Hi Barbara! I’m here for CMDC Round 2 :D
I was so excited to see a new chapter of this story!
It looks like Katarina took the plunge and decided to have her memory wiped so that she could infiltrate Grindelwald. You described her disorientation when she woke up in Omaledo’s home very well—and you further disoriented the reader by having her wake up in a totally new place. Great job with the descriptions of Omeledo’s home—and I love that he has a whole wall of books hidden in plain sight. I wonder what he was working on with the Pensieve when Katarina woke up.
I’m also wondering which side Omaledo is on. Is he working for the resistance and giving Katarina an alibi for when she infiltrates Grindelwald’s people? Or is he working for Grindelwald? Or is he neutral, and playing his own game? So many questions with this mysterious man.
The plan seems to be working well so far. Katarina remembers a lot of things—but she’s forgotten her motivation for becoming a spy (she now thinks her brother’s death was a potions accident) and she doesn’t remember any of her contacts. But she has a niggling feeling that her answers are back in France, and so to France she goes.
I like the tension you build up with Katarina wandering the streets of Annacy and trying to figure out what she’s supposed to be doing. I also like the bleak backdrop of Nazis that keep wandering into the picture.
It looks like Katarina is about to introduce herself to Pierre again. Is he being sloppy about his spying on her on purpose?? Or is that not Pierre??
Nice work on this update!
I was worried about this chapter. Would people understand what was happening? Would readers see the clues that she had her memory wiped and changed, so I'm glad you picked up on the change of how she thinks her brother died, etc.
Ugh, I hope the new man isn't Pierre. If she is going to associate herself with Grindelwald, she can't be seen with Pierre, a well known supporter of all things French and nothing Germananic.
I've been looking forward to this story being updated because it's so interesting and you left it on a cliffhanger. I don't know what I was expecting from this chapter but you've certainly blown any expectations out of the window with this chapter. you've really embraced the mystery genre in this chapter and I'm totally here for this.
How is she in Nigeria like what a random place to end up and I can see why she has no idea whats happened. I thought the first section was so good and descriptive about her confusion as she wakes up. You've captured how her body and mind are processing this. I think what I imagined her losing her memory that she would be quite like this but I guess it makes sense in some way that they'e putting them off the scent so she can carry out her duties properly when she finds her way back to Grindelwald.
I wonder if this man is going to have some baring over the wider story. I think it's an interesting turn when she goes off to France to recover memories that she has lost. I suppose he was pushing her in the direction to find something in particular. The owl and the mystery letter /book and the runes? I feel confused but I guess this is how all good mysteries start doesn't it? I love how you've teased certain things. You've created something really compelling here. I'm excited to see you expand this universe. Your description and world building is really impressed and your use of environment and places is really original.
Thank you for the review, Abbi.
I was worried about having enough "confusion" to keep you intrigued and to keep Katarina realistic but not so much that I lost my audience. Reading your review, I think you are at the right level of confusion. Sorry, but it will all make sense in the end.
hi barbara - i’m here to spread a lil holiday cheer! :)
this story is fascinating from the very beginning - katarina has already set herself up to be SUCH an interesting character. she’s incredibly observant - the way she picks up on details throughout the chapter is just incredible, and proves that she’s more than set up for this task of becoming a spy against grindelwald. her whole background is fascinating as well, what with spending the first few years of her schooling at beauxbatons and then moving to hogwarts once things got too heated in france.
and i just LOVE all of the ways that she puts dumbledore in his place throughout this chapter. calling him out for being sexist and biased towards members of his own house at school, calling him out again for the hypocrisy of him pointing out her blood relation to grindelwald when he himself was friends with the man, and then her whole thing where she was able to deduce everyone’s houses and identities by their tics and behaviors, despite being under disguise. (which, by the way, is the perfect display of why she’d be so great for this role - she’s so perceptive!)
i also love her argument about why you’d want a ravenclaw for this role rather than a gryffindor - she’s right that us gryffindors aren’t exactly known for our subtlety, whereas claws (and slytherins) tend to be a bit more calculating. us lions just tend to dive in headfirst and deal with the consequences later, which is great for some things but terrible when you’re trying to be undercover behind enemy lines.
and then her comments about tom riddle - i LOVE that she sees past his perfectly polished exterior. she’s right though; i can’t imagine i’d trust someone like that either. he’s too perfect, which almost certainly means he’s hiding something. and it’s great that THAT’S the thing that finally makes dumbledore accept that she’s perfect for the position - she may not agree with him on most things, but she’s picked up on the type of person tom is, and that’s enough for him to move past all the little ways she’s dented his ego over the course of the chapter.
i’m so intrigued to see where this story goes - you’ve set it up fantastically, so i’ll have to come back soon for the next chapters!
Thank you for the review, Taylor.
I needed to have some contention between her and Dumbledore because eventually she will be torn between which side of the war to support. (We all know Dumbledore isn't all light and butterflies.) I'm glad you like the part about Tom Riddle. I was debating about putting that part in, only because I felt like it wasn't getting bit off topic but at the same time, I wanted to know how she is a deeper thinker and doesn't do anything without conviction.
Hi Barbara! I’m here for the Rager :D
I really like how you tell us about the food that everyone is eating in this story. Even though it’s a very dark time—people still have to eat. And, if you’re in France, you’re going to eat as well as humanly possible.
Katarina has got to be feeling nervous by no—especially since her contact thinks it will take a miracle to get her into Grindelwald’s followers. Not exactly inspiring confidence there…
I love the way you drop the bomb of the brilliant plan to plant Katarina among the Grindelwald followers. From the creepy Rosier (for some reason I love seeing Slytherins in fic that expand on the family trees from canon) to the icky and expensive potion that Grindelwald is using to test his new followers to the piece de resistance—that Katarina is going to have her MEMORY WIPED! And that MAYBE she’ll get it back. I just—it’s so creepy and brilliant! I can totally understand why she’d want to walk away here. I mean, losing your memory like that is almost like losing your whole self. What would even be left? And what if she doesn’t choose a memory strong enough to trigger the rest of her memories after she gets in?? She might just join the bad guys for real—and then they’ll be even worse off than before!
I really enjoyed the tick tocking of the clock and how that is counting Katarina’s thoughts. I also thought that the nightmare was a nice way to tell us about Katarina’s past and why she is ultimately willing to take this risk. It makes sense that her nightmares would be full of such a traumatic memory—and that Grindelwald would be haunting them. And the death of a loved one is a very strong motivator.
Rochelle is actually probably glad that Katarina has such a personal motive—revenge. It will fuel her even when other forms of idealism might falter. And making the compass the place to store her trigger memory adds such a cool layer of symbolism to it.
Great work! I’m looking forward to the next update :D
Thank you for the review, Noelle!
Actually, I'n not sure if this Rosier is Slytherin as she is French. She is a canon character from Fanstastic Beasts as Grindelwald's second in command. You might remember her as the woman who killed the muggle child in the movie.
I know the memory wipes is very creepy. Losing your sense of identify is probably one of the scariest things to deal with--probably why Borg from Star Trek are such a threatening enemy.
Even her motive of revenge is going to experience from rips and twists. You'll just have to wait and see.
Hi Barbara! Hope you had a lovely holiday season! Here’s a gift for you!
The thing that first makes me pause here, is the pendant she wears. What’s so unusual about it? What does it look like? Is that something I need to keep looking out for or is it something else?
Also what the hell being charmed without permission? Or did she give permission? This is truly odd, so i get her confusion
Ooooh, she isn’t taking the bait, and jumps right at them. Unusual thing to do, I guess, if you’re applying for an interview, but maybe that’s because i’d never do such thing myself. Interesting approach.
Oooh, excellent point, bringing up the Weasleys and the Malfoys and how that should not be judged, as it’s our choices that truly determine who we are. Excellent.
Aaaand here we have the analysis of what we observed. She truly is someone who remembers and connects, which definitely comes in handy for a spy. She tries not to judge by where they came from but rather who they are and she isn’t quick to trust. Indeed, all kinds of excellent qualities for a spy if you’d ask me. Interesting start of the story and I am curious to find out more about Katarina
Thank you for the review. The pendant is described later and is very important. It's the compass that was on the picspam for the picsmap challenge. It's supposed to be moral compass to help point her in the correct direction. Of course some would argue that morality is absolute and the compass should only point one direction. Others would say that mortality is debatable and the compass could spin. Either way, she needs to decide which direction is points her.
Oh, this is so exciting!! I am not super well-acquainted with this era, so the dynamics are new to me, which is exciting. I loved Katarina's analysis and later breakdown of the other disguised applicants, and her takedown of Dumbledore! The tidbit about D.A.D.A only recently being allowed for women was also great for contextualization. Katarina seems pretty fully realized in this first chapter, and that is so telling of the good to come. Can't wait to read more!
Thank you for the review. It's interesting to compare the muggle and magical when considering equality. Grindelwald suggests that magical was more ahead as far as gender and race, at least in America, but I still decided to throw this in. European is much more traditionalist.
I'm here to review for my challenge!
So I thought this was a really interesting story idea. I love that you've chosen to set in this era as that's not often that this time is explored. I thought that first chapter was pretty intense for a first chapter as it had a lot going on in. I think you've done a great job with the characterisation of Kate in the first chapter. She is obviously sharp, strong, passionate and opinionated. I think she is quite unique as an OC. I love that she is a bit intense. The links to grindelwald are interesting. I wonder how that'll come into play.
I have to admit that I was surprised at your characterisation of Dumbledore in the first chapter. You've portrayed him as being quite sexist and dismissive towards Kate. I personally don't see those characterisation for Dumbledore. He has a lot of female equals and in positions of power around him as well as McGonagall being of the his oldest and dearest friends. I was a bit unsure at that whole interaction. Isn't the most obvious thing to do make a female the spy as they are less likely to think them a spy?
It did lead to one of the best parts of the chapters which when Kate is identifying all the other candidates. It was very cleverly written. just a note for the first chapter that you have some french in the first chapter which doesn't have a translations so that went over my head but I see you have them for all other chapters.
It was great to see of Kate's motivations in the following chapters, I think it makes Kate a bit more relatable/softer. She was very on her guard and a bit in attack mode during chapter 1 so it was nice to get to know her a little more. I really like Rochelle (which you call her Rachelle on first meeting so I'm not sure if that's just a typo?). I think you have some great imagery with your description of her.
I love how you've used the picspam as it's really cleverly used. it's only chapter 3 but you've really introduced the elements really well. I love that compass is going to be so important and hide her memories. you've given that quite unique purpose in the story which is so nice to see how creatively you've used them. the owls. I think you've planned it out really well. It's really impressive.
I really need more chapters than just three! I want to know what is going to happen to Kate. you've created such an engaging plotline. the blurb makes it sound like it's going to get really intense. I'M VERY EXCITED BY THIS STORY.
thank you so much for entering the challenge. I hope to see more of this story soon!
You brought up a good point about Dumbledore being a sexist. Although I think he might have been a bit more sexist than we knew him during HP (just to align with the times), I was trying to show more how he plays favorites toward Gryffindors than anyone else-guess I didn't show that very well.
The biggest thing is having her loyalties undefined. I needed her not to a Dumbledore worshiper so Kate can make her own decisions about what side to be on with the time comes.
Thanks for the review.
Hey Barbara! :)
This got nommed for November SOTM so I’m here with a review after checking it out! It’s honestly taken me a hot minute to gather my thoughts on this, because it’s just THAT GOOD. BARBARA!!! I. NEED. MORE. ASAP. But really, you’ve set up such a cool and fantastic ( ;) ) Nazi-era female (!) espionage fic and I am SO HERE for it! You’ve clearly done your research on a multitude of things for this fic, and I can really really appreciate that. The attention to detail on the timelines, both muggle and magical, age and year in school/teaching age of other relevant characters, fashion/attitudes in the time period, and good knowledge of various locations too! I swear, when you finish this, I think you could totally turn this into a rough draft for an original fiction espionage novel -- it’s just that good. This is being added to my favorites because I want to keep following this as you write more of it because dang if it isn’t a good mystery! Fantastic job with these first three chapters, Barbara! :)
Thank you! Gulp! No pressure now. . . .
Hi Barbara! I’m here for prize review number six. :D
Mostly unrelated, the idea of a glowing sock as the port-key to France makes me smile.
Katarina appears to be going through a baptism by fire. Her training sounds really intense, and her welcoming committee in France just drags her off without any preamble. Being side-along apparated must have been uncomfortable, and the way that Lapin keeps ahold of Katarina is making her even more uncomfortable. She may have been born in France, but she’s spent a lot of time in England. This Frenchman’s touchy-feely ways seem to be crossing her boundaries.
I adore that Grindelwald would never infiltrate the part of the government that manages food. It’s so true—the French take their food seriously.
The variation on the Fidelius charm is clever. How handy to be able to create a safe house without suspicion in that way. Pierre continues to be handsy, but I imagine he was concerned about them being followed. I hope that he’s as trustworthy as he wants Kate to think he is.
I’m horrified that she had to endure the crutiatus as part of her training—although I guess I’m not surprise. And her personal reason for wanting to become a spy—to avenge her dead brother—that might just be motive enough for someone to take on such a dangerous task. She is the right person for the job on so many levels.
It’s so awful that Kate’s parents are so absentee. I mean, informing your daughter that her brother died via mail?? It’s so sad that there was no closure for Kate either. I wonder if she’s ever really been able to grieve. But maybe this mission is going to give her the closure she needs.
Her cleverness at using a regular barn owl and Muggle codes to send messages is fun to see. I also wonder if Pierre is thinking of her the way she’s starting to think of him.
The compass pendant and its meaning—and that it was a present from Kate’s Muggle grandfather is a great moment in the story. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how she uses her moral compass to guide you—and how she will go off track.
Rachelle is a fun character! I love her flamboyant hat and her casual, teasing nature. She seems a lot more relaxed and worldly than Kate, and a good foil to her. It’s good that she’s experienced too, since she’s able to get them away from the Nazi. That encounter is a little scary, especially since Kate wasn’t prepared and couldn’t get to her wand. But Kate’s learning, since she’s able to realize her mistake (not having her wand accessible at all times) right away.
This is shaping up to be very exciting!
For some reason, I like the sock portkey too. I think I'll have all the portkeys be socks, just in different patterns.
I loved the part about the food too. It's so French I just had to throw it in.
I'm not sure if I'll make something romantic about them or not. It will be very difficult since she'll be undercover. I might just leave it as sexual tension but it will be there if I want to elaborate.
I always thought that was a big flaw in the fidelius charm so I adapted it.
Hi Barbara! I’m here for prize review number five. :D
I’m a big fan of Katarina Bagshot already and I love how much information you give us about her even in the first few paragraphs of this chapter. She’s clever—more clever than most—and observant. Whatever she said in her first interview must have been pretty impressive since she gets scooted over for a very different interview. The idea of her sitting in the waiting room, eyeing the other candidates and already trying to figure out what is going on was very intriguing. (one tiny note, I think you want the word glamours instead of glamorous for the spells that she and the other candidates are disguised by.)
She only becomes more interesting as the chapter goes on. She was born in France, but she transferred to Hogwarts when things got too hot in France. Her parents are absent. She’s mostly alone. She’s related to the famous Bathilda Bagshot—and Grindelwald. But these facts are only part of her appeal. She’s also whip-smart and she isn’t afraid to call out her intimidated panel of interviewers. I would imagine that many people would feel cowed by such an illustrious group of men, but she isn’t even bothered by Albus Dumbledore. In fact, she seems pretty annoyed by him.
I loved when she called the panel out asking if they would be using Legilimency or Veritaserum on her. They seem so shaken by that—like they aren’t sure what to make of her. And we as the audience get this wonderful reveal of her during the interview and each new piece of information takes us in a new direction. The fact that she’s not happy with the Statute of Secrecy—and that she does agree with Grindelwald on certain points—it’s food for thought. The man wasn’t wrong about everything or, at least, there were probably a lot of witches and wizards who would agree with some of this ideas. Why should the magical world have to hide?
I started getting pretty irritated with Albus when he so obviously objected to her being hired for the job, especially since he didn’t appear to have a real reason why. Except that she is a woman and a Gryffindor I guess. I think my favorite part in this chapter is when she, having deduced that they want to hire her as a spy, totally calls out Dumbledore for his behavior. It’s an interesting character detail that she didn’t try as hard in his class later in her Hogwarts schooling because Dumbledore favored boys and Gryffindors so much that it wasn’t worth her time. She’s efficient, and she knows how to make the most of her time. I also loved her showing off her powers of deduction by telling the panel who everyone in the waiting room was, even though they were disguised. It was very Sherlock Holmes-y :D
And why does she want to take on this dangerous job? In her style, she tells the panel that she knows they want a spy and (of course) a Gryffindor is a terrible choice. She’s the right person for the job. But Dumbledore still isn’t convinced and his final test for her—if she liked Tom Riddle or not—is a brilliant one. She’s so brave to tell the truth—that she didn’t trust Tom or like him—even though she’s sure that she’s lost the job because all the teachers loved Tom Riddle. But she’s found the one thing that she and Albus agree on—Tom Riddle is NOT to be trusted.
The closer “She’ll do just fine.” was perfect.
Great work! I’ll be back for more soon!
Thanks for the review, Noelle.
Dumbledore, of course, has many fans and just as many critiques. He certainly was a great wizard but also certainly had flaws. I think on one of his biggest was playing favorites during the Maurader era (which obviously started long before since this is the 1940s.) I debated if I should put Tom in or not because he seems a bit off subject but I wanted to get the point across that she doesn't believe everything (or everyone) at face value just because others do--a definite necessary skill went dealing with the persuasive Grindelwald.
Hi, Barbara. *waves*
I love the idea of this fic. You choose a very underwritten time period that I'd love to read more about, and hopefully you'll continue this so I can here. I also love how you've written Kate so far. She's obviously a strong and intelligent character.
Her newfound doubts can be felt keenly and they make sense. The idea of losing your memories would be horrifying. I think that the idea of spying under these circimstances would be enough to make 99% of people run for the hills. Although I hope the idea of her brother would be enough to keep her on track, I anticipate things are going to get complicated.
I'm really looking foward to seeing where this will lead. It looks like a very interesting story and I'd be happy to continue reading.
Thanks for the review. The idea of her brother will keep her on track once she remembers it but a turn of events (somewhere way down the line) will turn her world upside down again.