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Fanfic Book Club Week 3: Harry Potter and the Forests of Valbonë by enembee

Discussion in 'DLP & Chill' started by BTT, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. BTT

    BTT Headmaster

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    For the third edition of the book club, we'll be reading Harry Potter and the Forests of Valbonë by our very own @enembee . The usual quick data: 49 chapters on FFN (more in WBA), consisting of 115k words. It started in August 2011 and was completed in November of 2013. Its DLP rating is 4.29.

    The usual discussion questions:
    • This story's divergence starts in CoS, where Harry departs quite unexpectedly from Hogwarts and lands in the titular forests of Valbonë. How do you feel about this divergence? If you were the one who wrote the story, would you change anything about this particular point?
    • This story features several unlikely companions for Harry: the Sorting Hat and the Weasley's car, among others. None of these are exactly human. How do you feel about these companions, their personalities, their influence on the story?
    • As stated by the title, in this story the forests of Valbonë play a huge role. How do you feel about these forests? Do they feel sufficiently remote and "forest-like"? Do the forests square with canon?
    • The story also features significant new information expanding on what we know of canon magic, mostly about enchanting. How do you feel about this new info? Does it make sense within the story, and does it make sense with regards to canon?
     
  2. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Cool :) Thanks all. As Newcomb before me; I'm happy to answer questions on this. The sequel is currently in progress (30k in 2 weeks) over in WbA.

    As I promised Zombie I would, I'm going to go ahead and post the final chapter of this to FFNet.

    Extra bit of trivia: This is by a considerable margin my most reviewed work on FFN and my lowest rated longfic submitted to DLP.
     
  3. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Good timing, as this was next on my list of things to catch up on.

    I'm just barely starting out - think I'm on chapter 4 or 5 - but one question I had for enembee right away: was the short chapter length a conscious decision? How did you manage to prevent chapter bloat? Did it take excessive planning to find that many beats to end a chapter on, or did you start thinking of "what is a chapter" in a new way? Basically, just curious about your approach to the short chapter length.
     
  4. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer Prestige DLP Supporter

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    It was purely a decision based upon what I could feasibly write every day on a consistent basis. It did take a little bit of planning, and you can definitely see where I fucked up from time to time. From a metric standpoint: all but 3 chapters are between 1800 and 2500 words and generally consist of one scene, or a number of thematically/topically consistent scenes. There's also definitely a 'super-structure' of chapters (generally between 2 & 4 with a mini-arc to them) because I'd always intended to go back and combine them into denser chapters when I was done.

    In reflection though, I actually like the short chapters. They remind me of storybook chapters (ala The Hobbit), where you might read one a night before bed when you were a kid, which is definitely an aesthetic that I ultimately think suits the story.
     
  5. Typhon

    Typhon Unspeakable

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    Welp, that's my excuse shot. Looks like you're finally getting that full Valbonë series review from me.

    Besides BTTs standard fanfic bookclub questions, is there anything particular that you'd like opinions on NMB?
     
  6. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Gotcha eventually.

    Good point, I actually have two questions for anyone who cares to answer:
    1. The prologue is a notable departure from the style/tone of the rest of the story. Is this off-putting/out of place enough to warrant a rewrite?
    2. There is a significant and deliberate change in focus/direction/tone at about the midpoint of the story. Does this detract significantly from the work as a whole?
     
  7. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Might want to revise my answer once I get further along, but I'd say, tentatively: off-putting, no, out of place, maybe.

    I had no real expectations going in, other than the summary and title, and the first chapter made me feel like I was in for some kind of Unfound Door-style "wild magic more magical than canon" piece. As in, a story that takes HP magic and posits a deep magic / fey magic / Other magic on top of it, usually categorically "better" but always somewhat uncanny. And from the first few chapters with the car and the hat and Harry leaning about bindings and such, it's actually feeling a lot more like a fic that takes HP magic and adds on to it, bolsters it, reinforces it.

    Neither one is better or worse than the other, but it definitely leaves a bit of a "huh?" feeling around chapter 3-4 when the intro chapter's tone of "uncanny/wild magic" is pretty soundly dropped in favor of "canon+".
     
  8. Quiddity

    Quiddity Unspeakable

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    Just to clarify: we have more than a week, right?
     
  9. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    I'm about to finish my WYLB reread @enembee, don't report yet plz
     
  10. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I've been playing it safe and just reported every post you've made for the last week.
     
  11. Quiddity

    Quiddity Unspeakable

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    Finished this, speeding through the last half.

    This story is very surprising to me. I thought it was basically a HP version of Hatchet, because I stopped at about 11 chapters in a year or two ago, and some of the ANs presenting it as a break from other works. I was mildly enjoying the dynamic, but not expecting much more than a long slow story of surviving in the wilderness and growing both in magic and as a person.

    Which is clearly not what this is.

    The story comparison I'm struck by, oddly enough, is Renegade Cause. Now, that is a sprawling, messy epic, and this - despite it's narrative motion - is very much not that, with the focus remaining tightly upon Harry. I think the comparison arises mostly from those last two chapters, and the feeling they leave you with. Harry's horcrux is an obvious reveal, but the Gryffindor addition is an interesting and surprising twist that operates to recast much of what felt like asspulls earlier (acceptable levels of suspension-of-disbelief, but conscious ones). As with RC, we're led to and along the premise - Sternley, Harry's magical/physical/personal progression - effectively, and it is later justified in retrospect.

    However. I'm not so sure that I do in fact accept that. Whilst the escalation in fighting skills, and magic is carefully plotted out, it's still too much, enough that I was consciously noting and ignoring my disbelief at many moments. The mutating magic was the primary magical aspect, but the fight scenes and physical feats achieved alongside significant injuries - even accounting for Wizarding durability - got a bit ludicrous. And that's even if we include the final reveals.

    I don't think there's a remedy for this whilst still telling the story you want to tell. He's a 12 year old boy, at the end of the day. And you're aware of that, and were clearly trying to do your utmost to create allowances - elements of surprise, Gryffindor, Sternley, etc. - but it's just not enough for me. I can enjoy it despite this, but it's still there.


    Sternley is a fun character with a very clear voice that's established quickly and maintained. Mad props.

    I'm not a fan of the Voldemort sequence. It happens too fast, with very little warning, and the fight scene is the most ridiculous (despite being very impressive and gripping). Whilst the moral component is handled well, I really feel that's the exception, rather than the rule. Harry kills and kills and kills in this fic, and I really don't think it has the weight it needs,, or is dwelt on properly. You make noises towards this early on - especially with the Oiks - but it's kinda dropped, imo. The Vorcerr aspect particularly seemed...callous? Barbaric? (Again, especially whenever you step back and think of Harry in the light of his age.) And not in a way that was earned - yes, he's been through a lot of trauma and shit, but we haven't watched at affect him to the level where that action would be followed.

    (Again, Gryffindor can be used to hand-wave. But even in retrospect it doesn't feel enough.)

    The political aspect near the end seems too rushed. In general, the end seems to come out of nowhere. It makes no sense, but you're in a space where you expect him to go lead the charge. But certainly, the final sequences aren't structured in a way that feels conclusory. I suppose I should read the sequel to find out.

    The chapter structure was nice, but it did feel like it limited it in some ways. It gave it a very specific feel, which I liked, but I'm not sure how to articulate. I definitely wouldn't recommend joining them together.


    I'm being too critical. I really liked it, and am glad this made me read it. The fights are really good (but unbelievable). The escalation was generally well handled, which is impressive for its transformation.

    4/5


    I need to reread the prologue and get back to you on it.

    Interesting. Is this what I described earlier re: Hatchet-esque to something very different? I say interesting because in retrospect I see this trajectory changing with the first Oik fight, which seems to come out of nowhere, and is earlier than that.

    I would say that it's a mixed bag. The highs are high, the lows are lower. The earlier version I thought this was going to be has a mild pleasantness to it, a sort of idyllic, lazy enjoyment. It ain't trying to be much, but it's doing what it's doing well. As it goes on, it bites off a heck of a lot more, with some great scenes/elements, and some clunky and problematic scenes/elements.
     
  12. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    I’m getting into the “magical epiphany” stuff just before the wolf battle and a bit after it - like the description of the spell to dig the graves - (and yes I know I’m reading this incredibly slowly, I’m just super RL busy right now) and it hooked me and also made me really happy I’m only reading this now because otherwise I’d feel like I ripped you off for WYLB.

    Super fascinating how we came to a pretty specific similar mental map of how magic works.
     
  13. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I would say, in the entire first book, the canon divergence is the most jarring. I don't think there is a really easy way to handle it. Like a lot of stories from that time frame, a CoS divergence is actually pretty common, what this story has over other stories is the brevity in the details. Instead of any kind of build up, we're thrown point black into it, and then we see Harry running away. While the brevity lends itself to the mobility of the story, I think you could flesh this out and it wouldn't impact the story all that much.

    I have three four five clear breaks in my mind in regards to this fic:

    The beginning where Snape is an absolute piece of shit.
    The next break would be where Harry starts learning magic from Sternly, and the wolves.
    The third bit would be the climbing of the mountain, and meeting that weird creature(s) that I've forgotten the name of at this point.
    Voldemort
    The war

    Each section of the story, as it were, is compartmentalized with an idea, I think, and if I look back at the beginning where the divergence happens, I would say that its consistent with the feel of the entire story. There is an underlying sense of mobility that when I first read this as it was updating, that I missed, but having the full picture in front of me, its there.

    The objects that Harry interacts with is secondary to the entire story, I think. Sure, Sternly plays a large role in shaping Harry into what he's eventually turns into, I still think that it was handled with a deft hand. The only other story I could compare it to would be Jberns, and there are two distinct differences here:

    Sternly is actually helpful.
    He teaches Harry, and doesn't have a shitty attitude.

    The Car is nothing. While it plays a huge role in his escape from the forest, there isn't much personality there for me to bite into. I think the most interesting aspect of the car was when Harry is learning about binds and he discovers the bit of magic that's giving it its sentience. I remember wondering about that myself, longer after I read it and trying to think what motivations Arthur would have in creating something like that.

    I think Sternly is nicely executed, his knowledge dropping is tempered with the fact that he withholds more than he tells, which is made apparent later in the story. He also forces Harry to learn things. I like how organic the learning turned out because its less about Harry's struggle (which is a thing) and more about his successes and how he can use them to benefit himself.

    I don't know if anyone else has ever read Hatchet. I'm gonna assume a fuck ton of you have, but its like the pivitol YA Coming of Age, Survival story about a young boy named Brain. Brain's parent's are getting a divorce, he's going to see his father, somewhere up north. The pilot of his charter plane has a heart attack and dies and crashes the plane in the middle of the woods and then the rest of the story is all about Brian surviving, celebrating his successes, and learning from his failures, but over all coming out of the forest a different person.

    I see that in this story. His departure from the castle is his heartattack plane crash.

    His successes would be his abilities with magic where as Brain it was fire, getting the spare rations off the plane, and the first snare trap he ever made.

    His failures are the fact that the reason he's in this whole predicament, running away, Snape being an absolute shit, and the wolves and starting shit with the Goblins. Brians failures was the first time he had to kill an animal, the time he ate the "choke cherries" off the tree and got the shits and nearly died, the time he fell into the frozen pond trying to get the radio and nearly died of hypothermia.

    While two different stories, those elements are clear here.

    There is an immensity to the forest that people usually have a hard time conveying. Like, even with all I know about canon, the idea of the "Forbidden Forest" still warps my mind. I find myself thinking "Well, is it just a narrow band around the castle grounds, or does it sprawl? Where does it meet muggle populations? How does no one else not know of this forest?

    With Valbone, I'm given the idea that its contained, that it exist in a way separate from the Forbidden Forest, but at the same time, shares many of the same elements. Creatures, dangers, old, large and expansive without outright saying its large and expansive.

    I think Enembee at some point described the forest as a type of reserve, I might be wrong, I'm doing this too early in the morning to think clearly, but in my mind that separates it even more from a canon like forest because the forest around the castle isn't a reserve, protected or otherwise.

    But, at the same time, while it feels separate from canon, I feel like it meshes well. Its an extension of lore that we take for granted. The evolution of the Goblin story line is well thought out and seems to make sense with the larger scheme of things, and the fact that their domain is the forest itself, also feels right.

    I will be honest, pre-wolves, I felt this looming sense of doom in regards to Harry's time in the forest I knew without a doubt that his time spent there was going to be fraught with danger. There were many enjoyable aspects from it that I wish I could have seen more. If this had been a Harry stuck in the forest and he has to learn how to live again, I'd have read it no matter what. His interactions with the fae in the forest by the river, his primal victory over the wolves, his successes with "old magic" that Sternly was teaching him was all fan-fucking-tastic. I could read sooooo much more of that.

    I would say my dissatisfaction lies entirely with the goblins, and the Voldemort reveal.

    I felt like the Voldemort bit could be removed entirely, although it makes sense, since during that time frame he's rumored to have been in those forest. So, I'm kinda of two minds with this. I like it in the sense that I really liked Harry fucking Lucius up, and getting a W on Voldemort in a sense, even though it cost him his hand.

    The thing with the goblins is that while I feel like its logical, yes he's an intruder in their domain, the fall out feels like an exercise in futility. Both with the Romanian ministry, and the Goblins. I feel like the British Ministry and the ICW fallout was kind of beside the point, and I liked some elements of that, but just not the whole picture.

    It could be that there is a muddling of ideas there, which if streamlined could be a bit better executed.

    The only thing about that is if you kept the elements that I liked and changed a few other things around, I don't know if the outcome would be quite the same, or if it would be worth it. Even though I said I was dissatisfied, I still liked this story quite well.

    The prologue is the weirdest bit of the entire fic. There are a lot of elements there that are not immediately legible on a second read. There's the fact that Snape's an absolute asshat, the dancing with Luna, the stealing of the hat and sword, and then him being taken from the grounds with the car. I feel like there is something there you were trying to convey, but you didn't quite hit the mark, but ultimately you were able to salvage it. It doesn't detract so much as leave a few unanswered questions. One, why did the car take him to the forest. I feel like you were trying to hint at why later when they were reconstructing it, but that largely fell flat and didn't go where I thought it would.

    Two, why did Harry feel the need to take the artifacts of the founders, and to abscond with them from the castle grounds in the car. I don't know if maybe the car read his intent and just took him far away (albania is a bit weird any way) or if there was some clear motivations here that I'm just not getting.

    Should you rewrite it? Yes and No. For legibility sake, I'd say go for it. You could clean that bit up and make it fit with the rest of the story, the beginning of this is distinct enough that it conflicts with the rest of the story. The reason I say this is because the point in which he leaves the castle and the point he wakes up in the forest, this is two different stories. I feel like one is a story of desperation, escape from obligations, imprisonment, and the other is discovery of a new world, surviving, freedom, understanding of self.

    So if you were looking for contrasts when you wrote it, I'd say you were bang on and you don't need to rewrite it.

    But if you were not looking for those things, then I 'd say rewrite it to make it more in line with one aspect or another. There are too many things that go unanswered. There was no fallout from Harry taking the sword and leaving the grounds both in this story when he makes it back to civilization, or in your later story (which is another topic of discussion) that I feel you've left unattended for a reason, but I think you should explore it. The major repercussions for Harry's actions at this point is that he's responsible for a war that he's started and he feels obliged to settle it. But I think that Dumbledore was a lot more congenial towards Harry, and I think that Snape's animosity which was at a high 11 there, is not carried throughout in later interactions, and I don't quite know why.


    I would say the deliberate change in focus would be the hero's quest given to Harry by the eagle dude. Its the only thing that stands out to me as distinctly different, because without that things machinations (plus the breaking of the sword) Harry would have never engaged with the Goblins and the war never would have been started, and we wouldn't be where we're at now. I think the tone is somewhat consistent, the only thing that strikes weirdly with me is when Harry's making his dash from the forest and he's all YEEEE HAWW GIVE'EM HELL BOYS with the aurors as they're trying to capture him. That was a weird thing to me and felt like an acid trip gone strange, but not wrong.

    I guess it was trying to show Harry's evolution of self to an extent, but I felt like that moment didn't really fit in too well with the overall character that you established for Harry.

    So, I could be entirely wrong on the shift you're talking about, if you want to be more specific, I'll be happy to answer that. I think this is a great story, while its got some weaker parts to it, overall, its the most intact story I've read, ever, in conveying certain ideas and then delivering on them without getting lost in the small details. Like I said, I could read a hundred chapters of just survival, that kind of stuff is interesting for me in a way that most other ideas are not. I've been trying to think what I want to write on this, and spent a lot of time writing and rewriting my review.

    I feel like maybe I didn't go into detail enough on certain things, but ultimately this is what I've settled with. Valbone deserves its place in the library. For those that haven't read it, give it a chance, I think you're going to find some element that you can identify with, and that's whats important here. Its that for all readers, there are things here that everyone can get with and like about it, and very few faults I could rightly identify.

    4.5/5 Because I enjoyed this story. I remember all the times I gave Enembee hell for writing it and not BTDL or CS, and how I'd never read it until he'd stopped updating all together and how it just made me want more of the story. Which we're getting that with Vaults. So, I'm super pumped.
     
  14. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Alright, let's do this.

    I want to put a big caveat up front that I read this over the last month and a half, basically one chapter a night. I've been pretty busy IRL and just haven't had time to sit down and read for multiple hours in a row, which sucks. But that might have / definitely did impact my experience.

    I say this because my main critique of the book is how fragmented it felt, and I'm unsure how much of that was due to my reading experience and how much was due to the story itself.

    Anyway, the parts of this that worked, worked in a pretty obvious way. The writing's generally top-quality. The dialogue has that natural flow to it that's just aesthetically pleasing. At no point are you dropped out of the story because of the writing, and that's a pretty difficult trick to pull off.

    There's a parsimony of detail that I appreciate a lot. The short arc with the lynx at the beginning of the fic is a pretty classic YA/adventure trope - that whole "bond with a wild animal and learn that it's a wild animal not a pet but also the bond is real" thing. Since it's a known trope, there's room in the narrative to let that interaction breathe, and it does. The point isn't belabored or overdone, and when the lynx dies, it's genuinely sad. We aren't hit over the head with Harry's youth, we see it in action as he rages against reality for a moment and demands Sternly teach him how to bring it back. We aren't told how upsetting Harry finds it, we just see him not know what to say as it dies.

    Moments like that really do work quite well, and it's the writing that carries them.

    (Side note - because of the typeface and/or the size of the text on my phone, "Sternly" ends up looking a lot like "Stemly" and I pretty much ended up calling him that in my head)

    Speaking of Sternly though, he's a pretty great character for a talking piece of felt. The reveal at the end kind of left me... eh? I believed it, but I'm not sure it moved the needle or made me think about him in a different light. Then again I'm not sure it's /supposed/ to. The only retroactive "oh, that's cool" moment I had off the reveal was how distraught he was at the Sword getting broken. But overall he's a great companion for Harry - it's a very fine line, but he feels like he belongs in the HP universe without really sounding like any of the main characters. Which is a neat trick.

    My biggest issue with the fic was that it felt like a series of set-pieces. It didn't feel jerky or disjointed, but each "phase" of the fic felt like it was playing under different narrative rules, different tropes even. So much so that I felt like I never really could get my footing in terms of what the story was expecting of me. Which is a weird perspective - most people think about what they're expecting of the story, like what promises it's making. But tropes work both ways. A cohesive, flowing story will guide you into a kind of mindset where it'll show you the rules it's playing by, especially with regard to how "seriously" or how much weight you should give to any given development.

    With this fic, I was always on my toes. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does tend to sap some scenes of their "oomph" factor because I'm kind of like, not giving myself permission to believe they're narratively "real". Let me try and give an example because it's not an easy thing to articulate.

    Okay, so in this fic Harry kills a bunch of animals/goblins/some people. This is a pretty heavy thing for a 12 year old to do. There's some heat of the moment stuff, there's some "the only way out is through" / "backed into a corner" stuff, and there's some "Heroic BSOD" stuff. All pretty easy tropes to get my head around. But we've got two other things woven throughout the narrative: 1), Harry's in an environment that practically screams "I roll to disbelieve". The first 1,000 words if the fic put me in a mindset where I feel like he's going to wake up in A Midsummer Night's Dream or something. The Forest feels... fae, and wild, which is a cool trope in and of itself, but the narrative never really "goes there" - I don't think it was ever wanting to go there, which is fine - leaving me always (at least for the first 1/3 or so) waiting for the other shoe to drop. 2), the voice inside Harry's head. Combined with Harry's kind of... bipolar moments... I kept waiting for another, different shoe to drop. Mind magic, possession, whatever. I kept thinking, "okay, Harry's not really Harry here." But I think he was supposed to be - I think, looking back on it, that it was always "supposed" to be just Harry, in the reader's mind, and that everything that happened internally was "normal" i.e. a 12 year old processing these things and yes, Sternly being a voice but not having any kind of soul-splice or personality transplant or anything with *magical* weight that would make it essentially Not Harry.

    I think that robbed scenes of a little of their power, for me. Scenes like him trying to escape the forest in the flying car, dodging all those goblins, dragons, Aurors, doing crazy stunts, I should have been right there with him, rooting for him, going "fuck yeah Harry this is amazing!" But a part of me - not all, just a part, was going "okay Harry's acting kind of crazy, laughing like this - is this a clue? What could be affecting him? Is the voice in his head X or Y? Maybe it's some kind of magical dissonance thing blah blah blah". So if part of me is thinking Not Harry, then I'm not giving him enough narrative, character-growing credit in a scene like that. I'm kind of internally hedging my bets, because I'm cognizant of the fact that that character-growing "work" might get taken back, if that makes any sense. I hope that made some amount of sense.

    To cap this off, I'll say that I very much enjoyed the magic in this fic. I'd have liked to see the enchanting/non-wand stuff that was a heavy focus in the beginning used to solve more problems / be more present in the rest of the fic. Finding Malfoy's journal was a satisfying-enough hook, but the whole concept in general felt like it kind of fell off the narrative radar in the last 2/3 of the story. Which is a shame, because it was very engaging. It takes a good writer to make Harry learning things exciting to read about, and this definitely delivered on that front.

    All in all, this is a very strong story. I think the highest praise I can give it is that when I finished it, I clicked over to DLP to see what the WbA thread was like and remembered there was a sequel, and was immediately psyched to read it, because I wanted to see what happened next. How will Harry integrate back into life at Hogwarts? What's in those Vaults? I genuinely want to know.

    Anyway, cool story bro :p
     
  15. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    @BTT guess this one is dead too. New poll time? I honestly feel like I'm missing something. Why vote if you're not gonna review?
     
  16. 99redbloons

    99redbloons Third Year DLP Supporter DLP Bronze Supporter

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    Sorry for the late response, but I only finished reading this on Wednesday mainly due to a lack of WiFi, but also for another reason that I'll get to later.

    I'll try and answer the discussion questions first before I get to the other stuff.

    1) The divergence is, while not off-putting, fairly jarring to begin with. I think this is mainly because of how different Harry feels in the beginning. I'm not sure if it could be changed because you need to set up Harry feeling out of place and unhappy so that he has a reason to run away. However, after a chapter or two in Valbone I was hooked. Also worth noting is that I liked how you showed Harry's friends try and rally around him to support him.

    2) I really like your version of the sorting hat. He's knowledgeable and friendly while also being quite sarcastic which was very enjoyable to read. Unfortunately, I can't help but feel that the Weasley's car was only really their as a plot device to get Harry in and out of Valbone and to help him learn enchanting. It didn't seem quite as alive as in canon, although looking back that may be because it spends most of the time broken. Hedwig and the rest of Harry's menagerie were solid additions that each felt distinct and gave Harry something to talk/react to.

    3) The Forests of Valbone themselves were excellent. They captured just the right mix of awe, danger and mystery. As I said in point 1 they hooked me right into the story. It seemed quite different from the Forbidden Forest, but I think that helped to give it its own identity while also complimenting canon very well.

    4) The expansions on canon magic felt right. While we know nothing about how to enchant from canon, the tone that it had in this story seems to blend nicely with what we do know about from canon. The other magic introduced such as the rituals where interesting and felt similar to making a potion without a cauldron.

    As for the two things you asked about enembee the first was answered earlier and I'm not sure how you'd get around it. The second question is harder because when I got to the part where Harry was flying the car away from Valbone while being chased by two dragons I had to stop reading for something irl and didn't start reading again for about a week. I'm not 100% sure why, but I think it might of been because I really liked reading about Harry's adventures in Valbone with the sorting hat and was unsure as to where it would go. It was needless because once I started reading again I really enjoyed it, especially once Harry rejoined the rest of the wizarding world, but nonetheless I still felt a bit strange about it.

    I enjoyed the shorter updates a lot more than I thought I would (this could be because it was completed and I didn't have to wait for them). The scene long chapters meant that it was easier to read a chapter in short breaks during my day as it only took 5-10 minutes to read most of them rather than 15-20 minutes.

    I found the ending very satisfying and it set up the sequel very well which so far I think I prefer because I like watching Harry interact with his classmates after his interesting summer.

    Altogether I think I'd give it 4/5 because while I enjoyed it and I think it's well written it lost me a bit in middle and the twist about the sorting hat seemed rushed/not quite right. Although how both character reacted afterwards was good.
     
  17. BTT

    BTT Headmaster

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    I mean, let's look at the data. We've now gotten four big reviews. By this point, the thread has been open for more than a month. There were 12 votes for this fic in the poll, on the other hand. That's not a particularly good rate.

    I'm all for rereading old fics as group efforts, but there's clearly too many people who vote and then fuck off into the aether. I'm not sure we should bother making new threads when there's fairly little participation and interest.
     
  18. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Yeah guess this isn't low commitment enough. Oh well it was nice while it lasted.
     
  19. Quiddity

    Quiddity Unspeakable

    Joined:
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    I mean...I disagree. 4 long reviews seems a pretty good success rate. Especially as Newcomb and I read this for the very first time as a result of this. As someone who's spent more time organizing things with a lower response rate, I know that there will be many more who started rereading/reading and something got in the way, or couldn't summon the time/inclination to review, just as in the WbA.

    And people read and review in different ways. For me, this is the longest review I think I've ever done of a finished fic, and whilst there's a few conveniences behind that - decent but not too long length, good fic but with (to my mind) problems that provoke a response - that's an additional engagement with the community that I wouldn't do otherwise.

    So it depends on the goal. You're not getting all of DLP's actives, or even a large percentage of them, reading and reviewing. But reading and reviewing is honestly a decent ask in a busy life, especially as it gets longer or interest is less or one has read before. And lives are busy - I wrote this just before my exam season kicked into high gear, and that's not even starting on those members who are having kids. So what's your measurement vector? To my mind, reading and reviewing is top tier, reading is second, and discussion is third. 1/3 of those most engaged did the first, and there was some discussion around that, and who knows how much reading on the side.

    In my head, that's a pretty damn good response, even for some of the best fics posted in the library (if one takes into account the fact that a sizeable chunk of the site has already read and reviewed). That seems very worthwhile, especially for a project that isn't super heavy on the prep side (I've run book clubs before). And I, at least, would have engaged with other reviewers if I'd had more time on my hands - and I imagine @enembee intends to engage at some point as well :p

    So whilst I'm likely not going to read the next one - at least if it's Shezza's work as planned - but I think this initiative is worth continuing.
     
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