Oh Melanie ♥
I adore Percy, as you know, and I don't think he deserves half of the abuse he gets in the HP community. He's so much more complicated than a lot of people seem to understand and you get that across perfectly.
I'll be honest, I am pretty religiously ignorant :P Everything I ever learned in RE has since locked itself away in a cabinet in the back of my mind. However, as controversial as this could be, I love the route you've taken this first chapter down. It isn't overdone. It isn't forcing anything down the reader's throat. It's just posing the question, suggesting something for us to think about and anything that makes me think automatically gets my vote.
Percy's character is divine. As I said above, you've done him an enormous amount of justice. I love things that fill in the gaps for the less central characters and what was going on in Percy's head in that year when the Ministry fell has always intrigued me. I've never even thought about the security of his job, how he'd feel about working in that environment but I'm asking myself all those questions now (although you've answered most of them).
I just want to pull out some truly stunning lines:
- he tried to avoid thinking about what his mother might be cooking for dinner that night, or how his sister was doing at school, or just trying to remember what it felt like to not be so alone and utterly lost. - That just broke my heart in two. You've given Percy so much heart and soul.
- "Better benefits, sir?" was the dry response Percy wanted to give - I love how you've brought out the side to Percy that we saw just before Fred's death in DH: the lighter, more daring side.
I am so happy that you're back. This is completely stunning and I've missed your writing so much. You're such a flexible author - it's unbelievable.
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Rachel! ♥
I don't think I realized what I was getting into when I started writing Irrational, but I seriously just fixate on Percy now. And I don't mean that in a creepy way (well, would I creep on Percy? The answer is yes. HOWEVER...) I mean I really just find him a fascinating character, and once I started writing him, I just wanted to write more stories about him. I've been really excited about this one for awhile, because this was such a pivotal point in his life, and we really don't know much about it.
I'm really glad the religious stuff didn't come off as overbearing. It was never my intention for this fic to be preachy, or to either advocate for or against religion - it is a look at one particular character's personal struggle with faith, morality, etc. So I am hugely relieved to know it's not off-putting, because I was actually really worried about that - not only because the issue of religion in the wizarding world is hotly debated, but also because I was concerned that some readers might interpret this as me having an agenda.
The idea to bring religion into it really started with Percy's middle name, which is the name of a saint. I found that really interesting, read a cool essay about similarities between Percy and St. Ignatius, or how St. Ignatius might have influenced Percy's character. And I just thought that this situation Percy is in would be a great backdrop for a personal struggle with faith. I'm not Catholic, but considering he was named after a saint, I just ran with it, and I thought the issues or themes of confession and atonement would tie in especially well.
I like those two lines you quoted as well. As to the second, specifically - this fic is supposed to be pretty heavy, but you know me, I have a hard time leaving humor out completely. :-P And like you said, we know Percy actually has a sense of humor, so I take every opportunity to bring that out!
I'm happy to be back, too! This review is amazing and made me smile so much.