I'm here on behalf of our newsletter crew to leave you the review we owe you for leaving a nomination for the monthly awards. As you might've noticed, I'm starting on the second chapter. The reason for that is that I left the Be My Badger review on chapter 1, so I can't review that chapter again. Normally I wouldn't have said that, but I had to here because I didn't want you to think I skipped the first chapter. So yeah, that's why I'm here in the second chapter.
Anyway. I don't remember what I said in my Be My Badger review, so I apologize if I'm repeating myself, but I really love your descriptions. I very easily lose interest in a story if someone goes too overboard with descriptions or just don't include descriptions at all, but in this story, the descriptions were prefect! I could easily imagine everything happening in my head, and I love when authors write so well that I can do that! I really like your dialogues too. I always struggle with dialogues -I don't know why, but they always just end up sounding forced and I feel like I lose sight of the characters a little bit - so I'm always impressed when someone gets that right. Again, great job!
I also LOVE Brindley. I'm a little bit curious about her illness, I must admit, because I had assumed it would be some sort of asthma, but this chapter made me more unsure about that (I know I've read the whole story before, but I can't remember what the illness actually was). I really like that Brindley is not afraid to stand up to Finn, but that she's also genuinely kind and compassionate. And you know, it's ironic in a way because it doesn't look like any of Finn's friends can really see that he's still hurting after his twin sisters' death (though they might've in the last chapter and I just can't remember it), and then, Brindley, who he's not getting along with, actually notices this. I just find that very interesting.
And I just feel really sorry for Finn. As I think I said in my Be My Badger review, I haven't had a chance to read Hero yet so I don't know exactly what happened to his twin sister (though I understand from what I'm read that she was bit by a spider), but losing her can't have been easy for him. And then his father is putting pressure on him too. I just feel really sorry for him. But I have to say, I'm very curious about this job they're doing - finding the illegitimate Potter child. I'm really hoping that won't be Brindley, because I really like her, but then I also kind of feel like it might be Sebastian since he is adopted. Hm. I don't know. I'm curious to find out more about that.
All in all, this was another great chapter. Amazing job! Thanks for sharing! I hope to be back soon to review the next chapter!
My throat is closed with this unbelievable, overwhelming happiness, and I have never been happier in my life for two characters who have received the happy ending they’ve always deserved with each other, and I am so, so deliriously happy, and I think I’ve used the word “happy” way too many times already, but that’s just what I am right now.
I would like to express my utmost gratitude that you have not killed the light of my life, the beautiful, hilarious Brindley. I am so happy that she’s living the healthy life that she deserves right now, that she can laugh and smile and joke around without the cloud of her illness hanging over her.
The path getting there was so painful, though.
There was at one point in the middle of the chapter when it looked like all was lost, when Brindley’s body was limp and Finn was sobbing his heart out and his family wasn’t helping him, where I was absolutely on the brink of crying these horrifically ugly tears myself. Everything before that had seemed so hopeless, and Finn had just been delivered the emotionally traumatizing blow that Tom had murdered his sister (I should’ve known Tom would admit to it himself, like it was something to brag about), and it was just a horrible sort of despairing feeling that I had.
Finn punching Tom in the face is definitely something to cheer about, though.
This review is so out of order, but I think that Finn’s mother is a deeply underappreciated character. She has a stupidly controlling husband who’s working with the most dangerous people alive, but she’s still quietly working against them to protect Finn, and that touched me. I’m glad that Finn has grown to love and appreciate her more, now that he isn’t blindly following Tom around like a mindless crony, because she definitely deserves it. She wanted to save Brindley, too, just because she knew Finn loved her.
(I don’t even want to imagine the pain she’ll go through when Finn breaks the news of Hero’s murder. I wonder if he’ll tell his father, and if his father will still adore Tom like that?)
And after that emotionally agonizing first half, we have this beautiful scene by the sea, and your descriptions here are amazing, and did you know, you are perfectly cut out to be a fantasy YA author because just look at your writing. I’m in love.
These two are amazing together. I think it’s really, really hard to write a character like Finn, who starts off his journey as someone who feels inferior but doesn’t understand why and so he takes out his frustration on other people, like Brindley. I think it’s hard because it’s hard to make the arc work so that his bad history doesn’t leave a bad taste, but you managed to show Finn’s development through his relationship with Brindley, and I love how he takes care of her now and is a better person largely because she inspired him to be that way. And all these characteristics were within Finn to begin with, but he just wasn’t willing to dig them out at first, but now they’re here, and he’s happy, and she’s happy, and I’m happy. And there’s no lingering nastiness when I think of Finn, because he’s made horrible mistakes that he understands are horrible mistakes, and goodness you’re amazing. <3
I can’t believe they get a house together, too. That’s perfect. And their adorable little banter at the end there, where she jokes about housing insects...my heart omg. That entire last section was just beautiful in how you managed to show their happiness and their love for each other (and thank goodness for Fleamont helping them), and I’m glad that Finn isn’t forgetting his mistakes, like with Alenya Hills, but that he’s still moving forward with his own life.
Holy crap. I thought Hero wrecked me, but this happy ending wrecked me more, and I have so much love for this series. And I think I’m going to probably just sit here and not read any more fanfics for the next few days to fully recover emotionally from this hahaha.
Beautiful, Bianca. <3
I want to cry.
Why are your chapter elevens always so devastating? I was distraught at the events of Chapter Eleven in Hero, too, when Briony was in the Hospital wing and Tom’s creepiness was upped to an alarming degree and Emory discovered that Hero slept with Theo and Morgan was petrified right before a Quidditch game.
Except in this Chapter Eleven, Finn’s plans to quickly get the Invisibility Cloak and leave are foiled as he inadvertently ends up being followed and getting Fleamont captured (okay I will never hear that name and not want to crack up, what was Jo thinking); and Brindley discovers what he’s been hiding from her this entire time in literally the worst possible way; and Alenya Hills is killed because Finn gave her name to Grindelwald; and Sebastian was the one who stupidly believed Tom’s manipulations and helped him find Brindley; and now Finn has to fix everything.
Brindley needs to be okay, first off. I honestly have no idea what’ll happen if Tom hurts her in any way. Maybe Finn will bite his head off.
A girl can dream.
Most of all I feel so sorry for Sebastian. The kid has gone through a horrific amount of pain in the past year, and he doesn’t even realize what he’s doing is wrong, like he just thinks that he’s working to get his family back while also taking a bit of revenge in the process. And I feel badly for him that Finn didn’t support Sebastian as fully as he should (like, he should’ve listened to that really interesting bit about Scout before), and I’m just really, really sad for Sebastian. Though, how did he know that Brindley was the illegitimate child that Tom was searching for? And did Sebastian just not question Tom at all throughout this whole process of following him? Like, maybe “um Tom so why are we searching for the illegitimate child of a one Henry Potter again like what purpose does it serve in life?”
SEBASTIAN, YOU ARE NOT A VERY SMART KID.
Go go go Finn, you can do it. Please.
Someone’s going to die, I have such a bad feeling.
Someone save me from this heartbreaking misery of watching Finn witness Brindley become gradually more ill before his eyes. That list of things they do secretly together to spend as many precious seconds in the other’s company? Oh, it made my heart hurt so much. When Finn was reminiscing about his mother’s haunting lullaby, and he said that nowadays the thought of love didn’t make him gag like it used to... Excuse me while I go wail my sorrows in the shower.
You told me that Finn’s story was less heartbreaking than Hero’s, but here I am, ready to cry?? *sobs* I was completely unprepared for the emotional turmoil in this one, because it’s so different from the one in Hero, but I AM JUST AS UPSET. I don’t know what Finn’s going to do about having possibly condemned the wrong girl to an unjust death, to protect his love, but I also don’t want Brindley to die, and I think I understand Finn more than ever. When he pointed out that Brindley would probably walk straight to Grindelwald himself since she’s dying anyway, I actually winced because my heart hurt at how true it was.
He takes her up to the mountain, and this is it, nothing in the entire world is going to top the beautiful romance you’ve managed to capture between the two of them. They are so sweet that it hurts, like how she satisfies his vanity by acknowledging his handsomeness?? That’s so ridiculous but cute, and it’s an interaction that only Finn and Brindley can ever have because you’ve made these two wonderfully unique characters that have their own special quirks of speech and interaction, and can you tell how much I love these two? I love these two. When Brindley becomes so, so happy that he takes her to the mountain because of that conversation they had in the Owlery, I was just smiling alongside her because this is really sweet.
These two are just amazing together, and I love them. Their love scene was just beautiful, too, and also cute and funny and sweet, like I love how Finn points out that rune on her body. It’s actually kinda adorkable.
And after they go back, and Finn accidentally takes Tom’s coat and turns the Resurrection Stone ring around and sees Hero...well. My heart just about stopped. I’ve been missing Hero so much. And obviously so has Finn, because he’s her twin, and he’s just been beating himself up about her death all year, and oh my goodness this chapter was just designed to break my soul, wasn’t it. I WISH SHE HAD THE CHANCE TO TELL HIM ABOUT TOM. He was so close to discovering the truth.
Though now I’m worried that once he does discover it, he’s going to do something drastically stupid that will endanger everyone around him.
What’s Finn’s plan to deal with Tom and keep him away from Brindley? I feel so badly for Alenya Hills right now, ugh, but I also just want Brindley to be safe forever and ever and ever. <3
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THIS STORY OMG. <3
I have gotten a good night’s sleep, and am prepared to finish this beautiful story today.
I just realized a short while ago that both Finn and Brindley are your OCs, and when this occurred to me I just sat there stunned for five minutes. Because both of them are so real and familiar to me at this point, and I ship the two of them so much, that I just sort of accepted their presence in the story as canon?? Like, my brain was like, “At least one them has to be a canon character, otherwise you wouldn’t be this ridiculously invested in their story together,” but that turned out to not be the case. And holy crap, you’ve got me shipping an OC/OC like never before, and wow, I just love you and your writing and your characters so much omg.
Revelation aside, this review is coming like ten hours after I actually read this chapter, so here we go.
Wait, I just had another thought. This doesn’t quite qualify as a revelation, but just me hoping that Finn discovers the truth about Tom killing his sister sometime soon. Because Tom barely grieved, right? Would Finn find that strange, or would he just sort of accept it as Tom’s hidden emotions? Please, just let Finn get one good hit in when the truth about Tom comes out. I need Tom Riddle to feel pain for at least one second of his life.
Here we go, for real.
Finn’s dilemma is difficult, but I really think it’s not his decision to make. Brindley is a key factor in this whole thing, so I think the least he could do is tell her the truth about what’s going on. I doubt she’s going to enjoy the fact that he’s sacrificing another girl adopted by Muggles to save her; that’s going to hang over her head forever, because that’s the type of person Brindley is.
Also, we finally discover more about that Muggle Ben was seeing over the summer, and that makes Patrick a bigger idiot than I thought?? How disgusting is that, to taunt your brother over your family’s homophobia? Obviously Ben himself is full of nauseating prejudice against Muggles, but that really doesn’t excuse his father’s prejudice against gay people. Ugh that’s horrible. I feel vaguely ashamed of myself for not even considering that as one of the possibilities of Ben’s anguish. So does this mean that Radbourne likes Ben, too? And does this mean that Tom is a homophobe, in addition to being a blood-prejudiced murderer, or does he just not want his followers to be in a relationship?
Either way, I hate Tom.
That entire scene between Brindley and Finn is so sweet and so heartbreakingly beautiful. I am so relieved that she was honest about why she wanted to push him away, and that he was honest about his feelings towards her, because if she’d tried to pull any of that nonsense of pretending to suddenly hate him in order to push him away, I would have tried to reach through the screen to shake her by the shoulders haha. This scene has given me literally my all-time favorite line in all of the greatest romances: “I’d rather spend a few days with you, than years with anyone else.”
Oh, my heart. I think I’ve reread this section like ten times at this point, and each time, I’m left internally screaming at how beautiful and precious these two are, I can’t deal with it. Their kisses, their attempts to protect the other... It’s so heartbreaking. The thought of Brindley dying of her illness is making me want to cry. I think I might actually go into mourning if she does die at the end of this story, I’ve never loved a character so much in my life. And where will Finn be without the beautiful, brilliant Brindley next to him?
Ugh, Finn gets put under the Cruciatus Curse, and my heart hurts for him because he’s getting blamed for something that someone else did. So is it Tom that betrayed them, then? I’m so confused, because Tom was the only other person there at the Ministry, except Grindelwald didn’t seem to think of punishing Tom. (Unless it was either Sebastian or Malfoy??) Maybe Tom did this with the knowledge that Finn would be punished, but then why would Tom try to poison Dumbledore if he was the one who tipped Dumbledore off in the first place?
I NEED ANSWERS.
(This review feels like ten thousand times more coherent than all my sleep-deprived ones hahaha.)
Oh, dear. This chapter title actually sounds ominous.
Okay. Deep breath. Onto the chapter.
I need to know who this mole is. Who let Albus Dumbledore know that there would be a coup? Finn stupidly let it slip to Sebastian, so is it Sebastian? Is the person who told Albus Dumbledore about the coup the same person who told Jameson about Finn’s movie date with Brindley? Is it a Hufflepuff? Did someone follow Finn that night? In that case, I’m placing my bets on Sebastian, but I honestly don’t know.
I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.
Tom is somehow growing more disturbing than he was back in Hero’s story. I didn’t think it was possible, but the fact that Finn was his first Dark Mark wearer is...nauseating to think about. Especially since Finn is really starting to not buy into all that stuff. And Finn really needs to start being nicer to Malfoy, I think. It’s strange to say this, but Malfoy honestly sounds kinda like a kid who’s seriously confused and needs to get his life straightened out (or, stop being prejudiced), and the fact that he really likes Briony seems to me that he won’t try and sabotage Finn? Unless Finn is right for once on this matter.
I DON’T KNOW BIANCA. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME AND MY SANITY.
She hasn’t even died yet and I’m already grieving. I’m hoping that they’ll find a way to cure her, that she’ll be okay, but I’m still sad. I’m sad for Finn, I’m sad for her. Is this the type of curse that Tom was looking into the other day? The kind that would slowly destroy someone from the inside out, festering until it grew into an uncontrollable disease? Did she get this because her mother died giving birth to her?
Brindley omg. <3
She got like two seconds with Finn before she’s ready to die, and I just don’t want her to die, I don’t. This is so sad, Bianca.
And is Finn really going to risk the life of another Muggle-born to protect his love? I mean... I can understand it, but I think it’s horribly selfish in a way. She doesn’t even know, and he’s not letting her know.
I’m so confused about what’s going to happen, and it’s getting ridiculously late, and I’m sure that my reviews are becoming these giant messes of rambles, but also I can’t seem to stop myself, so brace yourself for more dumb reviews, coming your way.
Normally I write these reviews after I finish reading the chapter, but I have some VERY IMPORTANT NOTES to make about my first impressions. Number one: that chapter summary is already the cutest thing ever, it’s like you’re trying to kill me with all the adorableness?? Number two: that quote is literally the sweetest thing I’ve ever read in my life, and I bet it describes Finn pretty well right now, doesn’t it? Number three: that chapter title sounds ominous.
Okay, onto the chapter.
Ohmygod this is the cutest thing I’ve read in my life, my stomach is twisting itself into knots from the utter delirium of happiness I’m feeling, my heart is so full of love for Brindley and her beauty and charm and adorableness, and I’m even feeling favorable towards Finn right now. Oh, my goodness. I’m so so happy right now from reading this chapter, I can’t even explain it??
First things first, though. So Brindley is the illegitimate child?? Why is her father’s name Harry instead of Henry? Is this a fake name? Also Invisibility Cloak omg that’s what ‘Ic’ stands for?? Obviously ‘G’ is Grindelwald, like Finn discovered, but oh my goodness. Grindelwald wants the Invisibility Cloak. But Brindley doesn’t have it, right? So how would finding the illegitimate child help Grindelwald’s cause? OH WAIT is he gonna use Brindley as leverage?
Oh, crap. Stay safe, Brindley darling.
BUT NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT FINN AND HIS COMPLETE RIDICULOUSNESS. He still denies his feelings when: 1) he literally has to physically check himself from running to her when she falls, 2) he lets a porlock bite him for the sake of checking up on her, 3) he literally walks up to her every time he sees her and talks to her, even though he’s trying to hide it all, 4) HE CALLS HER ‘B’ HE CALLS HER ‘B’ HE CALLS HER ‘B’ OHMYGOD, 5) HE KISSES HER AND HIS WORLD IS CHANGED AND THEY BUILD A FORT TOGETHER AND HE SMILES AT HER PICTURES AND HE KISSES HER FOREHEAD HOLY CRAP THEY ARE THE CUTEST PEOPLE ALIVE UGH.
(Can you tell I am completely delighted by this turn of events? I have a feeling that my current high will mean that the next chapter will be an unfortunate low.)
Unfortunately, Finn goes and ruins it all by going and snogging Lucretia, and then saying, “Brindley,” like. If you’re going to be an emotionally stupid idiot, at least try to do it with a little more grace?
Anyway, loved this chapter. My brain shortcircuited about halfway through from the cuteness. I love these two. Happy ending, please, I’m begging you.
ALMOST AN ENTIRE CHAPTER WITH BRINDLEY?? YAYAYAY.
(I would first like to berate Finn for not listening to his intelligent younger cousin about the suspicious school-goings of Scout. Because what is going on there? Hero mentioned something about it being vague in her story, as well, and now I’m just super curious.)
Finn’s love for Ancient Runes is oddly adorable. My heart swelled for him. And the fact that there was a Harry involved... I feel like Harry Potter (the one that’s the main character of the books) had another ancestor named Harry, but who knows. My Potter family tree knowledge is still embarrassingly rusty. I also have another speculation: What if that ‘Ic’ isn’t a typo after all? What if it does mean something, and because Finn doesn’t know what, he’s accidentally mistranslating it?
Okay and the entire rest of the chapter is so cute I was getting these happy fuzzy feelings in my stomach, and I’m so thankful to be able to ship this ship without feeling squeamish (Tom and Hero were shippable but also not shippable, if you know what I mean haha), AND FINN ALMOST COMPLIMENTED HER?? HOW CUTE IS THAT. And she brushed it off and was so freaking cute about it, and they are just so cute please just kiss already to satisfy my shipper cravings.
I love that she invited him. I love that Brindley’s this kind and forgiving, and willing to let Finn be himself, and can you imagine the kind of life Finn would live if he was a Muggle-born? How happy would he be? Also I thought it was hilarious that the Hufflepuffs just grudgingly accepted him (“That’s disgusting!” was so funny lmao), and I loved Brindley’s story and the fact that she was totally unaffected by Finn’s. I JUST LOVE YOUR CHARACTERS SO MUCH. My heart is just full of them right now.
It breaks my heart, actually, that Finn feels freer than he’s felt in a long time by doing this. Kids shouldn’t live their lives feeling miserable most of the time, so I’m so thankful to Brindley that she’s giving him this opportunity to be himself, and that she’s helping him a little. (I hope that someday he can do the same for her, help her through this mysterious illness she’s going through.) I think I would give anything to hear Brindley’s laugh. Finn says he hates it, but he’s an idiot, and is also probably lying haha.
They are so so cute omg I can’t take it it’s too cute and I’m using far too many capital letters alsdkgjls. <3
I have come to realize that Tom is like a controlling mother that kills people.
With that said, I’m going to go back to the beginning of the chapter haha. Unfortunately, Finn did in fact put the letter on the wrong desk, and I have never been unhappier to have been right about something. If his father is being put under the Cruciatus Curse constantly like this, no wonder he’s losing confidence in himself. At this point, even if it’s for Grindelwald, I just want Finn to do something right, so that he can stop hating himself and so that he can stop feeling guilty for constantly putting his family in danger (which really isn’t even his fault, like, Grindelwald really did not have to torture his father like that). But also I don’t want him to work for Grindelwald at all. It’s quite the dilemma.
And Sebastian?? I must admit, I’ve never even considered that option as a potential answer to the illegitimate child problem. However (and I truly hate to be saying this) but because Finn has not had a terribly good track record with his educational guesses, I’m going to assume he’s wrong on this count. His logic is slightly far-fetched, with Walker supposedly being a false name for Potter, and with the “adoption by Muggles” thing with Sebastian happening literally a month ago.
Now, onto the Controlling Mother Hen. It reminds me of what he tried to do with Hero: control what she does, how she feels, who she’s friends with, etc. Except he’s probably less invested in manipulating his friends as closely as he did Hero, so they still have more free will. So they go to Hogsmeade, and we discover the truth about Ben’s summer fling, and I’m honestly appalled that he can come back and support this blood purity nonsense after having liked a Muggle girl enough to snog her multiple times?? What kind of disgusting hypocrisy is this, I can’t believe him. Bigots are so hypocritical omg.
When Finn goes into the Hospital Wing and sees Brindley, and then mentions that it’s been a year since Hero died... Ugh, my heart. I miss Hero so much, and I can’t even imagine what Finn must be going through. It tickles me so much, the irony that he’s diligently following the murderer of his sister without blinking an eye, I could almost die. I’m glad that he managed to express his feelings like a normal human being for once instead of bottling them up for fear of being called “weak” though. Good job, Finn. Good job, Brindley. I love you, Brindley.
His feelings for her are growing, I can feel it in my bones.
AND SHE DRAGS HIM INTO A BROOM CLOSET. AND THEN BLACKMAILS HIM. She’s honestly a girl after my own heart, like, how wonderful is she? I could applaud and compliment you for days for writing a character with such a beautiful soul like her. And I love that she gave Finn something to do that he truly, genuinely enjoys (though of course he pretends otherwise because he’s an idiot) AND THIS IS SHAPING UP TO BE VERY CUTE I AM VERY EXCITED.
And the flirtation omg. It’s so cute that I’m almost not getting any secondhand embarrassment from it. Love love love these two. <3
That quote at the beginning must’ve been created for Finn, because it describes him to a T.
I would like to discuss how cowardly Finn is. That first scene, when Avery is purposefully filling the room with the smoke to hurt Brindley, Finn knows it’s wrong, and he agrees with Lestrange (I am appalled that I am on the same side as a Lestrange for once, but here we are), but for the sake of his pride and manliness or whatever, he’s siding with Avery. Normally I would compliment him for getting Patrick off of Brindley, but the fact that he saved Brindley seemed to be largely out of spite. Unless it’s because of his ridiculous denial of her attractiveness, in which case I’ll wholeheartedly support Finn.
Yeah, speaking of Patrick, I don’t like him. What he did to Brindley is nauseating, for one, and for another, he seems to be trying to get his brother in a spot of danger with Tom. He’s purposefully mentioning that Ben has a Muggle...friend? girlfriend? to Finn, who’s a part of the biggest blood purist group in school, and honestly it seems like he’s trying to get his brother hurt or something.
This chapter made me very happy, because it was about fifty percent Brindley, and the more Brindley, the better. She’s full of soul and excitement, and a surprising bit of mischief after she helped Finn swap the papers (he actually thought her wink was because she was trying to flirt? Really Finn? How embarrassing are you?) which made me feel even sorrier for her that Finn backstabbed her like that in choosing which department to go to. I’m glad she enjoyed herself in the end, though, and that Finn got to enjoy himself too with his knowledge of Ancient Runes (I have never felt prouder that a character gets to showcase their skills in what they love doing) even though they were stuck filing.
I have an uncomfortable suspicion that Finn put the letter thing on the wrong desk. Because he’s Finn, and he’s made mistakes like that before.
ALSO he learned the truth about mastilio spiders being generally harmless, and thank goodness for Brindley being here otherwise he might never have learned that fact. Does no one suspect Tom? Does his mother not suspect Tom? Hero was telling her that she needed to speak to Tom, so someone has to have thought that Tom had a hand, right? I just want someone to give Tom a good, fatal thwack to the head. Even if he doesn’t die per se, I would like for him to experience true pain for once in his life, like the pain he inflicts on others with his mind. However, because you have a tendency to create the most saddening stories in the world (which evokes the most delightful feelings of pain and grief in me that I’ve ever felt, like I actually enjoy feeling sad while I read your stories lmao), I have a feeling he’ll get away scot free with everything.
These two bonded, and that makes me so happy. He’s still stupidly aloof (“Yeah, it was alright,” he says to describe what is probably the most fun he’s had in forever) but it’s progress!
I love this story so much omg. <3
I love that quote at the beginning. It’s beautiful. Reminds me of Brindley.
For a brief moment, I was proud of Finn for wanting to do homework (“Finns were not studious creatures” made me snort tea out of my nose lmao) but then I realized Tom pretty much tortured him into obedience, so that pride quickly dissipated. Really, though, Finn needs to get ahold of his temper, because he literally snapped at Malfoy for nothing.
You write Finn so well. Like, his “I’m an entitled brat” vibe comes off so strongly through his actions, I’m so impressed. The way he makes sure to be as noisy as possible while bothering Brindley about the book he’s trying to take from her? Amazingly petulant. And of course he notices the way she smells, too, though I noticed that in addition to her cinnamon smell, there was that weird herb thing, too. Medicine for her strange cough? (Which is honestly starting to sound a lot like some magical version of tuberculosis. Which is scary. Please don’t let Brindley die omg.)
Also I love how every time she tries to insult him, she actually manages to strike him to his core without realizing it.
I feel so badly for Finn, that only after Hero’s death did he begin to realize all the wrongs he did her. Obviously what he did was wrong, but, I don’t know, I’d like to think that he would have tried to make it up to her. Because right now, the guilt and self-hatred seems to be eating him up inside, and that might be taking a toll on his general temper, and that just means bad news for him in the future. I don’t want him to feel a crippling sense of guilt every time he goes home (speaking of home, what’s up with his father’s general lack of energy and enthusiasm?) and I don’t want him to hate his mother for caring for him.
...Is the illegitimate child Brindley?
And I never even realized that Finn actually had a thing going on with Lucretia, and all I have to say about that is a) he’d better not keep doing this once he falls for Brindley, and b) I think he’d better stop doing this anyway because he just seems to be playing around with Lucretia to distract himself and that’s not nice.
I keep forgetting to mention this, but I absolutely love the way you weave your stories together. Your storytelling abilities are just incredible, and you craft characters that are so fascinating and interesting to think about, and your plots are so thick with details and intrigue, and yeah. This whole thing just feels so marvelously created, and I really love reading your stories for this reason.
Okay, um, guess I’ll be binging this fic over the next few hours, because I can’t seem to stop reading lmao. At the very least I hope I can make myself go to sleep before four a.m., yep. That’s the goal.
Finn is so unbelievably interesting as a character. This is perhaps the most fun I’ve had in a while trying to dissect a character and figure out why they are the way they are, and he’s so difficult to understand, it’s amazing. He loses his temper so easily that it’s almost childish, like he did during the duel with Malfoy; he lets his ridiculous pride get the best of him constantly, which results in easily preventable mistakes, like his failure to procure the records because he just had to listen to the girls’ conversation about him; he is old-fashioned and silly, like, being alarmed at hearing swears come from a girl’s mouth?; he absolutely hates being academically unskilled, and not because he really cares about academics, but because he dislikes people looking down on him.
I think my favorite scenes are going to be the ones with Brindley in them. She brings this light into this fairly dark story, and I love that about her. Also, I find it so impressive how you manage to shift the moods between scenes without doing a complete emotional whiplash. It makes for a wonderfully cohesive story, I’m loving it.
She’s so passionate, and I’m worried to death that she’s going to die (do you see what the ending of Hero has done to me? I am ridiculously paranoid that all of my favorite characters are going to die now), and I really want to know what that Ministry availability means to her. Why does she want it? Does it have to do with her asthma? Also, is Brindley dating Patrick right now or something, because judging from their interactions, they seem to be fairly close. I find it distressing that Brindley continues the general trend of making Finn feel less intelligent than everyone else, though he is mean to her every chance he gets so, uh, maybe he deserves it a little, but, I don’t know, speaking as someone who goes to a school that puts way too much focus on academic intelligence... I don’t think Brindley’s in the right here. (Granted, Finn’s in the wrong with just about everything he does, but still.)
Also, I feel like this goes without saying, but I hate Tom. He was loathsome before, and now he’s gone and tortured Finn for making a mistake, so I hate him more now. Why does Finn like him? Please let Finn get some common sense after this, I don’t want him to keep making the mistake of following Tom Riddle.
AUGH THIS STORY THIS IS LITERALLY THE THIRD CHAPTER AND I’M ALREADY DISTRAUGHT.
I am in love with your descriptions, and how you pick verbs and nouns that fit exactly the mood you’re going for. My favorite has to be about the “birds that whizzed past him,” which is just brilliant, and it gave me this image of a bright, cheery, warm day, despite any negative feelings emanating from Finn.
Is he sleeping in late because he’s exhausted, or because this is his usual habit, or because he’s grieving over his sister? I don’t feel I know Finn well enough to determine this yet, but I’m really looking forward to reading his story over the next week or so, because my curiosity about his behavior is killing me.
That entire scene with Brindley McCroy in Care of Magical Creatures was pure gold. I love her so much. And speaking of girls I love, I’m wondering what happened to Emory (and by extension, I guess I have to wonder about Theo too, much as I dislike him) after Hero’s death. Are they doing okay? Will we get to meet them again? I hope that Emory doesn’t feel guilty for criticizing Hero before the break, because she had every right to do that, and I hope she’s doing well.
I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY FINN DISLIKES BRINDLEY NOW. Or I shouldn’t say dislike, because that boy is obviously lying to himself (I mean, look at the way he literally can’t take his eyes off her sometimes), but why is he being so mean towards her? Why is he antagonizing her?? Focus your attentions on the real villains of this story, Finn. Like, “limited brain cells,” Finn? Really, Finn? Who are you to accuse someone of “limited brain cells,” huh?
Did Hero’s death somehow turn his entire opinion of Brindley around? Is it because Brindley keeps trying to show him sympathy for Hero’s death, and he’s like “nope gotta be a man FEELINGS ARE WEAK”? Speaking of which, I think it’s really, really sad that Finn now has this disgust and fear for mastilio spiders. It’s like his sister’s crippling fear got transferred to him, and ugh I hate that Tom Riddle did this to him. But anyway, Brindley is wonderful and lovely and I love every part of that scene where’s she’s trying to protect her precious insect from Finn’s indelicate hands.
Also oh no, that assignment sounds rather terrifying. Henry Potter is Harry’s great(?)-grandfather? I think? Gotta brush up on my Potter family tree. Does this have something to do with a prophecy or something, because I literally cannot think of any reason why Grindelwald would need Henry Potter’s illegitimate son. And then immediately after this, Finn goes and needles Brindley about her asthma again, because of course (FINLAY STOP SMOKING IT’LL KILL YOU), and he’s an overall jerk. At least he’s a jerk who protects his disowned cousin though? I don’t know, things are so complicated omg.
Though I have noticed people tend to treat Finn like an idiot, which is definitely something that bothers him. I don’t understand why he would lash out at other people for being dumb, but I guess it’s his way of just being a rude brat lmao. And Finn isn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, but honestly, that’s okay. This feels like such a trivial concern about Tom Riddle’s character after HE KILLED HERO, but Tom should really try to be nicer to Finn, and to stop making everything Finn says sound as dumb as possible hahaha.
Excited to see more Brindley! <3
OKAY I AM ABOUT AS RECOVERED FROM HERO AS I’LL EVER GET SO LET’S DO THIS.
Immediately I could see a significant style difference from Hero, even aside from the shift to third person. You incorporate your descriptions more seamlessly into Finn’s story, and you use a wider range of language, which is really amazing. I really love seeing a writer improve over time (though I don’t actually know how long after Hero you wrote The Harder They Fall), so this was exciting for me! Obviously I loved Hero, and the writing wasn’t bad at all; it was engaging and immersive, but just more colloquial.
Anyway my point is, I’m adoring this new style you have in Finn’s story.
I really think I didn’t give Finn enough credit in my last review for Hero. I was doubting whether he’d grieve, and after reading this entire first chapter, I feel vaguely ashamed of myself for thinking that of him. What is really tragic about his grief is the amount of self-loathing he holds; when he says “It seemed a reasonable punishment” after saying he wasn’t a brother anymore, I was like, NO FINN, NO. Tom Riddle truly has everyone wholly convinced it was an accident, and ugh I hate what it’s doing to Finn.
Normally I would hope for Finn to discover Tom’s coldblooded murder and then take revenge on him, but considering Tom Riddle survives to become Voldemort, I don’t have terribly high hopes. I have a feeling Finn will discover the truth at some point, maybe once he drifts too far from Tom’s ideologies and Tom’s all like “um okay buddy I didn’t kill your sister for you to just follow in her footsteps” and then Finn’s all like “what the f-” and then makes a brave attempt to retaliate against Tom, but because Tom’s Tom and apparently immortal, nothing will happen. Or Finn will die too.
(PLEASE DO NOT LET FINN DIE I THINK I WILL ACTUALLY COMBUST WITH SADNESS IF HE DOES.)
It’s really interesting seeing how Finn lacks in academic intelligence, and that he hates studying, hates homework. After reading an entire story in Hero’s point of view, where she really dedicated her all to studying for OWLs and completing her homework to the best of her ability (part of the reason why she got lured into this mess into the first place, I’ve realized lmao), it’s a huge change. And I like the distinction that you’re making between the two! It’s so fascinating seeing everything from Finn’s perspective, even though he’s shrouded in grief right now.
Also, uh, let’s talk about how alarming Finn’s point of view is here: “There was no ‘o’ in Imperius, but there was one in power.” Like, um, Finn?? Your sister, who greatly opposed this sort of thing, died??? (He’s so interesting already I love it.)
His flirtation gave me secondhand embarrassment, but that’s probably just because I just feel an overwhelming embarrassment for real life boys trying to flirt. That whole scene in the library was the scene that made me absolutely giddy, though, because a) BRINDLEY MCCROY, and b) what is going on with the Avery brothers, and c) why is Finn being so mean to Brindley? I thought he liked her last year??? And Finn, how dare you be mean to the girl I have decided is the light and love of my life, you’re not supposed to be mean to a girl like Brindley.
Literally every time Tom opens his mouth I want to stuff his tongue down his throat and watch him choke on it. That being said, I do want to know what he’s planning, so I suppose he might have to keep his tongue for now.
I love the way you write Finn’s introspection?? His thoughts and emotions are so well expressed, and the credit obviously goes to you for writing his inner reflections so so well. The last line of this chapter killed me omg.
SOMEONE SHUT ME UP WHY DO I TALK SO MUCH.
Hello! I'm here to sprinkle a little love onto your story!
Before I start this review I just have to say that I haven't read Hero yet, so I don't what happened to his sister, but I really liked the first chapter. It was a good introduction to the story. We got to meet all the main characters and you even introduce us to a little bit of a mystery at the end. I'm curious and excited to find out what exactly Tom is up to, though I suspect it's nothing good because it's Tom we're talking about after all.
My favourite part about this chapter is that you're introducing us to characters that aren't the most likable characters. They're the type of characters you would think of as villains in a story, yet here we see things more from their side. Of course there is a chance Finn won't stay on this side through the whole story, but I liked that we got see Tom Riddle and his friends from a different perspective. It was very interesting and I really enjoyed it!
Overall, this was just a well-written and intriguing first chapter that really made me want to read the rest of the story. Great job!
Be My Badger
Hello! I'm here for the review tag, and I'm glad it's brought me here. I've heard so much about this story, and I know this is only the first chapter, but I can already tell it'll live up to the hype. I've also never read a story set in the time where Tom Riddle is still at Hogwarts, so I think that prospect is very interesting and I'm fairly intrigued.
I think this is a perfect first chapter. You introduced the cast of your characters in a nice way (even though they may not be so nice. I'm worried this might be the kind of story that only involves unrelateable characters; even though that's one of the things I enjoy about stories sometimes). I want to say many bad words regarding Finn and his 'gang'. You'd think one should at least be good at something before they start making fun of other people, but that's not how the world goes, huh? In any case, I will try to hold back my judgment for later because he seems conflicted about the death of his sister (the circumstances and details of which I'm so eager to know).
It's also important that I take a moment to address your portrayal of Tom Riddle. I can't imagine he's an easy character to get in the head of/write, but I think you've done a great job with it so far. He is so goal-oriented and that especially comes off in the scene where all the other boys are making jokes. Slytherin tunnel vision and all.
So far, I find this very interesting and I can see why it's so popular. I'm definitely gonna becoming around more often.
So, Harry was a Wizarding archeologist and most probably Brindley's father, and a dark wizard was looking for something that Harry had, but we don't know what that is yet. I'm willing to bet one of my limbs that Brindley is the Potter child! And this Monty who is her brother will have some sort of records from being at Hogwarts with a last name! We are so close to finding things out I can taste it! The Hallow must be Gordic's Hallow! Yes, and the dark wizard is Grindelwald and IC is invisibility cloak and Brindley is the freaking Potter Child! I knew it! Yass, Finlay is going to protect Brindley from Grindelwald because he loves her!
Oh, the coup! Oh Finlay...what are we going to do with him? Haha, Brindley teasing Finn about his boo-boo; poor Finlay. Oh heck, I wasn't expecting that. I mean, I wanted Brindley undying cofession of love, but I'd much prefer her to be sober for it. Oh my goodness, poor drunken Brindley is hilarous--'I've never been here in my entire life", oh my goodness, and tricking Finlay into talking to a barrell...I'm dead. You've killed me.
Goodness, things are heating up. Poor Finlay. GOOD BOY, FINLAY--GOOD BOY! He's a gentleman, wouldn't you know it? Oh and KISSES! FINALLY! I mean, probably not under the right circumstances, but oh my goodness! Oh Finlay NO! You can't just kiss Brindley and go and kiss Lucretia -- oh my word! Did he just call Brindley's name? He did--HE DID! Aahh
Such an exciting chapter!!
B! I finally made it to reviewing the end of this wonderful, wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us <3
Ah, Finn's mother - I'm so glad that she's there and that she made that Portkey! I think it reminded me most of Narcissa, who'll do whatever it takes to protect her child, and it rang really true that she would be the one to do whatever she could to get her son out of it.
I was so glad that Finn was able to get there and find Brindley, even if I didn't think they were going to be able to get out of it - especially when Tom saw him, and he was carted off to the basement. But I think it meant so much to Brindley to know that he was there, and that he wanted to fight for her.
I'm actually pretty happy that Fleamont had hidden the real Invisibility Cloak, and that Grindelwald didn't find the real one. And I liked Fleamont when he was in the basement - the fact that he didn't seem to care much for himself, and just wanted Finn to make sure that he got Brindley out of there.
The scene with Grindelwald and Brindley was so intense and so well written. I thought you characterised Grindelwald really well, particularly with the way that he enjoyed explaining about how powerful he was; it's the same sense of triumph that we see later in Voldemort, and it fits well with their characters.
FINN LOVES BRINDLEY FINN LOVES BRINDLEY.
Thank Merlin for Finn's mum turning that vase into a Portkey, and getting them out of there. You wrote their escape really well, especially with how chaotic and panicky it seemed, because it helped plunge us into the same feelings as Finn at that point.
I was so, so worried when they arrived on the beach and Brindley wasn't breathing and she'd gone. I didn't think you'd do the same thing, but you don't have a great track record with not killing characters I like, so I guess I should say thank you for not killing Brindley :P And even better - the curse effects have been cancelled out and she's actually healthy and going to live again, yay!
The ending was so lovely and sweet. After all they've been through together to get to this point, I was so happy to see that they've got a brighter future - but also that you didn't just wipe away all the bad things that have happened and that Finn and Brindley have acknowledged that those are things they have to try and work through. If you ever want to write more of these two, you have another willing reader!
Argh oh my goodness, it's so hard to find the words to review this properly because so much has happened and it's so intense, and it's amazing and terrible and terrifying at the same time.
Finn found Fleamont! I'm not surprised that Fleamont didn't believe that he had a sister, or that his father had been unfaithful, but it was really interesting to see him - and it was such an intense scene. I couldn't believe it when Tom and the others turned up! I wonder if Tom suspects that Finn went there for his own reasons, rather than to try and help Grindelwald's cause, but at least Finn has the Invisibility Cloak now - that's one hope, that he'll be able to use it. If not to protect Brindley, then at least to find her.
Alenya Hills! I'm so sad that Finn actually gave her name to Grindelwald instead of Brindley's - I knew that he wouldn't give up Brindley but it still upsets me that another girl has died unnecessarily for what he's done.
And Bash! Tom is so good at picking out the people he needs and convincing them to do what he wants, so it doesn't surprise me that he's managed to convince Sebastian that he's helping him to get his family back, but it's so sad that Sebastian has done all of those things which have put so many people's lives in danger. I just really hope that Finn manages to fix it, and find Brindley...
Okay, I read that first section several times and I'm still not sure what on earth Finn has told Grindelwald. And I NEED TO KNOW. I'm sure he hasn't sold out Brindley, but if he's gone and told Grindelwald that Alenya Hills is the girl that he's looking for, I won't be impressed. He's been making so much progress!
I loved the scene with Brindley and Finn, when he took her out to the mountain so that she could dance out there. It was so, so sweet of him to do something like that for her, and to show that he remembered what she said, even when he hadn't apparently liked her or paid any attention to her. These two are just so cute and lovely together - it's almost like it was inevitable, they have so much chemistry and it's lovely to read.
And the matching Rune birthmarks! Looks like they were made for each other :P
I loved the fact that you conveyed so much about how Finn feels for Brindley with that one line, about how he was still there by morning.
Hero! Ah, it was so great to see her again, even if it was because of the Resurrection Stone - and to see her from Finn's perspective. I liked the fact that Finn seemed to have come to terms with her death more, and her appearance didn't have the same impact on him that the stone has on other people, but I'm glad that she got the chance to warn him about Tom.
And now the stone has gone to Grindelwald - that's really interesting, and makes me wonder whether or not Tom ever realised the significance at the time, and how he got it back from Grindelwald. Here's hoping that Brindley and Finn can stay safe, though... At least now, Finn has realised exactly what Tom is!
NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOO!!!
Okay. Ahem. Attempt at a coherent review.
I was so glad at the start of the chapter that Finn was still deliberating over what to do about Henry Potter's illegitimate child. I mean, I can't imagine him giving up Brindley, but at the same time I really don't want him to throw Alenya Hills into Grindelwald's path for no reason whatsoever.
The scene with Ben was really cute. I knew it! I knew that it must have been a Muggle boy, and that's why his father had had a problem with whatever happened over summer. It's so sweet that he likes Radbourne, and that Rad hasn't just turned round and rejected him - but it's so horrible that Tom controls what they all do to such an extent. I wonder if they'd have wanted to make friends with him when they were younger if they'd known the effects he'd have on their lives later on.
Anyway, that scene was really cute with Finn being so accepting - I don't think he'd have managed it before Brindley - and Ben throwing his own words back at him when he talks about the Hufflepuff girl. So they've definitely noticed.
Tom is definitely not as charming around his friends as he is with new people, is he? It's easy to see the fear that his friends are feeling and them doing what he says as a result, but I'm glad that Dumbledore is pretty wise to Tom and isn't going to put his own life in danger very easily. Tom is so arrogant that he thinks he'll have any plan mastered, so it's no wonder he never takes kindly to Dumbledore - especially when he's showing him up in front of Grindelwald.
The scene with Brindley in the greenhouses was so sweet! Ah, they've finally talked about how they feel, and Finn has decided that he wants to spend that time with her - I'm so strangely proud of him for making the journey he's come on already, though I think he's got a long way to go still. I kind of feel like he should tell her about the danger that she's in, but I can understand why he wouldn't, too.
THE ENDING. I'm so stressed! I need to read on immediately and find out what Finn tells Grindelwald about Henry Potter's child!
B! I'm back!
Ooh, I loved the way that you threw us right into the attempted coup at the Ministry - it really helped to make us feel the way that Finn was caught up in all the chaos, and wasn't really sure what he was doing there. The fact that it ended so abruptly and quickly helped convey the panic that Finn was feeling - everything seemed to happen to him very suddenly, and it really showed the fact that he wasn't comfortable in that environment. Probably even less comfortable than he would have been previously, because he's starting to change his opinions and thoughts on things.
Wow. They don't expect very much of two schoolboys, do they? I wonder if that's where Tom got the idea to test Draco later on, because he knows that it can be used to keep families in line. The sense of terror that's used to make people obey came through very well here, and especially with Jameson - Finn has to grow up and do what's necessary now to keep his family alive, because they're so heavily involved.
In a way, even if it weren't for the Muggle objections, I could understand Finn's parents' concern about the car - especially after what happened to Hero.
Brindley! Ah, she's so brave and amazing, and to come to terms with something like that must be horrible - but I really hope that something can be done to help her, and I'm pretty sure that Finn will try and do anything that he can to stop her from suffering.
I wonder how long he can manage like this without his friends picking up on the fact that he's drifting away from them, and towards Brindley, though - and whether that will endanger them both.
Ah, oh my goodness - I can understand why Finn would want to protect Brindley from Grindelwald, but it can't be any better to throw someone completely innocent into their path... I hope he doesn't do it!
I like how through Finn's narrative, McCroy has now transitioned to Brindley. (And, of course, it's because he lurves her <3.) Having her missing from class is worrying, though. "Whatever the reason..." the less he sees of her is not the better, because he's completely ignoring his love for her (I mean, I get that he doesn't see that yet, or maybe it's be hardcore sailing the ship here, but they're adorable, and Finn is trying to avoid her at all costs). And then, of course, there's Sebastian and the whole might-be-the-Potter-child thing (and a cousin who may or may not be attending Illvermony?). There are SO many questions that need answering!
And, oh snap! Sebastian with the dummy-exploding! I'd be worried for the bullies as well ^.^ .
Heh, that and I don't think Finn really wants to mess with Brindley :p, she's a fiesty one! So, her mother was killed by dark wizards (for an inexplicable reason) and she was presented to her Muggle grandparents as a newborn -- you know, I'm back on that maybe Brindley is actually the Potter-child side again! I'm so anxious for them to translate these runes for some more clues! OH! And this guy in the letters--his name is HARRY!? Brindley is totally the Potter child and you're totally going to make me cry! St-ah-p!
Heheheh, the almost-compliment, thwarted just in time! These two are adorable. They will have adorable babies *cough*. And the comments on the group of Hufflepuffs not being afraid of him was hilarious--he had absolutely no idea what to do about that -- how dare they?! And Brindley's trust brings us back to our ship.
And then, of course, the whole bit with Finn and the car is wonderful (I also really appreciated the story about how the animangi badgers dug a tunnel for the student's to escape). OH MY GOSH WAS THAT AN ALMOST-KISS? IT WAS! IT WAS! Gosh dang it, Will. Shoo! Shoo! Well, I'll take some hand-holding (but yeah, what's up with the bruises?). Eeeee!
Such a good chapter!
Ah, bless Brindley, trying to work out some of the Runes and Finn encouraging her. If anyone tries to tell me that Finn doesn't like Brindley after this chapter, I will fight them :P
I wonder how on earth Finn is explaining all of these extra Runes sessions with a Hufflepuff to his friends now that the Care of Magical Creatures project is over? I wonder if Tom already knows and is just waiting to use the information to get back at Finn...
And we finally find out Brindley's back story! I actually felt kind of sorry for Finn as he was translating the letters and everything suddenly fell into place for him - the relief that it isn't Sebastian that Grindelwald is after, but it's Brindley instead. One person he cares about replaced by another in the sights of the most dangerous wizard in the world. How on earth is he meant to tell Brindley that? I can understand him wanting to get away from her so quickly at that point, because I don't know how you'd explain that to someone - and he's going to have a big decision to make about it, too.
Ah, the blanket fort scene was so cute! And I laughed so much at Brindley making Finn talk to the barrels and just giggling at him. But it was so lovely seeing them away from other people and the expectations that others have for them, just enjoying a sweet and normal moment between two young people. Although it was more than just a bit of fun - which is why it scares Finn so much and why he has to go and be an idiot at the end of this chapter. I'm not impressed, Mr Blishwick, not impressed at all.
Hello B <3
Almost. Almost, Finn? Methinks that you notice far more about Brindley than you're meant to or really want to at this point in time, but you're just not prepared to admit it to yourself yet. Almost *shakes head*
Ooh, I think Sebastian might be onto something with his suspicions about Scout and Ilvermorny. I feel so sorry for the poor kid, because his parents obviously love him but there's so much family pressure and he's been made to feel that he doesn't belong anymore just because of his blood status. The Blishwick family definitely have a lot of secrets, and it wouldn't be surprised if Scout was another one and they were covering something up about her to avoid rumours or "shame". Maybe she's a Squib?
It's really nice to see Finn in his element translating the Runes for Brindley - so far we've seen a lot of his academic insecurities, and how Brindley is much more studious and confident than he is, so it's great to see that dynamic switched around a bit here. And we're getting to learn something about her backstory with Brindley, which is really interesting. I wonder if she could be the child that Grindelwald is looking for...
I'm kind of surprised to see Finn sneaking away from school to go and see a Muggle film, but at the same time not wanting to seem a coward in front of Brindley feels very in character. Brindley saying that she trusts him is so cute, and I hope that Finn will manage to live up to that trust.