Reviews For The Prevailing Counterpoint
Reviewer: Wyrdflame Signed Date: 2019.04.02 - 06:05PM Title: Epilogue: Four Days Later
It took a while to get used to your more... detailed writing style, compared to the relatively simple styles of most stories I've read, but once I got into the swing of it I have to say this made for a fitting and satisfying ending for "Taking Control" and "Free Life" where I had not actually thought I'd find an ending short of writing it myself.
Sorry to have taken a while to reply to your thoughtful comments! Life is busy, and I wasn't expecting reviews, though of course they're still appreciated.
You've chosen your words diplomatically. 'Detailed' is a kind way of saying verbose, which is certainly how this story began. TPC was my first semi-serious attempt at prose fiction, after a bit of print-published poetry, and decades of non-fiction. I learned a lot as I went along, but that means that I had a lot to learn. I probably still do, although most of what I've written after 2017 is a lot more concise.
Anyway, I value the fact that you soldiered through!
Reviewer: rbrt_emmer Signed Date: 2018.06.03 - 03:16PM Title: Epilogue: Four Days Later
Hey, I read this story ages ago and enjoyed it. My question that I just realized I've never asked is, obviously Matt gave you his blessing to write the story. My question is, how close does this get to what Matt had originally envisioned? Has he said? Because it occurs to me that he hasn't actually updated Free Life in nearly 7 years and it'd be nice to know if he views this as the conclusion to his story. Either way, it's a fun continuation.
Hey Rob -- good questions!
Matt and I never strategised in fine detail, though there were some broad brush-strokes that had emerged as obvious:
The further things got toward the end, the less grounding there was in Matt's originals, and I never really got any feedback after, say, chapter 16 or so. It was never completely obvious to me if he had fully mapped an ending in his own mind. I have no doubt he could have done a brilliant job of wrapping it up if life had gone differently, and I'm certain his ending would have had a different set of twists (very likely more drawn out time-wise and word-wise) than TPC, but at this point, TPC will, for better or worse, be the ending that readers will have, unless readers take it on themselves to produce another version.
Reviewer: RighT3rantZ Signed Date: 2018.05.17 - 02:10PM Title: A Bit of Funny Reading
Hmm, I remember reading 'Free Life' and 'Taking Control'. '08 or '09 maybe?
Last comment first, about changing character names: to be honest, that had *not* occurred to me when I originally planned Anthem for the Scraps but, to be even *more* honest precisely that though came to mind a little ways in. There's really no need for it to have any tie-in to HP at all, even as a bit more is revealed about their powers. In that sense, I'm kind of secretly considering it my first main non-fanfic work (that is, apart from a ton of non-fiction).
So, I wouldn't necessarily have encouraged you to read this one. There as some good aspects to the story, and I think there are some sequences you will enjoy, but it was very amateur, and I'm a bit perplexed that, despite writing far better stories since this, it remains my most popular work by a fair margin. I think it has made it onto some crackpots' lists of all-time worst HP fanfics which, perversely, is a bit of a compliment :)
Author's Response: Oh, I should also mention that 'The Prevailing Counterpoint' is actually a musical reference. See, I was even doing that way back when :)
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.14 - 05:38AM Title: Epilogue: Four Days Later
Thank you so much for sharing this really wonderful story. It is a worthy continuation of TC and FL.
Interesting vision -- thank you for sharing that! Perhaps you could take a second venture into a world like that, given your remarkably successful first venture? It wouldn't have to be a full novel or anything, but I could imagine a short story (full of lively kids and silly shenanigans) set at some heart-warming milestone like their 20th wedding anniversary...
If I say any more, you'll be justified in telling me that I should write it myself ;)
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.14 - 05:06AM Title: The End and a Beginning
It's a unique idea how to solve the Harry-Horcrux problem and defeat Tom in one single step.
Thank you, Martin!
Regarding my mode of resolving the Horcrux situation, I'm glad you enjoyed that! It could never have happened in canon, since it required much more 'bravado' in Harry than Rowling could allow (she wanted him to remain relatively pure, and be a hero only reluctantly, which is fair). Of course, it's much harder to rationalise canon's failure to learn much from Ginny's ordeal. I'm sure there have been essays written in support of why it had to be as it had to be, but I doubt I will bend.
Yes, 'Trix' is definitely a double-entendre, and yes, one of those allusions is to Bella's name.
And finally, I can't recall precisely how I responded to your qualms about MoM involvement (interference?) in education, but my current stance is that there were likely justifiable reasons to believe it could be a win-win situation (in particular, the dire situation of Auror and Hit-wizard staffing), but again I believe that Trix speaks fairly clearly to how such a relationship is an invitation to abuse.
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.08 - 06:13AM Title: Two Are Not Alone
It was a nice way to kill two birds with one stone, save Arthur, and kill Nagini. A fatal mistake by Tom to bring both to the same location, or a clever move by the author? In any case, it was a very well done, action-packed chapter.
A very good question about Nagini's placement in Malfoy Manor. I do recall that, toward the canonical end of DH, Riddle wanted Nagini kept close for safe keeping, and I think this was a key motivation for me to have Nagini present on the MM grounds which, at this point, are Riddle's de facto headquarters. This is especially true now that it's clear that Horcruxes are being destroyed.
And, thank you for noticing, but yes -- we are now seeing the benefits of a smarter, more clear-thinking Harry, which (per Matt's telling) came from the exercises he undertook to systematicise his mind for Occlumency preparation. In addition to honing his magic, Harry's tactical instincts have improved greatly as well. Perhaps he could even now give Ron a reasonable challenge at chess? That's a rhetorical question only, though, since Ron still has his greatest, most white-knuckled chess match ahead of him.
And of course you are right. There is not much longer now.
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.08 - 04:17AM Title: The Other Side of the Door
Considering my former review of this chapter, it seems that Ginny's dream has already impressed me when I read the story for the first time.
Actually yes -- the dream was little more than an authourly whim, aimed at illustrating the very different trajectories for Ginny. The timing, of course, is intended as a final validation of what each means to the other, as fortification before the final frenzy.
And yes, I believe the whole reason for the continued vitality of SIYE, well after other HPff sites have died, relates to the bizarre deficiencies in DH.
Good point about Narcissa being more of a legitimately cognitive human than either of the Malfoy males. She is a bit of a cipher in canon, and that is a reasonable way to treat her. I give her a few more nuances, which replace the canonical forest scene. And, of course, you are correct that her deeds are key to the eventual soft-landing that she and Draco eventually receive. I thought it an interesting pseudo-irony that she ultimately be placed back with Andromeda -- a situation that I felt could ultimately lead the lighter side of Narcissa to stabilise above the darker side.
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.07 - 04:16AM Title: Fired... up!
I must admit that I still can't tell apart some of the OC characters. Mostly I don't even know into which house they belong, but I guess that's the way you've planned it, to support the idea of House Unity.
Yes, I agree that the OC's are difficult to keep track of. I inherited a fair number, added a couple and promoted a few more (very) minor canonical characters to speaking roles. To be honest, I don't automatically remember all relevant details about each of them anymore, and in continuing onto Trix I have obviously let many of them slide back into anonymity, with the basic assumption that they might just go back to being regular teenagers after the war.
Yes, Arthur warned them that the Ministry was likely to become a problem, and lo and behold it does. Couldn't have waited a bit longer, could it?
Glad that you enjoyed the Luna-cy :) Unlike previous ones that had an element of comic relief to them, this one is actually quite important to the plot, as you will observe soon.
On a completely different front, I wrote another short capsule on 'Fires of Time' today. I need to write another shorter one to precede it but, once that is done, I can send it to you if you're curious.
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.07 - 03:49AM Title: New Friends; Old Friends
Oh, Harry in the snake's lair. This was really brilliantly written, especially the view behind the facade of Mrs Parkinson. However, I must admit that I'm still not quite comfortable with Harry's repeated change of colour, from Gryffindor to Hogwarts to Slytherin. The way the recent change happened proves that he's slowly losing control of his life. Let's just hope that he'll at least won't lose control in the confrontation with Tom.
Ah yes, but you yourself wrote about how the importance of the colours was reduced in times of crisis. I do admit that Harry's compliance with the winds of fate, here, were modestly unpopular with the readership in general, but the way things play out (including having this be more temporary and symbolic than a true redefinition of allegiances) proved to be fairly acceptable.
More to the point is your assertion of Harry 'losing control'. This is true in two ways. Firstly, as he and Ginny had already worried, surrounding circumstances have launched themselves prematurely, which is denying them the full extent of planning they'd hoped for. Secondly, in Free Life, the seeds were planted for Harry to begin assuming more true leadership. As any dedicated politician knows, it is only possible to be a true Maverick when one does not have true power. The assumption of responsibility means subjugating one's true control to an expression of interests far beyond one's own. Consequently, Harry now looks upon forces far broader and more unruly than his own two hands; he can still hope to sway those forces in the right direction, but he can no longer specify every single condition.
Fortunately, the one area where he and Ginny retain nearly as much control as they'd hoped for is with Riddle. He is not their puppet, but his strings may prove a bit easier to pull than those of unruly allies and the undisciplined Death Eater rabble.
Glad you enjoyed the library scene -- it was fun to write. Malfoy's utter humiliation brings him to the lowest point, which allows him to gradually scrap every worthless thing he had become. Ron has a moment of heroism to begin to understand and grow from. And Hermione has a little excitement in her life :)
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.06 - 05:40AM Title: Many Meetings
Seems I've successfully forgotten about the significance of the Crown and the Outcrop for each of the two couples. I only remember that the Outcrop will be the location of the final confrontation, and that the boxes, the twins had invented, turned out to be quite useful.
Thank you for the offer! In truth, I often learn more about my own stories by reading reviews and writing responses, so it's all a very useful exercise. And when reviews come in during the actual writing process, they do frequently massage the story itself going forward. TPC definitely benefited a lot from reader feedback, and Splinters also picked up some reader character. As far as post facto discussions, though, I think your greatest service is having me relive things -- a process that is surprisingly fun after three years of my own 'forgetting'.
Yes, I also thought that the Slytherin revolution was an amusing and plot-enriching development. I tended to believe that it was a fairly natural eventuality of having a strong and charismatic Harry, especially considering the number of times that Rowling attempted to to persuade us that Slytherins were not inherently evil, but rather self-serving and Machiavellian. I believe that, in the Oedipean world they inhabit, that could sometimes even extend to Slytherin students defying their parents.
Hermione's birthday party -- I would say that this cements the transformation, and allows them to move together, in synch, to address the real adversary. It as adventitious timing as well since one of my readers (sorry, but I can't remember who) reminded me about Hermione's upcoming birthday just in time for me to include it in the appropriate chapter. Brilliant timing on someone's part!
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.06 - 04:18AM Title: All About Knowing
I've been pondering why Harry suddenly told Hermione so much. Not that I think itís been wrong. On the contrary, I am delighted. But why so suddenly and completely. Is it really just a question of forgiveness, or the fact that theyíll need her? Well, maybe itís better to postpone the pondering until after their next meeting, or confrontation, whatever might happen next, lol.
Why did they tell Hermione so much? All of the reasons you list are certainly part of the equation, but the tipping factor is probably that Hermione's little misdemeanour so completely intrigued and even amused Harry that the whole discussion ended up with a light-hearted, friendly tone that broke down barriers. As far as why Harry would react that way to being assaulted, I'd say that he's riding a fairy impressive winning streak, and doesn't experience defeat often anymore. If he can get away with experiencing his defeats in learnable scenarios, taught be people who aren't trying to kill him, then great. He gets to absorb the weakness and strengthen his armor, and is all the better for it.
And yes, the Super Seven clearly take the initiative. Perhaps some of their efforts might worry Harry at times, but this will pay tremendously in the end. If you think of TC as Harry finding resilience, and FL as Harry imparting those strengths to Ginny, then TPC is where they build their enterprising little army that can stand up to an evil that is more than just Tommy.
Great points! Thank you encore for your thoughts!
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.06 - 03:34AM Title: A Weary Harry
You're raising some interesting aspects of the Horcrux-lore. I've always wondered what would happen to a disembodied Tom when all Horcruxes were destroyed.
Ah, and do you recall how I dealt with disembodied-Tom in this one? Fully canon-compliant, but I'm not certain I've seen it used in any other fanfic.
Sorry for the self-congratulatory tone ;)
Yes, Zabini and Draco both demonstrate some of the problems with trying to bring Slytherins into the fold. Slytherins are 'people too', but some of them are not always the nicest people.
Well, to be honest, Scotland is one of the better places in the world to see daylight full moons, though that proposition is pretty sketchy by mid-September...
Could well be that Harry's urgency is an over-reaction. Perhaps he's a bit muddled by the Horcrux itself, since such critters affect him more in this AU than in canon.
I wonder if magical knees hold up better than Muggle ones do? Just as magical metabolism is different. Dunno. Harry is still young and 'indestructible'; maybe he will come to his senses one of these days. And yes, early morning exercise often is a precursor to mid-afternoon drowsiness :)
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.05 - 08:28AM Title: Goblin Gratitude
Damn, I've always the wrong impression that TPC continues their last visit to the Burrow in FL, and that was around July, wasn't it. I know that it's wrong, but it's obviously too much for my thick head.
That's a perfectly natural assumption given that, yes, the last scene of FL is at the Burrow, and the first scene of TPC is back there too, but there are a few intervening weeks of hard swotting (i.e., boring) which consolidates their status as Hogwarts 'graduates'. For various reasons things are a little tenser at this point, with not everyone being perfectly comfortable with Ginny's rapid evolution...
Anyway, no cause for self-deprecation. Rather, I aim to disorient even the very astute readers :)
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.05 - 05:20AM Title: Goblin Gratitude
When Ginny and Harry arrived at the Burrow, it felt as if the scene where the Ginny burnt the wooden table happened ages ago. However, it can't be much more than two months, can it? So much happened in the meantime, it's quite easy to lose track of time.
Would you believe, two mad, action packed *weeks*? Dates are included with each chapter for the skeptical ;)
In any case, at a certain point the timeline (rather different from Rowling's standard 9-12 months / book) became a bit of an inside joke. Hence my "Epilogue: Four Days Later"
Anyway, thank you most kindly for the note!
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.05 - 05:03AM Title: Property of the...
It' always nice to get a clue how the world looks from Mrs. Grangers point of view.
Ah right -- the discussion of Horcruxes is certainly downplayed relative to the canon narrative in Deathly Hallows, but it is nonetheless there. H&G do provide Dumbledore with fairly full disclosure, although nobody has quite the depth of understanding that Dumbledore and Harry (and probably Snape) had in DH. In this AU, Harry and Ginny will understand the Horcruxes differently, and more personally, and this will prove adequate. Dumbledore's incomplete knowledge, however, may prove problematic.
Good point about Zabini. In truth, after Ginny's tryout during TPC, it was likely inevitable that she would be following the Harpies trajectory, but the fact that Harry became (unexpectedly) pulled back into a sporting world he had largely given up on is a critical (and perhaps not positive) plot element in Trix. There is subtle foreboding to this effect already written, though there is more to come. As to the extent to which Quidditch perturbs Ginny's life, I suppose other fanfics have used seedy aspects of professional sports to explain why such a long time passed between the end of the war and the birth of James Sirius. I have no intention of letting her be tainted by the grimy underside of sports, however one of your concerns in the above review does become a key factor in Trix. And yes, it will become unpleasant, however you will see that a bit of short term pain produces a better accommodation later. And that is perhaps all I should hint in that respect :)
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.04 - 04:39AM Title: All Slytherins Great and Small
I often remember the scene with Ginny alone in the mountains looking for Phyllanthus niruri, which is not there at all. Seems it's forever stuck in my head. Well, of course, I never remember the correct name of this strange plant.
Well, I will admit that the progression of Ginny's fruitless search, Harry's surprise visit, and then the Ginny / Pansy / Daphne collision down by the gate is one of those that I still feel very satisfied with. It's one of those flows that is plot-compliant, but is not enslaved by the agenda. I should get back to that more often.
Yes, from Chapter 3 onwards, Pansy became destined to become the 'good bitch', if you will. The rotten person that she was for so long through canon is still visible, but it is almost like a facade that is beginning to wear a bit thinner.
Anyway, Slytherins in general are shifting in much the manner you allude to, for reasons that you have identified. The biggest difference, I believe is that the combination of Harry and Ginny in this story is much more daunting than the Harry-alone of canon. 'Harry-alone' in canon was a hero, but until the end he rarely 'inspired'. He shied away from attention, and consequently his most immediate adversaries could 'define' him ('lucky'; 'nothing without his friends'; 'triwizard fraud'; 'liar'; 'unstable/deranged'...), whereas Matt gave us a Harry who, although still not deliberately seeking attention, was brash, forthright and driven to push back against anything internal or external that made him weaker. And, of course, his acceptance of Ginny's partnership became a great strength. The sum of all that was a leader whom nearly everyone (except for the most desperate core of Slytherins and Death Eaters) could look on for inspiration. Thus, the perceived strength in canon that was darkness, has been usurped. There is no inevitability of Voldemort's ascendancy. Voldy is by no means weak, but nor us he the unchecked epitome of perceived power.
Anyway, thank you for your renewed thoughts -- fun as always!
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.09.01 - 05:23AM Title: Magic Show
Great chapter, a lot happened and I was through in no time. No wonder, because it was quite entertaining, an intrigued Hermione, an intimidating bunch of students, an amazingly calm Ginny, and an amazing show with a nice cliffy at the end. Well done!
Yes, that particular chapter was fun to write -- thank you!
There are numerous questions in your second paragraph that you're hoping the re-reads will have answered. I hope so too, though I'll give you a hand with a few. Regarding the ability of students to travel away from Hogwarts in chapters 15-17 of Trix relates to the fact that it's Easter Break -- a Hogwarts scheduling feature that gets little mention in the early books (certainly not to the extent that Christmas was) but, by DH, is a plot item. Secondly, I would not say that Zabini is controlling their lives much. The Quidditch was his hare-brained scheme, and it bears his name, but he has very few leadership skills and thus leads very little. Ginny's involvement has become very much her own pursuit of the professional dream; Harry seems to be involved a bit as a lark (keeping from boredom) but perhaps more as a way of supporting Ginny. The same goes for the twins.
Finally Splinters. First of all, let me say wistfully that I may never get to write it because life is so much more complicated these days... but I have ideas that are so good they're painful. I would have been loath to write another sequel that didn't stand a chance of being as good as the original, but this one does. I will write you an e-mail this weekend. I will be interested in hearing your idea(s) as well, but don't send them until you've had a chance to see mine.
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.08.31 - 06:09AM Title: Caballero y la Princesa
Even though my knowledge of the music theory is only rudimentary, okay, I'm honest, non-existent, I agree that it is possible to defeat someone with (the wrong kind of) music.
Ah yes -- always a bit of relief once one's inner Hermione escapes. She doesn't make a quiet captive.
Anyway, thank you very much for straightening out the erroneous Deutsch! The mistake is mine, of course, but I think I will leave it as is, under the assumption that Tremelda has some kind of peculiar Swiss dialect :)
So indeed, the peculiar sequences described in the Room of Requirement exercise and in Tremelda's pseudo-exorcism of Harry are relevant, and do influence the later plot. Of course, one doesn't need to have all details committed in order to go with the flow and enjoy the plot -- it all depends on whether one wishes to be scholarly about it.
Dumbledore clearly knows a little about the Horcruxes (considering H&G gave him one to study), however in this AU he never thinks to interrogate Slughorn, so he doesn't have a chance to grasp the full extent of the problem before... well... before it's too late, shall we say.
Enjoying this re-living of the tale -- it's been long enough since I wrote it that the story actually seems fresh to me. Interesting for me to see how 'simply' I wrote back then. Of course, delivering one 10K chapter nearly every week required a certain efficiency that almost seems foreign to me now.
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.08.31 - 04:36AM Title: Quest for Water
Oops, I just noticed that the story covers only four weeks.
Yes, 250K words to cover four weeks. Barking, isn't it?
And yes, I think Matt had already made Ginny fairly street-smart, and my extension has been to make it clear that she really understands people. Perhaps this has been growing due to the osmotic accumulations of someone who has discovered an exceptional talent in Legilimency. Not that Ginny goes around reading people's minds (something she's vehemently opposed to), but she probably can't help but pick up empathic impressions. As to Ginny beginning to grasp Fugoistic cognition, I think this is attributable to having taken an interest in them, and having spent a lot of time pondering old records in the library. Beyond that, I cannot tell. Ginny keeps some things secret even from me :)
I honestly cant recall my exact process for choosing the name Fugo, although looking at its Latin root (Fugare -- to 'drive away') I see one plausible self-reinterpretation. I like the fugue analogy too, though, since TPC is kind of an extended exercise in musical theory :)
And finally, romance. Yes, I did indeed intend this story as the romantic culmination of the series. Trix and Seeker Daughter have their moments of tenderness, but TPC is the last real voyage of emotional discovery for the two. It is when a bond of circumstance is broken, only to reveal an ephemeral affinity of spirit.
Reviewer: Gin110881 Signed Date: 2017.08.30 - 05:12AM Title: Visions and Machinations
Ah yes, here was the hint that the unprecedented escape via phoenix fire may have unintentionally blended their magical cores.
So yes, Dumbledore's intent here was quite possibly to sew some seeds of doubt. As to whether Harry shares this fact with Ginny, it's not really said. It's somewhat unlikely he would actively keep it hidden (especially considering he regarded Ginny as someone who could read him very astutely) but it's quite possible he downplayed it, perhaps to avoid the stress that might otherwise fester. Ginny, after all, dislikes Dumbledore more at this point than Harry ever did. Circumstances place them in the same castle, but you'll notice that Ginny and Dumbledore aren't often in the same room, and that Ginny was less than thrilled to go to the Headmaster's office in this chapter.
And yes, and enforced thawing of Weasley tensions that do indeed, as you surmise, point toward Bill's increased role.
Finally, yes, that's right about where the brilliance of DB's story peaked for me -- a bit past half way through the second chapter. Prior to that, the story really pulled at my heart strings -- the thought of Harry's relationship with his long-time girlfriend fading to melancholy distance... to the point where cheating becomes a real temptation. And I truly never put together the subtle hints. Completely bamboozled!
Thank you for the review, Martin!