Hello, SPEW Buddy. :)
I thought this was an interesting piece. The idea of student/teacher is incredibly hard to do realistically, but I think you handled it really well. The way you characterized Lily and Cormac made it seem almost natural, given the situation, and I really liked how the style was mostly dialogue; it let us see the characters flesh themselves out, slowly become more and more three dimensional, than just telling about them. It gave the story a nice progression, which I loved.
One of the most interesting things, for me, was this characterization of Lily. I’ve seen you do many versions of her, but this truly surprised me. At the beginning, she seemed rather silly and naïve, fancying the older professors, but it was interesting to see just how far she went to get the bloke she wanted. She’s quite cunning and tricky, and I love how her intentions aren’t quite so pure as they may have seemed at the beginning. Almost everything she does - from purposely stoking his pride to listening to his stories and advice - is all because she wants to be with him, and I really liked that character flaw. She’s bold and reckless like her mother, yes, but there’s also that tricky side that controls her for most of the story. I do wonder how she blatantly ignored everything her father said, though, because it was slightly odd how she continued (for lack of a better word) seducing Cormac, even though so many people were against it. I especially loved how Professor Longbottom has to keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t go for the professors. It’s just what Lily fancied, and I love how he tried to control her, though it failed. On that note, I also really adored Emma, who was struggling between being a supportive friend and the voice of reason. Lily needs a best friend like that. :)
Onto Cormac. Having just written a piece about him myself, I know how hard he is to portray as a good person, but still in character. I think you did that brilliantly here; we still see his arrogance (especially about Quidditch), and how he really is quite self-centered. He helps Gryffindor out with the match purely because of Lily, and that was the moment he truly became real, for me. I do think that at points he was a little too dramatically cocky, especially when he went on about Lily’s father. I think she would have had some reply to that, and he would know to watch is tongue, if only a little bit. But, he is compassionate and helpful to Lily, even though (rather like Lily) he has an ulterior motive. Cormac does know his place, though, and I liked how there had to be a tipping point for him to take the plunge with Lily.
I normally avoid student/teacher like the plague, simply because of how sexual it can turn (and you know how easy it is to make me blush), but you avoided that here, and I liked it. It’s not innocent by any means - the entire thing, in fact, is based on ulterior motives and tricks - but I really liked that. Their wanting to be in a relationship, but having everyone standing in their way made it really realistic, and their determination to be in a relationship managed to show all of their character flaws. Lily’s desire for what she cannot have, Cormac’s need for a well-fed ego. I think the fact that their relationship began with a drunken kiss states most of it.
My favourite part of the piece was the ending, because it was resolved, yet unresolved. Lily finally gets the bloke, but there’s something off. I don’t know if it’s how she words it at the end, or how the kiss went, but it feels very open-ended, and I like that. It gives me the idea that maybe we don’t want to know what happens next. It kind of reminds me of something they talk about in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, how not everything can end in neat little boxes tied up with bows. I am really intrigued by this idea, and I think you did a great job with it.
Overall, I just found this piece interesting. It was the perfect mix of cuteness mixed with tricky undertones, and I really want to know how their relationship will pan out, especially with Harry. If you ever decide to write a sequel, I would gladly read it.
I wasn’t certain about reading this fic since I usually avoid Student-Teacher romances at all costs, but I know you do a good job in keeping the smut to a minimum and I’ve been intrigued by this ever since it first came out. McLaggen/Anyone is hard to pull off, as Harry clearly did not like him and it’s hard to keep McLaggen’s personality the same while still keeping him desirable. McLaggen/Lily is even more difficult, I think, because you have to make McLaggen desirable to someone younger, and Harry’s daughter to boot.
I liked Emma in this. It’s often hard to write Next-Gen because you have to either come up with totally new characters or characterise the few that we have so that their friendship fits, but I think you pulled it off well here.
I also liked the background that you had with Lily and Neville. It did seem a bit odd, at first, to have Lily automatically fall for McLaggen. Certainly he doesn’t seem very desirable in the books, although that may have to do with the fact that it’s told from Harry’s perspective. But the fact that this isn’t the first time that Lily’s fallen for a teacher made it much easier to process, although I do wish it had been touched on a little bit more.
The story really did just fly by, no pun intended, of course. ;) It was very, very easy to read, but I did feel like it advanced quickly. One moment, Lily’s in McLaggen’s office signing up for the Quidditch Pitch, the next, she’s drinking tea in his office. There must have been a lot going on between those two moments, and I’d love to hear more about it. Although after those two moments you did do a nice job of explaining how Lily and McLaggen came to be, I would like a little more insight as to how she became a frequent visitor in his office in the first place.
McLaggen getting (slightly) drunk was to me one of the only plausible ways you could initiate the relationship--certainly the chemistry in itself was lovely, but it would take a bit more than that in order to really fulfill the pairing. And the way you did describe the first kiss was lovely. McLaggen is certainly one to argue, and Lily has always struck me as one to really push back. A combination of those two, to me, was probably the best (and most fun to read) way to have a first kiss.
And what a kiss it was! The last line--and I know you don’t intend it to be--was such a cliffhanger for me. Really, the whole story just had me wanting to know more about it. More about how their relationship came to be, more about how it progressed. And I know you have sequels up on here, and I will certainly be going to read them as soon as possible! :P I know this was written in quite a hurry for the Cotillion, and while the actual story certainly didn’t seem rushed, it did seem like there were quite a few holes. I’d love to hear more about them--this might seem like a crit, but really it’s fabulous that you have me wanting to know more like this.
I didn’t know how McLily (copyright me) would ever, ever possibly work, but you have certainly proved me wrong with such a fabulous story. I can’t believe this doesn’t have more reviews--it deserves them :/
Author's Response: Hey Lily! Thanks for the review. A little background to why I chose McLaggen. Neville had already been chosen twice, and I wanted the most ridiculous pairing I could think of with Lily that wouldn't require time turners, thus, McLaggen was selected. I think part of the reason I felt more comfortable with trying to make him desirable was the fact that, as I did research into him, I found him very visually attractive, but also a challenge, so I thought that would be fun! As for Lily and Neville, I have been (sort of) working on a Lily/Neville (Crush) that hopefully explains it better, but yes, I think it could have been touched on more. Reading back, you are 100% right - I needed some more detail in how she got to be a "frequent visitor". As for the sequel - I really, really want to write one, but I'm just not sure how it is going to go right now ahaha. As for "McLily" - I love it! Especially as I have yet to find another "McLily" anywhere ahaha! Thanks, Lily!!
I tend to be most interested by characters who don't get written about very often, so I loved reading about Cormac here, Maple, and I thought the pairing was really original and interesting (which was generally what I loved most about the Cotillion - the variety and originality of the pairings).
Normally, I'm not much of a fan of cross-gen pairings, because I find it hard to comprehend what a couple could have in common when they are in such different points in their lives. I can see the attraction of someone older for the younger half, but I'm rarely persuaded as to why the older party would have any interest in someone so much younger. You make it work here though in the way you characterise Cormac. He strikes me as the sort of man who never grew up and lives off of the back of his past 'glories'. I get the impression that Lily's interest makes him feel young and like he's still 'got it', so it doesn't feel at all out of character when he offers only the briefest resistance to her advances.
I really like the boldness that you give Lily. It very much shows her to be her mother's daughter and makes sense for a girl with two older brothers. She deserves a better man than Cormac though, and I really hope, now that she's obtained the unobtainable, the thrill wears off quickly for her.
Her friendship with Emma is nicely worked and the two balance each other well - Lily's adventurousness against Emma's level-headedness. It's clear that they both bring something to the friendship, which is a clever dynamic on your part to have worked out.
In some ways though, I find myself wishing that the story had focused a little more on the interaction between Lily and Cormac and a little less on Lily and Emma. A lot of the development of the story occurs through Lily's discussions with her friends and as much as I did enjoy that, I found myself craving the immediacy of seeing the interaction between Lily and Cormac rather than having it reported. There is a definite chemistry between them in the final scene in his office, and although I could understand on an intellectual level how that could have built through the time they spent together, I'd have loved to have seen a couple more scenes in which that really built and intensified, so that I could have connected to it on a more emotional level.
There's a very fun feel to some parts of the story; I particularly loved the awkwardness of Lily having had a crush on Neville. It left me torn between laughter and cringing and seemed to sum up so much of the awkwardness of being a teenager.
The opening of the story did feel a tiny touch flat to me though, and I found myself wishing that there was just a little of that later fizz in the first few paragraphs. Your version of Lily has such spark as a character that I'd have loved to have seen that at the outset.
This story was a really fun and different take on the usual next gen romances, Maple, and I'm very glad I read it.
Author's Response: Thanks for the lovely review! I really like the idea of having more Lily/Cormac scenes. I definately want to write a sequel :) And your comments have now made me want to write a Lily/Neville (which was the pairing I wanted in the first place)... Haha, thanks :) Maple
Wow, you've really turned Lily Luna into a vixen! It's a really interesting take on her. I liked her boldness and courage - all very Gryffindor, as was her recklessness. I could definitely see her being this forward, but I wonder about her being interested in someone as self-centered as Cormac. I'd think most people would see through his bragging, especially since he didn't really play (classic, lol!) I also wonder why she would dismiss her father's words about him so quickly. Is she that determined to conquer him? It does seem like a game to her, rather than real feelings. A bit of internal thought from her might give her some depth and reason for going after Cormac. I liked that she had a history with crushing on older guys, that was good background, but I want to know *why.*
All that said, she got him good, didn't she! He was still a total git, lol - and he never had a chance. I really liked her friends, especially Emma, trying to be both friends and the voice of reason. I sort of dread what would happen if anyone - especially Harry! - finds out about this.
Fun read, Maple - good luck with the challenge! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Thanks so much, Gina! You've definiately given me a lot to think about. I think that, for Lily, its all about the chase and going after things she can't have, so I'll definately have to fit that in somehow. And I'm super glad you liked Emma, because I loved writing her! Maple