Hi! I’m here for part three of our review swap! Also, this is my hundredth review, so you have the honor of that! (I’m very happy that I was even able to reach one hundred reviews, haha!)
Hm, from the quote, and your author’s note, I really feel like this might the chapter I’ll relate to the most.
Well, this sounding oddly like the entitled parent that doesn’t want the gay teacher around their kids. This reeks of entitlement, and it makes me especially mad that these bigoted parents can effectively end someone’s career because they don’t like the way someone was born. These are especially the kinds of teachers kids need, but are unfortunately cut off by more powerful people. It’s unfair, and it makes me angry every time a deserving teacher gets fired. That was way off topic, but. It needed to be known.
Impoverished yet exotic. That makes me uncomfortable. Especially the word “exotic.” I’ve seen that word used to describe South Asian girls (in my experience), and there’s just something so disgusting about that term. Most people have said that it’s a compliment, but it only serves to remind me that I’m different than the people around me. I’d never be flattered if someone called me that.
So Regulus Black was hurt by the runespoor, huh? Considering that he wasn’t exactly the most open person in his years at Hogwarts, perhaps it was him that took it to the Board of Governors and had the parents rally around him. I’ve seen people use the most insignificant accidents to get someone fired, especially in cases where the person is someone they don’t like. Although I don’t believe being attacked by a runespoor to be insignificant, Dorcas definitely did everything right, and she still was fired. The cards are really stacked up high against her.
Dorcas Meadowes, as a POC and a muggleborn, it must be really difficult trying to fit into the muggle world and the wizarding world. In the muggle world, she’d receive racism based on the color of her skin and her accent, probably, and in the wizarding world she’d receive hatred based on her blood. To me, this seems like a parallel in my own life, where I’m too “Indian” to live in America, or hell, be an American, and in India, where I’m too Americanized to be Indian. It’s hard walking that line, especially because I receive hatred and distaste from both sides, and have no one backing me up.
Sirius’ presence tells me that it was Regulus who was rallying against Dorcas. While I like the character he turns into, right now I consider him a pretty shitty person. I’m really glad that Dorcas has her students supporting her even if she’s getting fired. It shows that she really made an impact on the students she taught. Well, except maybe the bigoted pureblood students. But who knows, really?
I’m glad that she won’t have to give up her livelihood in light of her termination, though. It would be hard to deal with job hunting and trying to deal with the injustice you’ve just been dealt. I think Dorcas is strong woman on her own, and I’m more than certain that she’ll be able to make her mark on her world.
Thanks for writing! xx
Hi! I’m here for part two of our review swap! I’m excited to read more of this!
Oh wow, the mood changed very quickly. I can pretty much already can tell that I won’t like Travers at all, if considering the fact that Marlene wishes she was wearing a potato sack. It’s not a great place to be in.
Yup, I definitely don’t like Travers. The way he addresses Marlene as if she were a child grates on my nerves. I especially don’t like the implication behind “you move on fast for someone like you.” Travers may not be saying it outwardly, but it sounds like there is some slut-shaming behind the words. I don’t like the way he treats Gideon either, because it sounds like he’s saying that Travers is a much better “lover” than him, which just makes him come off as an arrogant asshat?
I don’t know what “carpet muncher” really means, but Travers probably meant it as a slur, or maybe a hard-hitting insult. Don’t like that either. Without all the history behind Marlene and him, he still would manage to get on her nerves, I think. With all the content warnings and just from Marlene’s actions herself, I can tell where this is going already, and well. I just feel furious on Marlene’s behalf because no one deserves that.
Hm. I guess I can get where Gideon is coming from with the consequences of throwing out such consequences, but I feel like he really isn’t reading the situation correctly, which lends into the fact that he’s making Marlene’s mental state worse. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, but he’s definitely making some bad decisions. This is pretty apparent in the way Gideon sort of butts into the story Marlene is telling him to scold her, and I don’t think that’s what she needs right now. Those kinds of comments don’t really help because it’s clearly a story living in the past, and telling Marlene what she should’ve done doesn’t help. If my assumptions are right, Marlene probably thought about what she should’ve done many a time, so that doesn’t help Gideon’s case. And not to mention the way Gideon tells her that she should’ve gone to someone. Once again it doesn’t help at all. If Marlene wanted to go to them, then she would’ve, I think. It’s her story to tell anyways.
And now, to Marlene’s story. Just, wow. Travers is the worst kind of guy. He’s a piece of shit, that’s for sure, and he’s clearly the sort of guy that’s internalized a lot of toxic ideologies that society holds in regards to men and turned it into a life motto. You could say that society has failed him, but damn, he really failed himself by not seeing past all the bullshit. His worldviews are so harmful to the safety of women and LGBT+ women, and unfortunately these types of guys are numerous in the world.
I’ve never been raped (let’s hope it stays that way), but I understand the stigma around girls liking girls. It’s either abhorred or fetishized, neither of which are good, and it’s these sorts of ideas that makes me want to go back in the closet. I’m not any less ashamed of my sexuality, but sometimes I wonder.
This was a very well-written and thought provoking piece that really resonated with me, and so far it’s one of my favorite chapters! Thanks for writing! xx
Hi Abby! I’m here for part one of our review swap! I figured now is a great time to start on reading this!
I really have to commend Alice in her bravery in asking Mr. Crouch about her not getting the promotion. I know in the workplace, a lot of women tend to be just as studious as the men, maybe even more so, but they often are conditioned into thinking that perhaps they don’t deserve it more than their coworkers. It’s sadly a common phenomenon outside of work as well, I myself a victim of it. I mean, I got so anxious asking for a raise of a grade in a class I was in, even though I’d probably worked myself off to earn it. It’s because of that I’m kind of pissed that Frank got the promotion, but Alice didn’t. It’s clear she’d got a lot of grit, which makes me think that she more than deserves it.
Also, the comment of inconveniencing her boss is something I relate to strongly. For me, it may in part be due to anxiety, but there’s also just these situations where I apologize for the most inane things, like, I don’t need to apologize for existing in my own space. I frequently make excuses and apologize for things that aren’t even my fault. I’m trying to get out of that habit though.
Um. Excuse me, what was that bullshit the Minister and the auror was saying? Alice didn’t deserve any of that. I don’t see any correlation between marriage and work ethic in the workplace. Their attitude grates the hell out of me, because those sorts of assumptions are so harmful. I’d bet that Alice would outdo herself even if she became pregnant.
I don’t quite understand how a ring on your finger affects anything, probably because I’ve never been married, but damn, I sure did feel the anger.
I think it really is commendable that Alice was able to set aside her anger in the face of bigger things that are threatening the world; that takes some real determination. I’m also for certain that the fact that she was the one who came up with the name alludes to the fact that she might be able to realize her goals and ambitions within the Order of the Phoenix, which is great I think. Clearly, the name sticks and is remembered decades into the future, isn’t it?
I hope Alice will be able to realize her goals before her subsequent torture (sorry for making this sad).
Thanks for writing! xx
Hey Abby, I’m back with the review you requested!
I really, really loved this chapter! I love how you managed to convey such a different set of moods throughout! With Lily’s annoyance, her sweet interactions with James, the heartfelt conversation and, of course, the combat situation at the end, you’ve portrayed such a wide array of emotions, but none of them ever felt out of place, or rushed, which takes such great skill!
I feel like the feminist themes in this chapter are a lot more underlying than in Alice’s, if that makes sense? It’s not that they’re any less relevant, they just present themselves in different ways, so I love how you’ve shown – across the entire story – how people are affected by these themes in so many different ways, and in very different aspects of their lives. Like with Alice’s chapter, it was very prominent how she faced discrimination because of her sex in not getting the promotion she deserved, but with Lily, a lot of the hardships she faces are much subtler, like the stigma connected to her – a woman’s – bodily functions, or how much worth is placed on her body, but not as a miraculous way to create another life, but more as a commodity for other people, with Dung commenting on her diet, or Lily’s reflections about receiving attention specifically for her looks. It was also really saddening to read how Lily has internalised so many of these views, by feeling the need to hide her body and worrying about gaining weight and stretchmarks.
You also portrayed the conversation between Alice and Lily super well! Miscarriage is still such a difficult subject in our society, and viewed as a taboo topic, so I’m so happy that you drew attention to it in your writing, and you’ve managed to talk about it in a very sensitive manner. So many women blame themselves for the loss of a pregnancy – as does Lily for her first – so it’s so good to see strong, empowered Alice assuring her that it wasn’t her fault. I also loved the glimpse of Alice we get in this chapter in general; while it’s so disheartening to think about how she’s still discriminated against at work, despite clearly being a capable Auror and talented fighter, that just really goes to show how discrimination is an ongoing battle, so I really loved how you tied in the earlier chapters!
All the foreshadowing, and Lily’s unfulfilled hopes are honestly so heart-breaking! Like how she hopes Harry and Neville will grow up together, as cousins, Lily not being able to see herself aged thirty-something, Voldemort threatening James he’ll be the first to die, and of course Lily’s willingness to die for her child… All of these details feel like a stab in the gut, but they really demonstrate the horrors of the war they’re fighting, the uncertainty of it all, and they to me, they serve to show how much the war has escalated since the early chapters, and how it’s a much more immediate threat.
This really was such a brilliant chapter, Abby!
Hi Abby! Here for CTF!
You know, I don't think I've ever read a story about Lily's pregnancy, and especially not from Lily's point of view. Which, now that I'm thinking about it, is kind of wild? It seems like a lot of people skip over the pregnancy.
I'm kinda shook by how much happens in this one chapter. All of it is handled really well! You really made me feel Lily's discomfort in the beginning scenes (not being able to go pee when you really need to pee is.... the WORST). And James was so attentive and adorable! I can see how at times it would be a bit irritating but it's also exactly how I imagine James would be, and I imagine it would be better than having a disinterested husband?
Ew, Mundungus, shut up. Even if Lily weren't pregnant, can he please mind his own beeswax? People who comment negatively on what others are eating are simply the worst.
I'm so glad Lily discovers that she's not alone in this journey. She's having all these doubts and fears, and it's wonderful for her to have someone to share them with. I thought the miscarriage discussion was great, and handled very sensitively and yet at the same time with just the right amount of frankness. The idea that James and Lily got married so quick/young because of a pregnancy that they ended up losing is heartbreaking, but makes total sense. That might be my new HC, tbh.
The break-in by Voldemort has me wondering about Peter, actually, since he was specifically brought up during the Order scene... not sure if that's off-base. To be 100%, if concrit is okay, I felt like you could have... slowed down a little bit here? I feel like it would help the chapter if immediately after Voldemort announces himself, there was some introspection from Lily - weird way to phrase it, but basically show us her fear, I guess. Or more of her reaction in general.
Other than that I thought this chapter was completely on point, and did a really good job of tackling several sensitive/"hidden" subjects. Great work!
Hey Abby, I’m here with the review you requested!
First off, can I just say that I absolutely love the idea of this story? The first wizarding war is my favourite era to read about, and I absolutely love strong female characters and the exploration of feminist themes so I’m so excited about your story, and I can’t wait to see what the other chapters have in store!
Now onto the actual chapter! I love the little detail about the chewing gum! Pretty much the only scene featuring Alice that we get in canon is the one at St. Mungo’s, which is heart-breaking anyway, and now you’ve gone and made it even sadder. For Alice, the gum is clearly a source of comfort, something to help her calm down and gather her thoughts, and the fact that she’d want to pass that on to Neville, even in her mentally incapacitated state is achingly beautiful, and I just love that, even with a character we know virtually nothing about, you still managed to integrate canon events.
Alice’s experiences are so frustrating and that comes across really well! There’s so many little details that make me angry on her behalf, especially the fact that other people (especially her superiors) only see her as ‘Frank’s wife’ anymore, like she’s had to give up her own identity, and it’s just assumed she’s fine with that. It’s even more aggravating since Crouch tries to make it seem that not getting the promotion was Alice’s fault because she’s not qualified before he comes out with the actual reason – casual sexism – she wasn’t considered for promotion when she knows full well she outperforms half of the men on Crouch’s list.
I can also really appreciate that she’s annoyed and exhausted when she has to confront her colleagues at the order meeting; while they are her friends, it’s naturally super frustrating for her to have to meet them in her spare time, and be faced with what’s being withheld from her through no fault of her own. I also love that moment of female solidarity! Sometimes, all you need is to know you’re not alone, even if no words are exchanged between the three, the fact that there’s someone who’s likely gone through what Alice is experiencing at work makes it that little bit easier, and I love how that gives her the courage and energy to keep going!
I also love that Alice is the one to name the Order, I’d always just lazily assumed that Dumbledore had named it, and I love her interpretation, ‘something that died in a powerful way’; it’s so interesting how she focuses on the Phoenix dying rather than rising again, but to emphasise death really works as a counter to the Death Eaters because it feels like she’s pulling the carpet out from under their feet!
Hi, Abby! I'm here with your requested review!
Okay, so. Based on what's been going on so far in Golden Eagle Soaring, this sort of scenario is precisely what I expected to read about once I finally got here. However, what I was not expecting was for is to be simultaneously delicate, yet raw and real. Sexual assault is such a sensitive issue and is immensely difficult to portray; every victim's story is unique, as is how they respond to it and cope not only in the immediate aftermath, but for their rest of their lives. That being said, I think you did a remarkable job showing that despite how strong of a person Marlene is, she is still deeply affected by what happened to her. I feel like all to often, victims are portrayed as either completely broken or as if they're "over it," so to speak. I really love that Marlene didn't allow what happened to define her, but at the same time, the pain is still very real. As much as it hurt to read, this seemed incredibly realistic to me. (Hopefully I'm making sense; please forgive me if I'm not! I have so many feelings and am doing a terrible job articulating...)
Her horrible experience aside, Marlene was characterized beautifully in this. I love that she was unapologetically herself, especially in regards to her sexuality. Though she does say she didn't ask to be that way (not to mention it being the catalyst for her assault), she never once comes across as being ashamed of who she is. Furthermore, she hasn't allowed her spirit to be broken. She's still strong-willed, still determined, and still willing to live life to the fullest.
In regards to Gideon... hm. Personally, I'm not writing him off as being uncaring. I think he cares about Marlene very much, actually. I think he, like so many well-intentioned people who have had loved ones confide in them about their assaults, was confused, angry, and unsure of what to say. (Sometimes, I also think part of it is that it's human nature to think "if X had been done, Y would have occurred.") I'm not trying to make excuses for Gideon, by the way - just trying to find the rationale for his reactions. Obviously, victim blaming is never okay; that's why I'm so glad that in the real world, the conversation is starting to move in the right direction and people are starting to understand that asking these sorts of questions of victims is hurtful. I truly don't think Gideon meant Marlene any harm.
I feel like this review is a poorly constructed mess and I apologize profusely for that. There's just a lot to unpack here, and I have so many things I want to say, so I'll leave it with this: you, my darling, have done an amazing job here. You handled a truly sensitive topic with care and consideration, but did not withhold the horrors of said topic. There was not a shred of sugarcoating. You showed a woman who experienced a horrific attack and is still coping, but nevertheless had the strength to put herself back together and enjoy life. It's truly remarkable, and I applaud you.
Thank you so much for stopping by my request thread with this. I honestly cannot say enough goo things about this piece.
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