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LordLexx posted a comment on Wednesday 25th December 2019 7:32am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

You have a very disturbed take on "realism".

Kairan1979 posted a comment on Thursday 21st May 2015 2:44pm for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

I don't know what is more interesting - your twisted version of Peter (which actually makes more sense for a former Maradeur than a sniveling coward we saw in the books), or your take on Saint Lily (which makes me feel almost sympathetic for Dursleys. Keyword 'almost').

Aurilia posted a comment on Thursday 23rd July 2009 6:23am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

Ow. Ow. Ow.

Laughed way too hard at the bit at the beginning. Pettigrew regurgitating self-help books to the Dark Lord... Ow. Ow. Ow.

And I love how you're handling Harry taking control of his life - I've always loved a good independent!Harry fic, and this one's shaping up to be among the best.

As to the bit with the Dursleys... All I can really say is wow. I am truly in awe of the unique stance you've taken on just why they hated Harry. With how you've written it, I'd be hard-pressed not to hate him, too, if I'd been in their shoes.

fyrecat posted a comment on Thursday 18th December 2008 10:49am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

Hmm. Interesting take on the potters. and I LOVE the inspired Peter angle. It's hilarious that he got the ideas from a motivational speaker, one that he killed, no less! Hilarious!

JBern replied:

Peter definitely makes the story more enjoyable.   I caught a lot of flack for how Lily was portrayed here.   Normally, it's always James that's that real b-tard.

Andrius posted a comment on Sunday 26th October 2008 10:47am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

I've actually ignored this story because I was unsure about the unusual pairing (Susan). It turns out this actually might be one of the best HP fanfiction pieces I've ever read - not that I'd expect any less from jbern :)

JBern replied:

Thanks for the compliments.~Jim

Brian Donnely posted a comment on Sunday 23rd December 2007 6:35pm for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

That was great portrayal of the Potters. You're certainly out to bust as many cliches as you can, eh? Not that I'm complaining, they're making for plotlines. :)

JBern replied:

Something about Lily always vexes me.   Just how far was she willing to go to save her baby?   I took some heat for my portrayal of Saint Lily in this story, but provoking the readers leads to insightful reviews.~Jim

Rexnos posted a comment on Thursday 6th December 2007 11:07pm for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

It's late so I'm gonna stop reading now... I'm not sure if I'll keep going tomorrow...

In any case, I've got a couple notes I'd like to make. First and foremost, the lack of contractions is a pet peeve of mine. In real life, nobody honestly says 'I am' or 'I will' in real speech. It doesn't really detract from the story at all, but just picking them up bugs me.

As for the story itself, I really liked the beginning. It was interesting and realistic and I was hopeful upon reading your author notes. It seemed you were going for something relatively original.

Unfortunately, the farther I've gotten, the more annoyed I've gotten with this piece. I like most of the pieces from Voldie's point of view, but about 90% of Harry's bits feel wrong. Sure, I figure you've changed him, but he's out of character with reality (and I don't mean cannon). That doesn't work well.

What do I mean by that? You keep talking about how he's all grown up and ready to take care of himself, but I've felt he's been childish and pathetic in almost every interaction with most characters, Dumbledore in particular. I know Harry has enough reasons to dislike the headmaster, but it's not enough for Harry to lash out at him at every turn. Harry comes across as a spiteful bastard most of the time...

Well, spiteful unless he's with Susan. When he's with Susan, he's suddenly completely grown up, an experienced romantic and a good kisser. Care to explain that one? He's had one romance in his entire life up to this point and it consisted of a single date and a single kiss. Apparently he learned absurdly fast no?

Aside from Harry's sudden experience, I also felt the relationship bloomed too fast. I may dislike the lack of romance till Rowling's sixth book, but the fact remained that Harry was too young for it until then. No matter who the partner is, Harry isn't going to suddenly go proposing to a girl he just started to know less than a week ago (unless a few days dodged my notice).

I could go on, but this has been a long review so I'll just go on my merry way now. I apologize if this came across as a flame, but it started off with such promise before dive bombing so hard. It seems to me that in your effort to go against the grain, you decided that the grain was wrong and made your own. Cutting against the grain ruins the wood in the end.

I'm not sure if I'll finish the whole story... Maybe I will and things will get better and I'll apologize for leaving this review in the first place...


JBern replied:

Never apologize for your opinion.   That's why the review button is there.   If I didn't want to hear it, I wouldn't have put the story up here.

As for the lack of contractions in the early part of the story, part of it was trying to separate the pureblood raised from the rest.   A pureblood raised in a proper environment (such as Susan), speaks proper English.   Sort of a throwback to Victorian era.   One reviewer, Master Slytherin on DLP, really took me to task over it and I stopped doing it in the early teens.

Why haven't I gone back and corrected it?   I have other things occupying my time both fanfics and original works.   I prefer moving forward and not backward if you follow my meaning.

As this was my first piece of fanfic, I wanted to learn and experiment.   The romance is rushed and Harry treats it more as a casual arrangement for a time which leads to anger and resentment from Susan.   At times the story wanders off course and it takes awhile to get back on track.   There are several things that could've been done differently with this story and I make note of them in the epilogue, but as a first piece goes, I'm rather proud of it.

Hopefully you will continue with it at some point and realize that even the author considers portions of it flawed, but if not, I hope you find something else more suitable to your tastes.~Jim

tryptophan36 posted a comment on Monday 2nd July 2007 1:36pm for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

I REALLY like your take on the Dursleys and the Potters. I've read a lot of fics that try to explain or justify their actions. The only other explanation I've read that made any sense was from a Manipulative!Dumbledore fic where he cursed them to hate Harry and become more dependent on him. I like your explanation better since it is wiythin the realm of canon possibilities.
I couldn't stop laughing at the self help Peter section.
Penny is wonderful. Everyone seems to forget that she was a Slytherin. Even if it doesn't make her automatically evil, she is probably definitely ambitious. I've always wondered what role she might have had in the Percy/Weasley split.

JBern replied:

Actually Penny was a Ravenclaw, but claws can be ambitious too!   Glad you are enjoying the early chapters.~Jim

Rebel Goddess posted a comment on Wednesday 18th April 2007 1:52am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

Loved the Peter stuff and Voldie's view of it.

A moment of low-level ranting, if you'll excuse me: You have a pet peeve about Saint Lily. I have a pet peeve about authors changing the names - Harry is not Harold (if he was, wouldn't everything addressed to Harry James Potter be to Harold James?) Also Petunia would surely have preferred it as sounding less common. Can't say about his parents, but at a guess if you call one daughter Petunia you probably called the other Lily not Lillian.

Adored the bit about Voldemort and the unicorns - the dementor part was particularly clever.

As to the very different version of Saint Lily, I think I'll just have to go look at your discussion thread. It made sense but I don't think it truly fits within canon. Surely that would basically be a really, really dark spell?

JBern replied:

Oops.   I'll add the Lillian thing to my list of errata.~Jim

dogbertcarroll posted a comment on Sunday 25th March 2007 11:23pm for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

Peter and Tony Robins!

Now there is a frightening combination!

JBern replied:

Well motivational speakers are the bane of existence.~Jim

B134 posted a comment on Friday 16th February 2007 8:07am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

As amusing as the forced marriage thing is, I'm supprised that the first thing James didn't do was ammend the rules for his heirs. Even if he had to generate at least one heir before doing so it seems that he would have taken care of it.

At the same time, shouldn't Harry have at least asked about making changes to the requirements, even given that he's busy? Or at the very least, asking what would be done if he failed to marry and produce an heir? It seems hard to believe anyone would create a contract that requires the last heir of the line to either get married in 12 months or end the line (through the typical threatend punishments of loss of magic, life, etc in this type of fic). What if his first wife proved unable to have childeren?


JBern replied:

Thanks.   Harry should consider changing the requirements especially in light of recent chapters.

I agree that it seems backward for such contracts to exist, yet even in the real world these things still exist.

Thanks for the review.~Jim

Merle Corey posted a comment on Sunday 14th January 2007 8:16am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

It is interesting to see a different take on Saint Lily, as you named her. It is a pretty bleak picture, James pretty muched getting used, but getting what he wanted at the same time. Sounds like it might not have lasted. You've done a deft job of giving Harry good reasons to ditch his friends, but not shutting himself off completely.

JBern replied:

I'm proud of my twist on Lily.   In my search for realism, I wanted a real tangible reason for the Dursley's hatred of Harry, but not to the point where they thought they could get away with outright killing him.   Thanks again for taking the time to review.~Jim

graftedbranch posted a comment on Friday 12th January 2007 7:38am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

Your vignette of Peter spouting biz-school cliches was one of the best shots in fanfiction.

Overall, your Susan is just like I would expect her to be. Not as exciting as canon Ginny, and not bossy like Hermione (who acts more like a mother to Harry than girlfriend material). Susan is steady and solid, and pretty. Which fits for Harry, who gets more than enough excitement in his life. He does not need it in a girlfriend.

While your ginny is nastier than canon, the nasty streak is there in canon too. She does not require too much suspension of disbelief.


JBern replied:

Thanks for the review.   I really enjoy writing my twisted version of Peter.   Susan, well I'm working hard to try and make her her own character who stands on her own without looking like a clone of HermoGinny.~Jim

Aaran St Vines posted a comment on Tuesday 14th November 2006 4:57am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

Having Voldie's dementor sound be the same as Harry's was beyond brilliant! Then to make it his Patronus thought was bizarre as well as brill.

Unlikeable but totally unique Lily/James. If one is going to be dislikable it's usually him. Singular.

Fascinating talk with the Dursleys - gritty and gripping.

Excellent tale!

JBern replied:

I was surprised that more people didn't note the thing about Harry and Voldy's patronus being the same.   Of the two, I think James was more likeable in this one.   The thing most people miss in them is that they were in their early twenties.   I've known many people in that age group, I find few saints among them.   My goal with the story is gritty realism.   I wanted a reason for the unfathomable hatred the Dursleys had for Harry.   In doing so, I think I made both his parents and the Dursleys a bit more believable.~Jim

carlinonthebrain posted a comment on Wednesday 8th November 2006 6:46pm for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

excellent work all round. i'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter. i espcially enjoyed your take on the standard harry gets emancipated and badmouths dumbledore cliche. Also, i am impressed that you took the extra step of vilifying Lily Potter, not many would go that far. very good work.

JBern replied:

You can find up to chapter 25 on ficwad and   I am taking a bit longer to move the chapters here, as I discovered how riddled (no pun intended) with errors my early chapters are.   I am going to get them second checked for quality of the writing before posting them.   Just remember to drop a review or two there.

Thanks for the review.   I am glad you are enjoying the story.


cyberpurple posted a comment on Wednesday 8th November 2006 12:21pm for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

This. is. brilliant!

JBern replied:

Thank you very much!   More chapters coming when I have another beta look them over.   If you can't wait, you can go see them on ficwad or

OrionHR posted a comment on Wednesday 8th November 2006 2:25am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

How very interesting? I like your slightly darker view of James and Lily. Very unique, very non-canon. But since the whole idea is non-canon, what's the worry. Good handling of the Dursleys, they wouldn't be expected to be grateful, but perhaps in a later chapter or an afterword, we could them having a child.

You've actually created a little (only a little, mind you) sympathy for Vernon and Petunia.

I noticed some of your earlier chapters could you a little revising, only in the sense of some minor word misspellings. Such as "to" when you meant "too".

Keep writing, I'll keep reading. and reviewing.

JBern replied:

Thanks for the compliments.   Making the Dursleys more human instead of the gross caricatures was a bonus to the chapter.   Lily loved Harry enough to sacrifice herself for him.   Never doubt that.   How many others she was willing to sacrifice is another question.

The rest of the chapters are going to come over slowly.   I am going to have someone give it a serious going over to improve the quality.   If you can't wait you can go to ficwad or and get up to chapter 25.   Please be kind and review.~Jim

ShadeHawk posted a comment on Tuesday 7th November 2006 6:53pm for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

Expect twists on cliches and things you take for granted in the HP universe.

For me it is a bit "twist on any cliche you found", and that is too many for one story, in my opinion. Better to take a few cliches and twist/break them. Besides (again in my opinion) some of the "twists" contradicts the information in original books, and also somewhat contradicts itself.

I didn't like where the plot went, so I stopped reading somewhere around "Secrets of a Successful Death Eater" on, but that is only my personal preference (I usually don't like Dark!Harry stories either). For example didn't Penelope broke her own marriage oath? And wouldn't it be better for Percy to break the oath on his magic, if he was to lose his magic (and life) anyway? That's just a one thing I didn't like...

But I'm waiting for next chapters of "Bungle in the Jungle"...

JBern replied:

Well I am glad you enjoy Bungle.   Chapter 14 will be up this weekend.   I am sorry this isn't your cup of tea.

Magical marriage isn't really discussed in the books.   If there are oaths involved, perhaps Penny convinced Percy to marry the muggle way, since she planned on betraying him.

Anyway to each his own, perhaps you will come back to this story at some point and give it another try.~Jim

Dave Harris posted a comment on Tuesday 7th November 2006 7:29am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

This is very gritty and heart-rending, and I mean that in a good way! It's good to see some additional motivation behind the Dursleys' hatred of Harry beyond their simple fear of magic, and I think you brought out the "less-than-perfect" nature of Lily very nicely.

I was a little bit confused by both Harry and Susan having marriage requirements since that no doubt means that they have to produce even more children than if they married other people (to populate all of their lines, rather than just their own, singularly).

When Ginny finally finds out that Harry and Susan have chosen each other, I can't see her being very happy! It really does throw everyones plans into disarray (which I suppose is the whole point of Harry becoming independent).

Does Harry still plan to work with Dumbledore now that he knows how influential the Headmaster was in Harry's upbringing, and how deeply he has been affected by those decisions?

JBern replied:

As I said in other responses, never doubt that Lily loved Harry enough to sacrifice herself for him.   How many others she was willing to sacrifice is another question altogether.  

Ginny won't be pleased at all.   You'll see.   Up to chapter 25 is on ficwad and if you can't wait for the slow progress of getting the stories up here.   Though I hope you take the time to review there as well.~Jim

Viridian posted a comment on Tuesday 7th November 2006 6:49am for Secrets of a Successful Death Eater

Oh my god, your Peter is hilarious.

The blood wards was just pure nastiness. I can't see how Harry could ever support Dumbledore now... not after he was complicit in the deaths of 3 of his cousins - ones who'd never hurt him.

JBern replied:

Peter always seemed to me to be so impressionable.   He'd be one of those people coming out of a management seminar with a glaze over his eyes.

Never doubt that Lily loved Harry enough to sacrifice herself for him.   The question was how many others would she have been willing to sacrifice?   I am getting the rest of the chapters revised, but you can find up to chapter 25 on both ficwad and   Just be kind and review.~Jim