Reviews For Doubt
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione
Date: 03/18/11 22:17
Chapter: Doubt

Hi Ariana,

Fantastic, brilliant, amazing story. I think it was really good the way you showed the Marauders falling apart, and yet throughout there was a sense of what had been. The individual scenes with each of the Marauders were so well-written, and just so perfectly in character. Remus seemed tired and sick of what life had dealt him, thought still resolute. Sirius was witty and always had a comeback ready, and yet even he couldn't be arrogant about this situation (I loved the last line in that part, about how he couldn't protect his friends.) Peter was lonely and I think you did something interesting here, as he seems to feel betrayed by the others, as they treat Lily like one of them etc. It's a nice parallel with what happens later. Lily's doubt was really great - obviously, as a reader, we knew she would make the choice to fight, but it was interesting to see her thought processes, which would be entirely realistic.

The way you tied everything in with the last bit about there being a traitor was great too - particularly as the first people to be 'accused' were Remus and Sirius, and Peter wasn't even mentioned.

Your writing was just perfect in this story. I particularly loved your dialogue, which is always hard to write - it showed so much character.

I also think the concept for this story was very good, as it shows how love and friendship can break down when doubt comes into play, particularly when it's caused by a war like this. I think for this reason that my favourite part was the interaction between Sirius and Remus, because of all the characters, I think they're the least trusting of each other, and it really shows how this lack of trust comes between their friendship.

So, great story, I really loved it :).

~Katrina

Author's Response: Oh! Thank you for this lovely review! This is my least favorite part about the Marauder-era, the part where their friendship begins to unravel and they all start to grow apart a little. I'm so happy you thought the characterization was all right. I struggled with that before, I think, and that's why I decided to take the class, so I'm glad it showed! But what I keep forgetting to mention, and what I think helped me just as much as the class, was the fact that Jess beta'd this story so well and gave such perfect advice as to how to make this story work. Without her, this story would not be remotely intelligible. Thanks again! xx Ariana

Reviewer: Evora
Date: 03/09/11 20:37
Chapter: Doubt

There isn’t much left to say that hasn’t been already said. Soraya, Bine, and Jess have mentioned more than adequately the effect your story had on your readers. So you should know that despite the not-so-flattering amount of reviews or reads you have, you have amazing, appreciative, very articulate, and intelligent readers (in which I hope I’m counted in that category :D).

Your characterization is ace. I bet you got an A++ in that MWPP finals. Sirius had that swaggering, careless attitude, but we all know that he’s a big softie which you made sure to show in those little snippets of him trying to cheer up Remus. Remus was a tired man (which he really is – most of the scenes in HBP involves him like that). He had that careful, calculating stance and he was still vulnerable to Sirius’s charm. I don’t mean it in a slash-y way, but in that close-friends way. He couldn’t not be cheered up by Sirius’s silly comebacks and answers. Peter was just. . . I really felt bad for him. That’s saying something since I can’t help but hate him without any second thoughts most of the time. It was especially depressing to know that he lost his girlfriend. I wonder if that ultimately broke his heart enough that it made his mind go in the other direction. James and Lily were sweet. They were so. . . I don’t know the right word to describe it. It’s just so them. It wasn’t merely James and Lily, but ‘James and Lily.’ Pretty vague, yes, but it’s hard to describe something close to perfection. Wouldn’t you agree?

I loved the scenes where they were each offered a place in the Voldemort’s circle. I think you chose the right Death Eaters to convince the Marauders and the right take of conversation between them. Rodolphus was undeniably smooth and offered it quite irresistibly. A gentleman by nature, but we all know he’s sadistic and twisted just like the most of them. The werewolf (I wonder if it was actually Greyback, but I doubt it) had the right amount of evasiveness for Remus; Enough to lure and enough information given. I think it shows that in the Dark Lord’s side, werewolves are put into their proper place as to how Voldemort sees it. A win-win situation for him—they eat as much as they like and they don’t get to live wizards. Severus was pretty convincing. I felt like he was a bit hostile at first since he never liked Peter (being the weak coward that he was), but I guess when dealing with Death Eater business, he has to deal with it accordingly. All of the Death Eaters were, I felt, very much in-character. Their actions fitted them well. I can’t say much of James an Lily’s Death Eaters but I like that there was at least a bit of action. :D

Overall, the whole concept was. . . intelligent. A story of one of the many troubles the Marauders and Lily faced in the war. The last paragraph was perfect – ending the story with realizations that made a friend guilty. Another lovely story. Great job, Ariana, keep writing some more! :)

Peace out.

-Dinny.

Author's Response: It was so nice to get this review from you, Dinny! I've missed our chats :). Thank you so much for taking the time to review this story. And it makes me so happy that you enjoyed it! I'm glad you liked the characterization, I was especially worried about Snape and Peter as they've always been a struggle to write. And yay for James *and* Lily…I get what you mean, and I'm happy I could portray them as a couple like that. I'm glad you liked the overall concept, as well. Thanks so much, again! xx Ariana

Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx
Date: 03/04/11 15:49
Chapter: Doubt

Oh, wow! Ariana, you are one amazingly talented author!

Being the newest member of SPEW, I just had to look at one of your stories since you're the Featured Author this month and I'm so glad I did. I'm writing Marauder Era at the moment as well (James/Lily) and absolutely adored this piece. The dialogue between Sirius and Remus was interesting and it really reflected the darkness of the time they were going through. The way you portrayed the doubt, and when it got into the Marauders' minds, that was wonderfully done. I think this story was deftly crafted and the whole thing ties in with your title, particularly the end. (What also made me smile -- as well as sigh in relief -- was that there were no typos, which is a lovely change.)

I understand entirely why they began to doubt everything that they believed in. Because in a war, that's what happens. You forget about what's right and wrong just for the sake of saving yourself, and I think that's fully justifiable in the context. I'm really into war stories/fanfics because although I HATE war, it's fascinating to know how people deal with the repercussions of it. What I despise the most about war, and this is something you included in your story very well, is the loss of trust between friends, because of all the corruption that goes on during war.

The only things that I think you could improve on is the obviousness with Peter and the ending. Firstly, I think it's pretty noticeable for Peter to be shuffling papers instead of listening to the conversation, and I'm sure someone noticed that Peter didn't say anything about being propositioned to going over to the Dark side. I think the way you dealt with this was a bit obvious and a better idea, perhaps, would be for Peter to reply, saying pretty much what Remus and Sirius said, so things don't seem quite as suspicious.

The ending, in my opinion, was a bit too ambiguous. I did like it; don't get me wrong, but I just think that you left it a bit too open. Perhaps if you went on just a little bit more, then...anyway, I hope you liked my first SPEW review, Ariana! You're truly a fantastic writer, so well done and keep it up!!

~Soraya~

Author's Response: Soraya, it's nice to see you outside of SPEW! Thank you so much for reviewing this story -- it's very thin review-wise and so I'm very happy you did. I dislike war as well, but similarly I like exploring what it does to a person psychologically. Physically, we all know that war can be very painful, but it can also completely change a person (as I think it did with Sirius) and make them do things they wouldn't otherwise necessarily do. I reread the last bit, and I agree it was probably a little noticeable for Peter to be shuffling papers whilst the rest of the Order was arguing vehemently. I think I weighed too heavily on the fact that the Marauders honestly thought that it could never have been Peter and suspected him lastly out of all the others. And to be perfectly honest, I think part of the ambiguity of the ending comes from the fact that it was an assignment for the MWPP class and I'm a terrible procrastinator :D. Thanks so much for the review, again. xx Ariana

Author's Response: Soraya, it's nice to see you outside of SPEW! Thank you so much for reviewing this story -- it's very thin review-wise and so I'm very happy you did. I dislike war as well, but similarly I like exploring what it does to a person psychologically. Physically, we all know that war can be very painful, but it can also completely change a person (as I think it did with Sirius) and make them do things they wouldn't otherwise necessarily do. I reread the last bit, and I agree it was probably a little noticeable for Peter to be shuffling papers whilst the rest of the Order was arguing vehemently. I think I weighed too heavily on the fact that the Marauders honestly thought that it could never have been Peter and suspected him lastly out of all the others. And to be perfectly honest, I think part of the ambiguity of the ending comes from the fact that it was an assignment for the MWPP class and I'm a terrible procrastinator :D. Thanks so much for the review, again. xx Ariana

Reviewer: coolh5000
Date: 02/28/11 17:26
Chapter: Doubt

Hello!

I discovered this fic through reading Jess’ review and being so intrigued that I had to come and read the story for myself. It really should be getting more attention because it is a great story.

I really liked the idea behind this story and the fact that all of that any one of the marauders could have ended up being the traitor, had they taken up the chance offered to them. It was interesting and believable that all of them had that moment where they wavered, tempted by something only Voldemort could offer them. What that was was different for each of them, and I think you managed to hit on the one thing in each case that could have tempted them – it showed a great understanding of their characters.

The structure was good, and I liked that each of the characters (though James and Lily were combined, of course), had their own self-contained story within the story. At the same time, however, they flowed well and fitted neatly together.

I found it quite sad, that the four of them seemed to have drifted apart somewhat. From what we know of them at school, they were incredibly close all the way through and it’s upsetting to think that once they no longer in the confines of Hogwarts, their relationship changed. However, I do think it’s believable, with the fact that all of them were needed by the order for different things, and with Lily and James in a new and different stage of their life. It also helped to explain why Peter did what he did. Had they kept up the same bond they’d experienced at school, then I think he would have been much less likely to accept the offer. As it was, he felt abandoned and when offered the chance to be included in something, he took it, perhaps not really appreciating the longer term consequences.

You effectively showed how the war changed all of them, and I think this was first apparent with Remus rejecting Sirius’ offer to be present for the transformation. This line, He sighed, and closed his eyes, remembering the times before the war, when it had actually felt as though he and Sirius were friends. sums it up perfectly, and it’s clear just how much the war is affecting them all.

I think you made really great insights into each of the four marauders, and really made me think about things that I hadn’t previously considered. It’s difficult to pick out them all but I did particularly like this one about Remus: he wondered if the intruder knew that he sometimes woke up at night ready to retch, having dreamed of being a werewolf once more. I suppose we in canon we see Remus as a tame werewolf and I’ve never really thought about it him as anything but, but it makes so much sense that he, like any other werewolf, would occasionally feel a craving for real flesh. I think you’ve shown a lot about his character that even though he has these feelings, he is, ultimately able to suppress them and recognise that the human part of him is more important than the wolf.

I’m glad that you included a mention of Regulus, since we never really hear Sirius say much about him in canon and it seems natural that he would have been somehow affected by his death. It also quite a sad moment, with Sirius’ thought that he couldn’t afford to care that much about anyone else. Knowing how much Sirius is going to lose in the next few years, made this moment especially effective.

You almost, very nearly managed to make me feel sorry for Peter. I think most people have felt the sense of drifting away from the people you thought you were closest to, and it’s horrible. I kind of like that he was drunk when the offer was first made – it makes me wonder whether he would been quite so tempted had been sober and his problems not seemed so exaggerated by the drink. I also liked that you didn’t need to explicitly refer to Peter actually accepting the offer. We all know what is going to happen and I think it is better than his section ended like everyone else’s, without needing to spell out exactly what is going to happen. Ultimately, no matter how much I could perhaps understand his motives, I still disliked him, though of course that is an impression coloured by knowledge of what is to come.

It was good that is was Lily, out of the Potters who was the one to waver. I don’t think I would have believed it as much of James, but Lily has a reason and even though you quickly realises what she would have to become in return, it is very easy to understand the desire for comfort and security. These two lines were a really great summary of much of the story: She would lose her fear, yes. But she would also lose her soul. All of them have the opportunity to gain something, but most of them are able to recognise that the price they would have to pay would be so much higher than any possible benefits.

I liked the ending and the way you tied all four of the characters’ stories together, singling out Peter as the only one who doesn’t come forward to admit the offer. The atmosphere of suspicion and tension within the meeting, with everyone coming under scrutiny was effective and tied in well with the way the period is described in canon. Dumbledore, as usual, was great for providing the message to the story and I liked his line, the further we drift away from our friends, the easier it is for Voldemort to infiltrate the Order. It really did finalise the story and emphasise your explanation for how one of the Marauders could possibly have ever betrayed one of the others.

This was a great story that was really well-written and kept me engaged throughout. I’ll definitely be recommending it to people!

~Hannah

Author's Response: Thank you so much for this lovely review! I was beginning to think this story was done with its reviews. I'm glad you didn't think the separation of POVs was too abrupt or sudden -- but that it flowed together nicely. I wrote this to show how each of the Marauders, in their own way, had been changed by the onset of the war. It's funny, because their drifting apart is exactly what I dislike reading about in Marauder-era fics normally because it makes me too sad…but somehow I don't have a problem writing about it. I'm glad Peter almost got some sympathy from you, as he is really my least favorite Marauder and I'm afraid of that showing through in my writing. Hannah, thank you again for reviewing. It makes me so happy to hear that you like it. xx Ariana

Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
Date: 01/04/11 22:33
Chapter: Doubt

Hmm, I feel like I’ve read this story somewhere before... :P

There are many fascinating facets of this story, amongst which are characterisation, structure, and style. I find them all brilliant, as I did when I betaed this fic in the first place, but I thought the first review for this story should be one to let you know just how well done it is and that it’s really a shame that it doesn’t have more reviews and reads.

I found the choice of having Remus purposely separating himself from his mates to be both interesting and apt. To me, there has always been a sort of Cloud Nine effect on him because he had the benefit of very few knowing about his affliction, but when he set out into the real world and couldn’t seek employment anywhere without saying directly that he was a werewolf, it would cause him no end of troubles finding a job as well as anyone who would consider him as anything more than a monster. It has always struck me as something that would weigh heavily on him and his self-esteem and his ultimate need to be liked, causing him to withdraw from his previous social relationships once he deemed himself unworthy to be their friend. The way he pushed away Sirius is very telling of that, and very well characterised.

And Sirius... boy, do I love me some snark! His verbal sparring in both the Remus segments as well as the Rodolphus segments was wonderful and charming, but not over the top, as can happen. I think you portrayed him as a good reflection of who he probably was somewhere between the boy whose boredom could only be alleviated by humiliating Snape and the man who would escape prison to exact vengeance on the man who pretended to be his friend and sold out the Order to Voldemort. Sirius was always a man whose moral compass didn’t point due north, but he was always on the right side in the end. I think you did a good job in making it feel like he was refusing Rodolphus because of this and not because he was trying to ‘stick it’ to his family.

I can’t say enough about Peter in this story. I think he’s the true victory in terms of characterisation. As a reader, I can see how he has always been loyal to his friends, but his feelings started to change with Lily’s introduction into their group, whom he never considered as one of his mates and more of a rival for James’s attention. I think it’s a very apt and well-conceived piece of work, right down to his rather halting defence of his friends.

I have to make a note about your portrayal of Snape. He was truly excellent in this story. He’s not yet the embittered old man who is horrible to children, but he’s still the sharpened manipulator that he’d always been, only to a different end. His voice and actions and methods were simply so well done.

The differences between James and Lily were so understated, yet they were perfect. James is so focused on his duties with the Order and so loyal to the cause that he doesn’t realise that Lily might be having second thoughts about dedicating herself to the same things. It almost seems like, at this point, the fact that he had to think about being a father before a warrior hasn’t occurred to him yet, it hasn’t sunk in thus far, whereas Lily spent every second of every day, feeling this new life growing inside of her, a constant reminder of the danger they all faced. The way you illustrated this by having James not think twice about telling Lucius to go to hell but having Lily actually consider the offer before realising what it entailed was great.

Lily’s fears felt palpable and very realistic. Her borderline resentment of her lot in life and how it robbed her of simple things like going to sleep at night and not worrying about waking to news of someone she cares about being dead or worse at the hand of maniacs, it makes so much sense. Even something as simple as not getting to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the actual day it’s supposed to be niggled at her, which in itself isn’t a big deal, but the constant stress of war took missing a minor holiday, despite James’s obvious effort to make her feel better about it, sort of blew things out of proportion for her and made big deals out of things that really weren’t. Maybe even pregnancy hormones did a good bit to cause this for her, as well. I think you incorporated much of this so subliminally and so very nicely.

I’m glad I talked you into adding the end with the Order meeting. The way the members bantered back and forth was really good, plus it gave you a chance to tie all of these events together in some other way besides them being about the Marauders. It was just so clever to use events that weren’t technically canon but had the feel like they were the sort of events that could very well have been the harsh reality of the Order members during wartime.

 

In retrospect, I probably should have suggested that you blend together the first two segments, as they were both about Remus and there wasn’t enough of a difference between the events in the first part and the second to warrant a division between them. But besides that, I like the way you structured the story, especially not sticking Peter at the end of the Marauders’ segments, which would have given it an ‘oh, yeah, and then there’s Peter, because he’s the bad guy’ feel. Instead, you found a way to cast doubt on all of them, but still clearly show which ones overcame those doubts in the end and who didn’t.

One thing that really struck me when I first read this story is how your writing is so unreflective of your age. Most younger writers stray toward purple prose and contrived plots, but you haven’t done that here, which speaks well to the writer you will be in the future should you choose to continue developing your skills. Even though your prose is good and your mechanics are strong, I think you can be even better than this down the line, and I look forward to seeing you grow as an author. The sky’s the limit, kiddo. :D

That’s all from me at the moment. It’s been a pleasure to work with you in the past few weeks, and here’s to future collaboration!

~Jess

 



Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so, so much for this amazingly wonderful review! I was so happy when I didn't see the little "0" by the reviews anymore, and then I saw this extremely long review, so thanks so much :). I really think that your ideas helped the story out a lot (especially Sirius's part and the Order scene). I'm so happy that you liked the characterizations of everyone, especially Snape and Peter because I feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall every time I write them. And I'm glad that you appreciate the little things, like how James's vehemence about joining Voldemort was contrasted with Lily's indecision. And about the Remus segments…I'll go fix them right away. Thanks for pointing that out; I agree, it doesn't signify a great enough change to really need the break. I think I just forgot to edit it out when I copied it onto here. And it makes me so happy to hear that you don't think my writing relates to my age -- coming from you, this is a really wonderful compliment. Thank you very much for being my first review on this story--and for leaving such a wonderfully detailed and complimentary one at that! xx Ariana

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