Hey Dan! I'm back again with your requested review!
I thought your intro to this chapter was great. At first, I was like, "How long have I been away from this story? Did I seriously forget leaving in the middle of a huge battle sequence?" But as soon as I realized that it was a game, I laughed a little :)
The beginning of this chapter seemed a little chaotic, but I think it makes sense for the trio to respond to the messages from Susan and Hugo as they did. I think it wouldn't have hurt to include Hugo's message in here, just to really nail down that sense of hopelessness and fear. I also liked the way they put together a plan to save the kids.
It was nice to get a little deeper into the state of house elves in this time. It was interesting to meet an elf who is openly distrustful of wizards; it totally makes sense, but it seems so brazen, even for a free elf like Dobby or Riminy. However, it was touching to see Harry's previously gentle treatment of elves pay off for him and help Susan out here. I also liked the exchange between him and Hermys. I can see qualities in that scene that remind me of why Harry was so powerful in the second wizarding war, in terms of his ability to draw people into rallying around him. He's a symbol of hope, and I think he would be good at actively getting people to be on his side and help him in his current cause.
I liked how you switched to the students' perspective in the second part of the chapter, so that we get a sense of how things are from inside Hogwarts during uncertain times like this (something I was always curious about in the first half of the seventh book). Dennis reminded me a little bit of Cormac McLaggen at first, perhaps because of that touch of arrogance. However, I still found him likeable, and I felt bad that Rowle was picking on him during Potions because of his blood status. (Seriously, insinuating that half-bloods are naturally bad at potions? Rowle, have you read the canon story?) Anyway, I thought it was neat that a student was the one to plant that first seed regarding Professor Tennant. I also liked Neville's reaction. He had an interesting hint of Dumbledore without seeming like a carbon copy.
Another great chapter! I hope this is helpful :)
Author's Response: Hello, again! It's always a pleasure.
The idea for the spontaneous Exploding Snap game popped into my head kind of late in the process of writing this chapter, and I thought it was a neat way to break up the tension just a bit before we launch back into the big rescue sequence. It also gave a smoother entree to explaining what Hermione and Esme have been working on.
The beginning is definitely chaotic by design. Ron, Harry and Hermione are rushing around a bit madly, trying to figure out where all of their children are located and how best to get them to safety. I could definitely see where it would add something to "replay" Hugo's message the same way I did Susan's. Part of the difficulty in writing something like this is that I'm never quite sure how much time will pass between readers reading each chapter. So how much continuity I need to provide is always a question.
It seems like House Elves are still in an uneasy position, even this far into the future. There is plenty of disagreement among the elves, themselves, as to what their proper role should be. And the pureblood extremists certainly have their own opinion which, given the Minister's sudden shift in political philosophy, would obviously be a big concern to the free elves.
That said, I think the elves in general and the free elves in particular would know who Harry is and what he's done for them over the years, either directly or indirectly by lending his gravitas to Hermione's work. At any rate, I'm glad you liked that scene. Not many reviewers have commented on it.
The story hasn't touched on Hogwarts very often of late, but it is about to become much more of a focus. As I've said in a bunch of review responses, Dennis is symbolic in a way of a wizarding world that is gradually waking up to the realization that everything is not as peaceful and wonderful as it seems. Watch him closely. Interesting things will happen wherever he goes.
Thank you so much for yet another interesting, thought-provoking review. You find these interesting little angles that really make me stop and think about some of the little decisions I've made and how the affect the broader story!