|Reviews for Unspeakable Things|
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 60 . 4/11
...Did not see that coming. Dude, what happened to "you're my anchors, I need you"? It's amusing, of course, but it seems rather out of character for the Luna you wrote.
Aside from your weirdly inconsistent epilogue, though, I've been consistently impressed with your writing of Luna. She's sometimes amusing and sometimes disconcerting and sometimes troubling, and I think the way you maintained the balance of that throughout the story is one of its strongest points. Luna was broken. I've noticed in fanfiction that there's a tendency to SAY someone is broken and then write a character that's somewhat damaged but still essentially a whole - and usually good - person. Which is fine, they're great stories, but I'm so impressed that you said Luna was broken but brilliant and then wrote her that way. All the times she did morally ambiguous - even morally repugnant - things, every time she said or did something that made the other characters (and me) uncomfortable, that all reminds the reader that she was truly unstable, absolutely broken. In a way, I agree with McGonagall that she should never have been at Hogwarts. She was a danger to herself and others. It makes me a little uncomfortable to acknowledge, but she was also a very useful soldier. Harry's Bellatrix is an unfortunately accurate description.
I still can't decide how I feel about her using the entrails-expelling curse on Narcissa Malfoy. Because on the one hand, doing that to a pregnant woman is pretty well beyond the pale. On the other hand, she was already deep into plans to raise another pureblood prince just like Draco and Lucius. And Narcissa would be a terrible enemy to have at your back. But still, entrails-expelling curse.
Draco was another characterization that impressed me. He was a horrible, entitled, cruel little shit who made terrible choices but also who had a moment of realization that he had been branded like a slave and that he was trapped by the circumstances of his birth and the choices of others. There was a moment there when he was almost sympathetic, when you thought that just maybe he might find the courage to break free and do something decent. The fall he had just after that, when he killed Daphne Greengrass and embraced power, darkness and the pleasure of creating fear and pain in others was so much more powerful for that brief moment of self-awareness. I knew he was doomed from the moment he used the imperious to force Luna to carve her own flesh, but that moment of awareness gave a depth and complexity to his character that he just wouldn't have otherwise had. Draco's final, complete fall was exceptionally well written.
You know, the creepifying things about this story that I identified in the first few chapters never did get better. The DoM might have been protagonists of a sort, but they never were "good guys." Their research projects on unsuspecting subjects, horrifying invasions of privacy, and informal eugenics program (and man, did I call that or what?) were all pretty creepy, and got worse as the story went on. Child soldiers isn't a super-moral thing either, but I think Harry and Ginny had a pretty good idea of what was happening to them, and they thought (and I kind of agree) that better training as child soldiers that Dumbledore's vision of a teenage martyr. Harry made the best of a bad situation; I think he was content with his decisions and the outcome.
The most horrifying thing that happened in the story was the rape. Not just the rape itself and the aftermath, which I thought you handled well, but the implications of what the French were trying to do. Not only were they raping him, they planned to continue to do so indefinitely. To trick him into a marriage he would only escape in death. That's a level of disregard for Harry's agency and his rights as a person that is truly sickening. And it gets worse the more you think about it, because apparently this is common practice where it comes to sports.
One of the things I ended up really liking about the story is how so many canon events happened in not-canon ways. I thought it was quite clever, though Sirius dying about ripped my guts out. I really thought he was going to make it in this one. I especially liked the way Dumbledore died. Call me vengeful, but a slow, lingering death by poison administered by that piece of slime he trusted and defended REALLY appeals to me. I also like that he finally realized he was trusting the wrong man...and that when he did, it was too late. Snape was a cancer in Hogwarts. Dumbledore let him protect the Slytherins from the consequences of their horrid behavior while at the same time letting Snape persecute everyone else, especially Harry. Makes me boiling mad. Did in canon, too. I was ever so pleased when Snape got his.
Dumbledore was a cancer, too. One of the best things you did in this story, and one I wish had gotten more 'air time,' as it were, was the changes McGonagall made to the curriculum as soon as she had a chance. She overhauled pretty much everything. I think that is... speaking. It makes me think that your McGonagall was less the spineless doormat of canon, and more and educator who had her hands well and truly tied and had to sit on her anger for a long time.
Although, despite her words about Harry getting away with things, I seem to recall that she didn't hesitate to put a first year on the Quidditch team right after he disobeyed a teacher's directive to stay on the ground. Just saying.
I still think the funniest part of the story was Harry telling Dumbledore that Hogwarts sucked and he wanted to transfer. Right after cursing Malfoy in front of Snape. It will never not be funny.
I really enjoyed this story, which is a bit of a miracle, because I have a fairly strong dislike for the character of Ginny Weasley. The canon Ginny, I mean, the one who came out of pretty much nowhere to be pretty and perfect and inspire chest monsters, ugh. And I rarely find fic where she has decent characterization (though, admittedly, I do not seek it out. I much prefer Harmony). I just resent the hell out of her, and I've put no effort into changing my feelings. That said, she really worked in this story. She made a good romantic interest for Harry, a good partner. I think the characterization was a little weak compared to Luna's, but then, I think anyone's would have been, because you did Luna SO WELL. I didn't hate Ginny in this story, and for me that's a big deal.
I think the only real complaint I have (besides the oddness of the epilogue) would be the number of typos. There was a weirdly high number of wrong-word typos, considering the number of betas. It didn't significantly impact comprehension, but I'm mentioning it because it always throws me off for a second when I hit one. They interrupt the flow of things.
I'm really glad I read this, despite my personal issues with the pairing. It was great to have something to really sink my teeth into (mmm, quarter million words, delicious) and I got to try out the reviewing-as-I-go thing. I don't usually do that, since I prefer to hold comments for one long review at the end, but someone told me authors prefer more feedback than that. Do you have an opinion either way? I admit, there's something freeing about commenting on just one or two things at a time.
Overall, this was a great read. I loved the way you handled the plot; I don't usually get a lot of surprises in an all-7-years fic where so many of the plot elements still happen, so that was fun. I think you have a deft hand with adult relationships, too. Molly and Arthur were well done, and their relationship with Xeno Lovegood was very interesting. I also like that you wrote battles where our protagonists lost, and where their plans went balls-up. That was well done. In fact, you made a lot of mature writing choices that enhanced the story.
You do good work. Thanks for putting out here for us to read!
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 51 . 4/10
People are horrifying.
For what it's worth, I agree with your group. That whole sequence was awful to read, but it was visceral, it makes me empathize with Harry's feeling of being filthy inside. Both for the rape and for his revenge. I think trying to soften it would have been a disservice to the characterization.
But yeah, horrifying.
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 50 . 4/10
The issue of homosexuality in the Wizarding world is an interesting one, to be sure. Some authors take the stance you have, that a society stuck a century or two in the past and obsessed with heirs and bloodlines would consider homosexuality repugnant. Canon is... well, pretty heteronormative, if we're being honest. I don't think JKR ever confronted the issue directly in canon, and I generally consider Dumbledore's reticence on the issue of his own sexuality to have more to do with WHO his first love was, and how badly it turned out. Also, time and place; the Headmaster of a boarding school probably doesn't need to discuss his sexuality with the mostly-underage student population of his school. Because, frankly, ick. So, except for what's implied about Wizarding society, canon doesn't tell us much, but the implication is that homosexuality would be discouraged.
The other extreme is that Wizards would of course have developed a magical way to add people to the bloodline (fanon's "blood adoption") or for a man to, in one way or another, gestate and deliver a baby, and therefore marriage between two partners of the same gender is perfectly fine. I actually consider characters like Fleur, Hagrid and Flitwick to be a sort of oblique support for this view; if Wizards have offspring with other species, surely homosexuality shouldn't be that big of a deal. (And yes, I know that the fallacy there is 'have offspring,' but I still think it's a good point.)
The range of societal attitudes between the two extremes is huge, of course. What really fascinates me are the different socio-cultural constructs that authors come up with to explain how those attitudes developed. Fandom is really impressive that way.
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 23 . 4/9
Genius! I reread the section where Harry hexed Draco at least three times. I love that he did it right in front of Snape. Not even a minimal pretense of respecting Snape. So perfect. And then that rant about how Hogwarts sucks and he wants to transfer! I don't think I've ever seen a situation exactly like this. I've seen Harry *threaten* to transfer, but this didn't come off like a threat, it sounded like a genuine desire. Love it.
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 19 . 4/9
That was kind of fabulous. I don't think I've ever seen Millicent Bagnold as an actual character before, or at least, never as anything but a female Fudge. She really bearded the lion in his den in this one! I like the idea of her as a political powerhouse, though in canon, she was the one in office when Sirius Black went to Azkaban.
It's another common HP cliché that the Wizarding world is sexist. I don't mind clichés at all, and I do think that the patriarchal Wizarding world is at least somewhat logical on its face, seeing as how most of the canon society seems to be pulled from Victorian England or thereabouts. And it makes for a useful framework for both character motivations and social interactions. On the other hand, I think the wand would be one hell of a gender-equalizer. Also, in the extra-canonical information provided by JKR, there are plenty of famous witches, as well as wizards, starting with Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff and all the way on down to Griselda Marchbanks, the head of the Wizarding Examination Authority. So you can go either way with it, but I think it's a little weird that Amelia Bones is the only female Department Head.
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 17 . 4/9
"Unwitting subjects in a long-term research project."
Are you sure the Unspeakables are the good guys?
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 16 . 4/9
The Hat sends personality profiles to the Department of Mysteries. Holy invasion of privacy, Batman!
I know the DoM are supposed to be the good guys, but wow their methods make me uncomfortable.
Didn't see this confrontation coming. At all. I'm curious to find out how Snape knew where they were. Did he follow Remus? I wish they could kill him. Sadly, I think that would put all of Xeno and Adonis' plans out of whack. Still, a man who gives his godson permission to maim a twelve year old girl, regardless of her mental stability or lack thereof, has a terminal case of Got It Coming.
And Luna did tell him he could die in peace or in pain.
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 9 . 4/9
Thank you for not going for the punctured lung. Everyone always seems to want to give Harry a punctured lung. Why can't someone talk about bruised kidneys (a common injury when someone is kicked or punched hard in the back) or torn tendons? I like your diagnostic spell, too. I think a slightly imprecise diagnostic with a visual representation makes more sense than a super-detailed list of trauma.
In a way, I'm glad to see Xeno Lovegood acknowledge that what he and the DoM are doing to Harry, Ginny and Luna is morally ambiguous. Self-knowledge is important. On the other hand, "those Muggles damaged a state treasure" is not the way someone usually reacts to an extremely hurt child. It's especially disconcerting language to hear from the man who will presumably be Harry's superior. He's speaking like Harry is a thing, and more than that, a thing that belongs to the state. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable.
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 7 . 4/9
The no-lying thing makes it a little better, at least. And the difference Adonis noted is definitely significant - Dumbledore wants an ignorant sacrifice (and one who won't later challenge his power); the DoM wants a weapon. What I want to know is, will the DoM also let Harry be his own person?
I like that having Adonis there so significantly changed the story. I mean, it should have, since he's a competent adult, but sometimes authors cleave to the canon plot anyway. They killed the Basilisk, defeated the diary, but in a completely different way, which is nice to read. Also the giant machete thing was very cool. Looking forward to the third year; Harry's training with Adonis should put a significantly different spin on things.
| Shadow Lighthawk chapter 4 . 4/9
Am honestly a little creeped out. That the Unspeakables have been watching Harry and Ginny is bad enough, especially since they (by what we know so far) never intervened in Harry's situation, but the whole "national treasure" thing is worse. Treasures are things, not people; the implication is that the Department of Mysteries views Harry and Ginny as very useful tools, not unique human individuals.
Also creepifying are the compatibility analytics. Harry's TWELVE. Neither of them has had the slew of personality-shaping experiences that come in adolescence and teenager-hood. The whole thing has the faint whiff of "breeding program" about it.
I'm going to keep reading, though. I'm fascinated and a little weirded out by the concept of a competent Lockheart, I want to know how the dynamics between Harry, Ron and Hermione are going to shake out, and I'm hoping the creepy stuff will resolve itself.
| thonez chapter 10 . 3/25
HermioneRon in this story? WTF
a) Hermione is possible Harry partner so her index is probably in 99% range
b) Given personality profiling unspeakables know that their longtime relationship wont work.
c) Like in cannon its Ron the useless with average index.
d) Neville is very powerful wizard
This screams that unspeakables goal is manipulate them to make HermioneNeville pair,
| thonez chapter 17 . 3/25
At this point Xeno should decide to arrange accident to Snape like dementor kill.
He is definitely pawn of Dumbledore or Voldemort so eliminating him would be good in both cases.
| s-david-m chapter 60 . 3/11
Funny ending, and great fic overall.
| C.Menard chapter 60 . 3/6
Damnit, you did it again, Darth.
I seriously did not want to enjoy this fic about a dozen times, but your writing, plot passing, characterizations, and creativity just don't allow for a shoddy tale. Mighty unique take on the verse, and all-in-all a fantastic story. I loved the premise, and part of me is happy that Luna pulled a Luna there, at the end. But in a million years did I not see that coming ;)
Bravo mate, I powered through this fic in a workweek.
| HP the third chapter 60 . 1/25
I loved this story, stayed up way to late reading it, thank you!