Alright! Let's get down to business. Pansy is taking the big tests!
Pansy's memories of her father bringing her to visit the Ministry were interesting and a little telling. He plainly built up his responsibilities to be more than they truly were, at least when explaining them to her. That explains not only the tales he told her but also his demeanor around his fellow Ministry employees. He seems a bit frightened for any of them to know his true allegiances or even to really notice him.
Her struggles in reaching the exam room were entertaining at times and frustrating at others. Her pride and lack of understanding get in the way of progress so often. The way that she walks in circles around the Atrium, looking for any sort of guidance, painted a picture in my mind of a woman who is slightly manic. She won't allow herself to be seen as "weak", so she would rather keep up her pacing than stop and ask for assistance.
Adri Bennett is back. He seems rather drawn to Pansy, but not in an overt or overly pressing sort of way. Why do I have a suspicion that the job Pansy ultimately finds will either be in the Ministry archives or the Daily Prophet?
Richards was a funny little addition to the chapter. His primary purpose seems to be slowing Pansy down and frustrating her progress. She has such a difficult time dealing with friendly, well-meaning people. I don't think there's anything in her past that prepared her to deal with people like Richards.
Madame Marchbanks came across as such a crisp, stern taskmistress. Somebody not to be trifled with, for certain.
It was pleasant to see Pansy enjoy a rare moment of feeling successful. Even though it's colored just a bit by her recollections of people blaming the post-war economic woes of the wizarding world on "people like her", she finally seems to be at a point where she believes in herself enough to shake it off and embrace the possibility of a happier future.
In terms of suggestions, I think it would have been interesting to know a little more about how the actual exams went, especially the practical portions. Did Pansy struggle to cast any of the spells? Did she make any mortifying mistakes? How did her mental state hold up under the pressure of being evaluated and judged by people that she most likely considered to be beneath her?
Your writing was terrific in this chapter, as always. I couldn't find any typos or spelling or grammar problems and it read quickly and smoothly. This chapter was obviously mostly about advancing the plot, so I can't wait to find out how Pansy's job search goes and what toll it might take on her fragile psyche.
Author's Response: Thanks once again for reviewing! And yes, Pansy has finally taken her N.E.W.T.s - it was certainly a long time in coming!
When I was writing about Pansy's visit to the Ministry in her youth, I was picturing her father as a weaker version of Malfoy, less confident in his presence in the Ministry, less able in his manipulations, but still proud enough to believe that his presence was necessary. It's kind of funny, really, to think that Pansy looks up to his example as a great method of manipulation when one can also think that he was just frightened.
Unfortunately for Pansy, her pride and lack of understanding will become another obstacle for her in the near future, though not in exactly the same manner.
Awh- you caught me! Yes, Pansy's job will be at one of the two locations you mentioned - which one it is will be revealed within the next chapter or two.
Yes, Richards was there to frustrate Pansy. However, I also used him to give Pansy the information to let her know where to go to reach the examination room without Pansy having to ask anyone, which, as you saw earlier in the chapter, was a huge problem for her.
I'm glad that you liked the ending - I actually wrote the beginning and end of this chapter before I wrote the middle and, even though the word count kept going up and up, I didn't want to cut off the chapter before it reached the part about Pansy's success. I felt like it would be a good ending to the chapter, even though the earlier scene with the N.E.W.T.s probably would have served as well.
Thanks for pointing that out. I had considered going into greater detail about the N.E.W.T.s but then I thought that with all the emphasis I had placed on them in the previous chapters it would have been slightly boring to explore it once again. However, I can see your point about how it would be interesting to see she held up under the stress of being evaluated by "inferiors".
Thanks once again for reviewing! The next chapter should hopefully be up within a week!