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Review:the_giant_squid says:
". . . who looked momentarily like a rabbit caught in a blinding wandlight." This is the very first thing that caught my attention, simply because I'm forever wanting to use "like a deer in the headlights" in my own writing and forever searching for a suitable wizarding replacement. Glad to see someone found one!

On to the rest of the chapter! I think you did a fabulous job with the descriptions of Al's surroundings when he sits by the pond. Almost poetic, really. And I like the scene between Molly and Al. I can't quite picture Molly as the conspirator, however - like when she tells Al not to say that in front of his dad. Molly's always been the strict one, in contrast to Arthur's general laxness. It's not so much of a stretch that it distracted me from the story, though, but I think her earlier comments (about how James' is a "good boy" with a "big heart") were much more 'Molly'. Just my two-cents, since you were asking about characterization.

As for the second half, I really like the little details you've woven throughout, like the "password" for the gate, the pile of shoes by the door, and the design magazine. They made it feel much more realistic. One of my favorite parts of this chapter is when James sits down and stands up and rifles through everything. Very much the picture of restlessness, and I think it's a great little detail to show and not just tell the readers about James' character. This sentence ("The only person who could stare him down, he cracked and turned to his father, equally stony faced but trying not to look directly at his son's blue eyes. ") confuses me a bit, though. I get what you're trying to say, but I get confused on the subject of the first clause. I would suggest maybe switching the order around. ("He cracked and turned to his father, the only person who could stare him down, who was equally stony faced but trying not to look directly at his son's blue eyes. ") Just a thought!

Annddd I just realized that this review got unnecessarily long. Sorry about that! Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I'm really enjoying this story so far. You've got a knack for detailed descriptions and I'm extremely curious to find out why James left in the first place - and why his family hates him so much. Wonderful job, and I'm looking forward to reading more!

Author's Response: I used rabbit? I'm sure I've used something else in there before; hippogriff or unicorn or something :P They take ages to think of - some people use them brilliantly though.

I understand that completely. My thing with Molly was that as she's the Potters' only grandmother (as opposed to the rest of the grandkids, I assume), I always saw her to maybe be a little more lenient with them. I know my grandparents are a lot looser with me than my parents. I was trying to translate that across but evidently not very well :P

Oh I don't even remember that o.O - I'll have to look it up as I'm back in the Potters' house for the chapter I'm writing now and I forget the details!

That is one line that killed me to write. I knew what I wanted to say but trying to get it right in my style of writing was impossible. I'll have a play with it and see what I can get but it has bugged me since the second I wrote it :P

Haha, I'm not complaining. Length usually means helpful and useful comments (though am terribly guilty of leaving 500 words of squee for some people) and that is definitely the case here. I'll take your advice on board and try and patch things up for when the queue reopens ^_^

Thank you!

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