Hey there Abby! :) I love this story of yours so I wanted to drop by. I wasn't sure where I got up to previously, but I realised I didn't reviewed this chapter, so I thought I'd stop by here - hopefully that's okay :)
I really, really love this chapter, even though - as they often all are - it's so sobering and so solemn and stomach-churning. The way you work the themes in and deal with them - and they're so often such heavy themes, like in this one: the xenophobia and the racism, the effects of colonisation.. it's so so good and it's great to read a story which goes through them all so unapologetically and so bluntly, but weaving them into stories so beautifully. It's so so good and it's so great to see, because often these themes and kinds of stories aren't told, and they should be.
I love Dorcas. She's so so cool: she's so brave and clever and so bold, speaking her mind so freely and frankly - though she knows when she should stick to pleasanteries and when something's a lost cause. You give such a sense of how much she's endured: stowing away on a ship when she was eleven to get to the UK, she racism and difficulties she encountered in the muggle world and the same prejudices in the wizarding world as well. She's a really inspirational kind of character, and I love how strong she is, without being brash or rude or anything. She's passionate and even-keeled and it's so cool.
I loved how she knew, all along, why Rosier was there, and how she enjoyed being polite and honest and making him uncomfortable. It was horribly solemn to hear how she knew why he was uncomfortable and there was nothing she could do about it - she just sort of put up with it, because other things (shouting, cursing him, etc.) wouldn't have helped anyway. It really exposed the kind of malevolent non-violent side to prejudice: the discrimination it engenders and how that affects people despite everything else. She gets warnings and then fired on a pretext because of who she is, and it's so horrible but so true to life, even today (though less than it used to be).
Also, your writing is this is so so good. I loved Dorcas' explanation of discrimination and power dynamics: how people hold on to the privilege that they have because sharing it feels like losing it - and how she thinks Sirius doesn't understand really what's going on, how serious it is. It's so true and I loved how you included that. The details in this were amazing: how Dorcas is a great cook, Slughorn's always asking for her family's recipes, how Rosier puts the tea down as soon as she gives it to him, how he hides behind the 'official' reasons for firing her because he can't admit to his own prejudices and the real reasons, how Sirius is so excited about the file she gives him, how the cat's called Windrush :P You've really created this big, wonderfully detailed world in this and I loved it :)
This is such a good story :)
Hello Abby! I’m here for our swap and for March 2019 R vs G, team R.
Before I get going, I wanted to let you know that there might be a typo about halfway through the story: “Dorcas sipped her teeth” is what it says, and I assume you meant tea.
I’m very interested to see what you do with Dorcas, as it seems there is not a lot of information about her. I love that you are doing this series that will flesh out some unsung heroines.
This first paragraph where Dorcas is reflecting on her day teaching tells us a lot about her. She knows how to get the best out of her students and she does it—even though it’s exhausting to her and unpopular with some of the parents. I am also impressed with how you let us know the tension between Dorcas and Rosier immediately. It doesn’t take long for me as a reader to dislike Rosier for his petulancy and to be rooting for Dorcas.
I want to take a moment and say that I admire how you’ve handled Dorcas’s dialogue. I can hear her speaking and I appreciate that you took the trouble to write out her dialect so clearly. I imagine that took some time and effort to do.
You continue building sympathy for Dorcas with the memory of her first experience with snow. And now I really don’t like Rosier since he’s letting that delicious tart go to waste, and then is so crass as to comment on the pleasantries. I love how direct Dorcas is, even though she’s being disciplined. She feels strongly that she’s done the right thing in preparing her students for the real world and she’s not afraid to defend herself. And I’m delighted imagining her telling her students to rip out the section of the textbook referring to pure-blood superiority.
I pretty much detest Rosier by the end of this meeting. And I adore the idea of eleven year old Dorcas as a stowaway to England. She is amazing!
I love how you capture Marlene’s intensity and Sirius’s outrage in this next scene. They want to fight to keep their favorite teacher, but Dorcas is mature enough to accept what she can’t change and keep fighting in different ways.
The bantering between Marlene and Sirius is so funny. I LOVE that Dorcas gives her lesson plans to Marlene so that she can indirectly keep teaching the students who want to learn. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The closing line is inspiring and chilling. It’s probably for the best that the Order start recruiting and Hogwarts, but it’s so sad that these young people have to enter a conflict before they even fully reach adulthood.
As always, I love your writing style! I’m looking forward to the rest of this series very much.
This review is part of the February 2019 Red vs Gold review battle, team Red.
Hello Chemical Pixie!
As I expected from the trigger warning, this chapter really packed a punch. Thanks also for taking care of your readers in the end notes. This must have been a difficult chapter to write, and I am very impressed with how well you handled it.
I was drawn into the scene immediately with your descriptions of Marlene having a good time a The Leaky Cauldron listening to the band and waiting to go home with her date. She seems so free and happy at the beginning of this story. (I also like that the bar has a live band—live music is the best!). It seems like she and Gideon have been having a good time on their date for a while, since she’s checking her appearance and is happy it’s held up so well over the evening.
Going straight from describing Marlene’s physical enjoyment of her boyfriend to being confronted by her rapist was shocking and effective. I felt and immediate sense of danger. I read this piece while I was stirring chocolate pudding, and my heart started racing while I scrolled on my phone. What I’m saying is, I think you accomplished what you were trying to accomplish.
I think it’s a fantastic detail that Marlene’s Scots accent comes out when she is upset. I could hear her voice in my head. I also loved that she was trying to attack Travers while Gideon was trying to deescalate the situation. I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted Marlene or Gideon to win. On the one hand, I wanted Marlene to kill Travers, but on the other hand, I knew it was way more likely that something terrible would happen if she actually attacked him; so probably Gideon was right to just try to walk away. It was probably for the best that he finally got Marlene out into the street.
I was very happy that Marlene was completely honest with Gideon when they got back to his place. I know she was extremely uncomfortable, but I do think that he cares about her. I also think he did an okay job trying to support her. For the time in history when this piece is set, I think he was pretty understanding, even though he did ask that awful question “why didn’t you tell anyone?” It seems like a completely logical question to anyone who hasn’t been assaulted, but it’s so hurtful.
I felt that the story ended on a very powerful note. Marlene is going to get Travers. She might feel trapped by him, but she’s not. She has power and she’s going to use it. Or, at least, she seems to feel that way at the end. I love her determination.
Thank you for this series!
Hey there! Here for our swap!
Ooooh this first section angered me. I’m sure that was what was intended, but I just wanted to punch Crouch in his face. And Blishwick. I applaud Alice for her restraint, because I don’t know if I could have kept my mouth shut. Especially when they were leaving, and that comment about becoming pregnant happened.
There’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve done week, and that you’ve outperformed most of your male colleagues, but you don’t get the credit you deserve due to your gender. It’s such a deflating and infuriating feeling. But sadly it’s something that has happened, and still continues to happen in 2019. My heart really went out to Alice here.
Her domestic duties. Psh. I could so see Crouch saying that. I legit scoffed out loud when I read it. And that was when I really wanted to punch his smug face.
It’s sad that she’s feeling resentment towards Frank, but it’s also understandable. Especially if she knew she did better than he did, yet he received a promotion because he was a man. But, it’s not like he did anything wrong. Anyone would want to go for a promotion if it was available. He probably figured they both would have got it.
I’m glad there are other women there, and it started to make Alice feel better. I’m sure she’ll do well in The Order, because Dumbledore doesn’t discriminate. He sees people for what they’re able to accomplish, and how skilled they are. Sometimes that causes him to use them as pawns, but at least he doesn’t discriminate.
I love, love, love that Alice was the one to come up with The Order of the Phoenix. Something about it being Neville’s mom who thought of that name made my heart happy. Knowing what happens to her because of The Order, well… that doesn’t make me so happy.
This was a really great look into Alice’s life as an Auror, and then budding member of The Order. The Aurors, I’m willing to bet, were very much a “boy’s club,” and I loved getting the glimpse into how that would impact a woman in that department.
Thanks so much for the swap! If you want to again sometime, I’d be more than willing.
This review is part of the February Red vs Gold review game, team Red.
Hello Chemical Pixie!
First, I want to tell you that I love this concept. Exploring the few female members of the Order of the Phoenix is fascinating, and I’m excited to see it unfold.
I like how you capture Alice’s mood at the beginning of this story. She’s nervous, but angry that she’s been passed over for a promotion. I like the detail of her chewing gum to calm her nerves, and I laughed when she had to put the gum in her pocket when her boss showed up.
Even though she was nervous, she seemed to handle herself pretty well talking to Crouch. I especially liked the detail that she felt guilty for inconveniencing her boss by talking to him about why she didn’t get a promotion. I think that is something that many women would feel, and I was proud of her for overcoming it. I think many men wouldn’t feel the same sort of qualms about asking why they didn’t get a promotion. (As an aside, I want to say that I work in a very male dominated environment, so this story really spoke to me.)
I was very angry with Crouch for bad-mouthing Alice in her ear shot. I suppose it was a sign of the times. Even in the Wizarding World.
Nice segue to the meeting of what becomes the Order of the Phoenix. I found the description of Alice feeling the weight of her wedding ring affecting. I felt sorry for poor Frank Longbottom in this scene. I don’t think he quite understands how Alice is feeling, but I’m sure he’s supportive of her. I like how she’s angry with him, but she manages the emotion and tries to be fair. I bet they really love each other. I’m also excited for Emmeline Vance’s story, she seems interesting from this cameo.
I think it was a great ending to have Alice come up with the name for the Order. I like how she’s getting over her problems at work by taking matters into her own hands. I also liked her musing about how the Death-Eaters are actually afraid to die themselves; and so the Order should be named for something that dies and resurrects.
Back for one last review for the Magical Menageria and the Gryffindor Red vs. Gold review battle for January 2019. I'm glad to say that I'm finally caught up with this excellent story, although I do hope you'll be posting more chapters soon so I'll have to catch up again. :)
I'm not going to lie and say that I relate super well to this chapter. I don't. I have like zero desire to ever have children and I'm pretty sure I was born without any sort of maternal instincts. That said, from what I understand of motherhood, I imagine you've done a pretty accurate job of portraying motherhood.
I love that you didn't shy away from the less pleasant details of motherhood. I know that my friends who have been through it have all described similar things. The peeing on yourself, the vomitting, the cravings, the emotions, all of it should be discussed, but it seems somehow women are expected to hide that all away and pretend to be perfect. I'm glad you took the route of making it real.
It's also so important to talk about miscarriages and stillbirths. My ex-sister-in-law unfortunately went through a stillbirth at 8 months and I remember how horrific it was for her. I also remember how like a few days later everyone sort of started acting like it never happened. There was no venting and crying and letting her be. It was like she was just supposed to sort of move on.
Again, another very well written chapter. You've discussed a lot of very difficult topics, but you do so with such tact. Really well done. I expect this will be taking home a lot of awards this season.
Back for another Magical Menagerie and Gryffindor Red vs Gold January 2019 review. I have to admit that after the last chapter, I didn't know if I'd be able to handle more of this story today. But I recognized this chapter since I read a bit of it when you were still writing it, so I thought I'd see how it finally turned out.
I really like that you created such a unique backstory for Dorcas. Having her be a stowaway to get to England. Giving her the ability as a natural leglimens. Having her be an unspeakable. Definitely one of the most original versions of a minor character that I think I've read.
Rosier is so transparent when he confronts Dorcas. I think he thinks he's being smooth, but everyone in the room knows what's up. I love how Dorcas just spars with him. She calls him out several times over and puts him in positions to force him to explain or justify what he's doing. It's great watching him squirm.
My absolute favorite part of the story was watching how uncomfortable he was once he realized she'd be going back to the Department of Mysteries. I think if the Death Eaters had known that, they might've prefered her to stay at Hogwarts. It was like watching a really intense chess match.
I also loved the bit about recruiting students at Hogwarts. She is definitely a master tactician.
Another very well written chapter. I'm glad that his one left me feeling a bit more hopeful.
I'm back for another review for the Magical Menagerie and the Gryffindor Red vs Gold Review battle for January 2019. I'm so glad to finally be reading this magnificent piece of writing. I've been meaning to for far too long.
Wow. This was a rough chapter. I definitely was not prepared for it, so I'm not really sure what to say.
While I try to collect my thoughts enough to write a coherent response, I want to make a small suggestion. This is a pretty difficult chapter as you've noted in your Author's note. Perhaps, it might be worth including a small warning in in the chapter notes or at the start of the chapter. I feel like this chapter could be very potentially triggering for a lot of people and it might be good to allow people to decide if it's something they're able to read or not? Hope that makes sense.
Ok. Where to start? This was very well written and very impactful. What Marlene has been through in this story is horrific and compelling and you do it absolute justice in the way you write it. You are delicate where you need to be delicate and blunt where you need to be blunt. It shocks and revolts and does all the things I think it is meant to do. I feel angry and sad and heartbroken and a desire to see Travers burn.
It's interesting. I relate to the situation with Gideon so much. Even well meaning, well intentioned men often say things that are not supportive or even borderline accusatory. I don't think that Gideon was trying to victim blame or shame Marlene further. He's trying to cope with very dark, horrific things having happened to his lover. It's a lot to have suddenly dropped on him....and I see his reaction as coming from confusion, not knowing what to say, and sort of resorting back to what he's been conditioned to believe by the patriarchal society that they exist in.
As for Marlene, the thought that she's not only been physically violated in the way that she was, but that she's been outed, taunted, and stalked is infuriating. Clearly, Travers thrives on taking power. He took her power when he raped her. He continues to try and take her power by provoking her and threatening her in public places. His message is clear. You cannot escape. I control you.
I don't know what else I can really add to this review. This was brutal. Well done, but triggering and brutal. I'm going to try and read the other two chapters, but after that I think I really need to go find some fluff.
I'm just dropping by to leave you some reviews for the Magical Menageria and the Gryffindor Red vs Gold Review Battle for January 2019. I've been meaning to come read this story for ages, so here I am finally. Sorry that it's taken me so long to get here.
Ok. This was brilliant. I totally get all of the hype now.
I love that you decided to focus on the women of the order. I started a similar project awhile back called Determination where I wrote Augusta Longbottom as the first female Auror and I envisioned her quite similarly to how you've written Alice here. It's sad to think about all of the talented, strong women who were smothered by men that found them intimidating. Alice clearly has talent, ambition, and natural instinct for the job of auror, but all Crouch sees is a housewife and a nuisance. It's infuriating.
OMG. Crouch's comments once he'd left his office were utterly absurd and so demeaning. How dare he say that her husband needs to teach her her place. As if Frank were that type of guy and as if Alice would allow herself to "be put in her place". It's a good thing I'm not Alice because I would've probably hexed them.
Frank is such a sweet guy and I know he's trying to console her, but he has no idea what she's feeling at the moment. Pity never feels good.
I'm glad that Alice is finding a bit of solace in the idea of subverting the ministry. I imagine it must give her back a sense of control and power. I love that she's the one who comes up with the name "The Order of The Phoenix".
Really excellent work here! I'm off to read the next chapter now!
Hi Abby! Here for Menagerie and January RvG!
A very powerful chapter but need to comment on this heartbreaking line: an age Lily couldn't ever see herself being. SO TRAGIC THAT SHE'S THINKING ABOUT THEIR KIDS GROWING UP TOGETHER AND THEM GROWING OLDER BECAUSE NEITEHR OF THEM WILL
I love how this is written and I think you did an amazing job with this chapter! Pregnancy and especially miscarriage is definitely a huge theme for women and miscarraiges have such a stigma behind them (very interesting fact about the 1 in 5 ending in miscarraige or stillbirth, did not know it was so high). Alice and Lily being able to talk with each other here is great and I think that friendship is really sweet (I would really just like to picture them having a sweet friendship and their beautiful babies growing up together and everyone living happily).
A neat take on the last escape from Voldemort! Some good action here to get everyone out of hte house and then a good explanation about why the Potters have to go into hiding. Lastly, I think you picked a great quote for this chapter. It fits perfectly with the themes but I also just really love the quote bceause it's just so true. Another amazing job with this Abby! Looking forward to Emmeline's!
I'm here for Magic Menagerie and RvG January - Team Red!
This was SO good, Abby! I've been waiting for your Lily chapter and I was so impressed with her story, I'm really happy you wrote about her pregnancy and all the complications that come with it. I have had a baby, but have never had a miscarriage, thankfully. I can't imagine how awful it must be, it doesn't bare thinking about. However, you showed just how common it is, with both Lily and Alice experiencing baby loss.
I loved your Alice here - badass Auror who isn't planning on letting anyone get in the way of her being a mother and having a career. I thought it was great she was quite a bit older than Lily rather than the same age like a lot of stories portray her as. It made for a really lovely dynamic between the two women - one older and wiser and the other, younger but still experienced in certain ways. It would have been really interesting to see Harry and Neville going up together if things hadn't gone to complete pot.
I welled up a little when she noted that she thought James only married her because she was pregnant and then she miscarried. It really highlighted how lonely pregnancy can be and why things like this need talked about more.
I'm glad you ended with a Voldemort battle scene as it really brought it home the horrors of war and what was going to happen to both families in the near future.
I honestly think this is one of the best ideas for a story I've read and each chapter has been so well thought out and researched, I believe every word. I can't say enough gushy things about this!
Abby my darling <3
I am here with a very very overdue review (With a little push from Team Leucrocota and January RvG) for our girl's first ever appearance on your AP! Thinking that this is where she started and now she's got a whole novel in the works is crazy. It shows how incredible you and your imagination are.
That opening line has got to be one of the most beautifully tragic things to read. You've said it is your favourite and I can see why. I know I've got a bit more insider knowledge on Marlene than everyone else, Scottish privileges and all ;) but it just introduces her so perfectly.
Marlene comes across so confident when we meet her. She's self assured, relaxed, in control of her situation and confident with her sexuality. At least on the surface. You immerse us into her world, into her night and it's beautifully done. I forget sometimes how good your descriptions are then I read things like this and it reminds me!
Then, of course, the night shifts.
I'm not going to talk about Traverse because we all know that he's the level of human filth that doesn't deserve a mention. Instead I'm going to talk about my wee babe Marlene and how well you've dealt with an incredibly sensitive topic here.
It takes a huge level of skill as an author to throw information at us and at the same time pass more subtle hints under the table. Marlene is instantly, loudly frightened and annoyed by his presence. She's angry and defensive straight away but the real cracks begin to show as soon as he looks her up and down, as soon as he shows that he sees her into an object. The effect it has on her is heartbreaking, gone is the beauty who was ready to take charge and take her man home, suddenly she's wishing she was in a sack and the weight behind this statement is heartbreaking. Of course, it only gets worse.
As the encounter goes on I can't help but respect her more. Yes, she has a temper (but show me a Scot who doesn't), but she actually holds herself incredibly well here. She stands up for herself, she doesn't slink away and hide or say nothing and walk away. She stands up for herself and fights back. She's frustrated at Gideon not because she needs a man to help her but because she should have been allowed to help herself and she knows that she should be listened to. She stands in front of the filth and she finds her voice, in all of it's perfectly accented glory I should add ;)
Then we have the scene with Gideon at the end. You have written it beautifully, painfully, realistically. It is a perfect example of your talent as a writer and the character you have created from Marlene. She is more than Gideon, and also I think she herself, realsies. Marlene thinks of herself as a coward when she is anything but. I can't wait to read more of her and more of her journey.
Thank you for writing this my love and thank you for highlighting such a delicate issue. These things can be hard to read but no matter what they must be written.
All my love
Abby! Here for RvG and the Magical Menagerie!
(Also, this is my 500th review, woo!)
I've been meaning to get round to reading this chapter for ages because I've loved every chapter of this story so far, and... wow. This one was just as powerful, poignant and emotional as the others.
I'm so impressed with this collection - that you're not only focusing on the female characters, but using each of their chapters to deal with some very real, traumatic experiences that women face on a daily basis. There are so many important things being dealt with here, and I really admire you for that. Although I'm kind of apprehensive to see what other topics you'll deal with in the rest of this collection, now - how much more of my heart can you break?!
The more I learn about pregnancy, the more impressed I am with all the women who go through it - and I think that the opening of this story managed to capture all the uncomfortable aspects of pregnancy that women just have to put up with while they're still going about their everyday lives (again, how amazing are women?!). I really felt sorry for Lily as she was at the debriefing and then trying to focus on not doing one thing because it led to another all the time - I think the fact that these women were still carrying out work for the Order while going through this makes them even more impressive.
I've never heard of the pineapple trick (is that a real thing?) but the thought of James rushing out of an Order meeting and then returning a few minutes later with a random pineapple for Lily makes me giggle.
Oh my goodness, that moment when she feels Harry kicking and it's as if he's reassuring her <3 That whole section when Lily is worrying about what sort of mother she'll be, and whether she'll be good enough, was so accurate. I've obviously never experienced it myself but I know that every mother I've ever spoken to has those thoughts, even when their children are grown up.
Ugh, Mundungus. His comment about biscuits probably shouldn't have annoyed me so much, but I hate it when people think it's okay to comment on what you're eating like it's any of their business. Yes, Lily has a reason, but even so, it's not acceptable to comment like that.
But of course that's how the revelation comes out to everyone else in the Order, and suddenly everyone knows that Lily is pregnant. I can definitely understand why that would be so overwhelming, and I think you captured that well - especially the way that people suddenly ask questions about her body and even touch it (like Peter - another thing that makes me feel really uncomfortable, and though it's not happened to me, I've seen it happen and I don't like it at all).
Alice coming back into this story was wonderful! She's a bit older now than when we first saw her and I think there's some wisdom that's come with that - the age and the pain she's gone through, I think. She's completely right that women don't talk about miscarriage, and it is an act of silencing - which of course makes it even more impossible to try and learn to handle the grief and trauma that comes with it, and it was so brave of her to open up to Lily about it without any prompting.
(I once took an online course that dealt with literature and mental health, and one of the topics they looked at was PTSD from miscarriage and other traumatic events, and I think this really resonated with me in part because of that - I think you captured the fierceness of the pain and the refusal to be silenced really well here.)
I've never seen a story when Lily had experienced a miscarriage before, but I think it fits really well with canon, especially how young they were when they got married. And though I can completely believe that she might have been worried that James would leave her after she miscarried, it's so heartbreaking that she had that fear on top of all the other emotions she was having to deal with.
It's so true that everyone has an opinion on pregnancy and when the right time is to have children, how you should and shouldn't behave during pregnancy... so much of it is probably well-meaning but it's so invasive and just another example of the sorts of struggles women have to face.
I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS. That paragraph when Lily is imagining herself being thirty-one and hers and Alice's children growing up as cousins - it's adorable and heartbreaking all at the same time. I'm glad that Harry learnt how closely he was actually tied to Neville and that they actually became good friends later on. Their parents would have been so proud of that <3
As soon as I realised that the Death Eaters and Voldemort were attacking, my heart sank - and I was right. Though they survived, this was the third time they defied Voldemort and in doing so marked their babies out for the prophecy. The ending got me completely - of course she would give her life for her child, almost any mother would, but the fact that she had to do it so soon is really tragic and unfair.
You wrote this chapter so, so well Abby - it was really evocative and poignant and your characterisation was brilliant. I loved it.
Abby! I’ve been meaning to review this chapter for a while now, so hooray for review events being the final shove I needed to actually pen one out.
If it’s not, uhhhhh, abundantly clear by my AP, I have a soft spot for Lily Evans, so I’ve been super excited for this chapter for a while now. And I think you did it *SO WELL*. As always, you’ve managed to bring a number of important issues affecting women to light in this chapter - this time revolving around motherhood, pregnancy, and miscarriage.
I obviously don’t have a lot of experience with this particular subject, but even from my rather-limited perspective, I really think you’ve done this subject justice. It’s abundantly clear that you’ve done your research and that this fic is impacted by women who *have* had these experiences, which I think is really, really wonderful.
I also love that you’ve brought Alice back into things - it’s been a while since we’ve seen her and she’s definitely a little bit older here, and I love that she’s almost a sort of older sister figure for Lily, but at the same time, they’re experiencing this same thing that’s so universal at the same time. And of course, everyone has something to say about both of their pregnancies - when in reality it’s no one’s business but their own.
And miscarriages are *such* a sensitive topic, and you’re right to point out that there’s a pretty big stigma around them. I’m glad that Alice was brave enough to break that silence, because it seems like something Lily needed to talk about but was afraid to, and it really is incredible the power that shared experience and true empathy can have on a person’s healing process.
Also, Lily’s comment about seeing her kid off to Hogwarts, when she’d be 31, wow ok Abby break my heart why don’t you????
And then the action scene at the end of this was so well-executed - there was so much tension and urgency in it, and while I knew they’d make it out alive (because canon, after all), I couldn’t help but be nervous for her.
“She would give her life for them if she had to.” ashf;aghlaefhgial ABBY.
Written for the Magical Menagerie event and January RvG
ah, the discomforts of pregnancy! i have to be honest, i really don't like reading or hearing about those because...well, pregnancy is scary as hell as it is because of all the things your body has to go through but then to read about all the not nice things just makes me really not want to be pregnant ever. i think i mentioned this when we had the nano chat on twitter - but recently a woman politician publicly talked about her miscarriage and the treatment she received in the hospital (a curettage without anesthesia, awfully rude doctors and nurses) and it encouraged hundreds of other women to do the same and not just stories about their miscarriages but also about the treatment they received while giving birth, with doctors (more often than not male ones!) calling them awful names (ie cow), yelling at them, telling them that it doesn't really hurt them, how they could've had sex to get pregnant but now they're complaining...and so on and it's really awful and disgusting.
anyhow, your story strongly reminded my of all that and how i wish things were better! i did find it comforting that one woman's story managed to encourage so many others to talk about the things nobody really wants to talk about or hear about them. and no matter how much i don't like hearing or reading about things like that, i know i have to - it's the only way talking about them will become normal.
besides pregnancy and miscarriage i really loved the way alice and lily bonded and supported one another, but i think the best part for me was when voldemort and death eaters appeared how alice immediately took charge - it didn't matter that she was pregnant or that she was a woman, she was a leader and the one who had the clearest head. and that's something i loved!
another great chapter, abby, and i'm looking forward to more of them!
This gave me all the feels, it was so sweet and so sad at the same time, the connection between Lily and Alice was the loveliest thing and I so wish they did see their children grow up, and that Neville was a cousin for Harry... it's so cruel to know how all this is going to end...
"It's a wonder how the human race has made it this far then, with women having gotten pregnant at all the wrong ages." This made me chuckle. But really, it's kind of absurd if you think about it. I have no experience with pregnancy, but I can't stand people who have to judge and always know better, if you know what I mean? Each person, each mother, has their story and their right to decide how to go through things and how to take care of their children etc. This is a bit of a wider concept, but the "right time" to be pregnant is definitely a part of it.
I feel so much for Alice... three miscarriages... I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like... and once again, your characters show so much strenght and positivity and I love them so much!
I love that you included the "defeating Voldemort" bit here, too. I've never really delved into it, mostly because I never know how to write it, but I love that you chose to include it, and that you put the Potters and the Longbottoms together. It's amazing how they worked as a team here, and how they managed to escape together. It's amazing how strong is the connection of the two potential boys-who-live... and it's amazing the motherly courage you showed. They took a risky decision, but one that ultimately saved them and their children. I loved the strong love and connection to their unborn children that you showed, too.
And I loved that you managed to include a little bit of humour, too. Frank and James doing the dishes, and Lily's comment: "Oh, this perk isn't stopping after the baby comes". James is such a sweetheart, btw. My Jily shipper heart couldn't be happier.
I swear that each chapter of this is better than the last! I can't wait to read Emmeline's, too!
Chiara (for team Leucocrota)
Hi, Abbi, dear!
I'm reviewing for Team Leucocrota (and to say thank you for the lovely reviews you left me yesterday...)
Ah, I love Dorcas, too! And your interpretation of her is brilliant! I love the idea that she is a born Legilimens. And her different origins, of course. I love that she is such a brilliant teacher. I love how fierce she is in this piece and how she keeps her cools and doesn't try to fight a battle she knows she can't win, but doesn't surrender either. She is so strong, and seeing Rosier so uncomfortable was incredibly satisfying. That first scene was brilliantly written, the sass, the pretence of politeness... and can I just praise you for writing such a perfect Dumbledore?
The scene with Sirius reminded me a lot of the goodbye scene between Harry and Remus in PoA (except Sirius is much more... rebellious, I guess?) And I absolutely loved to see Marlene appear, too! Marlene is awesome, too. And the exchange between Marlene and Sirius was so fun, too. What about James' firstborn? Merlin, that's so Sirius and so good! I really hope the Marauders gave her a worth goodbye, she deserves it!
I loved just about everything of this chapter, it's my favourite so far. I would really, really love a backstory for Dorcas if you ever decide to write it, btw.
I could rant on about how awesome this is, but I want to move to the next chapter, instead... anyway, brilliant writing as always. And I love your themes and the way you develop them. You are wonderful!
Abby, my love! I was fully astonished to realize that I had yet to review a single chapter of this wonderful fic (though you know that my love for it knows no bounds). So I’m here to give it a little love (...and also for the magical menagerie event hehe. #WyvernFTW).
This chapter had me hooked from the beginning, and like all the chapters so far, I literally had to go take a walk after reading it because I was just SO. FREAKING. FRUSTRATED. I’m calmer now but I can’t promise that there won’t be more shouty caps in this review haha.
Dorcas is an incredible woman. They’re an incredible women but she’s just...I am astonished by her grace and her incredible sense of morality; she knows what’s wrong and what’s right and has no qualms about pointing out wrongdoings and taking all appropriate measures to correct them and to me that indicates a truly impressive strength of character. I really saw that shining through in her conversation with Rosier. I loved that your favorite bit was her telling off Rosier at the end of their conversation because that was absolutely my favorite bit too—and I think sort of a little microcosm of her personality in general. I admire her dedication to her students and furthermore, her personal dedication to trying to make the world a better place. I think that for someone to endure so much hate and still be committed to that is a true sign of strength.
Speaking of hate...as always, there’s at least on each man in this chapter that I’d really like to punch. I appreciate how you conveyed Rosier’s casual xenophobia, concealed by supposed “well-meaning intentions.” There’s always an excuse and I love how you demonstrated how that excuse is so easily seen through. I really loved the little effects of Dorcas’s past that you worked into her character—her switching to the Queen’s English at some points, etc. That whole interaction was captured so well!
I also really really loved her conversation with Marlene, and seeing where Marlene is now. There was this overwhelming sense of resilience throughout that conversation, especially knowing what Marlene suffeered too—and it just energied me completely and I think played so well into the conversation that Dorcas had with Sirius and James and Remus and Peter. It was a really powerful moment and honestly gave me chills.
The line that strikes me the most in this chapter is “The hate in people’s minds knew no bounds.” There’s just such a matter of fact and depressing quality to that statement—but at the same time, this chapter serves as evidence that the strength in women’s hearts knows no bounds too.
This review has been much less organized than I wanted but wow I love this so much. I’m still shaking a little after reading it and am simply deeply touched. Thank you for sharing <3
P.S. I had this overwhelming sense that Hagrid and Dorcas have such similar stories, and I’d be really interested to hear about if that was intentional or to see a conversation between them. Especially as a case study on how feminist men can support women. Just planting an idea ;) :D
I love this story so much. Every chapter hits me right in the feels. I'm so excited to read a pregnant Lily. They're hard to find but I really enjoy reading about this aspect of James and Lily's relationship. Plus, I'm laughing right at the start with the pineapple reference. Oh gosh, I've used that trick so many times in real life, and like Lily, to not much avail.
You've handled ‘heavy' subjects in all of the chapters of this story, and I'm always amazed at the poise and grace that you do it with. I feel like you really do these topics justice. You don't shy away from rather difficult and often, not talked about subjects. The fact that Alice and Lily could talk about their experiences was a great way to open up a dialogue about miscarriage. And having Lily taken aback at first was a great way of showing how it's something that is often swept under the rug. I literally had tears in my eyes at the emotion you invoked in your writing. Thanks for the amazing read!
Hey, Abby! Here for our swap! <3
I sort of expected where this was going, but I still wasn't prepared for it... it's just so awful... Travers is... I don't think I have a strong enough word to define him (and if I did, it probably wouldn't be allowed here...) And it's terrible to think that these things truly happen, and much too often... :/
You write everything in such a vivid and believable way. It all felt way too real. I'm glad Gideon was there... while I don't think Marlene needs a man to protect her, I still wouldn't have wanted her to deal with Travers alone. I really hope she'll manage to prove that he's, indeed, a Death Eater and that he'll get what he deserves...
And btw, I think Marlene showed so much strength opening up to Gideon. That must have taken so much courage, I'm very proud of her. As for Gideon... well... I think he tried at his best? I see the point you make in your note, but I don't think there is a right way to react (or at least, it's easy to not know what to say and how to say it). I think he was truly trying to be supportive and that he was sincerely concerned for her.
Anyway, this was brilliant, just like everything you write. And you are so good at dealing with these themes in a honest and authentic way. We need more stories like this.
Now you really need to write that Marlene story (and I will shower it and you with love!)
This review wasn't easy to write, and I'm not sure if I did a good job with it... but just know that I loved this chapter! Thank you so much for swapping, my dear!
I haven’t been pregnant, so I have no grounds to base this on, but I think you wrote a pregnant woman pretty well! Again, no grounds, but from what I’ve heard pregnancy is like this seems like a realistic representation of a pregnancy. Furthermore, I think you did well of showing and not just telling. Like when she snaps at Mundungus. She’s hungry and has cravings. She’s sensitive to Hagrid’s cologne (though I think most people would be haha).
Dumbledore. Ugh. Lately I’ve been hating on Dumbledore. Well, okay, not hating but just seeing him as manipulative and allowing child abuse. Like he knows about The prophecy. Granted, the third denial happened right after he found out about Lily’s pregnancy. But like, couldn’t he have given him a heads up? If you didn’t mean to put Dumbledore in a bad light, sorry for that rant!
I liked how Alice was older. A lot of fanfiction has Frank and Alice either the same age as the Marauders or a little older. But it actually makes way more sense that they’re older. They were aurors, which meant that they had to go through that training. And they were good and popular, so then we can assume that they had at least a couple of years under their belt. And I love how Alice and Lily could bond.
Overall, I liked this one. Looking forward to Emmeline! RvG December- Go Gold!
I'm so happy that I had the pleasure to help you with this chapter because you've done everything justice. You've taken all important issues and you've really highlighted them in an engaging way.
This piece wonderfully captures the issues around pregnancy which is so awesome to get that. I totally relate to everything pregnancy-wise in this chapter but I love how you've used Lily and Alice's characterisation. It is their endearing personalities that make this piece was interesting. I thought you captured a great balance with Lily between caring and sassy which I always imagined her to be. Her 'crazy' food craving self is the best! Alice plays a great role as Lily bounces off her very naturally.
miscarriage is still just a taboo subject which makes no sense as it's such a common issue. I think you did a great job of getting the emotions right with Lily and Alice. I thought that idea that Lily had a miscarriage before Harry is really interesting and not something suggested before. It's always interesting to think 'what if?' and I think you caught that in Lily's reaction especially with her worrying about James only marrying her for the baby.
James is adorable and I love the little bit of their relationship that we got to see. I can't totally imagine James being the type like running around after her and being a total sweetie in general. I did laugh about Sirius saying that he helped considering it was his birthday party. It's perfect and funny plus it totally fits into canon. OMG, Harry and Neville as 'cousins' - this is beyond adorable. why couldnt this just happen?! It's not fair!
I like the turn the chapter took to get an action scene into this piece. Alice is a star in this part, she comes across so motherly and lovely but here she's badass. You just tell that she's amazing at her job which I really like the portrayal of her strength here. Go Alice!
She would do all she could to protect them. To nurture them. To hold them. To help them grow. < this is my favourite line because you've nailed it. This is what it is like to be a mother. It's hard and scary but you would do anything to keep them safe.
I feel it so deeply now how much Lily went through. She had to die to protect her child. That's intense and it's so difficult for me to think about Harry on his own verses the type of life that he would have had with Lily and James. It's so unfair. That's something that really got me on re-read of Harry Potter, how horrible the Dursleys really were. Lily is such a angel and I just love her in this chapter. Harry deserved to have her in this life.
I can't really put into words how wonderful this chapter is and how important it is as there are so much people who will be able to relate to (pregnancy part perhaps not the escaping voldemort part so much!). You've done all your other chapter's justice too. you've got such a high standard of story in your previous chapters and this is a perfect addition to them.
- Abbi xo
Abby!!! Hello, my love! <3
I told you I'd check out this story eventually, and the wishlists seemed the perfect excuse for it. :P
I loved this! So much! I loved Alice in this piece, and I love the idea that she was the one who chose the name for the Order of the Phoenix and the reasoning behind it! So good! :D
It makes me so angry how she didn't get a promotion for the only reason that she is a woman. That comment about, she'll get pregnant soon anyway... urgh, I hate that way of thinking! Unfortunately, it's still so very common, isn't it? And it would be even more at the time you are writing about. It would probably be considered scandalous just the fact that a woman worked as an Auror (which I think would perceived as a male job, and probably most women at the time didn't have jobs at all?)
The way Crouch tried to find an excuse when really it was obvious there weren't any. And how Alice stayed calm and polite and assertive the whole time and still passed as the pretentious one... :/
I loved the Order meeting. And I loved Alice's relationship with Frank. Even if she's kind of resentful because he got the recognition and she didn't, it's obvious that they have a great bond and that they care for each other. I really loved seeing that.
Aaaah! Emmeline! I might be partial, but I loved her so much! :D And you made her a Hufflepuff, which is also my headcanon! :P I loved how she added "and witches". ;) Go, Em! :P
As always, your writing was lovely! This was a lovely moment to show, and I can't wait to check out the other chapters as well. :)
Happy holidays, darling!
Lots of love,
Hi Abby! Back to catch up on this finallly and here for December's RvG!
I continue to LOVE this series! Abby you are doing SO AMAZING with this! Each one has been so incredibly unique and relevant and I look forward to reading the rest of the series (sidenote: I can't wait to read Lily next, just because she's one of my favorite characters).
I'm so angry for Dorcas in this chapter! I love the quote in this chapter about privelege and it's so perfectly fitting for both this chapter and current times. Rosier is awful, even if he is just representing the entire board. The new curriculum she has in place deifnitely seems improved upon the old one and it's so terrible that rich people that are set in their ways are the ones that get to make this decision to get rid of her. She handles this so well though, with grace but not backing down and I love her for it. Her strength is amazing and incredible.
I loved the Marelene appearance here! It was great to see a crossover from another character from a previous story, because these woman defintiely know each other, all being in the Order, and it's great to see this kind of support! Sirius being kind of starstruck by semi-famous journalist Marlene McKinnon. That scene where he comes to visit Dorcas was great--it's really telling how much her students like her! I love that part at the end where she says they'll be good recruits and that it's time to start recruting at Hogwarts. It's a good moment where she notes how important it is and how big the war really is.
One thing that I LOVE that you do that I haven't actually mentioned before is stay true to the accents while writing. I think that's such an amazing thing to do and while it definitely takes me longer to read in order to understand sometimes, I think it really adds to the characters and it's super important! another great chapter Abby! Can't wait to keep reading all these!
Hi Abby! Catching up on the latest chapter of this wonderful story for December's RvG Review Battle!
Ah, I think this was my favourite chapter of the collection so far. For some reason - probably fanfiction - I always tend to picture the majority of Order members as young witches and wizards fighting against the Death Eaters. It was so interesting to see your portrayal of Dorcas here, as a 40 year old witch, because it automatically places her in a different position in the war to those fresh out of Hogwarts.
And I loved your characterisation of Dorcas. She was just so... brilliant. Brave and self-assured and very aware of her own talents and the prejudice she has consistently had to fight against, every step of the way, to get to where she is here. I just want to be friends with her, to be honest. And I could completely accept this version of her as my head canon, too.
The background that you gave her was fascinating. I thought you did a good job of writing her accent so that we got a good idea of where she was from before we found out anymore (not that I'm an expert by any means, but I could definitely here the Jamaican accent coming through in this piece), and the link to the Windrush ship and her being a stowaway on it - I absolutely love details like this one which tie into history. I was rooting for her from the start and I have so much respect for her - she's really carved out her own path despite everything she's had to contend with.
The quote that inspired this chapter was worked in perfectly, too - and it's so, so true. Even though it shouldn't be true, it is, and Dorcas is perfectly aware of it. I thought it worked so well with the theme of pureblood supremacy that the whole war is (supposedly) based on, but it was also really clear how uncomfortable Rosier was around Dorcas for other reasons, too. He's racist on multiple levels and that comes through in this, even though he doesn't say anything explicit about her speech or her skin colour - it's all veiled hints and it's the sort of "hidden" racism that's so present in every day life for people from minority communities. I think you did a great job of capturing that and showing how she had to deal with it.
As soon as I realised that Dorcas was the DADA professor, I wasn't hopeful for her chances of remaining in the position - after all, nobody lasts more than a year - but I'm glad that Dumbledore did what he could to try and defend her. It's so, so unfair - it's obvious that a certain group of people were out to get rid of her, and despite the fact that she followed all the protocols, they still managed to sack her. She really couldn't have been any more prepared for anything that happened, and it's such a classic case of discrimination.
Having said that, I also think she took the decision really well; she was so dignified and accepting of it. I know part of that is probably deliberate behaviour so that she doesn't fall into the racist stereotypes that people have of black women, but she's just so classy and brilliant here. I'm glad that she has another position to go back to as an Unspeakable (honestly, how awesome is this woman?) and that she's got more to do at the Ministry.
I think my favourite scene of this story was when Sirius came rushing in to find out whether Dorcas had really been sacked - it reminded me a lot of Harry looking for Remus when he lost his job, and it shows how much respect people have for her as a teacher. Marlene's appearance was great, too, and I loved the knowledge passing between the two of them about the Order. Recruiting students from Hogwarts for the Order isn't something I'm entirely sold on, but it feels inevitable here - children certainly get pulled into this war very early on and there's no discrimination. I loved the idea that she was one who really acknowledged and valued the worth of the Marauders (and probably Lily) and prompted them joining the Order.
This was a great chapter, and I'd really love to read more about Dorcas's background and her story before she came to Britain if you ever write it - actually, anything else you write about her, to be honest!