Reviews for The Dream Trilogy Book 1: To Dwell On Dreams
little-semanggi chapter 9 . 2/25
Oh gosh, the torrent of emotion, the intricate plot, and most of all...goody Draco! xD I LOVE THIS! Why do i just found this now, haha.

Sure, i feel some discrepancy like the battle Harry VS Voldie that felt a bit strange (maybe because the killing curse didn't work again), Alex co. universe staff and Draco's reunion (i thought Draco will play the bad guys until they found Sarah but he just stalling, lol) but whatever, this was awesome!
It's like a legit HP book number 4,5 or something. I can tell you spend some time with the details and I like it.

I'll search your other book!
Thanks

~lil Semanggi
Guest chapter 4 . 11/22/2016
How in the fuck did Sarah not hear them shouting and shit?
kenchak chapter 8 . 8/22/2016
The premise of story is good and a fast phased one. But the "guilt" and "its my fault" lines repeating gets old fast and irritating.
Ria0207 chapter 9 . 7/26/2016
Absolutely loved this!
Beeezie chapter 9 . 6/23/2016
Okay. So since this is the last chapter, I’m going to comment on it in this review (obviously) but also on the books as a whole, because there are some major takeaways for me that I want to lay out. (Just because.)

I’m really interested to read on. I figured that the doorway would be a weakened now - it stands to reason. When you teach the universe new routes, it’s going to start taking them. I also absolutely love Seamus’s appearance at the end - what an amazing cliffhanger to leave this on! I admit that I was already wondering whether they were kind of, well, dead, because I think I remember the CI of Alex I recently made mentioning being dead, but I was not expecting you to bring Seamus back! Awesome, awesome job.

So, overall, I really enjoyed this story. (Clearly, since I binge read it in about a day.) The premise was intriguing, and I thought that you carried it out really, really well. Your attention to detail was inspiring, and it ended up making the story one of the most vivid and intriguing novels I’ve ever read on HPFF. It actually made me think about canon events in a new way, too, which I love.

That said, there were a couple things that stood out to me as areas I thought you could maybe take another look at.

There were definitely some typos sprinkled across the story - mostly with punctuation, so it wasn’t a huge deal, but at the same time, it did stick out to me, particularly because it seemed a little at odds with how meticulous you were with the content. The typos weren’t super distracting, but there were a fair number of them, so it might be worth reading through the book again to catch them.

Along the same lines, I felt like there were points where you relied a little too heavily on adverbs; while they’re certainly really useful sometimes, I feel like when the dialogue captures the sentiment, it’s not really necessary to include adverbs on top of that, particularly since they can conflict - for example, Fudge goes from speaking almost sympathetically to narrowing his eyes angrily to getting irritated in about 40 seconds (last chapter). It just seemed like you could have shown more and told less around dialogue.

The only other major thing that stood out to me was that I felt like there were times when your depiction of characters veered a little too melodramatic for me. I mentioned it once or twice where it stuck out to me, but I feel like the overarching point is that while I feel like you do an amazing job with your main characters and depicting their feelings and motivations - other world Draco, for example, is done wonderfully - you don’t always seem to immerse yourself quite so thoroughly in more supporting or minor characters (like James or Fudge), and that can sometimes lead to them coming across as a little awkward or unbelievable.

Other than that, though, this was a really amazing series, and I can’t wait to get started on the next book!

- Branwen
Beeezie chapter 8 . 6/23/2016
Your attention to detail is really remarkable. I love how you draw relationships between what Harry experiences here and what he’s gone through by the midway point of OotP - it really helps make your story fit well within the HP canon, even though it’s AU. Here, I loved the interaction with Moody - while Harry briefly met the real Moody in the beginning of OotP, the bulk of his interactions really were with Barty Crouch, and I can see how he’d have to remind himself that no, this Moody does not want him dead. (That said, I did wonder at Kingsley - didn’t Harry meet him at the beginning of OotP, too?)

I liked that this chapter concluded the issue with Voldemort... ish. If he’d been completely, 100% destroyed, it would have seemed a little overly simplistic, but from how you’ve presented it here, it seems like what’s happened is what in Harry’s world happened at Godric’s Hollow 14 years ago. Voldemort will be back, and someone will have to deal with that... but probably not him.

Umbridge is a real piece of work. She’s kind of despicable everywhere, but at least here, they’ve got better standing to dismiss her. (Or so it seems.)

Again, though, your characterization of the Potters seemed a little off to me, particularly since you’ve said they work for the Ministry, who showed up in Germany - wouldn’t they have heard about this? That didn’t seem consistent to me, and while James’s initial anger makes sense, the “What have you done Malfoy!” line seemed a little out of place. It’s a little awkwardly phrased, but more importantly, he’s yelling at a 15 year old that he barely knows (if he knows him at all). I get the animosity, but not the familiarity.

I feel like Harry’s kind of grappling with a lot of really difficult things right now. He loves his parents (and his sister!), and he wishes they were still alive in his world... but at the same time, it’s pretty clear that the world as a whole was better off when they were murdered. That doesn’t make Voldemort right, of course, but a lot (a lot, a lot) of people died because there wasn’t a 14 year period of Voldemort being pretty much powerless.

And now he’s also gotten this news about his Sirius and his Remus - both of whom, of course, are not at all better off in his world - being in very, very dire trouble. On one hand, I feel like he’ll probably have more self-confidence than he had before entering this world, because he’s done some pretty impressive things... but on the other, this strikes me as an ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ type of situation.

Yikes. It’s too bad he didn’t get to say goodbye to Hermione and Draco, but somehow, I doubt that this will be the last we see of them - give the very, very little I know about the other two books from doing the banners, it seems likely to me that this Draco is going to show up again. Oh, I hope I’m not wrong - I’m really interested to learn more about him!

I loved the way you started this chapter. Harry’s recent adventures have been incredibly overwhelming, so of course he’s feeling rather raw and emotional. But, bringing it back to Dumbledore’s words to him so long ago was really, really fitting, and on reflection, I feel like it fits Harry’s overall character in the books as well. There’s not a lot of time for him to get caught up in dreams of what could be - I’d never thought about it, but he really did carry that advice with him, didn’t he? I like that.

And, as I’ve said before, I also think that this is a very realistic reaction to trauma. People often fixate on logistics and details, because action just feels better than reaction.

I had more mixed feelings about the confrontation with Draco. On one hand, I really liked that he was the first person Harry bumped into, because it does kind of bring things into perspective. On the other, though, there were parts of the confrontation that just seemed a little too... generic, in a way?

I mean, Harry’s been missing for about two days. From what I’ve seen, at least, it seems to be something that people have noticed. But Draco doesn’t really mention it, other than a vague ”I thought you’d be hiding out until at least Thursday.” That didn’t seem quite sufficient to me. And, on top of that, Draco seemed to startle much, much too easily - he was clearly thrown by Harry, but I’m just not sure it made sense.

I did like pretty most everything else, though! Harry’s finding the picture was a nice parallel to his mother’s protection holding strong even when he was in another Harry’s body - it hints at something bigger going on that has yet to really be solved. McGonagall’s reaction makes perfect sense to me, and I found his interaction with the minister to be super interesting. Since the next chapter is an epilogue, I’m wondering whether this is going to wait to be resolved until the next book.

You and your cliffhangers. You love them, don't you? :P

- Branwen
Beeezie chapter 7 . 6/23/2016
This made me laugh despite how serious and dire the situation is. There really aren’t many things that can survive a stake to the heart, particularly not without immediate medical attention.

Anyway. This was a really interesting chapter - I’m not quite sure what I think about the mass infiltration/betrayal, and I hope that you’ll address it a little more at some point. It did make for a really exciting chapter, though, and it’s interesting that Snape joined the resistance and stuck with it for so long, even without Lily’s death. I mean, I can see it - it’s just interesting. This story is really making me examine a lot of characters’ motivations in different ways, and while I’m not sure I always agree with your interpretation (though I usually do :P), I think it’s really thought-provoking.

At this point, I’m also really curious to see whether you’re going to kill Voldemort off in this book or not - I’m not clear on whether you’re using the horcuxes or not, which obviously will affect whether he dies. I’m not even sure whether OotP Harry would be able to kill him - a lot of how he does has to do with all the stuff with the Elder Wand, though of course you may have something much more creative in mind!

I actually wasn’t quite sure of your depiction of Bellatrix here - it seemed like you were projecting a lot of what we know from the end of OotP through DH onto her here. I didn’t think that interaction made it clear that Bellatrix had a “clearly unhealthy obsession” with Voldemort. I wish you’d shown a little more of how truly crazy and disjointed she is - Azkaban didn’t help, but we saw in the Pensieve that she wasn’t the most stable person in the world even before that. As it was, I didn’t really get the unhinged fanaticism I would have ideally liked to see.

That aside, though, this was an amazing chapter. I love the way that our Harry continues to have experience and skill that their Harry very clearly doesn’t, and it’s clearly throwing everyone else off (for good reason). I hadn’t thought about the stone, really, but once the issue was raised, it made perfect sense to me.

I loved seeing Harry battle the Imperius Curse, and I found it really ironic that Barty Crouch Jr. - who in this world has always been at Voldemort’s side - is really responsible for his ability to do that. Every time I reread GoF, I’m confused by fake-Moody’s actions there - way to hand your enemy a super important tool.

I found it interesting that Harry was able to speak Parseltongue here and that his mother’s charm seems to still protect him, even though she didn’t die for him in this world - I’m still trying to figure out where the line is between our Harry and this world’s Harry, and at this point, I’m pretty confused. I was assuming that the protection wouldn’t hold, but that it is makes me wonder if there’s more confusion between the worlds than just Harry switching bodies right now. Hmm.

I was pretty sure Parvati showed up in a future banner, but I didn’t think that Seamus did - I was wondering why. I guess now I know - ouch, that was like a punch in the gut. (Not a sword in the gut, though!) That was harsh, but I can understand why you did it.

Ouch, though. Ouch. And I’m sure that Harry’s going to be completely wrecked by guilt that he got Seamus into this mess, and that he wasn’t even quite who Seamus thought he was. It raises the question - would Seamus and Parvati have come along if they’d known? I think they probably would have, but Harry can’t know, and I bet that’s going to weigh on him. I feel like he won’t be able to keep the truth from Parvati for much longer - I wonder how she’ll react to it.

At first, when Draco said that magic wouldn’t work in there, I actually assumed that he meant their magic - that Voldemort’s side could do magic. I guess that wouldn’t make much sense in this context, but I wasn’t stopping to think. I was thinking about it throughout this chapter, though, and it makes a lot of sense to me - he never really trusted anyone, so giving himself, and only himself, that power... yeah, I can see that even from a healthy Voldemort. An unhealthy Voldemort, who could be more easily defeated? Absolutely.

Amazing chapter!

- Branwen
Beeezie chapter 6 . 6/23/2016
That’s interesting. So there hasn’t been a switch - their Harry seems to have just vanished. I’m actually a little worried at this point that he’s dead - if he was attacked, that might make sense. Of course, Harry’s body didn’t switch worlds, because he doesn’t have the scar - but then where is his real body?

I’m very confused. Well, I guess that means I really have no choice but to keep reading!

I like the feral witches and wizards that you introduced - it’s kind of a super dark version of Ariana Dumbledore, in a way, which is cool. It makes some sense, too, that not everyone is well-trained - I can absolutely see where people with magic that don’t really have any understanding of it could end up like this.

I feel like it can’t be too much longer before they start to figure out that Harry isn’t quite who he says he is. There’s just too much that he knows that he really has no way to reasonably know - the Parseltongue is a huge glaring sign, and that’s not something that can be explained away with, “Sirius taught me!” Sirius did not teach him about Parseltongue.

Also: oh, my god. Hermione’s quick. Hermione has always been quick. She caught something that I... hadn’t missed, exactly, but hadn’t really processed, either. At first I wondered whether Draco was Imperiused - which I’d believe of Bellatrix or Voldemort without a problem - but having his mother makes sense, too, and I can see how his father would have turned on him (in private, at least - Parvati and Seamus clearly have no idea of this, which also makes sense). Narcissa, though - I mean, she was a pretty awful person, but she loved her son.

The way you address brainwashing and threats worked really well. It made a lot of sense to me, and I think that you depicted the complexities of the whole thing really well. And while some people might differ, I can see how what Draco’s talking about could have led him down a road I think he was starting to go down in DH several years early. Like Harry, though, I’m curious about how Draco managed it - he was twelve, after all, and it took him almost a year to figure it out in HBP, by which point he was better educated and almost certainly more clever as well. I also found Harry’s semi-forgiveness to be interesting - I’m still working out whether I think he’s being too understanding for Harry as we know him. On one hand, I feel like he sort of is, because even in OotP Harry is a bit harder line - but at the same time, given that Harry’s just found a family he’s always wanted so badly (and, of course, that he wound up in this world in the first place because Sirius had been recaptured), that his thoughts are trending in this direction does make some sense to me.

Hermione really is quite clever - you showed it a lot in this chapter. They’re very lucky she came along with them - they’d never have even gotten inside without her, since I don’t really fancy Harry and Draco’s chances against a sphinx. I love that about her, and again, I feel like the consistency there is perfect - the ways in which you’re making her clever remind me a little of PS, where she and Harry are at the potions right before the room with the mirror of Erised and she says that a lot of wizards can’t use logic at all. None of what she’s doing really requires a lot of knowledge of the magical world - just not being totally shell-shocked and being quick on her feet. I mean, she deserves credit for taking this in stride - that speaks to a tremendous amount of mental fortitude - but the way you’ve handled it makes complete sense.

Quintapeds! I love quintapeds, too. (In my next-gen fanfics, creatures have become a much bigger problem than dark wizards in a lot of ways. Ughhh, still need to edit those and then start writing again.)

I’m really glad that Hermione, at least, knows the truth about Harry. I think it’s important for him that someone knows, but I also think that it’s important for me as a reader. It’s allowed you to present this story in the context of canon information without straining credulity or going off-topic in some deus ex machina sort of way.

And then I got to the dementors.

I know it’s ridiculous, because, well, dementors, they’re kind of serious business, but I knew that the Patronus Charm was coming, and I couldn’t wait to see Seamus, Parvati, and Draco’s reactions to it. I’m not quite sure what I think about Hermione managing to cast it, since she always struggled with it in the books, but I think it does make a really powerful statement about her emotional state and life before Harry told her she had magic. I can see how lifting that burden from this Hermione would concentrate so heavily in such a good memory. (The nitpicker in me, though, demands that I point out that Hermione’s patronus is an otter in canon, and I’m not quite sure why that would change.)

I felt like this scene also really allowed you to really start to build a strong friendship between Harry and Draco (though it really makes me wonder what will happen when Harry returns to his world - this friendship going to be really discordant with the acrimonious relationship he has with that Draco). Harry can understand where Draco is coming from and why he fainted - he hears his mother being murdered every time he sees a dementor. He’s only adjusted enough that he doesn’t faint because he’s had so much exposure (which is pretty messed up in and of itself). My heart went out to Draco - I can see Narcissa being expendable to Voldemort, particularly if she talked back, and while it’s hard for me to envision canon Narcissa talking back... well, this Narcissa had been through a drastically different journey. I am a little surprised that Lucius watched, but again, the situation is so radically different that I can suspend my disbelief.

Great chapter!

- Branwen
Branwen chapter 5 . 6/23/2016
Posted the last one too quickly!

I love everyone’s reaction to winding up in Germany. I actually totally get the insistence on knowing where in Germany, even though it really pretty irrelevant - when something so out of the ordinary happens, it’s natural to grasp at any straws you can to feel like you’ve maintained some hold on the situation. It’s a super common reaction to intense stress. And I like the fact that they’re in Germany - that implies a vague connection with Grindelwald, I think, which is cool.

I love how you’ve dealt with the Black Forest. It’s kind of inspiring me to do some research and send my Rose or Victoire there when I’m done rewriting my fics - I hope you don’t mind too much if I do! I’m so glad you included Lethifolds in Draco’s recitation of all the monsters that live there - they’re my favorite obscure magical creature (though the nitpicker in me has to point out that they usually live in the tropics :P). As soon as I saw that, I wanted them to bump into one and have Harry have to use Expecto Patronum so bad. I’m not sure why I’m fixated on that, I just think it would be really funny.

I also really liked that you had Draco use the Imperius Curse. I think it did a couple really important things - it let us know as readers how those curses are viewed in this world, which IMO is important. Desperate times and all that - Harry uses both Imperio and Crucio in DH, after all. From Seamus’s reaction, I’m not sure that he and Parvati know the Imperius Curse at all, which I found surprising - was it kept that under wraps in the FWW (which, of course, this still is)? It was nice that you didn’t dwell, though - the unpleasant taste in Harry’s mouth was enough to get a lot of subtlety across, IMO.

Oh, that’s where Seamus’s line comes from! Love it.

AH DRACO DOESN’T SPEAK PARSELTONGUE! Of course he couldn’t let the basilisk in! That seemed weird to me from the start, but I was so busy freaking out over the story that I didn’t really process why.

(I like them falling into the river and everything, but I’m going to freak out over that instead, because oh my god, I love the way exchanges of information can get so strange so quickly here. Yes.)

This is something that’s making me super, super curious, and the fact that you don’t immediately address it.

Instead, you make Ron - our Ron - show up. And oh wow, I guess their Ron really is dead, then. And no, Alex, that did not really work as I think you intended it to. Fail. But now I’m confused about whether that was really a dream or not (though I hope it wasn’t, because Ron could be very useful, though he’d undoubtedly raise approximately a gazillion questions, too).

Oh my god, I’m half done with the first book, aren’t I? Oh dear. Well, at least there are more after this!

- Branwen
Beeezie chapter 5 . 6/23/2016
I loved Lily’s anger at the beginning of the chapter. I think it makes perfect sense - James vouched for Peter, in a sense, and in that way, this is his fault. (Though really, she’s known him for years - this is on her, too.)

When Draco started talking about Freiheit, I kind of wanted to smack Harry for not just playing along and reading the room. I mean, come on, Harry, even a simple shrug would have been sufficiently vague. But, at the same time, that does fit Harry’s character. He doesn’t tend to think very quickly on his feet if no one’s pointing a wand at his head.

I like the way you’re having Draco reveal a lot of things that we know and that this Harry knows. It’s kept the story from dragging while we wait for big reveals, and it’s also completely plausible - Draco tended to know a lot more than most people did, and in a world like this, I can see him being even better informed.

I also really love that Hermione is the reason they start to waver, despite her complete lack of training and understanding of the magical world. (And I love that she cites D&D as a reason they should bring her. Of course Hermione would get into D&D if her magic went unidentified.)

I was wondering whether they were going to come along - those chapters didn’t seem to be quite enough justification to include them in the banner. (Which might mean Ron isn’t quite as dead as he’s rumored to be? It’s weird to guess at characters’ importance using the banner I made 8 months ago! :P)

Just a thought, though - they seem to keep emphasizing that these kids are untrained, but I’d think that given the situation, their parents would have at least tried to teach them basic protection spells - the stunning spell, full body bind, expelliarmus, etc - if not other spells as well. It’s certainly not as good as a Hogwarts education, but it’s not nothing. Parvati claims to have some training, but the general thought is there, and it confused me a little.

(Oh, please please please tell me you have Harry use the Patronus Charm at some point, that would make their jaws drop. Their Harry clearly isn’t anywhere near as experienced as the Harry we know and love. I’m already loving how taken aback they are by his knowledge... which is ironic, given that our Harry was completely oblivious about the world of magic until he was 11.)

You’re handling Hermione perfectly. They’ve all been through very different experiences than the versions of themselves that we know, but I’d argue none more so than Hermione - they still existed in the wizarding world, even if it was a very different one, but Hermione’s been cut off from it and severely bullied. I feel like you’re making great choices over what to keep consistent and what to change.

So, yeah, great chapter overall.

That said, I wasn’t quite convinced by Lily and James’s reaction later on, after they’d all gone inside. I get that it’s their kid, but they’re reacting as though this is a surprise, not a constant threat they’ve been afraid of since they had Harry. But that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me - it sounds like they’ve been in hiding for about fifteen years, so they must live with this anxiety nonstop. And, though it’s not the same as losing your child, they’ve lost many, many close friends over the years. The grief makes sense, but not the shock.

Other than that, though, I really enjoyed this chapter. The story is progressing terrifically, and I can’t wait to read on.

- Branwen
Beeezie chapter 4 . 6/23/2016
Oh, Draco.

I’ve really grown to like Draco, in recent years. Not Draco as he appears in the series, really, but based on what we saw in HBP and DH, I think there was a lot of capacity for growth there, and I’ve always been curious about what he (and his parents, to a lesser extent) did later in life. My interpretation in my Scorose fics has generally been fairly charitable toward Draco, but when I saw that he’d showed up, I really wanted to know what alternate reality Draco was like.

And wow, I was not disappointed.

I wasn’t quite sure about your description of Seamus hitting him - the result seemed to be a little drastic for one punch. But the disgust and anger from Seamus and Parvati was perfect, IMO - it seemed like they reacted more on principle than out of any special desire to defend Hermione, which makes sense for a bunch of teenagers who have seen far too much of the world, especially if Draco is already a Death Eater. (Which raised the question of how on earth he knew who she was, and kind of confirmed the concern I raised about having a list laying around in the last chapter’s review.)

I also loved Harry’s initial confusion at Parvati’s assertion that he couldn’t do anything to hurt Voldemort. I mean, fair enough, their Harry hasn’t, but this Harry and our Harry had done quite a bit to hurt Voldemort even before the end of OotP, HBP, and DH. His track record of “hurting Voldemort” was pretty good.

AND OH MY GOD OF COURSE HE DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT THE PROPHECY YET. Wow.

AND OH MY GOD PETER SOMEONE GRAB HIM NOW AND LIKE RESTRAIN HIM AND OBLIVIATE HIM FOREVER.

I am loving Draco so much in this. The dynamic between him - as someone who does know a lot of what Harry knows in his own world - and Harry is absolutely hilarious, and I’m also really enjoying Hermione, who’s gotten the cliff notes version of the truth.

During the entire confrontation with Peter, I was waving my arms at my computer screen and trying not to scream “STUN HIM FOR THE LOVE OF GOD HE’S GOING TO ESCAPE AND RUIN EVERYTHING!” because my boyfriend is asleep and has work tomorrow, and he quite reasonably like to be, you know, well rested for work.

But wow.

I love how Draco dropped the meek little puppy act when he got angry enough. I can totally, totally understand that - I suffer from depression, and I can get like that sometimes just because, but there are things that just trigger an on switch and listening to someone lie through their teeth like that? Definitely one of them. Ugh Peter is the worst.

But he blew his cover. He got so flustered by Harry knowing things that he couldn’t possibly know and Draco being in the Potters’ living room that he blew his cover. And I love that, and it is so, so realistic - as is James and Sirius jumping through all kinds of mental hoops to explain the slips rather than accept the simplistic explanation: that Peter’s slipping because Peter’s a snake. It also made sense to me that Remus and Lily would be quicker to catch on and less willing to let it go - as purebloods, James and Sirius are still very much operating from a place of privilege that Lily and Remus don’t have, and it shows.

But wow, that one decision. I hadn’t really processed that it was that one decision that changed everything, but it was, and I can see how that would be the case. God, it’s sick, but the world was kind of better off with that awful, awful decision and the Potters dead.

Oh, Peter. Yes, Harry is quite capable of standing up to grown wizards because he has feelings. Also, please someone give Hermione a wand and tell her a few spells, because I have every faith that that girl will make it work. And I love this line:

Seamus stood in front of her protectively, and they both had their wands out and pointed at Malfoy, though not with half the conviction Harry and Malfoy had theirs at Wormtail.

Yeah, they wouldn’t. No matter what Draco’s done in this universe, they wouldn’t.

(I’m writing this review as I read, can you tell?)

Ugh you guys you let Peter get away, why did you wait so long? Just stun him and figure it out later!

(No, I get why they didn’t. BUT STILL.)

Yeah, this story is addicting.

- Branwen
Beeezie chapter 3 . 6/23/2016
It’s so fun to read through this after making all the graphics for it - seeing the context of the quotes is really interesting. I’m glad the fundraiser is giving me an excuse to go through and check this story out. :)

I love the little things you’ve kept the same. Hedwig, his wand - they’re such little things in some ways, but they really make me think about what sorts of things really are innate. I mean, the wand chooses the wizard, but the same wand chose a Harry that had grown up in wildly different circumstances. It’s just really interesting.

I like the way Sarah is continuing to cover for him without really knowing what’s going on, too. I have a brother who I’m close to, so I’m a sucker for a well-written sibling relationship, which this is turning out to be.

And Hermione... I really, really like that you had Harry go to her first, even knowing that she probably has no idea that she’s a witch. It’s really in keeping with their characters and relationship, I think - Harry really came to rely on Hermione to explain and fix things, and I can see how he’d think she might have a better shot of figuring out this whole mess even without a Hogwarts education. (I think he’s probably right.) You captured her confusion and emotional state perfectly, too - of course she’s had to deal with a lot of turmoil because no one’s addressed her magic, which is a giant elephant in the room, and I thought that her anguish came across as very genuine.

I also loved the light she was able to shed on this - and what she wasn’t able to explain. Hermione’s clearly very quick on her feet, and you didn’t dumb that down at all, but there’s clearly a limit on what she can know, and I thought you walked that line really, really well. I also loved the little bit of explanation about how the Ministry is approaching Muggleborns these days. It’s nice to know that they acknowledge the problem, but they’re clearly letting some things slip, and it worries me to think of the Ministry - which is so rife with corruption throughout the HP series - having access to a list of Muggleborns. That could really do more harm than good!

I did wonder at how quickly Hermione was willing to cast aside all the rules she’d lived by for fifteen or sixteen years, but I can see how this sort of revelation might do that to a person, even one like Hermione, particularly when taken in context with the rest of her life - that story she told Harry about the science lab was chilling.

There is one tiny thing I wasn’t sure about, though: in this chapter, you refer to the Healer as “Dr Jaisun.” That seemed a little weird to me - in OotP, I’m pretty sure they were called “Healer Smythwyck” (or whatever), not “Dr.” I think you may have called the Healer a doctor in the last chapter, too, but I kind of filed it away for mention and forgot about it. It’s a really minor thing, but it did strike me as being weird and out of place.

Otherwise, though? Amazing chapter. :)

- Branwen
Beeezie chapter 2 . 6/23/2016
I like how you’ve set this up. You’ve really thrown Harry into major turmoil - even more serious turmoil, IMO, than the end of OotP, when Sirius actually died, because here there’s this sense of helplessness that it’s very difficult to move past, where there... well, Sirius was already dead. I think you nailed Harry's probable reaction here - the anger felt very genuine to me.

As much as the anger, though, the sheer frustration - not just from Harry, but from Ron and Hermione as well - really hit me. I found OotP frustrating on a lot of levels because the Ministry's actions were just so ridiculous at times, and seeing that reflected here was perfect.

The butterfly effect that you’ve alluded to is wonderful, too. There are some pretty substantial changes to the timeline, but I think that they make perfect sense - Voldemort not dying would really change things around a lot, and I think it also speaks to the importance of Ron and Hermione in Harry’s story - they weren’t really just supporting characters, they were major participants and contributors in a lot of ways. Without them, of course Harry wouldn’t know what to do about the basilisk (though I’m wondering if there’s more of a story there), and since we saw them about to close the school after the few nonfatal attacks in CoS, it’s not at all difficult to imagine the school closing if people actually died.

On a more visceral level, it was kind of a punch in the gut to hear that Ron had died and Hermione probably didn’t even know she was a witch - particularly after hearing that Lily and James are alive and had another child after Harry. It was a lot to absorb, but I like the way you handled it, and I like Sarah, too.

That said, I do have a few little bits of CC for this chapter.

I felt like it was a little unrealistic that Dumbledore needed Ron to point out that maybe Arthur could be helpful - I’d assume that Dumbledore would be several steps ahead of all of them when it came to something like this.

There was also something about Harry's interaction with Draco that felt a little forced - your description of Harry's reaction to Draco made Harry come off as unusually passive to me, and I also wasn't really sure why Draco was spelling it out so clearly. When we saw him mocking Harry over Sirius in the books, he was a lot more vague than he was here. I feel like cutting out most of the dialogue and just leaving "I heard the dog catcher's going to get a nice Christmas bonus here" (or something similar) would have been sufficient and more in-character for these two.

And, early on, when Harry first woke up and thought Lily was an imposter, I didn’t quite feel the urgency I think I probably should have. It’s a little hard to articulate, but I felt like you approached the scene from the perspective of knowing that this Lily was the real thing, even if Harry himself was confused. (If that makes any sense?) I would have like to see a little more uncertainty in that.

Those are really minor, though - great chapter, and I can’t wait to see who he uses Hedwig to find!

- Branwen
Beeezie chapter 1 . 6/23/2016
This was a great read, and I’m excited to get to more of it. I thought that your prose was really lovely - I felt like you described the setting (and Alex and Jia!) vividly without interrupting the flow of chapter. That balancing act can be tough to pull off, IMO - I’ve definitely struggled with it in the past, so it was wonderful to see you do it so elegantly. Along the same lines, I thought that the way you introduced the world itself was really well-done; I was left feeling like I’d gathered all the information I needed to move forward from the little bit of dialogue between Alex and Jia, which was perfect.

Beyond those mechanics - wow, this is a really, really interesting idea for a story! I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones, but it kind of put me in the mind of that, a little. I doubt you’re going to be dealing with the thousands and thousands of realities - probably just one or two (although I’m pretty sure I’ve made a CI for Godric Gryffindor, so maybe not?) - but it’s a backdrop that’s intriguing, and it makes Alex and Jia compelling characters who very much have their own agendas. I’m interested to see how you play them off Harry & co.

Really terrific start to the story - I can’t wait to read on. :)

- Branwen
acidburned chapter 3 . 5/26/2016
One of the things I love about your writing is your ability to characterize people very well. Hermione's reactions and progress in actions throughout her interaction with Harry very well solidify her as a true Gryffindor. She is powerful, smart, quick thinking yet vulnerable and cautious. And yet, she is different from the original Hermione in some sense. There is a clear distinction, yet there is just enough similarities to make you know she is not just a random OC.
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