I was going to wait until your name popped up in the review battle again, but I couldn't wait.
First thought after reading: WHOA.
First, Salazar Slytherin. Okay, so you showed the side of him we're all used to seeing that was completely absent in the first chapter. He was volatile and wild; not exactly traits we ever hear of with him, but definitely things we can imagine of him and would go with the character J.K. Rowling portrayed. We're not really sure what he and Godric were arguing about, but that added more as our thoughts weren't bogged down with "He's a prat for disagreeing with that," but more focused on his reactions. (Does that makes sense?) There was also his few little allusions to his prejudice against those who are not purebloods and the respect he has for purebloods that rounded it off quite nicely.
Helga Hufflepuff. Okay, this is her chapter. She wasn't overshadowed by Salazar too much, but I felt the focus was less on her as it was on the other founders in their respective chapters. However, by the end, our thoughts are completely with her. That was a haunting ending, but I'll get back to that later.
This is the darkest chapter of them all. I think you might've organized these so it went from the lightest to darkest, and I'm just going to give you, as a writer, the benefit of my assumption. So, for that, I praise you!
Going back to Miss Hufflepuff, Helga's character was perfect. Of all the founders I rarely read, I read her the least. Truthfully, I've never read her. However, I love how she restrained herself before suddenly breaking. Then after, it felt like she was resolved to hide her shame instead of confessing to it because of that moment that drastically changed her.
At first, I was confused when Salazar died, because I wasn't sure he was dead. However, unlike the other chapter, where I was wondering what the third light source was, this added to your story. There was some anticipation and suspense that was finally fulfilled with the last two paragraphs. I delight, or rather am haunted (which delights me), by the line "Something good had withered." It just makes me feel like Helga didn't have that flip side until now, until this moment of brief explosion of rage within her, that resulted in her friend's death.
This story was amazing. My overall thoughts are basically what I said in chapter 3 with my thoughts about the title's meaning. To add to that, this story is very attractive to a reader. It's short and yet it gives a lot of insight on your characters. It expands the knowledge we have of the founders, and it's not some long complicated fic with dreadfully long ultimatums and consequences. While this review is not that, to say it simply, your story is short and sweet.
I hope my reviews have been helpful and comprehensive (I always worry about that one.) I've enjoyed this little adventure we've had together. Or that I've had.
p.s. If I see your name pop up in the review battle, I'm going to use this review since I was writing it for it originally, if that's alright with you ^_^
Author's Response: Thanks for such a detailed review! I've been trying to figure out how to reply to it for a while, it was so all-encompassing. :D
I didn't give much detail into the big argument between Slytherin and Gryffindor for two reasons: 1, my word count goal would never allow it, and 2, I wanted to do as you said, and focus more on the reactions. In the end I realized that Slytherin is pureblood-oriented, and so I added the bits about Muggleborns to ground the story a bit more.
Yeah, I do know this chapter isn't so much about her. I was on the fence about that one, because I wanted to give the story some closure with this idea I had, but couldn't find a way to center it entirely on her. I'm glad you zoned in on her end the end.
I did indeed go from lightest to darkest with this story. I wanted each chapter to increase in length as well, to add to that idea of gaining in darkness.
I'm glad you liked Helga! She's hard to write, because, sort of like her house, she's the hardest founder to define. There's that running joke that Hufflepuff is the house where everyone who doesn't fit into the other three go. ;) But you got it with the hiding her shame piece. She realized that what she'd done was so enormously out of character, and decided she would try and erase it rather than running the risk of that action becoming a part of her.
When I was writing Salazar's death, I hoped people would get it. I was fighting a word count goal (still not entirely sure why I did that, I suppose it was some sort of test. But I stuck to it and refused to waver). But I also wanted it to be seen as an act of passion, in a way, for the reader to see it as Helga was seeing it. I agree completely that this was the birth of a flip side, and not Helga acting on a rage she'd always contained inside her.
Haha, your review is not this story's twin, but I appreciate it so much. I guess my word count goal was also to make it more attractive to readers, because I know Founders aren't popular (I rarely read them, even). I just wanted to see what I could do with a challenge like that, and it means a lot that you think I did well. ;) Your reviews have been entirely comprehensive, as well as helpful. And this was totally a two-person adventure!
Phew, that was long. Feel free to use this for your next battle review, if you get there at the right time. Thank you so much for these incredible reviews!