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Dumbledore's Army
Reviews for: Blood Ties
Review(s): 15

Reviewer: PaulineDate: 2005-05-04
Reviewid: 121341Chapter: 1
*Thank You* for writing such a brilliant fic! I've come to almost accept Kate Lynn's stories as "my canon" for Voldemort's childhood, and "Blood Ties" fits in seamlessly with Kate's universe. Your Lavinia Riddle is such a conflicted creature - such a uncomfortable amalgam of maternal love, pureblood prejudice and Slytherin pride - that I wasn't sure whether I should admire her or detest her. You placed her in appalling circumstances but still gave her so much defiance and strength that she never seemed like a victim. She's certainly not a character that I'll ever forget.

Reviewer: AprilDate: 2005-05-01
Reviewid: 121131Chapter: 1
That was incredibly moving. The poor woman, so intent to escape the jail she knew, she wound up in another bad situation. Perhaps worse, we will never know.

Reviewer: JenniferDate: 2005-04-27
Reviewid: 120792Chapter: 1
ARGH! I'd gotten about halfway through my review when I let my mom use the computer - and she closed the window the review was in! ARGH!

SO, anyway... Well, I guess you weren't the only one who had a plot bunny on this going for awhile! About a year ago I'd been planning to write something similar to this story... but you (and Kate Lynn) beat me to it! :) In comparing my, er, very skeletal outline for my version of this story and your story, I have to say that yours is a lot, lot more detailed and coherent. :) And, yeah, this story is definitely more gloomy than your other stories, but I like it even more now. The morbidity, methinks, adds greater emotional depth and creates a deeper emotional reaction from your audience. :)

This is probably the strongest Mother Riddle interpretation I've read. Thought it's a one-shot, it is incredibly detailed, clear, and concise in its narration. Your characters are well-developed and thought-out. I like the backstory you give for Lavinia. Yes, she's the Slytherin heiress; true, the name is prestigious.. and yet, with no money, she is, as you say, pretty "shabby." This one flaw in her lineage makes her desire to reach out to the Muggle world, in spite of her somewhat prejudicial Slytherin background, so much more believeable. (Yet the only thing I'm not sure I agree with is Lavinia's classmates' indifference to her name. I would think that she would at least be respected since any heir(ess) of a Hogwarts House is bound to be some kind of celebrity at Hogwarts.)

Your Thomas Riddle was wonderful. We're introduced to him much the same way Lavinia is introduced to him: little by little, so that, like Lavinia, we see more of his charm and appeal and later, too late, his cruelty - although it's not as if his arrogance was completely undetectable. His imperious command to, "Marry me," was a nicely subtle hint that began to reveal his true side. I really like your interpretation of Thomas' and Lavinia's relationship as based on luste. It's something I'd been planning as well, something along the lines of "lust at first sight." You did it better, though - their initial courtship seemed sweet and heartfelt, at least - otherwise, why would Lavinia fall for him in the first place?

I think that your minor characters, especially Dilly and Libby, really bring out the emotion in your story best. The line, "...I would lie on my bed and remember the sight of Dilly’s brokenhearted face on Platform 9 ¾, and hear a voice strangely like my own telling her that Mistress Lavinia would not be coming home" was so sad and tragic, for Dilly was her best friend. Libby and her family lend a more light-hearted tone to your story, giving us at least a little bit of cheer amidst the general gloominess. I love the comparison between Libby's family's reaction to Lavinia's magic tricks with Thomas' reaction. It creates a nostalgic and tragic tone, reminding the audience of those more innocent days with Libby's family and the horror Lavinia's finds herself in now.

The final scene, told by a sort of omniscent narrator, was especially heart-breaking. It's one thing to hear the story from the point of view of the person it happened to; quite another to hear objective strangers mourn over what they don't know in its entirety.

Wonderful, wonderful story, Katinka! It's so nice to get an update from you once again! :)

Reviewer: FleurDate: 2005-04-24
Reviewid: 120475Chapter: 1
This an excellent story as well as an excellent version of these events. I don't think there is a person who has ever read these books and not wondered about Tom's mother and her backstory. Thanks for the great read!

Fleur

Reviewer: Reader2Date: 2005-04-22
Reviewid: 120343Chapter: 1
Good Piece.

Reviewer: Violet AzureDate: 2005-04-21
Reviewid: 120276Chapter: 1
I loved the repetition of the "I should not be here." It's such a simple statement and yet it sets the tone forthe entire story, making it seem so foreboding. It's like a scary version of "Once upon a time."

[Strange, how the prospect of marriage caused me to flee the only world I had ever known, and yet now marriage has brought me to this current quandary.] I love LAvinia's voice; so calm and yet so aware of what's happening. It's as if the only way she has to survive her circumstances is to set up this sort of detachment. The irony in her statement is hearbreaking.

[I remember rushing to the railing as quickly as my short legs would take me, peering over cautiously, certain he was waiting beneath the arch to frighten me. He was not. I had seen Marcus lie in the stream on other hot summer days, but never so completely still.] Oooh, this was so chilling and sad. This may seem like a weird compliment, but I really love how you've structured the sentences and how they give voice to Lavinia. There's a measured formality to her voice and also she doesn't need to state the obvious. I can almost hear her as I read.

[I had grown enough to note the emerging glint in the man’s eye – the gaze of a buyer viewing a pedigreed Abraxan. In this way I learned, as no girl ever should, the precise value I held in my father’s world.] Great writing here. That makes a lot of sense, that even though she doesn't have anything, she still has the family name and the family blood and I could see how this would become a bargaining chip for a man like her father. You can really feel Lavinia's growing desperation.

[As my figure widened, so did the rift between us.] What a great line!

[Upon my return, I performed spell after spell for him – levitating the lamp, transfiguring the sugar bowl into a bouquet of flowers – as though I were searching for the elusive trick that would make Libby’s siblings laugh on a day when they were particularly difficult to entertain.] Great description, you really set the scene and mood and you can really sense the growing tension between Lavinia and Tom.

[I feel my son moving within me, speaking to my body in a language more ancient and primal than magic itself, but I am caught up helpless, almost a bystander, and yet so intimately, excruciatingly connected.] What a great description for childbirth. You really capture the terror of it, the primal, messy, scary aspects of it.

[Gazing on my child for the first time, I almost succumb to a nonsensical urge to laugh. I had somehow expected a plump child with rounded cheeks, a handsome Thomas like his father. Instead, I hold a collection of wiry, red arms and miniscule fingers. No, there is not enough of a man here to make a proper Thomas just yet. He is only Tom for now. My darling little Tom.] I really like this description of Tom and the explanation as to why no one calls him Thomas Riddle. This moment really catches you off-guard as you see Voldemort as something human, and you see what he's like as a baby.

Wow! I could have quoted this entire piece. This is a fantastic piece of writing and I applaud you for taking a risk and writing something different. I love how you completely immerse us in Lavinia's world through her voice and I love how you are able to convey information without over-explanations. Except for the mention of magic, I really felt like I was reading a chapter from a novel and when I got to the end, I expected another chapter to begin. Beautiful and haunting, especially when you contrast what Voldemort is now compared to what he was like as a baby. It's so sad to see Lavinia dying and just how much love she had for Tom. This was a great piece of writing and I hope other plot bunnies inspire you to future great works!

Reviewer: louisaDate: 2005-04-21
Reviewid: 120270Chapter: 1
How sad, all that prejudice on both sides. I look forward to more of your writing.

Reviewer: AlphieDate: 2005-04-21
Reviewid: 120218Chapter: 1
This was fantastic! SO original and creative. I know what it is to let plot bunnies fester. I'm glad you decided to let this one out for others to enjoy.

Reviewer: Mcily NochiDate: 2005-04-21
Reviewid: 120207Chapter: 1
Chilling. Your talent is apparently inexhaustable, as this measures up to any of the delightful fics that you have written thus far. Truly excellent.

Reviewer: EresseaDate: 2005-04-20
Reviewid: 120121Chapter: 1
Wow. That was amazing. I've never read something like this from Tom's mother's point of view. You used an excellent format, letting us learn about the woman before hearing her name, and then learning her story. It's also cool how she doesn't understand that she's dying, but instead focuses on her baby. Great job!

Reviewer: GryfnyDate: 2005-04-20
Reviewid: 120116Chapter: 1
Katinka, this is a great tale, the letter, a great theory how Tom first found out who he was, how he must have somehow managed perhaps even before Hogwart's to learn magic. It's a nice peek into the life of Tom's mother and what the start of Tom's bitterness was.

Reviewer: ChrisDate: 2005-04-20
Reviewid: 120110Chapter: 1
Oh, Katinka...this is really amazing. I think I was holding my breath for the whole last third of it. You've put so much emotion into this, I actually started to feel tired and achy by the end of it.

>>Like my once persistent hope that Thomas would take me back, it has become all too unnecessary.<<

Lines like this one just say so much about the character. You do such a wonderful job of telling us about her without overloading us with narrative. The story flows from her own thoughts and feelings.

Beautifully done!

Reviewer: Lady NarcissaDate: 2005-04-19
Reviewid: 120040Chapter: 1
Wow, Katinka, this is a very strong piece. Very true to period, true to details, true to time frame. I love fanfics that bring to life more than just their characters but also give vividness to the story's setting: the sights, the sounds, the taste and smell and flavor of the place. This does exactly that and no matter how inevitable the ending is, it still tugs at the heartstrings in an unexpected way.

Sometimes, the best stories are worth waiting for. I think perhaps this isn't quite as gloomy as your comment might suggest, because once you look below the surface it breathes life into a time and place that might have otherwise gone unexplored. There are hidden treasures here and stories hinted at but still untold. The tempo and flavor strike such a great balance between Dickens and Sweeney Todd; all the facts that JKR has hidden away in various places about the Riddle family come into play so very nicely as well. Masterfully done.

Reviewer: NunduDate: 2005-04-19
Reviewid: 120004Chapter: 1
Stunning! Well worth the two years you fought it.

Reviewer: CoquillageDate: 2005-04-19
Reviewid: 119945Chapter: 1
This is such a great piece. Reading it the second time, I am even more taken by the details and longing that bring this story to life. You have imagined such a rich backstory and furnished it with exquisite details. It makes me ache for baby Tom, all he could have had, and how different everything could have been. As I told you before, it is very Dickensian, and I think JKR herself would have a hard time topping the tragic beginning you have painted.

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