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Name: electronicquillster (Signed) · Date: 05/25/09 0:02 · For: Chapter Six - Conversations over Curses
Your stories always give me so much to think over when I read them, especially each chapter of this story. I looked back to see when last I reviewed this fic, and last time I had so much to say about the strong, tangible characterization. I feel that still continues in this fic. It has been ages since I read any of it, so I went back a couple of chapters just to catch up on what was going on, but I didn’t feel like I’d really spent much time away from the characters of Lucas and Charlie and Katie. The way you portray them remains so strong and singular through every installment of the story. Lucas is like no other character in fan fiction because you have established him so richly as who he is by detailing how he responds to things, how he deals with his empathy powers, and by showing how he’s opening up and creating that bond with Charlie.
I really love the way this chapter plays out. Until nearly the end of the chapter, nothing really happens in the sense of plot, and I didn’t notice that until nearly the end because I was so engrossed in the conversations that Charlie and Lucas were having over the dueling practice. You took something so natural and routine for them and used it as a tool to further explore who they are and what they think, and then, at the end, you have lulled the reader into so much character study that the reveal of why Charlie killed someone, and who it was that he killed comes as such a surprise, which was awesome. I’ll come back to that last, but how about the other things first, yes?
I adore the first conversation we see between them. It shows how they’ve fallen into being friends completely again, and you also are so clever in poking fun at the whole dragon keeper thing that is really kind of ridiculous, but so true in the fandom, and probably or undoubtedly true in the actual wizarding world. I just loved seeing Charlie be a bit exasperated about it, and then seeing Lucas’s amusement. But, as you pointed out in the narration, Lucas is feeling what friendship really is like for the first time, and that is what is significant about the seemingly insignificant conversation. We, as the readers, are feeling what it’s like for Lucas, and we’re learning more about him.
I loved how you then explored Lucas’s blooming connection to Harry Potter and how he feels curious about him since he’s connected to people that matter to Lucas, as opposed to before when he had no reason for interest. It’s such a true characteristic in real life, and the way you’ve illustrated it in the story gives Lucas just another layer, another way to jump off the computer screen and into brilliant life inside the reader’s head. You then teach us more about Lucas and give him more of a chance to grow in the conversation over girls and houses. Another conversation that was amusing, but also enlightening. You really do weigh everything you include in your stories, it seems, there is not an idle word or happenstance. Everything just adds more to the story, nothing is just for the sake of passing time. I mean, this entire chapter is a case in point. Yeah, they’ve got to find something to pass the time, so they’re practicing their dueling, and you’ve used it as an opportunity to enhance who they are and show us some of what they’re thinking.
The end scene of the chapter is powerful. You explore the concept of power and evil and good and the confusion and lack of understanding others motivations. It’s all very interesting. I appreciate that you don’t get into things too much and make it too heavy or tedious to read. You get into a topic just as much as you need to, and you leave room for the reader to ponder over the matter themselves without making up their minds for them, which is quite a powerful tactic for you as the author to have employed, especially in this scene.
I was very touched at how much the friendship between Lucas and Charlie just seems to grow, and they care about each other, and they’re working to understand any differences. Most of all, though, they have quite the bond of trust, now, and that is something that you’ve made very fascinating to watch. You didn’t just kind of snap your fingers and say, “Ta da, they’re best friends now, fyi,” but instead you’ve shown your audience the progression, and they’re still progressing, and you don’t neglect that at all. You don’t expect your readers to just buy into their friendship changing overnight, and I commend you for that. The chapter was wonderful, dear Anna.
Except… Oh, and this isn’t bad, in fact it’s so very good of you, but also very wicked. I want to know precisely what happened in the matter of Higgs and Ginny and you just didn’t give me enough details there. But good for you, keeping me dissatisfied because you did it so brilliantly.

Name: lucilla_pauie (Signed) · Date: 07/03/08 3:08 · For: Chapter Six - Conversations over Curses
The other Malfoy boy.

I loved his conception, the 'courting' Grace and Lucius shared (with Lydia's instigation). It was so inherently Veela. Grace was the dominant female, and Lucius was putty in her hands. You also painted the society they moved in through their dialogue and through Grace's disdain. It was heady; I couldn't help but be drawn in. As early as with Lucas's parents, the story's title was applied. Grace being Volition and Lucius being Vacillation. Of course it was the former that held sway. No blame on Lucius. He was as thread to needle. Though, he still deserved looking on from afar at his better son, instead of being beside him.

Now, Lucas. I wonder, if I live with you and Jenna, would your abilities to craft such vivid characters rub off on me? I wish.

I love his love for his mother and grandfather and I love his dignity and grace. His vacillation stems from these latter two, ingrained deeply in his character by his mother. Dignity is what made him beautiful in Lucius's eyes. Grace, in every sense of the word, is what made him come to Lucius. Dignity and grace is what made him conflicted after his talk with his father. Would he remain untainted, or would he ignore the 'woman and her child' mentioned by Lucius? That was it, wasn't it, because he certainly didn't owe, nor was he raised with, allegiance to his Malfoy heritage.

This power he has, wow. I'll keep an eye on it. I wonder how you will incorporate that into the plot. And speaking of the plot, who is the woman and child? And how are they doing while Lucas is happily abducted? It's the ace you plan on playing with a flourish, isn't it?

Enter Charlie. Classic complementing of characters. He and Lucas does each other good. Charlie is the one Weasley brother I've only encountered fleetingly. How you've fleshed him out is so natural, Anna. It's also endearing the way Aunt Muriel dotes on him and vice-versa. Which brings me to: like the pureblood elitists' circle, you've drawn the Prewett farm and it's tranquility and charm distinctly, leaving nothing to be desired.

As an overall review for now, I can't rave over each chapter's details right now, but I like Charlie and Tonks's slight argument. "I was thinking about how sad it is that it’s our closest relationships that seem to hurt us the most. Put us through the hardest struggles." Aside from the subtle veer of the spotlight to Tonks and Remus's, and everyone's loves, is there a small foreshadowing there, regarding a nipping that would come later on Charlie and Lucas's budding friendship?

And as to this budding friendship, you have made Lucas and Charlie intelligent and compelling men. I can't wait for the next chapters. I wonder what they'll say to each other next. Their banter and the friction before their camaraderie was established is as riveting as the storyline. Kudos and kudos, Anna.

Name: Merlynne (Signed) · Date: 05/02/08 12:54 · For: Chapter Six - Conversations over Curses
Great chapter, despite the fact that nothing really HAPPENED. The dialog is wonderfully written so that I'm on the edge of my seat between lines. Charlie and Lucas are so easy to relate to, and their entire situation is intriguing and exciting. You have great flow in your writing. I look forward to next chapter!

Name: GreyLady (Signed) · Date: 04/27/08 18:39 · For: Chapter Six - Conversations over Curses
I know that I've said this to you before, but I find it adorable that Lucas is so adorable and has no idea. I wanted to -squish- him the entire chapter. He's good at appreciating the good qualities of people – like when he remarked that Katie is a true Gryffindor, in the best way – and he demonstrates a very devoted and understanding love towards Charlie. He's reserved and not demonstrative of his affections, and yet we can tell from his playful banter, thoughtfulness, and musings that he cares deeply.

My favorite part of the chapter had to be when Charlie said, “Perhaps that’s the point, that people like you and I aren’t supposed to understand. If we did, maybe we’d be like them.” I thought it was very wise. I'm wondering if maybe that idea will come into play later in the story, if Lucas has more encounters with Death Eaters. There's a certain moral ambiguity to his character, though I can't imagine him ever supporting Voldemort's methods.

Another point that I found interesting was“I find it interesting that someone who is so aware of other people’s feelings can seem so empty of emotions himself.” It struck close to home. I know exactly what he meant, because although I find it very easy to understand where other people are coming from and feel empathy, I often don't show it. There's a certain amount of trust involved in showing emotion to other people that I find difficulty to give, and perhaps that's part of why Lucas doesn't show emotion.

This was a very enjoyable chapter, what with the companionship between Charlie and Lucas and the ideas that you gave us to ponder, but I was hoping for more plot. It felt like more of a filler chapter, especially because it's so short. Hopefully we'll see some interesting developments next time, but I look forward to reading it in any case

Name: GringottsVault711 (Signed) · Date: 04/27/08 14:34 · For: Chapter Six - Conversations over Curses
Charlie, while by no means a bad dueller, was more of a hands-on man... - *giggles* Is he really? My dear, I almost wish to to challenge you to write a whole chapter of V&V with nothing to inspire the imaginations of us Charlie/Lucas shippers. Just to see if it's possible. I don't think it really can be done, considering how little it takes to catch the attention of my imagination.

Nowadays, he didn’t have to make an effort to be aware of even the slightest shift in his friend’s emotions... - I read that, and had to stop and think. It suddenly seemed so familiar, like it reminded me of someone else. And, then, !, I realised - JASPER! It's not quite the same thing, of course, but it's so very similiar. Hee.

...the whole wizarding world was still obsessed with learning about his whereabouts. Oh, an opportunity for me to be useful in this review. The use of 'about' and 'whereabouts' so close together makes for some awkward repetition. Here, it might have been better to say '...with learning of his whereabouts,' or '...with discovering his whereabouts.' There's always more than one way to say things.'

What interested him was to know what he was like, the young man whom Katie Bell had found worthy of her time and affection. I really like this line. It gives me a sudden rush of Katie's feelings for Harry. But, more importantly, it's an interesting way of characterising Lucas, as well as showing us who Harry Potter is in the PoV we're looking through. He's not The Boy Who Lived or The Chosen One, but someone who is of personal importance to the new people in Lucas' life. And, the phrasing shows a high esteem for Katie, which makes me happy.

Thinking it would be sad to see Charlie with a sore back... - *giggles again* No. We wouldn't want that, would we? >.>

"...someone who knows to appreciate the good things in life.” - Am I allowed point out that this is not a trait anyway connected with the Hufflepuff house and is utterly random and seems to be a reference to a certain Hufflepuff I know. *ahem*

"...I wonder who would bore the other to death first?" - This line makes me laugh out loud. There are some other good ones, but this is hilarious. :D

“Not necessarily, I don’t think. I can understand motivation, and I can understand doing everything in your power for a cause, or a person. What I don’t get are the things that motivate them.” - Oooh, I think this is my favourite part in the chapter. It really says something. I would have liked to have seen them talk about it more. Though, I think that would have been hard to do, since it directly leads into the Charlie's explaination about the man he killed. But, still, I'd have liked to seen more of their contemplation of this. I definitely agree with Charlie, and I think the way you put this was perfect. *applauds*

This chapter was very interesting and unexpected. It sort of seems like an interlude because it has such a distinct style that is so seperate from the other chapters. I really love dialogue, and I imagine a lot of people feel the same way. It was a great way of giving us information, and characterisation, as well as developing the Charlie-Lucas dynamic. (Look, I even used a hyphen instead of a slash!) I like that nothing actually happens, but it's still interesting and it still drives the reader to get to the end, because the conversation is so wonderful. It's sort of like a conversation from His Dark Materials or The Republic; something that goes into ideas and does more than just relay information important to the plot.

I would have preferred it longer (most things are better longer, after all!), but it was quite enjoyable anyway. I am admittedly completely ready for some rising action, now. (Oh, dear, I've gone and put my mind totally in the gutter, because I've considered that phrase several times while writing this paragraph and that's the first time I gave a little snicker.) *ahem* Anyway. Lovely chapter, and I'm really going to try and make my next review smut free. >.>

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