This is so much better than military history, I can't even tell you.
I don't know what this says about me, but I prefer the canonworld to dreamworld. You pull them both off spectacularly, and dream!Drarry is the only Drarry I will ever want to read about, but there's something about the joy and confusion of dreamworld that serves to highlight the grey, dim misery (if it is misery, which might be too harsh a word) of canonworld. Canonworld seems more, weirdly, vivid, in a harsh, gritty way -- like a thriller with a really dark color palette to indicate how very gritty it is, except not in a pretentious or eye-straining way. 'Gritty' is supposed to indicate 'more realistic' in terms of cinematography (at least I think so cough this metaphor is going way too far), and the dreamworld, in its brightness, is almost garish in comparison. Almost. The balance is very delicate between the two, even though there's such a pronounced difference between them, because the fic could easily have veered into a 'well-I-just-want-to-write-mind-games-and-then-throw-in-a-special-twist' sort of thing, but this is not heavy-handed at all, and it's pulled off so well already (and throughout the rest of the fic, which I know and loff).
I'm not going to reread that massive paragraph because I will facepalm like whoa at myself so I'll continue and hope that made sense.
Basically I really loved this chapter in particular because of the dream!Draco vs. canon!Draco difference. I'm so glad it's there. The two divergent paths and all, and Harry's conflicted feelings about it. Actually all of the scenes in this were grouped very well, tied together with the complete and utter weirdness of the dreamworld, the attempt to make it stop and the failure of those attempts. Harry's petulance throughout strikes me when I read the fic this way; it's like he hasn't really grown up and he's still the bratty OotP-era kid from before. Harry hasn't really had a childhood, and thus maybe he can't even have a real adulthood either (which calls to mind the tagline, which makes me lol but then depresses me because poor Harry).
... I won't reread that either. Nope.
I'll stop now. I'm so sorry for this horrid review (/reread) but I love you and this and all the things~
Author's Response: -hoards Gubby reviews forever-
I love when you talk writing because you always catch a hundred different things that I always hoped came across but then you just say them and everything is all wonderful and I just love you.
The colors thing, Gubby, you got EXACTLY, /EXACTLY/ what i was going for. There is so much joy and contentment in the dreamworld, even though there are also difficult things too, that the canonworld is just... gritty. It's like it's been desaturated. Everything is metallics and grey and hard black edges of reality, while the dreamworld is almost /over/ saturated, with the brightest colors, like, in my mind, when I see it, Harry can almost taste the colors. Red as cherry, green as mint, orange as citrus, all so tangible, but somehow soft-edged, cushioned. Somehow, as he starts to feel more at home, he becomes more and more like that world and people begin to notice, idk. This is probably all just drivel, and I'm kind of word vomiting, but this is why I love this review so much. Because it makes me try and explain this stuff I don't know exactly how to put into words.
To hear you say that this wasn't heavy-handed is like a;ldfhg;kdfghj omg, because I was terrified that this would come off as like, I WANT TO WRITE A DRARRY, with nothing else going for it, so thank you.
Yes, I think it was definitely important for Harry to meet Draco as he would be in both places. In the end, which of course, we haven't reached yet in the story, but you've already read, seeing the two versions of Draco kind of serves less as a point of confusion and more as an indicator that the choices we make can make us completely different people.
I think what you said about Harry never having a real childhood is really accurate, and in the canonworld, he suffers for it but no one knows how to help him or sees that that is the real issue, while in the dreamworld, Draco accepts him as he is and is willing to deal with these things. It also helps that there was no war and other trauma on his part in that reality, but it is certainly much easier to be with someone who never had a proper childhood if you are willing to be a bit of a child yourself :3 But yes, poor poor Harry.
This is the most insightful review I've ever received and I just hope that I didn't babble too much in this response. Thank you so much Gubby.