have lowered the rating to enable access, but the content remains the same. This is a PROFESSORS rated fic. Read at your own discretion - the sexual situations warning is there for a reason.
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 03/24/09 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1 Promises to keep

Really good. I have always thought Lavender was an interesting character, and there's not much of canon yet for when it comes to writing about her.
You developed the characters and atmosphere convincingly. I shall be curious to see how you treat Malfoy, will he be anxious as last year or will you drop subtle clues (not unlike the Head Boy-ship) as the Malfoy alliance with Voldemort disintergrates.
I'm hooked, and look forward to seeing what you do next. One very minor irk, I think the Partil twin should have referenced Ron's spattergroit with distaste rather then disbelief.
a) as it sounds like and gross condition
b) it seems likely that they would dislike him after the way he more or less used Lavender

Author's Response: Thank you for the review and I'm glad you enjoyed the story. You'll have to see what I do with Malfoy, although, I must admit, he in't a strong part of this tale. I take your point about Parvati, but the reason was that she didn't believe he had spattergroit, given that Harry and Hermione were both AWOL, too. Carole xxx

The Fourth Marauder by ginnygirl16

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Peter Pettigrew was always the misunderstood one. He was never talented on the Quidditch pitch like James. He couldn't woo the girls like Sirius. Nor, was he the well-liked Prefect and sometimes soft-spoken Remus. So how did he fit into this famous group of boys? Was he just the wimpy kid who just sort of tagged along behind them? No, he was not. So what was he?
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 06/15/09 Title: Chapter 1: First Impressions

This is really good! I love the scope of your world and your writing is very Rowling-esche.
It seemed oddly fitting too that Pettigrew and Snape should share a boat. They both became double agents, and their stories share certain echo's, though usually with Snape making a more aggressive, polarizing moves.
Well done and I look forward to seeing this develop.

Author's Response: Wow! Thanks so much for your awesome review. I'm very glad that you are enjoying this. I was afraid people wouldn't like the way I had characterized Peter, but I am happy to know that someone enjoyed it;) I've just finished chapter two, and it has been beta'ed. I'm only allowed two stories in the queue at once, so as soon as there is an open space I'll submit again. I hope you keep reading and reviewing! --ginnygirl16

Involuntary Volunteer by Racing Co

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Gilderoy Lockhart devises the perfect plan to help boost morale after a young Gryffindor student is Petrified by the “horror within” the Chamber of Secrets. Despite his best attempts at rudeness, Severus Snape unwillingly becomes a part of Lockhart’s scheme.
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 06/25/09 Title: Chapter 1: Involuntary Volunteer

Wow, this is so good. Pithy, focused and so thoroughly believable. This could been taken as a chapter from the books. Well done.

Author's Response: Thanks! I rereading the books a few months ago and thought this would be an interesting "how did this happen?" side story. I'm trying to find more moments like that because I think there could be a lot of staffroom discussion fics that would be fun to write.

Dagger of Doubt by Grace has Victory

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: Because Tracey Davies wants nothing to do with her brother Roger, she avoids Ravenclaw House. But will she survive in Slytheirn? And is survival even what matters?
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 12/13/09 Title: Chapter 1: The Boy who Surpassed

I'm hooked.

Your characterizations are superb, and the pecking order between the Slytherin girls and boys feel very genuine (and genuinely unpleasant). Also, your observation that certain people omit to perceive human relationships in a like/dislike category feels to me a very apt one. School in particular seems to necessitate the formation of alliances that we would not otherwise bother to create.

I'm a little puzzled over the "Hoots" and "Toots" reference in chapter seven; do Daphne and Pansy's owls have vying names? I thought Toots at first might perhaps be a house elf.

I laughed aloud over the lines "The lesson was boring because we didn't actually see any magical creatures at all: Hagrid was conveniently claiming to show us invisible beasts. Theo pretended he could see whatever-they-were but Theo always does have to claim he's one better than the rest of us." The continuity is just excellent.

Poor Tracey. It curious how her deficient relationship with her family has defined so much. I once watched two grown men weep talking over how their parents reinforcement of the "good child" role had entrenched them further apart. This was somewhat different, as good child was bewailed against the binary deficient "bad" one. Tracey's relative neglect is more benign, and her brother is fundamentally decent, even if unobservant and revoltingly preening.

She's so perverted by hate that I both hope and fear for her attempted conversion, as the realist/nihilistic streak seems to have become so entrenched. I will at any rate continue to follow with interest.

Author's Response: Dear Charles, ~ Thank you for such a detailed and interesting review. I love JKR's characterisations, which just lend themselves to character-driven fanfic. I take it as a huge complliment if my characterisations work for you. ~ "Hoots" and "Toots" are a little back-story that just didn't fit into a work of this length. You need to know that Pansy and Daphne are cousins (Pansy's mother is the sister of Daphne's grandfather) and, given the nature of pure-blood snobbery, the girls have had their friendship imposed on them all their lives. Their owls were bought as a pair when Mrs Parkinson took them both on the Great Diagon Alley Shopping Trip the summer before they first started Hogwarts. Hoots and Toots are siblings from the same clutch of eggs, and of course it was Pansy who decreed their names. Daphne resents Pansy's dominance, but she is far too aware of the advantages of being Pansy's best friend to dare to complain. ~ The truth is, I believe very few families are highly functional. Most of us have to forgive our parents for some aspect of inefficient nurture AND learn what to do to make up the deficit. Roger is exactly what you say - a show-off but by no means malicious; their parents are not consciously aware of how they have overlooked Tracey; the loving grandparents, when they try to help, have simply no idea of the real nature of the problem. But Tracey's jealousy and resentment are out of all proportion to her problems. She doesn't act; she only reacts. She will make any moral sacrifice to fit in with her friends (at least THEY think she's a Somebody) even though she knows they are bad friends. ~ And, no, it is not too strong to claim by now that she is "perverted". As you correctly summarise, the all-important question in this narrative is: Can she be redeemed? By this stage, it would obviously require a much bigger prompt than a simple decision to snap out of it... ~ Thanks for writing in. Best wishes, GhV

What Mulciber Did to Mary Macdonald by Equinox Chick

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: "Do you know what he tried to do to Mary Macdonald the other day?"

"That was nothing," said Snape. "It was a laugh, that's all --"

"It was Dark Magic, and if you think that's funny --" **

Two versions of the same incident. But what did Mulciber actually do to Mary Macdonald that could be viewed in two different ways, and why was Severus Snape so keen to defend Mulciber?

** The words at the beginning of this summary are taken directly from The Prince's Tale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. I doubt that surprises anyone.

Thank you very much to Natalie (hestiajones) for beta'ing this fic for me.

Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 05/08/10 Title: Chapter 1: What Mulciber did to Mary Macdonald

A good story.

The characterizations and flow of the dialogue were perfect; perhaps the clause here should be that that is understood in the sense that I've always imagined them.
I'm not completely convinced about the situation though - to my liking it is a little to close to a rape scene.
The Regulus/Sirus ambiguity is perfect.

Author's Response: Thanks for the review. I understand what you're saying about the situation, but I wanted it to be something that a girl would probably take far more seriously than a boy. Kissing/groping someone can be seen as a laugh - especially in that era (70's) - you should see the sit-coms in UK at that time. Of course the female concerned doesn't find it amusing at all. Glad you liked the characterisation and dialogue though

Real by armagod679

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Love is real. Love is pain. Pain is real. That is what Albus Dumbledore knows.
Reviewer: Charles Sinclair Signed
Date: 10/08/10 Title: Chapter 1: Pain is Real

I was quite moved by this. Its really good. The characterizations seem apt, and the depiction of the funeral scene is just one of those views or 'flashbacks' (a pensieve moment?) that J K Rowling has just left missing from the book, so I was very interested to read another persons take on it. I feel like there are a lot of those moments, and I should love for you to fill some more of them in... The meeting in the garden between Draco and Theodore that she edited out for example.
Still a few small typos.
Ending very powerful.

I look forward to seeing more of your work.

Author's Response: Thank you very much! Lost moments are very important to fanfiction-- there is just so much history in the world! I will be putting more in as time goes by. I am glad you enjoyed the story.