|Reviews for Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness|
| boomer97 chapter 25 . 9/18
| Scarlet Firesong chapter 25 . 9/7
I'm crying this is so beautiful
| Lucinda Hindle chapter 23 . 9/1
One of the most thrilling chapters ever written in the history of Harry Potter fanfiction. It was as thrilling as it had been in the DH, awesome! Gave me goose bumps, literally, my heart skipped a beat, and then started beating twice as hard, you are quite an exceptional writer, I love this story. This was the first fanfiction that I read, ever, this was the start of my fanfiction reading (later writing) career. I read it in Archives of our Own. Even though you made Snape as evil as the Carrows, I liked the overall story. Hats off.
And I will give you the compliment, which I had saved for the best of the best, never used before by me, always waiting for the best opportunity, its a phrase, very few would ever hear, for my standards are higher than the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts, "JK Rowling undercover."
| Guest chapter 25 . 8/23
I liked the first couple of chapters and I liked some of the details and new inventions you introduced like the portable portal, the dustbunnies the house-elves left under the Death-Eaters' beds, or the ancient and foreign spells. I especially enjoyed Luna's portrayal when they were locked in the cells. It seems totally plausible that she, of all people, had figured out how to keep in touch with her inner child's magic.
After a few chapters however, I realized I really got hooked on your story but in a way that felt very wrong. You use JK Rowling's writing style and sometimes even the very same metaphors which can be found word for word in the original series. This, along with the already established setting and characters, makes everything seem so familiar to the reader. It took me a while to see that they were not so much "in character" after all.
They were not supposed to be soldiers. They were kids thrown into battle, albeit with the advantage of having practised their defensive spells. While I believe they must have become rather good at Defense Against the Dark Arts, the whole "Army"-business was way over the top. I'd have loved to see Neville growing more confident and becoming a rather good teacher. A teacher, not a soldier. The DA could have grown in their significance as a resistance group. The leaflets and messages on the walls were a good start. They could have continued that way, giving the other students hope and making them stand loyal to Harry. They didn't need to become an actual army, even if they called themselves Dumbledore's Army.
I actually skipped a few chapters in between for mainly two reasons:
- looks got way too much screen time while character development somehow stalled. At some point it was just anymore about the boys doing manly stuff and saving the girls over and over again - yawn. It seemed to me that the more they became what you wanted them to be - soldiers - the more they were basically two prototypes, men and women. Different names, accents and characterization by house membership (smart, loyal, hot-tempered) did little to prevent the growing sense of superficiality I got as the story progressed.
- Snape was supposed to be protecting the students. He hated Harry because of his father and he enjoyed taunting Neville. He would never want to kill him though. He knew which side he was on and, although never getting over his past, he could set his emotions aside and focus on doing what was necessary to ensure they were safe. It was shown over and over again in the series how Snape used his ability to compartmentalize his life, which proved to be one of the key factors in Dumbledore's plan. The way you portrayed Snape made the story less and less believable to me. Painting him as the cruel villain only shows that you missed one of the key lessons of the Harry Potter series: that "the world is not divided up into good people and Death Eaters" as Sirius put it.
The other key lesson you missed is the theme of love that pervades the series. Love is expressed in multiple ways in the series, be it between friends, family members or even across species. The absence of love, of grief, regret or pity is what makes Voldemort so evil. "Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped", explains Dumbledore. Unfortunately, it seems you haven't grasped it either. While there are a lot of sweet words and hugs and kisses in this story, its underlying theme is still that soldiers need to "man up", that, at the end of the day, bravery means fighting at any sacrifice. This was proven in one of the last chapters, when Neville decided to think of his dead friends as mere names and numbers because the battle had to go on.
In Rowling's story, they had a cause that made it worth fighting for, and that's what set them apart from Voldemort, for whom it was about being a leader, being THE leader in fact; the only thing he wanted was power. So did Neville in your story.
Harry's innocence was a manifestation of his biggest strength, yet you painted it as weakness. Harry, in your story, is a kind of weirdo whose lack of detachment makes him a rather disappointing "Chosen One" in Neville's eyes. This culminates after the final battle, where Neville claims all the "glory" for himself as the commander of the DA. Yet, one reason why Harry's sacrifice was so special was because he never did it to get power or glory or admiration. He didn't want to be a hero; he accepted death willingly because it would ensure that at least his friends could live in peace.
I could go on but I have already said a lot. It all basically comes down to this: I think making this story about soldiers undermines the message of the original series, namely that fighting just to win the battle is pointless, and that there are things worse than death.
| Anon chapter 2 . 8/16
Okay - I'm only on the second chapter here, but I had to force myself to stop reading and write this review because honestly if I didn't I would've been completely distracted by the story and totally would've forgotten to write one.
This is - just - I want to say I'm speechless, but it's too good for me to sum it up to that.
This is a /beautiful/ piece of work.
1) It's 25 chapters long, and each chapter has something like 10k words in it, if not more. I don't know about you, but for me it's practically impossible to find fics that are 10k words long in total - much less each chapter - and even harder for me to find ones that I like and can keep reading. The same goes for how many chapters have been posted. (Rockstar! How do you do it?)
2) They're all in character. This is probably the most accurate portrayal of characters when not written by their original authors I've seen in /years/. If not /ever/. And, what's more - it's /all/ of them, too - not just the couple they focus on, or one or two side characters.
3) The little things. You point out so many things in this fic that I never even thought of before - are there purebloods who don't like muggleborns but want to solve the issue without violence? How much did their classmates know about the battles in the Ministry and before Dumbledore's death? What were everyone else's reactions to Cedric's death? (We only ever /really/ saw Harry as Cho's.) How would the dorm have changed with 3 out of 5 of the Gryffindor guys gone? How does the Fidelius charm actually /work/? We know what it does, but how is it placed? (Very creative answer to that, by the way) And so many others! Hell, you even got Seamus' accent right - and that's something I personally struggle with /very/ much in writing - accents - so I commend you for that.
4) Possibly the most important - the feelings. This fic is riddled with raw emotions. It's /human/. It makes me want to /connect/ with these characters and their problems. The agony that the students had to go through by listening to their classmates go through a different kind of pain, how Parvarti's looking to prove something, and she's scared at first that she might not be able to, how Colin is so ready for this war, is so committed to this cause even though he's only just caught the smallest taste of it, even though he's just a boy and even though he has to look out for his little brother as well, that he's willing to promise his entire life on the spot, willing to commit to hours under torture and the threat of his family if that's what it takes without cracking, because he knows that /someone/ needs to do it, and his willingness to get the others to see how serious of a situation they're really in and what it's going to be like in plain and simple terms and how if they don't like it they can get out and do it their way. How Neville's viewed his situation for the past sixteen years and the damaging effects that's had on his self esteem and his life overall, how Hannah jumped to conclusions, how Seamus had to keep his friend in his head just to keep him sane - just to keep his /friend/ sane - so he wasn't overwhelmed with helplessness, how Neville is constantly warring with himself and his doubt over his leadership, Neville's absolute respect for Hufflepuff house and steadfast trust in Colin, etc. It all boils down to the emotions - the humanity. They dealt with it all in very human ways. It shows that they make mistakes, too, and no, they aren't sure of themselves, and hell yes you can bet they're terrified, but they've got to do something before that fear gets so bad that they turn on each other and all of a sudden they're alone in the dark world and they can't move. It makes you /want/ to keep reading. It makes you feel what they're feeling.
There's so much more in this amazing story that should be mentioned, and honestly I could just go on and on (and I'm not even started on the third chapter yet), but overall this work is just so beautiful and touching and raw and nostalgia and terror and anger and sadness inducing - and that's how you know you're doing it right.
You're truly a wonderful author, and I hope it's a passion you continue to carry with you and pursue (hobby or not) through the years. Don't let anyone tear your work down because it's awe-inspiring.
It made me so happy to start reading this. Have a good week! :)
| Sophia the Scribe chapter 25 . 8/13
Thank you for this story; I truly enjoyed reading it. Questions of "How nasty was Shape?" and "Where on the spectrum of Vandalism Club to Fully-Fledged Army was the DA?" are very interesting to consider, and while I may not agree with every choice you made, many of your ideas are stellar and even the more controversial ones though-provoking. I especially liked getting to know Neville, Hannah, Ernie, Terry, Seamus, Colin, and the rest of Rowling's less-known characters in the DA. Thanks again for posting; the amount of work you must have put into this is incredible, and all of it definitely shows in this very well put-together story. Amazing job. Blessings, Sophia the Scribe
| WT Harmon chapter 25 . 7/24
Really wonderful, thank you
| Guest chapter 25 . 7/22
This is so amazing, I love how you aren't afraid to make it dark, you really make it horrible and I love it! Lol
| ForTheLoveOfEmmett chapter 25 . 7/8
I just finished this. It's my 30th birthday today and I'm sitting here bawling like a little girl. I can't get the picture of Ernie's sacrifice out of my head. As a wife, as a mom, I understand completely. You utterly ripped my heart out. It was an incredible read. You wrote it so well. I could damn near feel the hexes during the final battle. Thank you. And now I'm going to try and compose myself enough to go to sleep since it's 1 am and I'm exhausted after hosting a bridal shower. And I'm rambling. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for such a heart breaking, powerful, gut wrenching story. I can't say I'll be able to bring myself to reread it, but I will say I'll never forget it.
| Carenya chapter 25 . 7/8
Great story, one that I devoured as fast as I could possibly read. Love the psychology of their situation and you portray that beautifully. If this is truly your first work you have a really bright future ahead of you as a writer.
| Joshua the Arcanis chapter 25 . 7/1
The "All Quiet on the Western Front" vibes are too strong. Honestly, though, this story is a brilliant combination of angst, sorrow, elation, and relief. I cried twice, and laughed a ton. I spent days reading this masterpiece, and I would like to give you a heartfelt thank you. So, thank you.
| Sara chapter 25 . 6/26
I thought I may as well give you some feedback so... here.
This is the second time I have read it, and both times I couldn't put it down. The description, world building and the way you weave it together is incredible. The only fault I could find was the sinking of one of my ships, and that isn't really a problem anyway.
Thank you so much for writing this. It really did make me laugh, cry, and think.
| Nikki chapter 25 . 6/24
This was an amazing piece of writing! I honestly hadn't thought much about what was happening at Hogwarts during this time or how Neville became leader. You've fleshed out the story in a richly detailed and difficult story. The relationships between the DA members made it so real. The journey you set Neville on was logical, painful and true. Thank you for making me think and laugh and cry and hope. Best wishes on your writing in the future. You are so very talented.
| Mel chapter 25 . 6/15
this was by far better then the original 7th book of the series:)
i loved it very much! one of my fellow admin of a HP fb group (The Marauders Society) recommend this to me and i'm going to do the same to anyone who read the books!
Thank you very much!
| Yassoda chapter 16 . 6/13
I love that you put Krum in this!