*Review for MAGIC!*
This is a lovely glimpse of a moment we never got to see in the books – how Dumbledore reacted when the news came in that Harry had landed in trouble for that Patronus Charm.
Now most people I know don’t care to write Dumbledore because he’s sometimes a hard character to capture. But here you do so quite well. There’s that touch of whimsy in that he’s doing a crossword puzzle. It sets the scene so well. The only thing better might have been for him to have been knitting, but honestly the crossword puzzle works just as well.
I love how you depict how nosey and opinionated the portraits of the former Headmasters and Headmistresses were. I can’t imagine how Dumbledore ever got anything done with all of that going on, but he does.
Of course, Dumbledore instinctively knew why Harry had to cast that charm, who was likely involved and how they would react. Yet it doesn’t come off as unrealistic. You also present Dumbledore’s logic for those four simple words to Petunia quite well. I wonder if he ever wondered how things would have turned out if Petunia had also been a full-fledged witch.
Anyways, the only thing that I find a little disappointing is the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery is not mentioned. Dumbledore would likely be very familiar with it. But other than that, you did a great job.
This is such a great idea for a one-shot! I love the thought of Professor Dumbledore doing a crossword (why oh why was he not put in Ravenclaw?), when one of the portraits in his office alerted him to Harry Potter’s Ministry woes. I’m glad for Harry’s sake that Dumbledore had enough sense to see that casting a Patronus could only indicate one thing – one or more Dementors on the loose – unlike some of the Ministry officials, prepared to blindly follow and agree with Fudge’s opinion and accusations in a sheep-like manner. Let’s face it, if a bored teenager was going to goof about with a bit of illegal magic during the holidays, they’d a/ be more careful about selecting the location and b/ choose a more useful charm, such as one that turned water into wine, for instance. Ahem. Sorry for momentarily derailing – back to the story in hand!
I thought the inclusion of portrait banter was nicely done here, and as we know from canon, the previous headmasters and mistresses were quite nosy when it came to gossip and scandal in the hedmaster’s office. I did have a giggle at the description of Cornelius Fudge “as stubborn as an ox and twice as stupid” but then felt terribly sorry for the ox concerned.
The explanation behind the howler was convincing, and the thought processes leading to Dumbledore’s simple letter were well-described. I really enjoyed this story! There’s a good amount of information provided, which fills in the canon gap in a plausible manner. Thanks very much for a great read!
Hello, dear! I am here to free Sam from jail for CTF, and also because this story is (in a sense) about Petunia! That is SO EXCITING!
My main WIP is about Petunia also. I know she's awful, but she isn't evil. I love love love that you show Dumbledore having faith in her and that he recognizes her love for lily, even if it is buried deep enough that at times she forgets it. For the most part, I prefer the books over the movies in every way, but the line from the films where Petunia says "You didnt just lose a mother, I lost a sister" is wonderful - I wish it was in the books.
I think that moment humanizes Petunia, while the books seek to dehumanize her. And in revealing this missing moment when Dumbledore recognizes that she does, after all, have a heart, you are doing the same. =) In fact, I think humanizing people, bringing them back to the real world emotions every character should have, is what this fic is all about. Because even as you do that for Petunia, you are also doing it for Dumbledore. He is obviously a larger than life character, bt here we see a smaller moment, something that (obviously) the books never could have revealed. In your version of these events, Dumbledore is just a man making a difficult decision. He's simply writing a letter. There's nothing eatch shattering about that. And at the same time, he's still very much Dunbledore, with this great weight of responsibility on his shoulders.
I honestly never considered how odd it was tha Dumbledore didn't write more in that letter, but it was very strange and you've come up with a perfect explanation and narrative around his thought process behind his words.
It was very clever how you used the portrait to engage Dumbledore in conversation. And I love that you created a femae headmistress, too!
Ooh, another person fascinated by Petunia. She has so much potential and I hope to be able to get into her relationship with Lily more in my novel because, frankly, I can empathize with her not handling her sister being so SPECIAL and BRILLIANT (etc, etc). I think so many side characters would be interesting to hear from in their perspectives, because everybody is the protagonist and justified in their own mind, you know? And yes, girl power! Thanks for reviewing Renee (and for giving us so much competition during CTF). <3
Hufflepuff review for CTF
I find it kind of funny that the portraits are loudly invested in what happens with Harry Potter XD. Any news and they audibly react! They must be so invested in that bugger ;)
I did feel the paragraph beginning "Albus was not surprised to hear it" to be a bit unnecessary - as far as I could tell, it didn't do much to advance your story, and merely recapped what happened in the books, which your readers are naturally familiar with. There were few other moments when I wasn’t sure what your descriptions contributed to the story like that, and I would advise you to really work to make every sentence of your story support what you are trying to say with your story (not just literally, but emotionally).
I was also wondering why Dumbledore didn't hear about the incident from anyone before the portraits. I put that question out of my mind, as it made sense that portraits could travel faster than owls, or even before a busy ministry wizard had time to floo, but your explanation that it was a deliberate omission also makes a lot of sense.
Hehe, I'm glad to hear that at least some of the headmaster portraits share our anti-Fudge sentiment. I wonder if there are sympathizers though. That would be interesting, to see the portraits getting in heated political squabbles motivated by their different times of origin XD
It's impressive to me that Dumbledore correctly guessed that one of the Durselys saw Harry's patronus.
Haha, Dumbledore has a drawer just for howlers. Makes sense though, you don't want to mix that in with your normal parchment - I'm sure there are some funny stories there!
I think you did a good job examining a moment and perspective that not many people have thought twice about, as we normally experience that moment from the side of Harry and the Dursleys. Reading this story I definitely thought this might be for the Missing Moment challenge. However, it did very much feel like a story that was assigned, and I felt like I was missing what about this moment made this story really interesting to you and made you want to write about it. I'd definitely be interested in reading more of your work that you feel passionate about.
Glad I stopped by!
Thank you so much for such a detailed review. You definitely bring up some interesting points with the portraits. I'm sure there could be a very humorous story where they squabble much to the dismay of the current headmaster or headmistress. I think the critique is probably accurate - I was very intimidated by the thought of writing Dumbledore and have little experience with the Hogwarts era, so this is definitely not one of the stories I was more confident in. Thank you for taking the time to review & giving us good competition in CTF!
This was a clever idea. So many interesting things happened behind the scenes in the books. If there was one great shortcoming of telling the story almost entirely from Harry's point of view, this was it. Harry was not present for many of the most fascinating events that took place in the magical world during his life.
I love when authors make good use of the magical portraits. This was definitely one of those times. You brought the cacophony of voices in Dumbledore’s office to life. It makes perfect sense that Dumbledore would have his little army of spies (sources, he probably would have called them) spread throughout the magical world.
The way that Dumbledore arrives at his succinct, deliberate message to Petunia was perfectly in character for him. There was no need to say anything more to her. I always got the impression that he didn’t care for her at all.
Your writing was excellent in this. It all flowed nicely and I couldn’t see a thing wrong with it.
Thank you so much. Your reviews left a smile on my face. :)
This is a good sdnapshot. I personally think that some of the things that Professor Dumbledore says are out of character. It's jsut given that he is an old man and perhaps wouold have phrased things differently. There's one example up here, and let me scroll back up to find it. Hang on ...ah, okay, here's the line: "I expect poor Harry is trying to explan it all to his magic hating aunt and uncle as we speak." I think that's what you wrote verbatim. I get what you're saying, I catch the meaning, but Professor Dumbledore is an older man who would have maybe phrased that differently.
It's not context, it's your wording. There are other instances where you nail it. Let me find an example, Rhaenyra. "Why was I not alerted of Harry's magic (which would have been more like an infraction, really. Sorry for the legalese.) That sounds like him, I guess. Dumbledore's a difficult character to nail down. I wonder how JKR did it and kept him modern and ancient at the same time. I have difficulty writing him. He's like Gandalf the Grey, but not, and Tolkien made that een more difficult. Hats off to the linguist.
My question, and this is not a criticism, this is a question. What distinguises a Howler? Is it just the red envelope? is there a charm placed on the parchment, or is it just parchment? I mean, if you're going to write a letter and stick it in a red envelope (for Christmas, say, does that make it a Howler? How does the letter register the emotion? Remember Mrs. Weasley? She, and I imagine Mrs. Augusta Longbottom, would come off with their emotions blazing. Think about that.
Going back to the small things because I plan to critique a lot of your writing. Read over your stuff. Pull it from the source. If you're going to write HP fanfiction or Game of Thrones or whatever, have a book beside you. You would have known to capitalize "Patronus" and "Patronus Charm" and things like that. Oddly, you don't even mention the International Statue of Underage Wizardry. (I know that's the wrong name - you get me.) I don't care which book. Just have one.
The last thing is that I find it odd that you created a headmistress as an OC instead of doing research and pulling one from the archives. It's okay, and it's your piece - you do do - but that seems odd to create an OC to patch a convienent plot hole as a missing character.
Please don't take offense. I like you as a writer. If I didn't care, I wouldn't boither. Really. You have talent. I know you write original fiction. Take my suggestions or leave them. You did really well here. I look forward to reading more.
I cannot believe I never noticed the patronus/Patronus thing. (And, apparently, I'm not alone since you were the first to mention this.) Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)