Hey, this is Beeezie, here with your review! (And don't be silly, apologizing for being busy! I was just afraid I'd frightened you away with my nitpicking. I'm sorry it's taken me this long to get to your review. I've been horribly busy lately. :( )
So! You know me. You know the drill. I've got to touch on mechanics first.
There were a few points where your narrative was redundant. For example, in the first paragraph, you write, "had not yet met his downfall at the hands of the Boy Who Lived yet."
There were also a few points where your description was contradictory. In the first paragraph, you say that Diagon Alley was just as Harry remembered it, but that it was ominous at the same time. I think I understood what you meant - that it looked the same, but had an atmosphere like that after his fifth year - but it was a little awkwardly worded.
Most of the dialogue in this chapter was good, but there were a couple off points. For example, when Ginny says, "If you buy the same owl that you are destined to buy in the future, will you not be changing your past?" in the first section, it felt a little odd. I do understand that it wasn't supposed to come off as smooth, but this doesn't read awkward, it reads formal, which isn't really what you're going for (I don't think). Another point that felt a little off was when Chris was explaining to Harry about why there were two dormitories, in particular the paragraph, "Nope. Before you there were seven of us." Again, it felt a little formal and stilted, and the way he described the Marauders didn't seem to fit with his feelings toward them.
I thought that your pacing this chapter was good, overall. I'm glad that you had them in Diagon Alley at the beginning of the chapter, and I think that you spent the right amount of time on it. The juxtaposition between that time and his time was important in setting the mood, and while I felt like one of Ginny's lines was delivered a bit awkwardly, the overall concept and Harry saying, "You didn't but I get it" worked really well. Additionally, I was glad that you didn't spend too much time on the feast or the carriage ride - you introduced us to the characters without going into a lot of depth, and that felt really natural.
I also thought that your portrayal of Harry was really spot-on. When he's agonizing about giving Ginny the ring and how to deal with the tension between them, it felt really in-character and genuine - the Harry we know was not very good at dealing with emotions, and you stayed true to that while putting him in a very different situation. The way he reacted to meeting his mother was also terrific.
However, I didn't love the justification you gave for the two dormitories. I have no difficulty believing that there were two dorms, but I wanted a better reason. Even something as simple as "Sirius and James blew up our beds" as a catalyst would have worked. I just wanted something, if that makes sense. I also felt like the fight between James and Chris at breakfast was a little overdone, and could have been toned down a bit or presented in a different way (for example, James going on about Lily to Sirius because he hasn't seen her all summer, or something along those lines).
Otherwise, though, it's a really solid chapter. I like what you're doing with Ginny in particular - in some ways, sure, her being attracted to Sirius is a little weird, but in a lot of other ways, it makes sense. He's attractive, they're roughly the same age, and she's in an awkward position with her boyfriend. For her to be interested in other guys works well in that context. Nice job.
Author's Response: Hey! Thank you so much for coming back! =D and as i said, you didn't scare me off. Not at all. I'd just taken some time off.
You're totally right about the mechanics. I've been having problems with my wording lately and haven't been able to go over my chapters so thoroughly as I once did. I would've definitely noticed the errors you've pointed out so I can say that I know what you mean when they're sorta awkward. I'm glad you understand what I meant when I contrasted Diagon Alley. That means that I wasn't as far off as I'd thought!
About the Ginny's dialogue. Yep, you're right. I already knew it was awkward because I'd tried phrasing it like ten other ways! It just hadn't seem to fit in any other way. I swear this was the best way I could write it.
Yay! Thank you so much! This is a lovely review =D I'm so glad that you liked this chapter particularly. It's one of my best. I'm happy that you thought that Harry's character was spot-on. I love writing him =D
I know what you mean about the dormitories. I didn't think that the reason was significant so I didn't pay much attention to it. I suppose I'll change it once I edit it. Thanks!
Yay once more! My intentions behind that Sirius/Ginny thing were exactly those! I'm glad you liked it and understood my idea! =DD
Thank you so much once again! I'm very very happy now =D