*Transferred from HPFF*
Heya! Finally popping in for our review swap!
Like you, I was also very unsure what to pick to read (so many choices!) but I saw that this had one first place in The Magical Creatures challenge, and that you'd also entered it into the Children's Story Challenge, so I couldn't resist.
Ah, this was just perfect! I really loved all the lore that you built around boggarts. It was really imaginative, and I'm so going to adopt this as my boggart headcanon, now! Also Brian is such an ordinary name and he's so scary! It was so cute how his own voice scared him a little - that was a very nice touch.
The way you wrote this story was just perfect. It definitely read like a fairy tale. There was the cherubic little girl who was hated by her family. A magical animal. AND A HAPPILY EVER AFTER YAY. And it was so mysterious, still! It really felt like reading one of the original Grimm's fairy tales.
All in all, this was such a lovely story to read, and now I'm smiling and it's just fantastic! Thanks for the swap :)
Chiara! Ah, it's been too long since I read any of your wonderful writing, and this was a brilliant, funny, unique story. I really enjoyed reading this!
You know, I've read a lot (and I mean a LOT) of fanfiction, and I can safely say that I don't think that I've ever read a story about a Boggart before, let alone a family of Boggarts. I'm not sure where I thought that they came from (I think maybe I just thought they'd float around and follow the fear or dark spaces) but I really love the idea of a Boggart having parents and a family, and that being how Brian grew up.
I felt so sorry for Shirley here, too - I guess we're not shown many Squibs in the books, and they're not portrayed very sympathetically, but I thought you made us feel very sorry for her and to process what she had to go through. The repetition of those commands that she couldn't complete really emphasised that.
I'd never, ever thought of a Boggart having a romance before, let alone with a Squib - but they both managed to overcome a part of themselves that nobody imagined they'd be able to overcome, and then lived happily ever after. Or at least, so I hope - I'd be intrigued to hear what actually happened to them if you ever write a sequel!
Hey, Sian! So glad to see you here! Feel free to come visit my AP anytime, darling! :P
I'm so glad you enjoyed this story! Actually, I never really thought about where Boggarts came from either, before I had the idea for this... Glad you liked the idea of them having parents and families! :)
Poor Shirley... I think that a Squib in a strict Pureblood family wouldn't have an easy life... glad you liked her portrayal. :)
Maybe one day I will write a sequel, who knows... :P they did live happily ever after, anyway! ;)
Thank you so much for the lovely review!
This is such a unique little place? how haven't I read this before? I do like shameless self promotion. I felt this was just wonderful after all this angst that I've been read.
Brian is just adorable and you've created such a likeable little character. I think his thought process was really good because you played him child like which really worked for me as Brian is trying to figure out the world and that. I don't know how you came up with this idea but it's just so quirky! I would love to know how you developed this idea. I'm just impressed I think.
I really like the opening backstory behind the boggarts too, I imagine them to look like 'nothingness' too I guess. I just adore that these two very different people (things?), as brian isn't a person :P found each other. They created their bond instantly and I really love that this is a story about friendship. my favourite thing is how you left the ending really open so the reader can also imagine what happened to them.
this is the cutest! well done!
- Abbi xo
Hey, Abbi! Here (a bit late) to reply to a few reviews... :P
Shameless self-promotion can be a good thing at times... :P Thank you, I'm so happy you enjoyed reading this! :)
I do love Brian, and he is basically a "child", or at least the Boggart equivalent of that... :P I'm glad you enjoyed his thought process. As for how I came up with the idea... oh, I wish I knew... my mind likes to make up things that I really don't know where they come from. Guess I'm just crazy...
I've always imagine Boggarts to look like "nothingness", even if I'm not sure myself what that means. I mean, I think I've always thought that if they assume the form of what someone fears the most, when there is no one they just don't have any form at all... does that make sense? I'm glad you liked the idea of Shirley and Brian bonding immediately like that and that you found their friendship adorable. :) And yes, I liked to leave the ending open to imagination... :P
Thank you so much for the lovely review!
Pookha here with your review from the review swap. This is a really cute tale of what makes someone who they are and whether it's nature/nurture that makes a difference.
Brian, raised to be a boggart by nature, overcomes his basic nature to bond with Shirley, seeing somehow that's she's not deserving of just being scared by him. He also overcomes his fear of her, as she seems to be first human he's met.
Shirley overcomes her Squibness and her fear to bond with Brian the Boggart. It's also interesting that this could be read straight up as a fairy tale, with a traditional ending, but you could also read into it that Brian was her imaginary friend and she retreated into her own mind in an effort to get away from her father.
There are a few strange word choices here and there, I'm sure due to English being a second (or third, or more) language; but none of them are egregious or distract from the story or the flow.
I remember reading this in the queue and thinking that I should have commented on it then, so here belatedly. :)
Hi again, Pookha! And thank you for another great swap! :D
I'm so glad you enjoyed this story, I wanted to show that everyone can follow their path and find a place where they truly belong, despite their origins and what's expected from them.
I must confess, I had never thought of the imaginary friend interpretation, but I love it! Such a fascinating take!
I will give this another read and see if I can fix something, I'm glad it didn't distract from the story, though.
Thank you for the lovely review!
Chiara, I have heard several people comment on how well-written Brian the Boggart was. Now that I have finally gotten around to reading this story, I can definitely see why you have received so much praise for him.
Boggarts have so much mystery around them that you have managed to make the boggarts here seem like full-fledged characters. I love that you made boggarts have their own family structures, with two parents who could reproduce to make more baby boggarts. I loved the way you dealt with all of them. The mother and the father being protective of their babies, to the extent where Brian was not allowed out of the attic until he had matured, was very touching. The fact that their eldest was supposedly extra scary, according to the middle child, was very funny. The fact that Brian thought that maybe it was a good thing he hadn't met his brother because he was too scary while being a boggart himself was very funny.
I felt so bad for poor Shirley. :( Obviously, there would be Squibs born to pureblood fanatic parents, but it is hard to read about. At least the house-elf was nice to her, but the poor house-elf hurting herself by sticking her ears in the oven was so sad. I was hoping that she would show signs of magic at the end but I guess it was not meant to be.
The first interaction between Brian and Shirley was very touching. Her initial fear that turned into a bonding moment was so sweet. The fact that Brian did not want to scare her (in addition to not being happy alone and in dark places) shows that he was either different from his kind OR that boggarts are actually misunderstood. Both are very interesting and have potential to expand to stories.
The only problem I have with this is that now I am wondering what happened to Brian and Shirley after they left. Did he pose as a parent to her? Where did they go? I hope that it was a happy ending and not that something bad happened to them. (And now I'm hoping that nobody laughed around Brian in the future!) Do you know what happened to them? Can I know?
This was a great read. :)
Hey, Rhaenyra! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving this lovely review! And sorry if I'm a bit late answering...
I'm so glad you liked my interpretation of boggarts and the way I described Brian and his family! :) I'm happy you liked the family structure and that the parents were protective of their children. And Brian is just the cutest thing, isn't he? :P
Yes, poor Shirley... I bet being a Squib in a pureblood fanatic family would be very hard... Yay for Scandy! He is very affectionate to her.
I'm so glad you liked the first interaction between Brian and Shirley. They are so cute. And, well, I think they are both true... Brian is different from the canonical boggart, but it's also true that they are misunderstood creatures and that their assuming scary forms is more of a defensive mechanism rather than being evil.
No, I don't know what happened to them, but I'm sure they would be fine. :) I wanted to leave it open to the reader's imagination, the message that I wanted to give is that everyone can find their path and their place in the world, no matter what it is and how different they are from what's expected and considered normal.
I'm so happy you liked this! Thank you for such a lovely review! :D
... I swear I'm not procrastinating.
I'm just haunting your author page. Be afraid, be very afraid.
I'd actually seen this story the first time I checked out your page and I have NO idea why I haven't read it before!
Because it is absolutely brilliant. Truly, Chiara, this story is outstanding.
Love love LOVE Brian. Honestly, the whole idea is just SO creative, and I love how you've created a way of life for Boggarts (like what?!) and that Brian does not fit into it. Especially when Shirley doesn't fit into her world either!
I would have loved to have read more! But I'll take your word for it when you say they lived happily every after, I hope that's true :)
I will most definitely be reading this to my future children before bedtime! After a chapter of Harry Potter, of course...
Amazing work Chi, I really really enjoyed this :)
Love Bianca ♥
I am very afraid!!! *couch*
And by the way... HPAEBTBBYMB...
Nothing wrong in procrastinating, anyway! ;)
Ah, thank you! I'm happy you enjoyed this!!!
Ahahah! Boggarts are interesting and highly misunderstood creatures, aren't they? And Brian is the sweetest!!! *wub*
None of them really fit in (and Shirley's parents are just horrible...) so it's a good thing for them to meet each other!
Well, I wanted to leave the ending up to the reader's immagination. But I can assure you that they did live happily ever after! :D (btw, which is your favourite ending?)
Aww... that's too sweet!
Thank you so much for another wonderful review!!!
*Transferred from HPFF*
Review swap! I was torn between continuing your Lily story or reading this one, but I've had my eye on this one for a while (because of the quirky title!) and decided now is the time :p
one line in and I'm already really curious because I've always wondered what a Boggart looks like when no one is looking at it! there was one scene in OotP when Moody can tell by looking through the floor with his magical eye and knows there's a boggart but HOW DOES HE KNOW!? /tangent but I'm excited.
And let me tell you, she was the most beautiful and terrifying unshaped creature I've ever met. Never knew nothingness could have such a glamorous shade of black. -- Ahahaha! XD I love this so much! Best line of the story.
Omg, the image of young Shirley helping Scandy the house-elf make biscuits and Scandy allowing her to eat the dough because he loves her company but then sticking his ears in the oven to punish himself... gah! this is simultaneously so sweet and so heartrending omg what are you doing to my feelinsg
Aw, I love how you pointed out it's a Boggart's reflex to assume the shape of the scariest thing, and that's what Brian does - but he doesn't really want to scare her. Their ensuing friendship once he goes back to his original form (a black nothingness... with a hand.. haha however that worked) was really sweet. Sidenote though, I can't imagine how scary it would be to be a 7 year old who's just been kicked out for being a Squib! That makes me so sad.
I also kind of wonder what happened to the house-elf, and now I have this headcanon that Shirley hid nearby and was regularly visited by the house-elf, who still cooked biscuits with her (because how would Shirley take care of herself at seven?) and so Shirley and Scandy remained good friends. I also vote for the second option in which Shirley and Brian joined the circus as trapeze artists because that sounds awesome haha.
I just loved this story Chiara - you know I really like stories that are kind of unconventional and this certainly fit the bill. Wonderful writing and I can certainly tell why it won a challenge too! :) I'm so happy I read this! ♥
Thank you so much!
It's always so lovely to receive your visits!!! :)
Ahahah! Our minds really work alike, because that scene in OotP is exactly what I was thinking about when I wrote this! :D
A lot of people loved that particular line, and I'm so glad because it was quite difficult to word it in a way that satisfied me...
Poor Scandy...sometimes I'm so cruel to my characters...
I imagined that it was more of an instinct and a defensive mechanism. Of course there is also a will component, but in Brian's case he was just caught by surprise and did what came natural to him. Ahahah! I have no idea how it works, actually...
I must confess that I was a bit doubtful about them just running away when they were both just children and living on their own... I like your idea of Scandy visiting her, it's really sweet! :) And yes, the circus sounds awesome indeed! :D
Thank you so much, honey! I'm so glad you enjoyed this story! And you can tell that I love unconventional stories too! :P
Thanks for the amazing review and for swapping!!!
Love you so, so, so much!
Transferred from HPFF
Hello, Sam here with your "Thank you for your awesome review" review.
First of all, this is super cute. I don't normally read fluff, but I was definitely excited when I saw that this was for the Children's Story challenge. Your title did a fantastic job of capturing the cuteness, the fluffiness, and the children's story sides of the story.
I found that double spacing between paragraphs wasn't quite enough to show the start of a new section. At first I thought that you accidentally hit the spacebar an extra time. Try throwing in an asterisk or dash.
The opening lines did a wonderful job of setting up the children's story genre. I totally felt like I was a kid being told a story. It felt new and exciting, not over-simplified and condescending, which is a great distinction.
From the start you did a great job of characterizing boggarts in a new and exciting way: "Boggarts normally like solitude.. and why it is in their nature to assume scary forms to keep bothering strangers away." It was a completely new perspective, and yet sweetly believable. It is also a good gently humorous transition into some of the more ridiculous personification that's to come.
"And let me tell you, she was the most beautiful and terrifying unshaped creature I've ever met. Never knew nothingness could have such a glamorous shade of black." Agh, the humor is so delicious! And " A bit like a black hole, but without all the iper-gravitational field thing, otherwise Earth itself would be sucked anytime a Boggart came to be, and then there would be no world, and no Boggarts.." Okay, not going to repost any more funny things, because they keep coming.
Ruben's mother's reaction to his first magic was very d=believable in a disturbing way. This actually seems like something that would happen a lot i wizarding families, with parents so excited to see their children's first magic, which could often come from a place of childish cruelty that they go reprimanded.
Like most good children's stories, this turned out to be pretty dark. I was surprised that the two really did run away together at such a young age and couldn't help but seriously worry about them. But again, like a good children's story, you did a good job of softening that reality with fantastical possibilities.
There were a couple instances of omitted and extra words creating awkward sentence structures. You may want to have a beta look out for that in your future work.
Have you considered also submitting this to the Creative Creatures challenge?
Thanks for the accidental swap - I had a lot of fun reading this!
Thanks to you for deciding to come anyway!
Accidental swaps seem like a fun thing, don't you agree? People should do that more often!!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed this. And most importantly that you think I managed to set up the children's story genre well, because I really put a lot of effort in trying to give this the right tone.
I do have an issue with formatting and session breaking... Mostly, it is because I'm never really sure when a break is necessary or not, so I tend to do it inconspicuously... But thanks for the suggestion! :)
I'm so glad you liked the personification of boggarts and the humour in it! It was so much fun to write!
Their mother's reaction was definitely disturbing... She should've tried and confort Shirley, and reprimand Ruben for his nasty behaviour... But as you said, this is something that would likely happen in a wizarding family, especially in a purity-obsessed like this one is!
Yes, I know... I was a bit doubtful myself about getting them to run away from home at such a young age... I'm glad the funny possibilities helped smoothing it. That was exactly what I was trying to do! ;)
Oh... I have a bad tendency to construct sentences in a too convoluted way... And English not being my mother language doesn't help... I've never had my stories betaed, but a few people suggested I should... I'll probably ask someone next time.
Actually, I did consider it... I'm not totally sure this is fitting... Do you think I shoild?
Thank you again for the amazing review! It made my day!
Tons of love,