Hi Dan! I'm sorry that this review took a little longer than usual. I do love your awesome new banner! :)
A half-century of peace and prosperity had begotten two entire generations of witches and wizards who tended to speak without thinking and lacked the instinct to be mindful of who might be standing behind them.
^I really like this line. I think it's a perfect way to characterize the pacific nature of next-gen and to conceptualize how the wizarding world must have changed after Voldemort's downfall in canon.
I love how you've pulled minor characters into a more prominent role in your story. You've really breathed life into Susan and Terry with this little snippet (beyond a mere glimpse of me shipping them, though I don't deny that I felt it here). I also like the way you used their interaction to set the tone and create the atmosphere for this chapter.
The Draco/Astoria scene was positively touching. I love that she's logical and level-headed and barely blinks an eye when he panics about her (surely) imminent departure. I also love that he actually cares about losing her. The emotion in that scene was executed so perfectly. I ship them hard here!
Since you asked, I'm going to be honest and say that I wasn't the biggest fan of the fight scene in this chapter. I don't know if it was as well-executed as some of the others I've read from you. For one thing, it seemed a bit one-sided at times; Susan and the "kids" (not actually children, but hey) would fire off specific curses, but I didn't feel that quite the same attention was paid to the opposition, beyond following the effects of their curses. Furthermore, it seemed a little unlikely that one of them would only be injured right there at the end. We're dealing with seasoned Death Eaters here, and I would have thought that Al or Hugo would have at least sustained a cut or bruise in the process. I also wasn't exactly sure about the dialogue - I get that Susan was injured, but I don't know if the cursing really fit in with the characterization I've seen so far. She's certainly tough, but I think it was just a bit too... snappy, maybe?... for my taste there at the end. Same thing with the boys - if they're really out of their depth here, the joking seems a little out of place.
Overall, though, I do really like Susan. She's clearly smart and brave, and it's nice to see her get that kind of attention since I think she came across as a bit mild-mannered and forgettable in canon. This version seems like a woman with whom Hermione, with all her strength, would associate.
Nice work! I hope this review helps you out! :)
Author's Response: Hey, there! No worries about the timing. We're all busy, and I appreciate all the time you offer to me and the other authors who frequent your reviewing thread!
To me, Susan's observation is one of the core themes of the entire story. The witches and wizards born after Voldemort's fall are all children, in a sense. Naive and ignorant of just how dangerous the magical world can be. They are not at all ready to face the kinds of challenges that their parents and grandparents had to survive. And their parents and grandparents worked hard to spare them that sort of hardship. It's one of those things that become a bit self-fulfilling.
Susan is my absolute favorite minor character in this story. I hope you're starting to get an idea why. I was really excited to be able to highlight her in this chapter.
Draco and Astoria are probably the closest thing I have to a "love story" in CoB. The two of them are truly, deeply, madly in love with one another. She is the reason that Draco changed, and she sees him as the person that he wants to be, not the person he used to be. I really enjoy writing them.
Hmmnn... Your reaction to the fight scene was really interesting and it makes me want to go back and read it again. Like, immediately. ;) You definitely have some valid points. Al and Hugo did come out of the fight unscathed, and that might not have been the most realistic choice. I don't think most of the Ministerial Security agents were "seasoned Death Eaters", though. Nott is as close as they get, and if you recall, he sat out the Battle of Hogwarts after evacuating from the school. The attackers are not in Susan's league, but the do have numbers on their side. Perhaps Al and Hugo shouldn't have made it out so easily.
Susan will be back several more times before the story is done. She is a steady, principled and calming voice in this otherwise turbulent story.
Your reviews are always helpful, dear! Thanks so much!