Here I am for our swap!
I always have a sweet spot for both Remus and McGonagall so naturally I just had to go and review this one, and I am pleasantly surprised by it!
First of all I must say how I liked how you set the scene. From how Minerva came to the decision to make the biscuits, and how Remus was so important to that specific decision. Especially the flashback to Remus' career advise was absolutely spot on, if you ask me, from both sides, and I really, truly wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be okay (even if it.. later would not). It's truly a great show of character from both sides here!
I also loved how the biscuits came to be - a way of making herself feel better and how it would make others feel better too. It makes perfect sense as to why she insists on students taking a biscuit and not wanting to take no for an answer there. It also shows how Minerva isn't always strong, even though she wants to be, and how even in sad times she downplays how she feels. Really well done.
But then you completely turned it around by making the safe space completely unsafe as it is, bringing back memories I certainly did not expect but were definitely interesting and I honestly want to know now how those two came to be like holy mother of god? It was a surprising turn of events.
BUT THEN SNAPE. THE DOE. Like oh my god. It's a great thing that you never let her know who the saviour was, but it also gives a good glimpse of his character and how he was on the 'good side' too by doing something like this. Really, brilliantly done and it made for one hell of a plottwist if you ask me.
Absolute great job! I'm really glad i chose this story to review!
Hello hello, I'm here to sprinkle a little love onto your story; Valentine's Day was just this past month, don't you know? :)
This was a great little one-shot. The second person POV was great at grabbing your attention, and you did a great job writing McGonagall; she's so hard to get right, and you did a fantastic job. I loved her conversation with Remus about his future; it totally seems like something she would do. And I loved that this was all centered around her biscuits, and that she learned to make them from scratch rather than from magic. If I hadn't just eaten dinner, I surely would've been hungry!
And oh, her worst memory of Dorcas dying; that was so horrible. :( I'm glad Remus was there [I'm assuming it was Remus] to save her from the Dementor, though! It was a very fitting end and brought everything into almost a circle.
Great job! ♥
Hello, my sweet fellow badger (or should I say Jill... :P)
Thank you so much for stopping by with this lovely review! <3
So glad you liked my Minnie! :) I will admit, I would have never dared write her if it wasn't for the challenge, but it seems it worked out in the end, so I'm happy!
Glad you liked her conversation with Remus (yes, she would try to encourage him that way) and the story behind her biscuits. :) And yes, Dorcas... :(
Actually, no, it wasn't Remus to save her, it was Snape... Hope that doesn't ruin it for you?
Thank you so much, it was so lovely to receive this review!
This was so well written!!!! I loved it! The way you portrayed McGonagall was flawless! I wish I had your skills with that aspect of writing. Where did you get the inspiration to write this? I was hooked from the beginning. You are a great writer and I am in awe at your skills. I can only hope that I can write with that much skill in the future.
Hey, there, Meg! :)
Sorry if I'm answering only now... it's been a busy period...
I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this and that you liked my interpretation of McGonagall. :) I'm not exactly sure where the inspiration came from... well, it was for a challenge, and McGonagall baking biscuits was the prompt I was given... but I can't really tell how the structure and the content of the story built up, it just happened. (I have a weirdly functioning brain...)
Thank you so much for the review and the swap!
Hi Chiara! Here for our review swap! :)
I wanted to go back to Liar, but I couldn't remember where I'd got to before and I didn't want to double-review something I'd already read (it seemed like it would be unfair), so I was scrolling down our page and I saw this. I love friendship fics, I love McGonagall and Lupin, so it seemed like such a perfect find :)
I love that the whole story kinda revolves around these biscuits she makes: we learn how she learned to make them and who from, we see her make them again and who she makes them (and made them for), the things and the people they remind her of, and the incident at the end which happens because she decided to go and make them. They create this lovely theme which never overwhelms the story, you know, it just frames it so beautifully. Also I love that it's an image of her baking because so often in the books we see her as this stern, upright, strong lady, with all the power and the authority and everything, so it's lovely to see a different side to her - and a hobby that I wouldn't necessarily have paired her with :)
You write her and Remus and Sirius and all of them so, so well. I love the way you write her conversation with Remus about jobs and his future - it's so vivid and there's something so raw about his feeling in it, the kind of hopelessness he feels and the melancholy about 'well it's never going to happen, so why bother?'. It's so sad and it really gets at all the deep-seated prejudice he faced. Poor Remus :( But I loved how Minerva was so supportive, even if there wasn't too much she could do to help him personally, encouraging him to think about it and to admit what he wanted - and how excited she is to see him coming back to Hogwarts, having got what he wanted. It's so sweet and so kind, which seems so very her.
Also, I love how the story starts off so happy - Remus coming back, Minerva wanting to give him a gift, so excited and pleased for him; the memories of the conversation where she was so supportive - and then slowly retreats into the bleakness of the encounter with the Dementor and the reminders that there had been a war and people, including Minerva, had lost people they cared about and loved. I loved how you mentioned Sirius and how she felt so torn by his perceived betrayal - it must have been so hard, you know, as a teacher to see kids you've sort of helped raise grow up to do those kinds of things - especially when you don't see it coming. It must be so easy to spend all your time wondering whether you missed something, you know?
And Dorcas. I loved how you included her, how you included the end of their ill-fated romance with the Dementor arriving, that being her worst memory, how it forces her to relieve the moment of it. It's awful and the way you write it is so bleak and so blunt, it almost hurts.
And secret hero!Snape, haha. I like how Minerva doesn't know it's him, how she's too exhausted to think or realise or even really see. The physicality of that kind of emotional exhaustion is never really mentioned in the books, with Dementors, but I love that you gave it that side of it - it's such a cool idea, and so true to life, yk?
Ahhh, this was a really, really lovely one-shot! It's so beautiful and so sad, and I really, really enjoyed it! :)
Hi, Laura! Thank you so much for the swap and for this lovely review, and sorry for the late reply!
I'm happy you liked the biscuits' theme and how it links the different moments and memories in the story and how it shows a different side to McGonagall than the stern Professor we see in the books. I do love this more soft and emotional side of her.
I'm glad you liked the bit about Remus' job orientation. Yes, it is sad that he has to face all that prejudice and that he can't really hope to get what he really wants, but I do think she would be supportive and encouraging and it is sweet that he did realize his ambition in the end and that she is so happy for him.
This was written for the dark turn challenge, so a change in mood was necessary. I'm glad you liked how it slowly changes from happy to painful. The Sirius' bit was really sad and as a teacher she must have had a hard time accepting what happened. :(
And yes, Dorcas... it's such a painful memory for her and it is awful that the Dementor forced her to relive that.
Yay for Snape! He arrives at the right time, doesn't he? I'm glad you found that physical exhaustion believable.
I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this, thank you so much for your lovely review!
Oh wow. That was an intense story. *coughs awkwardly while trying to find something more constructive to say*
Okay, so I really liked this. You did an amazing job with McGonagall's character, especially in the flashbacks. I definitely agree that Remus would have been one of her favourite students, and I could totally see her being excited to be working with him and baking biscuits for him. He was the one who cast the spell, right?! It's mentioned that it looks a bit like a doe...so was it Snape maybe? I still think it's Remus because the idea of him saving her from a demented while she made him biscuits is just perfect :)
The flashbacks! I think you made them work extremely well, and they gave me a much deeper insight into McGonagall's character. You managed to effortlessly convey powerful emotions while still having a good storyline. I honestly wanted to scream when McGonagall was talking about Sirius being bad- HE IS GOOD AND HE IS NOT A DEATH EATER :( And the scene with Dorcas...methinks I have too many emotions. I'd never imagined McGonagall and Dorcas together but the line "she was more than your ally" etc was just so convincing and I could actually picture them as a couple. Then came "And now she was dead" and it hit me hard, I felt so sorry for McGonagall :(
But anyway, I think you did a wonderful job with this! I think some parts were just a bit rushed, like the demented scene, but it mostly felt all natural, and I loved the interaction between Lupin and McGonagall. Well done :)
Hey, there! Hello! Thank you so much for this lovely surprise review! :D
I'm so glad you liked my portrayal of McGonagall and all the memories and also the special affection she has for Remus. Who wouldn't love him, honestly?
It was Snape who saved her in the end, also because Remus wasn't at Hogwarts yet in that moment. But I can see why you would like the idea of Remus saving her instead...
I'm so glad the flashbacks helped giving McGonagall's character more depht and that you felt they weaved well with the biscuits' storyline. Yes, I know... it's sad how everyone believed Sirius was guilty... :( And yes, Dorcas... :'( I've never really thought about them as a couple either, before writing this. But we actually don't know much about Dorcas' character, so why not? I'm sorry this was so painful.
Thank you so much, I'm so glad you loved this!
Thank you for the lovely review!
Hi, Vilja! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a review, I'm glad you enjoyed the story!
I just got this as a random prompt, but I was so thrilled when I saw it! I mean, you know how much I love Remus as well...
I guess this is a bit of a melancholic story. The challenge was about taking a happy premise and then give it a dark twist, and that's what I've tried to do. I hope it worked.
I can totally imagine Remus being her favourite student. :D I'm glad you liked my portrayal of him. :)
I'm sorry the jump backwards in time confounded you... I honestly don't know how I could make it clearer, but I might go back and see if I can change it a bit...
I liked the idea of giving a backstory to McGonagall's buscuits, and I'm so glad you liked it! And there really is something magical about baking, isn't there? I find it a wonderful sensation!
As I said, this had to turn dark because that was what the challenge was about. I'm glad you liked the story overall.
Thank you for the lovely review,
Hmm, what else can I read of Chiara's while I'm procrastinating my own writing...
Ooh a second person POV story! I love these, they're rare and so different! Aaand a Lupin one! Hooray!
Aw it's so sad to see Remus so pessimistic about his future :( I mean, we know he was, but it still makes me sad to read it!
As I was reading I was really wishing for a little story to McGonagall's biscuits, and my wish was granted! And it was so sweet! I love how many details about McGonagall's past you included, like her being in Scotland, Dorcas, and remembering Sirius' sorting after recent events (it still breaks my heart that people thought he was guilty for so long, wahh!)
Comparing baking to magic was a beautiful reference too.
Is anyone else hungry?
And oh her worst memory :(
Your characterisation of McGonagall is just perfect. She's so tough, but has weaknesses and dark moments, and I love how she chose to make the biscuits by hand rather than magic. Beautiful work as always Chiara!
Love B ♥
You can read whatever you want, my dear!
You can tell that I love second person too! :D
Poor Remus... Yes, he is so pessimistic... and he has good reason to be... poor kid...
Ah, I'm so glad about it! Edda's story is cute, isn't it? I loved writing about her!
So glad you liked the details about McGonagall's life... And yes, Sirius... that's so sad... :(
Isn't baking sort of magical? I wrote this story not long after my birthday, and I had baked my own cake because I'm celiac. I felt this sense of peace as I kneaded... I tried to put that feeling in this story.
Aww... her worst memory... Dorcas... :'(
Aww, thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked my portrayal of McGonagall!
Lots of love, honey!
I was really intriged by the prompt and decided to log in, especially since Remus is your favorite Marauder, I really wanted to know how you pictured him. I wish we could have seen more of him though!
Ooh 2nd person writing! You've done it so tastefully. I've read a whole bunch of 2nd person which is just so weird and sloppily done. This way, I almost felt like I was looking out of McGonagall's head (probably how Harry felt when he was seeing Voldemort's memorites lol!)
Coming to Remus - I love that even as a teenager you showed him bitter and resentful of his condition, while being realistic about it (even to the point of pessimism). I'm falling more an dmore in love with him as I explore him through my writings, and yours too now :D
McGonagall baking and doing something so, motherly, seemed OOC to me, but the way you wrote it flowed really well. Especially linking with her flashback made more sense. My heart broke when she (like everyone else) assumed Sirius to be the traitor *sniff*.
I simply loved your passage about the Dementor. It was really unexpected because I just expected a fluffy ending. But the transition was superbly done. It was the passage with the dementor that set the appropriate mood. And your insights into younger McGonagall were interesting to read. The Edda story brought out her vulnerability, and her compassion towards other magical creatures. In the books we generally see a very guarded version of McGonagall, rarely displaying emotion and if she did it was mostly that of anger.
I thought Remus would be the one to save her, him and Patronuses and all. I was surprised to see Snape there.
Lovely job there! Looking forward to reading more Remus from you :D
Oh, thank you! This surprise review made me so happy!!! :)
Ahahah! I was so thrilled when I got that prompt! And I really wanted to write something that focused on Remus!!! But my muse had other ideas... :P
Oh... He is so lovely...
I imagine him to be quite disillusioned. He is an intelligent boy, and I'm quite sure he has met a lot of prejudiced people, even at that age. Sure, the Marauders accepted him, but I believe he always thought they were an exception. I think he would be quite bitter about his condition (even if it makes me sad...)
Of course this isn't the Minerva McGonagall we're used to see, but we have never really see her when she's alone with herself. While we see that she is very strict with her students, we also know that she has a big heart and that she deeply loves them. I wanted to show a more private dimension of her character. It's a personal interpretation, of course, that can be shared or not. But verosimilar, I think.
Oh, I know... But I suppose Sirius' guiltiness was hardly questionable. Everyone knew James had asked him to be secret keeper, and no one could imagine the swap to Peter. McGonagall will find out the truth soon, anyway (if this can be of any consolation...)
The Dementor caught a few people by surprise, it seems... Curious, because for a story with this setting, it seemed to me the most natural choice for a dark turn. I'm really happy you found it powerful!!!
Oh, Edda's story is just adorable, isn't it? I'm so glad you enjoyed Minerva as a child!!!
Well, it couldn't be Remus because he wasn't there yet. I considered Dumbledore, but in the end I felt Snape worked better.
Oh, thank you so much again! I'm so happy you liked this story!!!
Much, much love!
*Transferred review, originally posted anonymously as Remus Lupin*
Oh, that's me again in the story! The fact that Minerva considered me to be one of her favourite students warms my heart. She was one of my favourite teachers when I was a student at Hogwarts.
I love the comparison of baking to Transfiguration! When you put it that way, it makes perfect sense that McGonagall enjoys (and is good at) baking.
What's especially wonderful is the context you've given to each time McGonagall offers a student a biscuit - it's not just a random tin she bought at a shop, but something she baked herself, and with all this backstory of the elves who helped her learn how to bake when she was a student, and the people she has impacted while at the same time offering them a biscuit (myself included!) it makes those moments of the story so much richer.
Poor Sirius. It's so sad that McGonagall (and I) spent so many years thinking he was guilty and trying to hate him.
This was such a cute story, and I really didn't expect the dark turn at the end there, with the dementor and then her worst memory. That was so sad to see her lose Dorcas like that. Was that Snape at the end who saved her with the Patronus? It appears I'd underestimated Snape, he really came through in what could otherwise have been a terrible moment.
Last but not least, the structure of this is wonderful, how it weaves in and out of memories and in the present. Memories don't always pop up in a linear way, so this felt very natural and I thought it added a lot to the story. And your writing of McGonagall is perfectly in character.
Another Outstanding for you!
Kristin! Have I told you how much I loved your reviews as Remus? You are the bestest secret valentine ever!!!
Anyway, here's my transferred response ;)
You might discover that 90% of my stories are about you (and I'm not even sorry)! And well, if I were Minerva, I would consider you one of my favourite students as well. :)
Baking has that sort of magic, doesn't it? I think McGonagall would see that connection. I'm glad you liked to see the backstory to her biscuits and the way they affected so many people in her life. :)
Yes... that's very sad... at least you found out the truth in the end...
That was quite unexpected. Yes, so sad, I know... It was Snape who saved her, didn't I tell you that he's a better person than what you thought?
Oh, you make me blush, thank you! I'm so glad you liked the structure and the non-linearity of the memories. And also that you found I captured McGonagall well. It's so nice of you!
Thank you again, honey! (And please, if you happen to meet Kristin, give her a huge hug from me)!
Tons of love,