Hi Abby! Here for our review swap, RvG, and because I wouldn't have been able to resist coming back for this story anyways.
I've been really excited for this chapter ever since you posted about the quote it's themed around - "To those accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression" has been a quote that's been particularly prominent in my thoughts lately.
But honestly, I don't even know where to begin with this review, because there'sso many things about this chapter that were incredible. I suppose, first off, your characterization of Dorcas. She's such a fantastic and powerful character, who you can clearly tell is passionate about her teaching and everything that she does, but she's also got some hardened bits of her personality from going through everything that she has. This line in particular - "Dem nuh humble, Mista Rosier. Dem extraordinary." - says so much about Dorcas and how she views herself and the obstacles that she's overcome.
I think you've done an excellent job capturing the themes of this chapter. Rosier's multi-layered prejudices (against her blood status and her ethnicity) and his thinly-veiled comments that everyone can see right through are just picture perfect reflections of what this stuff tends to look like in our world. And all Dorcas' comments about the students having a voice that the Board should be listening to were perfectly on point - even though it's clear they didn't really listen as well as they should, because the Ministry was still dismissing the youth voices all throughout Order of the Phoenix a full twenty years later.
I love that you've brought Marlene back for this chapter, if only for a short while. I adore the contrast between the two women's personalities - Marlene's all fire and fury and Dorcas is a bit more reserved, but they've both still got that underlying power. This line in particular was really powerful - "Sometimes, there was such an intense darkness clouding Marlene’s mind, that Dorcas became dizzy." - and I'm assuming it is, in a way, an allusion to the events discussed inthe last chapter?
And I loved Sirius' brief appearance as well, and I think your characterization of him was on point. To pull yet another quote, I think this one - "Despite being one of her most enthusiastic students, Sirius still lacked the understanding of how dangerous the rise of Voldemort was becoming." - really hits the nail on the head of the combination of Sirius' passion with his recklessness. And I love that Dorcas was basically the one that recommended adding the Marauders to the Order - it's such a cool little detail that ties her story into events of canon.
As always, this was a wonderful read, and I'm excited for more!
Gah, I love this! I'm just amazed by your writing. I thought your characterisation of Dorcas was just wonderful, she felt like a real person. The accent!! I love your dedication to your characters, I thought it was great and it really added to Dorcas' character as I think she just seemed so vivid in my head because of way you wrote that. I thought the way that you portrayed her was awesome, I've never seen Dorcas' portrayed as being older (often people use her as Lily's school friend) and Caribbean. I liked the details of her background stowaway of the ship to come to England. It's refreshing how bold she is against Roiser attacking her. I lovelovelove that she is so proud of her roots I think you did something really unique and interesting here.
I think her passion is just wonderful. She seems like the type of teacher that we should all have in our lives. She stuck true to her beliefs through this scene and she didn't beg for her job or anything. She is that kinda teacher that I imagine you are tbh.
Your writing always get me thinking and questioning. it really makes me feel quite emotional. I think to be able to get your reader thinking like this is amazing. I feel like I've been educated a little bit after reading it. I love Regulus (I'm all for misunderstood broody Slytherin Regulus!) but you don't make him very likeable here! "Dere otha ways of resistance," she told him. I love this line because it comes up as Dorcas is so feisty but she isn't fool hardy.
It's great to see Marlene again! I love how she came to show her support for Dorcas. I thought the conversation was an important one that she was the reason that they joined the order basically. I love how you weave their stories together. Another amazing piece, Abby! Real issues but handled so well and presented so well in the form of fan fic.
- Abbi xo
RvG - November (Gold)
Okay. Well. I don’t really know how to review this.
I hate rape and sexual abuse and sex trafficking. To be honest, I don’t like dealing with it. I don’t ignore it, exactly, but I avoid it if I can. Like... ugh, I don’t know how to explain myself!!
Okay. Typed out a whole paragraph, and then deleted it because I learned something about myself. Yay. Success? Yes. So I realized, as I’m typing this, that sex trafficking scares me. And that’s why I don’t like addressing it. And I’m kind of ashamed I’m taking an internal position of fear instead of fighting. But it’s stupid. Even stupider because I had an internship a couple summers ago where there was some people that I was aiding that were being sex trafficked. And I helped working against the pimps, and I did it and I wasn’t afraid per say. Just disgusted at the men and full of compassion for the women. I’m not sure if this makes sense...
Anyway. In this chapter I wanted to fillet Travers. And I was so frustrated that everyone around Marlene was like “Let’s go” or “Don’t make a scene.” I think you really convey that well. How women feel pressure to not say anything. I’ve always struggled to understand why women don’t speak up. I understand it better now. So thank you.
... and this turned out to be less of a review and more of a reflection time for me. But I think that’s your goal, so. Reviewed for review tag! And because you’re awesome!
Getting the RvG disclaimer out before I begin shouting into the void. Okay, now that that's done with...
HOLY SHIT ABBY YOU WEREN'T KIDDING ABOUT THIS BEING INTENSE.
This was masterfully written, and tackled another set of major issues facing women with the same candor as the previous chapter. I'm not going to lie, this wasn't an easy read (especially given the events of the real world today), but it was certainly a powerful one. And in a fic where you're addressing the wealth of problems facing women in a male-dominated world, it's almost necessary, given how many women have experiences like this. (We shouldn't live in a world where it's as common as it is, but alas, we do.)
The emotions you capture in this story are so real and raw and powerful - I think that's part of the reason that the story hits as hard as it does. Starting with Marlene’s instantaneous reaction to Travers’ homophobic slur, to her emotions being on full display as she recounts the story of her rape to Gideon, it’s just… wow. There’s a lot of moments here that hit really close to home, and I know exactly how Marlene feels in those moments.
“She was going to make it through this story. She was not completely broken. She couldn’t be.” This was SO GOOD, Abby.
I talked about this last chapter and I’ll talk about it again - I love that you dive into the multiple facets of misogyny and patriarchal society here. You’ve got the more obvious villain - Travers, who’s an actual rapist and a Death Eater and the worst type of homophobic, sexist pig - but you’ve also got Gideon’s comments. The ‘you should’ve left’ - which is so frustrating because a) she’s definitely thought about how different things would’ve been if she had left about a million times, and b) we shouldn’t even be living in a world where being alone with a man means that that sort of thing happens to begin with. And of course, his whole ‘why didn’t you anyone’ thing - which is, once again, particularly relevant right about now - is just as frustrating, because there’s a whole host of reasons that Marlene would choose to keep it to herself, and protecting her sister is a huge reason for that. The idea that a woman’s experience is any more or less valid because of whether or not she reported it or when she chose to share it is just… infuriating, to say the least.
I hope that, for Marlene’s sake, she gets her revenge on Travers eventually. I like that you ended the chapter on that note - that, even after all of this incredibly emotional stuff that we’ve waded through in the course of this chapter, there’s still a note of hope. She’s still got that fire and she’s going to set things right. It’s such a powerful and badass way to end this chapter.
Also, I just want you to know that I’m pretty sure my reviews on these two chapters have been some of the longest HPFT reviews I’ve ever written, so I think that speaks volumes about how much I’ve appreciated reading this. I can’t wait to see where you take this story next.
When you said this was going to be intense I'm not sure that I really understood. I don't think that I've read something that I've felt like this on an emotional level. It's really thought provoking how what you've written, it's emotionally on so many levels.
Marlene is a wonderful and strong character, you've crafted her so beautifully. I love that she's a fighter, it's her experiences that have shaped her into who she is which seems like a pretty wonderful woman. I wish she didn't have to know what that was like though. I wish that no-one had to know what it was like. I really loved in the beginning about how Marlene is feeling so confident in her own sexuality, comfortable about sex though.
I think you did a good job with using Gideon as society that his attuide is coupled perfectly with the struggles that women face when coming to turns with sexual assault and similar. breaking up a fight because she shouldn't cause a fuss and asking why she didn't tell anyone. it's all perfect. I loved the details about Marlene, the accent! This is really well written and you've handled a subject perfectly. you should be so proud of yourself for the way this has turned out and having the strength to tell this story.
- Abbi xo
Hi Abby! Here for RvG, review tag, and because I’ve been meaning to read this story for ages anyways.
I really love the concept behind this story; as someone who reads a ton of feminist lit in RL, I’m so happy that you’re writing this feminist fanfic. For an organisation like the Order, which is so often hailed as this beacon of equality and inclusion in the wizarding world in the books, I think it’s fascinating (and very telling) that the Order was less than a third women, and that you’ve chosen to bring those 12 stories to life here.
God, Crouch made me so angry in this chapter. But this is the reality for so many women, especially in the 70’s. Alice was so clearly much better than many of the men in her department that got promoted, and Crouch tried to somehow cover that up, but it’s very evident that the reason she wasn’t promoted was because she’s a woman. His colleague’s comment at the end - “it’ll be you or the husband who teaches her” - made my blood boil. Like, damn, you definitely wouldn’t have said that if Alice was a man; it’s purely because she’s a woman that you’re so annoyed by her ability to stand up for herself.
And the constant addressing of her by her married name instead of her own, aughhhhhh. I literally JUST had a conversation with some of my coworkers last week about how much we hate the idea of being referred to as “Mrs. *husband’s name*”, and this chapter definitely cemented it. And especially the way Crouch uses it, in such a condescending manner and as a constant way to route back to bringing up her husband instead of her own accomplishments as an independent person. I can understand why her ring felt particularly weighty after that interaction, and why she was so quick to correct Dumbledore.
The Order, at least as it’s depicted here, doesn’t seem perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the blatant sexism of the Auror office. I loved Emmeline’s quip of “and Witches” when someone suggested a male-focused name, and I love how Alice’s marriage is so much less of a hindrance with this audience than it was in the first half of the chapter - it’s a source of happiness for her and they really are stronger together, but she also deserves to be heard in her own right.
I love that Alice was eventually the one to name the Order of the Phoenix. She let the men brainstorm their own ideas, and then swooped in with the best one of them all. And even though you don’t show the aftermath of that proposal, we know that they listened to her contribution, because, well, it’s called the Order now - which is such a good contrast from the Ministry, where Crouch just brushed her off repeatedly.
On a final note, I really love the subtleties of misogyny that you address throughout the story, and across a whole range of intensities. There’s Crouch, who’s actions are clearly sexist and he’s trying to deny it; there’s Crouch’s colleague, who isn’t even trying to hide his blatantly sexist comments; and there’s the Order members, who aren’t intentionally sexist, but still do things unconsciously (like proposing a name that doesn’t account for the women in the room) because it’s ingrained in them through societal norms.
I also really love that drunk writing party got a shoutout at the end of this chapter.
I thought I should check this story out because I've been meaning to for a while and I just love the concept of this story. It's such a clever and unique idea. If this chapter is anything to go by then it'll going to be super intense, brave and well written.
I thought the way you handled this subject was wonderful. It's such a common problem for woman to have which is horrible. Everything that you've written rings so true! I thought it was just so realistic, I love Alice's inner monologue. Her monologue is so good to see Alice being anxious and not wanting to upset the boss but she's also brave for even having the conversation in this day and age but her pushing through and challenging men in the '70s is amazing!
I know the line 'It's Alice' line because I think it sums it up? that men can take away our identity sometimes even those ones that love us. Alice obviously wants more for herself. I do love this character's fight spirit, you write her so well as a likeable character because she is someone you can root for. I'm in love with the idea that it was Alice that came up with the 'Order of Phoenix' name! I always wondered how they came up with the name and I think this imagining of it is just wonderful.
a very poignant piece.
- Abbi xo
RvG - Team Gold
Hi Abby! I am consistently amazed at how well you write description and narration! Like, I am just completely and utterly speechless at the end of this chapter, totally floored at how amazing it is.
I really can't even begin to go into my feelings about Travers and how awful he is. You wrote him so well though; he really skeeves me out! I didn't really see Gideon as victim blaming here though, or at least not intentionally; I kind of read it more as him reacting to what she was saying! But I do think there's defintiely a little bit of ignorance there which shows that everyone has their own biases and even the most tolerant and openminded people have their gaps!
This was a hard chapter to read but I think you did a great job with it. It's been a hard week (as we have all mentioned before I believe) but you did an incredible job showing the strength and determination!
I only just found this story and I'm so glad I did. You write with such feeling and realism. It is extremely well written.
The subject matter? Very heavy to say the least. At least personally, I found this chapter really hard to get through, but that is not to say that I don't think stories like this need to be to be told, becuase they do. I think your ability to handle such a controversial topic in writing was really well executed.
I look forward to reading the next installment.
Hi Abby! Back for the second chapter of this story.
It's kind of hard to know what to say after reading this chapter. It's very powerful, and it's a lot to process, but I'm glad that you wrote it. This chapter focuses on something that's very real, and as terrible as it is, I think it's important for you to include in a story focusing on women's rights and the injustices that they face on a daily basis.
That opening line is so interesting, and so powerful. At the start of the story, there's a certain innocence about it - like Marlene just wants to let her hair down and enjoy the evening - but by the end of the chapter, it's taken on a completely different meaning. There's so much that Marlene has suffered through, and a lot of trauma that she's still dealing with, and in reality she wants to be free from all of that - I want to reach through the screen and give her a hug.
We have so little information on Marlene in canon, but we do know that Travers is possibly implicated in her death, so bringing him into this story and creating this history between them is a really clever way to use canon information in this story to make it more authentic.
Travers was so... disgusting. Even the way that he spoke made my skin crawl. You captured his character so well in this. I think this chapter made me see him as more than a Death Eater - worse than a Death Eater, if you will - because the fact that he took so much pleasure in the power he had over Marlene, and the way he abused her just compounded everything that he believed in. I think it's easy to see him as a villain when we know what he's done, but your portrayal of him was so impressive and made me so angry to read.
Gideon's character, and particularly his reaction to Marlene's story, was really interesting. He's quite an ambiguous character - and I don't think that he's necessarily a bad person, but just someone that's quite ignorant. Victim blaming is never okay, no matter what the circumstances, and Gideon asking Marlene why she hadn't told anyone about it when it had happened is the furthest thing from helpful in response to her confession. I don't think he's necessarily judging her - at least not intentionally - but it's an interesting reminder that people who are supposed to be more tolerant and open-minded can still hold onto prejudices that are so deeply ingrained in our society that they don't even realise they're there.
My favourite part of this chapter was undoubtedly the way that you crafted Marlene's character, and that you let her tell her own story here. The way that she was finally able to tell someone what had happened to her gave her back a portion of the control and freedom she felt she'd lost when she was still at Hogwarts, and I loved the way that she was so determined to fight back and stand up for herself. Travers enjoys the control he has over her, and I think the fact that Marlene has joined the Order - besides her belief in what's right - offers her a way to take back some of that and fight against the people who've hurt her through her life. She's so, so brave here, and my heart really goes out to her - I admire her so much in this chapter, and your characterisation is fantastic.
Hi Abby! I've been meaning to pop by and read this for a while, and a delayed flight seemed like a great chance to do so!
The idea behind this story collection is so fascinating - is it bad that it's something I've never noticed before, that there are so few known women in the Order of the Phoenix? I guess they can argue that there's more known women in the Order than the Death Eaters, but for a society that is supposedly equal (men and women playing on the same Quidditch teams, etc), it's interesting that there were so few women fighting and takìng part. I've always thought of the Order as an organisation that was tolerant and open, but it's so intriguing to read this and see the way that the discrimination and misogyny was still very much prevalent, even if some of it was veiled. It makes so much sense when you consider the era, too.
I love the fact that you've chosen to focus on Alice for this first story. She's a character that I think we all feel like we know, as Neville's mum, but she's open to a lot of interpretation since we don't have much canon information about her. Your characterisation of her was so interesting, and I think it fits Alice's character so well. She's strong and brilliant and not afraid to stand up for herself - all qualities we see in Neville, even if he had to grow into them - but she also recognises that sometimes she has to choose her fights and what is most important.
Also, ughhh. You captured the misogyny in this era so well, and it's so infuriating to read it because of that. And I think what's even more annoying is that - where I live at least - those sort of attitudes still exist, and affect women's opportunities at work, even if people aren't as overt about their prejudices and there are laws intended to prevent that discrimination.
Alice not getting the promotion as an Auror, even though she clearly deserves it, makes me so angry. I thought you captured her frustration really well in this chapter, and you also did a really good job of continuing to elaborate throughout the chapter why she deserved it. It wasn't just that she wanted the promotion and felt like she'd been around long enough to get it, but she works incredibly hard and actually consistently performs better than the men who were promoted over her. It's so, so unfair.
Confronting Crouch about why she didn't get the promotion was brave of her. Even that she had to do in an almost hedged way, trying to stay careful not to step too far over the line, but still push to find out why she'd been dismissed so easily. Crouch is a character I can easily see as being sexist and holding those sorts of prejudices, but they're incredibly maddening to see in action, affecting Alice's career opportunities. Would it be acceptable to curse Barty Crouch right now?
Then for Alice to have such a horrible day at work and to go to an Order meeting where most of the men overlook her too is so infuriating. I don't think the men in the Order do it intentionally, or at all maliciously, they just don't think. Which to be honest is just as exasperating as people who hold those beliefs.
I love that there are other women with her, though, who definitely aren't afraid to stand up for themselves, because I think that'll make a big difference to how at home she feels in the Order. I think I would have liked to see a bit more of Frank's reaction to the promotions in this chapter, but I don't think there was too much room of it - that's just because I'd like to see more of their relationship!
But I loved the way that Alice's character came through so strongly here. Despite all the frustrations she's experienced, she's able to put her own feelings aside and recognise that there's an even more important and dangerous fight to be won -one which has to be fought for the other issues to even have the chance to be addressed. That takes someone really special, and not everyone could manage it.
I loved the way Alice came up with the name, too - letting all the men have their say and offer suggestions, and then coming up with the perfect name right at the end. It felt really fitting for this chapter!
I know I don't have to read two chapters but I'm doing it anyway :P
Wow, so, I'm still assembling my thoughts about this, because there's just so much to peocess, but I'm really glad you wrote this. It's truly horrible, of course - not your writing, just what happened to her - but because it also happens all too often in real life, things just like this happen to real women and so reading Marlenes story here is powerful and heartbreaking. I have so much respect for her and her determination to fight in the order. For her, the order is kind of a way for her to reclaim some of that power that he took from her.
I think Gideon seemed quite realistic as well. He's well intentioned, and it seemed like his question at the end was more out of ignorance about how things are for her, than from actually blaming her. But thats pretty spot on too because it's clear that a lot of people don't understand what assault survivors go through and why they are trapped in their silence, and so they say things like 'why didn't you speak up'.
You have a real strength in writing characters, btw.
This was so well written, and you handled an difficult topic so well. Great job.
i'm honestly not even sure how to react.
i mean, this was another great chapter depicting something truly evil and awful and disgusting. but, i actually feel better after reading it? in a way that while marlene is obviously deeply hurt by travers and what he did to her but she's not backing down (only because of gideon and i don't count that) - she's willing to face him, to take him down, she's not scared of him (at least, i didn't read it like she is...she might be but she's not allowing the fear to take over). i'm of course angry, but marlene's character and her strength does give me hope and i have no doubt she's be able to finish travers sometime in the future!
as for gideon...in a way i understand him. victim blaming is awful but i didn't read it in such a way - his exclamation that she should've run with jane seemed to me like he was warning the marlene still in the story (not sure if i'm explaning myself properly? like, he's listening to marlene tell the story of her assault and he's warning the story-marlene, not blaming the now-marlene because she didn't run)). later, when he asks if she told anyone and how she should've - that's actually what bothered me. what's done is done and there's no use in telling an assault victim what she should've done...but i do think he was still a bit in shock after everything and he mght've not been thinking clearly. i hope that later he gave marlene the support she needed!
hey abby, i'm here for our swap!
i saw when shreya tweeted about this and noted to myself to read it but then RL happened...and now i finally have a chance to do it!
i adore the concept you have for this story and i'm really big on women's issues...especially since currently, in the country where i live, there are various organisations trying their best to, how can i put this nicely...well, degrade women and their hard fought rights <.< what's worst is the fact that a lot of young women are actually working for them, something i can't understand at all. so basically, i'm looking forward to reading more of this when you update.... but i'm rambling so i'll stop now and actually review :P
omg i'm so angry right now for alice at crouch! someone should say 'the nerve of him' not the other way around <.< and the fact that he couldn't even be bothered to properly answer her (or address her by her name, not her husband's!) and actually man up to his misogyny is disgusting. i wished alice would just hex him and show him her abilities but...obviously, she would never do that. i also admire the way you wrote her, showing us the almost ingrained way we think - always worrying about offending or inconveniencing. it reminded me of that GIF / part of an unbreakable kimmy schmidt episode where one of kimmy's fellow captives says 'i didn't want to be rude, so here we are' and the guy on TV comments 'I'm always amazed by what women will do because they're afraid of being rude..'
it's always nice to read that she's able to push the small injustice away in favour of the larger threat...but sadly, i don't think alice ever had the chance to fight for more equality.
this was a great read and you made me hate crouch with like...just a few words so it was really powerful. i can't wait until you update to read more!
So I've been super excited about this since I first saw you start talking about this and I was not at all disappointed! This was so interesting! I love that you're taking each chapter to focus on each of the different women of the Order. That's a really awesome and unique idea and I can't wait to see where you go with them all!
I was really curious where there was going at the start, but then immediately became angry for Alice! Like, ugh, this is such a frustrating situation! I mean, I'm frustrated just reading about her talking with Crouch (who I have a lot of words for, but I'm not allowed to use them in reviews, grr).
I think the contrast between her frustrations at work and how much better an experience she has at her later resistance meeting is really neat. Like even that there was still some carryover with her work frustrations to her friends, but that she's still overall excited about being in this resistance (and that part where she says she likes working with Frnak mostly). It's a great part because you don't just leave work at work! It's really fun that Alice was the one who came up with the name of the Order of the Phoenix here.
I'm super excited to see more of this! I really loved the start of it and can't wait to see what else you tackle here! Great work!