Name: AlmaVK (Anonymous) · Date: 22 Aug 2017 11:19 AM · Chapter: Footsteps in the Forest

Hi :) thank you for entering my Fantastic Beast Challenge! The Forums still seem to be down with the new site, so I thought I'd come here directly with the results. I had a total of seven very good entries, and the choice was hard.

1st prize: Fantastic good-night stories by Vilja
2nd prize: Serenity in Chaos by nott theodore
3rd prize: Harry Potter and Druidic Magic (Chapter 3 The Phoenix's Song) by StarFeather
Footesteps in the Forest by Dojh167
Seemed like a good idea at the time by melian
Forest by Rhaenyra
Tengu and a Daughter of Ninja (chapter 12) by StarFeather

Here is the graphic prize I made for you: http://imgur.com/43raReP
Reviews will be coming.

Name: Rhaenyra (Signed) · Date: 19 Jun 2017 11:46 PM · Chapter: Footsteps in the Forest

Wow.  This was extremely well done.


Luna was very young when her mother died, and you have managed to capture the innocence that a girl not yet attenting Hogwarts would have.  Even though this is 5-ish years before we meet Luna in canon, I do not have any hesitation in saying that going off to the forest to be around nature and (as luck would have it) magical creatures is so Luna.  The ordinary is too tough to deal with, so she is finding beauty in little things and making it extraordinary in her mind.


"If you are lost, don't move until you are found" is good advice, especially if she is in the forest.  The fact that she is repeating something her father says is very fitting for Luna.  She clearly looks up to her father both here and in canon, believing him even when he says things that do not make much logical sense.  To look to something he has said in times of trouble is a very child-like thing to do.  She is finding comfort in her father's words, even though he is not there in person.


I LOVE the way you managed to contrast the thestral and the unicorn.  Even without names at first, it was easy to tell what they both were.  The cold breath of the thestral is sharply contrasted by its caring nature we see immediately after.  Most people - especially children - would be afraid of seeing a unique, never-before-seen creature.  Luna, of course, isn't afraid of something that most adults are because she doesn't think the same way as most of society.  She sees people (and creatures!) at their core for what they are.


Luna's belief that the unicorn was her father and her thestral was her mother tugged at my heartstrings.  Little Luna just wanting to be a part of a family again KILLED me.  Poor little Luna. :( I like how you turned expectations on their head here as well - no unicorn = female, thestral = male. :)


Excellent job!

Author's Response:

Thank you for your review!


This is the first new thing I posted in quite a while, so I’m glad I wrote about something that people would be so eager to review


I think that Luna has a really strong sense of both innocence and maturity. When we know her in the books she seems almost childishly naive, but at the same time insightful and wise beyond her years. I think that the same thing would be true for Luna as a child. Luna and children are both notoriously difficult things to write well, but writing Luna as a child came easier than I expected. I think because the problem with writing grown Luna is you need to not make her too chldlike or too mature, but with her as a child that’s easier.


I didn’t give too much context during this story, but I pictured the reason she was in the forest because she was on a trip with her father and got lost.


“The ordinary is too tough to deal with, so she is finding beauty in little things and making it extraordinary in her mind.” Ummm I relate to this a lot and I imagine Luna does too.


It was an obvious choice to me to symbolize the thestral as Luna’s mother and the unicorn as her father. Obviously the thestral connection because of the death and mystery surrounding her mother, but I found the unicorn an even more powerful parallel, as I see Xenophilius as blinding in his eccentricities.


I’m glad you liked this so much! Thanks for all your comments =)



Name: lovegood27 (Signed) · Date: 19 Jun 2017 10:40 PM · Chapter: Footsteps in the Forest

Hello! I thought it was about time I checked some of your stories out, so here we are :)


I think this is a beautiful piece you have here. I loved your characterisation for Luna here, so calm and gentle towards animals and I could definitely see her whispering something like the mantra she said at the beginning. It's a lovely saying and it was heart warming how she actually did find someone to walk through the forest with for comfort (this is shortly after her mother died, right? Since she could already see the Thestrals and her reaction suggested it was her first time seeing them?) 


Luna's only fear was that the animal might be afraid 


Luna's just too lovable in this! If I was her and a horse with no pupils came up to me, I would be terrified, but she's not and is so caring to animals. I think her reaction really highlights the difference between her and other people (I'm not saying anything against her, she's awesome), and also her kind nature. I really like how you've written about her in this story :)


And the two representations of the horses was sweet, even if it killed me slightly knowing Luna's family was now down to two. The footstep mentions helped emphasise the numbers more, going from one companion to two. The ending was very good too- Luna's alone at the beginning and not at the end so it leaves me feeling slightly happier (while still wanting to cry a bit)


Anyway, I think you did a wonderful job with this and I enjoyed reading it :)


Author's Response:

Hello! I loved checking out your stories, and I’m flattered that you’re checking out mine as well (btw I was eager to ask you writer’s journal questions but didn’t see one for you)


I generally avoid writing Luna because as much as I like her, capturing her intimidates me. You seem to have an affinity for her, so you thinking I characterized her well means a lot.


And yup, this is soon after Luna’s mother died. I put that in the story summary, but did not have a smooth way to work it into the actual story. The loss of Luna’s mother is a subtle but important point in this story, and I didn’t want to make it too blatant by talking about Luna’s feelings about it outright.


Hehe, Luna is certainly not frightened by the unorthodox, that much can be said for certain. I think it is also easier for her kindness to shine towards others that are misunderstood. Her peers generally don’t understand her so there’s not much hope for connection there, but when she encounters another person or creature who is misunderstood, I think it is much easier for her to form a connection with them.


Haha @ “feeling slightly happier (while still wanting to cry a bit)”


Thank you for this review! I really enjoyed all of your comments =)



Name: poppunkpadfoot (Signed) · Date: 18 Jun 2017 03:29 AM · Chapter: Footsteps in the Forest

Hey Sam! I saw you have a new story with no reviews and I thought I'd drop by.


This is honestly gorgeous. I'm blown away by what a powerful mental image the ending scene was - little Luna standing between a bright white unicorn and a pitch black thestral. Add in the symbolism of unicorns representing life and thestrals representing death? Stunning. I really liked that even though Luna didn't seem to know what a thestral was (not sure about the unicorn) and therefore wasn't aware of that symbolism, she sort of made that connection with the thestral representing her mother and the unicorn representing her father.


I thought Luna was so perfectly characterized here. I absolutely loved how she stuck to her guns with the "don't move if you're lost" mantra, even as the thestral sniffed and nuzzled at her, and then decided that she had been "found" by the thestral and therefore could move. The part that really stood out to me with her characterization was how she was not scared of the thestral and was worried that it would be scared of her, and also wondered if it would like a blanket upon feeling its cold breath.


Now I'm sitting here thinking about the symbolism of the unicorn and thestral distrusting each other at first and then accepting each other and both walking with Luna. Ugh! I just love this imagery so much! I can't tell if I'm overthinking it, but the fact that I've been sitting here mulling it all over for like ten minutes is definitely a demonstration of how powerful your imagery is here.


Great work, thank you for sharing!



Author's Response:

Thank you so much for reviewing this!

I wrote this really quickly and hadn't written in quite a while, so I can't say that I was the most happy with how it came back, so I'm really glad to hear you say that you liked it so much.

Yes, the symbolism is my favorite part, I just didn't meet the level of language that I generally hope for. So I guess I liked the concept more than the execution? Luna's a really challenging character, so I'm at least fairly happy with my charicterization of her and I'm glad you are too.

I think Luna did know what a universe was, but I enjoyed the parallel of being able to refer to them both on equal footing without reference to their names, or a name for one and not the other.

I am glad I gave you a lot to think about! I enjoyed the parallels and symbolism too, obviously.


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