I’m really thankful that the Longbottoms were found and didn’t have to end up dying a long, drawn-out, terrible death out in the open. And I feel like I should feel super victorious about Bellatrix and Rodolphus and Rabastan and Barty, Jr. getting caught by Magical Law Enforcement, but I’m still kind of grieving the Longbottoms. You know that people are terrible when they go to jail for horrific, horrific crimes that they’ve committed and yet you don’t feel satisfied because they did terrible, undo-able things!!!
This story has truly reminded me how volatile and disgusting Bellatrix is (as well as her terrible fellow Death Eaters who just enjoyed watching her torture the Longbottoms to insanity), so thank you for the reminder! It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about that, and I don’t think I should forget this haha. :P
Ugh even though I dislike Bellatrix with a burning passion and think that she should rot in jail forever and ever, I do agree that everyone deserves a fair trial. Frankly, I’m not sure one would help Bellatrix, but to send someone immediately off to prison without a trial is always very sketchy and can lead to really terrible things. (For instance, Sirius Black?? not getting to take care of Harry???? That was basically a crime committed by the government right there.)
It was somewhat amusing watching Barty Crouch, Jr. cry in front of everyone haha. At least someone is feeling somewhat miserable about their circumstances, even if it’s not for the right reasons.
This was such an interesting and engaging short story about how Bellatrix came to torture the Longbottoms! (And it was very painful, too.) Thank you for writing it!
I just thought of something… I don’t know if it’s true, but if it is, it would be the most tragic thing. At first, I thought the title “Breaking point” was referring to the way the Death Eaters all sort of fell apart and lost momentum after Voldemort was vanquished by the power of Lily and James’s love for their son, but now I realize that it could very well refer to the breaking point of the Longbottoms. Which is heartbreaking. I HAVE SO MANY EMOTIONS RIGHT NOW.
Oh omg I’m so dumb, of course I make this revelation typing out a paragraph in the review before I read the chapter that pretty much confirms my previous suspicion. :P
There was so much dark content in this chapter, and it was really, really heartbreaking watching everything unfold. The way you’ve painted the Longbottoms in this story, they seem like really, honest, good, and pure people, just from the few moments we’ve seen them being tortured, and I’m positively furious with Bellatrix for reducing them into such an unrecognizable state.
When Bellatrix basically denied all responsibility for their current state, I wanted to strangle her. Like, how can anyone be so deluded and so, so evil?? Crouch holding up fingers for the Longbottoms to see and then diagnosing them as having been tortured out of their minds, while doing that trivial “waving a finger around his air” sign for craziness, made me absolutely livid as well. They were such good people, and did not deserve any of this, and IT’S SO TERRIBLE.
I’m so sad right now omg.
As soon as I looked at the chapter title of this chapter, I suddenly got a really sick feeling in my stomach. Because Cruciatus really leaves no other options for what’s going to happen, does it? So I have braced myself for the inevitable torture of the two beautiful Longbottom parents. I am ready.
Okay I read the chapter and I completely was not ready. The entire time, I was just thinking, these two beautiful people have a precious baby boy waiting for them at home, who will then go off to live with his grandmother in an unforgiving and strict and controlling home, and Bellatrix is cruelly torturing them for something they genuinely do not know. It’s so telling how obsessed Bellatrix is with finding the Dark Lord, and how incapable she is of understanding the more random, intricate workings of love magic (as Dumbledore so kindly explained to Harry throughout the series). Seeing the Longbottoms cry and show their love and care for each other in this frightening moment made my heart feel really heavy. I was just really really sad for them omg. :(
One thing that I want to comment on is how Bellatrix thinks that Alice Longbottom’s tears are a sign of weakness. That’s just such an absurd idea, that it makes sense that Bellatrix would believe it—tears are a sign of emotion, and expressing emotions is good. Maybe Bellatrix just has a great deal of pent up emotions within her, and so it’s driving her to do unhealthy, terrible things. (Just kidding, she definitely has a lot more wrong with her than just that.)
Ugh it’s terrible how she enjoys it. :( I just want them to be okay, but I know they won’t be. (cries forever)
CROUCH YOU EVIL (FUTURE) MEGALOMANIAC. I don’t know why I’m shouting, he technically hasn’t really done anything in the story yet. I find it amusing that he doesn’t like Bellatrix, because, I mean, that’s the rational course of action. But something that confuses me slightly is how you can actively dislike someone while still respecting them? Does Bellatrix mean that Crouch is slightly afraid of her? Because I, too, would be absolutely terrified of Bellatrix Lestrange, if I knew her in person. I’m sure Crouch is probably made of slightly stiffer stuff than me, though, haha. I also find it very amusing how he can’t tolerate pain. (I don’t know, I just enjoy hearing negative things about different Death Eaters haha. Makes me feel quite satisfied while reading. :P)
What I find really interesting is how you capture all the discord in the Death Eater group—they’re not always some strictly well-organized, well-behaved group with excessive self-control (if they ever are), because at this moment they are quabbling and disagreeing and generally not enjoying each other’s company. And I think that’s just a really interesting way to show the inner workings of the Death Eaters once the Dark Lord has perished.
I can’t believe they’re actually going to capture the Longbottoms and then interrogate them and then do terrible things to them if they don’t respond. I can’t believe I’m actually going to watch this happen omg, it’s going to be so heartbreaking. I’m preparing for a great deal of tears haha.
This was a bit of a chilling chapter, mostly because the very first thing that Bellatrix thinks of doing after her beloved Dark Lord dies is to commit a series of violent crimes against people for whom she holds grudges. She starts with Peter Pettigrew, and her reasoning for it is absolutely absurd (which actually really fits in with her character hahaha): the fact that Peter Pettigrew’s absolutely correct information somehow failed the Dark Lord must mean that the ratty man was in cahoots with the “enemy.”
And just continuing down the line, she managed to make things even worse. I was really nervous when Rodolphus mentioned the Order of the Phoenix, because those poor people have suffered enough already, and then Bellatrix seized on the names of the Longbottoms and my nervousness skyrocketed. Because what I remember from the books is that the Longbottoms were ceaselessly tortured with the Cruciatus Curse into insanity, and it was the most tragic thing—and if that’s what she means by targeting the Longbottoms, then I’m definitely very very nervous.
UGH I DON’T WANT POOR NEVILLE TO LOSE HIS PARENTS. But I know that’s what’s going to happen so I’m really sad. :( Ugh hearing all these familiar names—Rabastan, Barty Jr.—are giving me negative flashbacks omg. That whole mess with Mad-Eye Moony / Barty Jr. in the novels gave me nightmares, so it was not pleasant remembering Barty Jr.’s involvement.
I really like this story!
Hi!! I loved reading your stories on HPFF, and I’ve never seen this one before so I’m really excited to get into it! <3
It’s so fascinating seeing how Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange reacted to this all-important event. After all, it’s the very first thing that we hear about in the Harry Potter novels (oh, all the precious memories), and it’s the sole reason why Harry Potter is famous. So to hear Bellatrix’s take on the matter, so far removed from the rest of society’s, is just so weird and alarming and bizarre. Like we all know of Bellatrix’s strange obsession with the Dark Lord, and I love how we can see glimpses of this here—how she calls him “infallible” like he’s an actual godly being, how she was clearly envious of Snape for getting far too close to Voldemort for her liking, and the fact that immediately after hearing baby Harry was alive, she eagerly offered to finish “the Dark Lord’s work.”
She is one obsessed, deranged human being. And the way she cried over the loss of Voldemort! It’s so, so weird, seeing this play out. I think you made a really good decision picking Bellatrix as the focus for this story—she’s such a frightening, obsessed, bigoted person, and so I’m really looking forward to hearing more of her skewed perspective in the chapters going forward!
And this chapter also reminded me of how the movies depicted Snape going over to the Potters’ home and hugging Lily’s dead body, which was really quite creepy. “Remember, he desired the Potter girl?” coming from Rodolphus suddenly makes Snape’s attraction towards Lily a million times creepier omg.
Looking forward to the next chapters!
Tasha here for Gryffindor Capture the Flag - Team Gold!
I have never read anything about what happened in those moments after the Dark Lord fell in the first war, and certainly not from the point of view of the Death Eaters. Missing moments from the HP series are my favourite as I feel I'm right back there, discovering it all over again, especially with characters who we don't see much in canon.
This was a really great opening chapter! I thought it was interesting how you wrote Rodolphus as quite gentle, referring to Bellatrix as "my dear" and being quite loving and sweet throughout, considering she's literally the complete opposite. I'm quite curious as to what their relationship is like now, actually and what they're like as a couple. Rodolphus must be aware of her feelings - for want of a better word - for Voldemort, though they may have just got obsessive after all those years when she went loopy in Azkaban... That ending though, she really was distraught!
Anyway, I really enjoyed this whole chapter and I've got no idea where it'll go next - will we see them get captured? I'm excited to see what's to come!
Quodpot Review: Match 2 - War theme
Even though I knew that this would happen and this was the form of justice that Bellatrix and the others who tortured the Longbottoms met, there's still something dissatisfying about seeing Bellatrix accept her fate rather than fighting against it.
I was so glad to see that not everything went to plan for them, though - and to think that they'd been instrumental in their own downfall, in a way, because they'd been arrogant enough to think that nobody would find them or be able to capture them. Not allowing themselves to apparate out of the building seems like a gross lack of foresight, and there is something kind of satisfying in that knowledge.
I'm still not sure whether or not Crouch is actually really crying and weak in the face of arrest, or if he's trying to play a game. He's a really intriguing character and I'd love to read more about him in your writing.
As much as these four are guilty and deserve to go to prison for what they've done, I don't agree with going to Azkaban without a trial, though I can understand why it came into play. It's a little ironic that Bellatrix is fine with that situation and law for when her cousin got arrested, and yet when it's her turn she doesn't think it's quite so good an idea.
I did spot a typo - in the middle of the chapter you spell Rodolphus's name as "Rudolphus", just the once :)
I loved the way that you ended this, though. You kind of brought the whole story full circle with Bellatrix's determination to serve the Dark Lord and how every thought and action is fixed on him and furthering herself in his service. It tied up the story really nicely, even if it was annoying to see her react to the situation with some form of dignity, but it fits her character so well, and her belief that the Dark Lord will return and she will serve him once more.
Quodpot Review: Match 3 - chapters with zero reviews
I think you're determined to fully break my heart with this story, Mel, and I'm not sure that I'm really okay with that.
I thought that the torture might have ended in the last chapter (stupid of me, wasn't it?) but to see it continued and continued until they reach breaking point is just so horrific. Bellatrix, Rabastan, Rodolphus, Barty - they're utterly heartless and I struggle to believe that someone could continue to carry out such cruelty to the point that they destroy the person in front of them. At the same time, though, I know there are, unfortunately, plenty of people in this world like that, and reading about the Death Eaters torturing the Longbottoms makes it easier to believe and process, in a way?
There's something wild - almost animalistic - in the way that Bellatrix takes out her emotions and her rage in the form of torturing Frank and Alice. That fits very well with her character, the volatility and the emotion there - even if she normally masters the emotion rather than displaying it, I suspect that it's most often channelled into fury and she takes it out on other people by casting spells or curses on them.
The contrast between Bellatrix and the other Death Eaters was fascinating in this chapter, as well. Even though we know that Rabastan and the others are disgusting excuses for humans, Rabastan still points out that both Alice and Frank are at breaking point and there's a suggestion that perhaps they've pushed them too far. Barty, younger and not in so deep, is even a little shocked by the fact that they've been tortured into insanity. But Bellatrix sees no issue with it and wants to continue, which elevates her above the others in a way in how heartless and dangerous she is.
(On a side note, I wonder whether Barty became a more fervent supporter of Voldemort during his time in Azkaban because of his hatred for his father and because of the memories that he dwelled on there - as I don't imagine this was a particularly happy one - or whether he was just acting particularly well at this point and is letting Bellatrix underestimate him?)
Seeing Frank and Alice completely incoherent and struggling to speak or focus on anything was so heartbreaking. I don't understand how you could do that to someone, and the way that all of their family and friends must have felt when they found out what had happened, and the impact it had on Neville's life, is so horrible.
The ending is just as bad - they're consistently evil through this whole story, and it's disgusting that someone would take pleasure in the thought of leaving the two out in a field to be discovered - if they don't die first. But it's very in character for Bellatrix and the way she thinks about other people. I really hope that I get to see some form of justice in the next chapter!
Quodpot Review: Match 3 - chapters with zero reviews
Just the very title of this chapter was enough to give me chills, honestly. I know it's only one word, and I know that I knew what was going to happen in the story, but even so it's just so horrifying to read it and see it happening. We never meet Frank and Alice Longbottom as the people they were before the torture in the books, but I feel for them just because they're Neville's parents and what happened to them, so this just feels so tragic and heartbreaking to see.
Also, it's horrible when I'm glad that the Death Eaters have been thoughtful enough to take the Longbottoms away from their home and to the Malfoys' cellar to torture them, because at least then it's away from their son. I feel like an awful person for even thinking that.
Bellatrix's characterisation is brilliant in this chapter especially. Her sense of superiority, her enjoyment of cruelty, her determination to get what she wants... It's so chilling to read - I actually had goosebumps as I read this chapter, but it's so well written and depicted so believably. Each time she sneered at Alice and renewed her determination to try and get the information out of her was another blow to the Longbottoms' and made my heart break a little more for them.
The ending, as well. It just made my skin crawl, it's so horrible. You've portrayed all these Death Eaters so well - they're truly vile people, with no compassion or anything left except hatred and a lust for power, and they don't care at all who they hurt to get what they want. In fact, they enjoy it. Bellatrix "sharing" the Longbottoms and Rabastan licking his lips when she let them join in was just horrifying. It's such fantastic writing because it has exactly the desired effect, but it's terrible to read about people like that.
I'm glad that Bellatrix was on edge because everything seemed too easy at the start of this chapter - I'm looking forward to seeing her get her comeuppance now and some semblance of justice for what she's done to the Longbottom family!
Quodpot Review: Match 3 - chapters with zero reviews
Ughh, this is so compelling. It's a testament to your writing skills that I know what's going to happen, and I know it's absolutely horrifying and horrible, and yet I still want to read on and see how you portray it anyway. The short chapters actually work really well for this story, too, because it's like we're taking steps towards the main event and seeing how detached and methodical Bellatrix and the other Death Eaters are in working towards their aims. It's so chilling to read, but it's a very effective style of writing.
Bellatrix's sense of superiority comes through very clearly in this chapter. I don't think she'd have included anyone else in her plan - maybe not even her husband - if she'd thought of it before Rodolphus suggested amendments. The way she treats Barty and thinks of him really emphasises that she thinks she's so much more capable than anyone around her; the only person she considers above her is the Dark Lord.
Barty's information was so interesting - I can definitely see why he'd be a valuable asset to the Death Eaters when he's got access to information like that. The fact that the Aurors are already being trained to deal with a world without Voldemort seems a little short-sighted when they still have to round-up known Death Eaters and will be dealing with similar threats for some time. But it provides an easy window for Bellatrix and the others to attack.
The fact that they discuss the Longbottoms having a young child and then still decide to attack them when they're at home is just so heartbreaking. I know it's exactly what happened to Harry but having to watch Neville go through the same thing, even if he's too young to remember it properly, would be horrible. It just brings home how cruel and terrible these people are.
Quodpot Review: Match 3 - chapters with zero reviews
The beginning of this chapter was an interesting change from the end of the last chapter; there was quite a strong contrast between Bellatrix's emotion and despair at learning the news that the Dark Lord has gone, and the determination to go after people and find out who was responsible. It says quie a lot about how volatile her mindset is (though I don't think Azkaban would have helped that) and what her reactions to events usually are.
Bellatrix and Rodolphus's relationship continues to be really interesting. She's always portrayed as a very brilliant (terrifying, but brilliant) witch, and very powerful, but in this chapter it does seem like more of a partnership. Bellatrix is more hot-headed while Rodolphus seems more measured and logical, and waits to do things rather than jumping into them head-first. They seem like a very formidable couple with that combination.
I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but the part when Bellatrix was determined not to mention her sister and Rodolphus decided not to irritate her by mentioning Andromeda either reminded me a lot of Petunia and Vernon talking about Lily. That kind of humanises Bellatrix in a way - it doesn't make me feel any more sympathetic towards her, but it does make her more relateable to other characters in the series.
It was so chilling to read about them planning the attack on the Longbottoms, especially because we know what devastation it caused. They talk about what they're going to do in such a detached way, as if they have no emotional connection to their actions at all, and it's really sinister to read. I'm looking forward to the rest of the story, but apprehensive at the same time...
Quodpot Review: Match 3 - chapters with zero reviews
How did I not know you'd written this story? You write this era so well, and I'm fascinated to see your depiction of Bellatrix. She's terrifying, but she's such an interesting character to read about - and to write about, I imagine.
This was a great first chapter. The exclamation of "NO!" as the first word really grabbed me and drew me into the story - it fits so well with how dramatic Bellatrix seems to be as a character (I would say emotional, but that's only in certain circumstances, so I'm not sure it always applies) and really jars the reader into paying attention. It's not the reaction most people would have had to the news of Voldemort's downfall, but for Bellatrix it's the worst possible news she could have heard.
The conversation as the two processed the news of what had happened was so interesting to read. Both of them seem disgusted and upset by what has happened, and it's clear that they're both supporters of the Dark Lord - which ties in with what we know they go on to do to Neville's parents.
But what fascinates me most is their relationship. I've never been quite sure if it's a marriage of convenience or love, but it's always seemed clear that Bellatrix's chief concern is pleasing the Dark Lord and being second only to him. I'm not sure if there's any love towards Rodolphus on her part, or from him towards her, but both of them seem to be devoted to the Dark Lord in similar ways. The fact that Bellatrix's hopes for the future have all been lost with the news that the Dark Lord has gone shows where he is placed compared to Rodolphus, at the very least.
The outbreak of emotion at the end was interesting to see - we don't usually get any glimpses of vulnerability from Bellatrix's character, so it was really great to see you explore that side of her, particularly the fact that even her husband was a little surprised that she was showing the emotion and leaning on him for support. The resolution at the end to find out what had happened and exact revenge is chilling in light of what we know they do after Voldemort is defeated...