Hello, dear! You are cranking out the stories lately. I love it!
And I absolutely adore the way you write Fleur. She's a lioness in your stories, dedicated to protecting her pride. There's nothing fragile or timid about her. This is the girl that the Goblet of Fire selected above all others from her school. This is the girl who went toe to toe with Harry, Cedric and Krum. Not the vain, pitiful trophy Fleur that I get in so many fan fics.
Like nearly all of her contemporaries in the books, she did have to grow up much too fast. All of her observations and thoughts reinforced the way that life hardened these kids. It made the skills that she exhibits later in the chapter seem like a perfectly logical by-product of a life spent on the razor's edge, risking death to support the ones she loved.
I feel like there are those who are going to... hmmnnn... maybe "take issue" isn't quite the right way to put it, but it isn't perfectly consistent with the end of Deathly Hallows. The book made it sound like Voldemort's death was literally The End of the war. A glorious celebration erupted before his body was even cold and what of his followers remained simply disappeared or something. Honestly, I like your version much better. There's simply no way that it was that tidy. Bellatrix might have been Voldemort's "last, best lieutenant" to fall, but certainly there were dozens of others who remained unaccounted for. The scene of the battle must have been a dangerous place for some time. Anyone who was facing life in Azkaban wouldn't have given up easily.
The idea of Fleur being so hardened, so jaded that she kills her attacker without a second thought, it's one of those things that really puts the brutality of war into context. It's that Mediterranean pragmatism taken to an absurd extent. The supremely casual way she shrugs off the blood she's wearing is the perfect compliment to the sentiment: "His or yours? You donít care. Youíll wash it away the first chance you get." Wow. I love that line. And then the Aurors try to talk down to her? Pshahh! She's having none of that.
I loved the way you continued to build this incredibly powerful persona after she locates the others. She refuses to crumble, to let her feelings out, to show any weakness at all. She can see that the others are devastated by the loss of Fred. She has performed her own mental triage and her pain is secondary to theirs. "You donít deserve to hurt the way they do, not now. You need to stay strong." Again, such a strong statement of where her mind is at in that moment. The ability to compartmentalize her feelings is so uncommon.
Then she moves on to Ginny. I understand the need to keep the story moving, but for some reason I just wanted that part to go on and on. The two of them have such a strained history. When she and Bill first get together, Ginny can't stand Fleur. She called her "Phlegm", for pete's sake. To see Fleur embracing Ginny like that at one of the lowest moments of her young life really seemed like one of the little things that ultimately allow the Weasleys to rebuild their shattered family.
You did an awesome job of writing Greyback. Savage and cowardly, brutal and bloodthirsty, lecherous and devoid of conscience. The character gets so little play in the books, but to me he's always seemed like he was second only to Voldemort when it came to willingly forgoing his humanity in pursuit of power. So the completely amoral way that he tries to bargain his way out of the Great Hall was perfect.
Fleur's need to get even and the way she translated it into her brilliant little tactic completed this marvelous character you spun. She's still so caught up in her need to be the strong one, the able one, the one that all of the others can lean on in their time of grief. She takes it upon herself to defeat the final monster. The way that she realizes that Greyback is injured and how to capitalize on it when everybody else is too caught up in their own emotions continued to build on that idea that she is a woman who is completely in control. Her grief remains walled off, and she focuses her anger and uses it to find a way. And that control even extends to the end. She manages to convince the others not to kill the monster, to leave him to his fate.
I loved the way you wrote this. You have an amazing knack for turning a phrase, to picking just the right words to maximize the impact of these ideas. It all flowed so nicely, and the story just literally flies by. I would have loved to have more, but of course that wasn't the point. Great job, loved it, please update soon! ;)
Author's Response: I'm here I'm here! First of all, Before They Fall does NOT love me cranking out stories, haha!
You know my insanely soft spot for Fleur. And most of the time Belle is more of a recreation of her than anything, haha. She just never gets enough credit. She was a champion, then she was a terrified big sister, then she was a confident engaged woman who didn't let her new family's comments drive her away. I mean she's a pretty awesome character.
Voldemort was defeated then the whole world smiles. Really, because I think I saw an army of hundreds of wizards wanting to defeat the 'good guys' and you're telling me every one of those people just disappeared? Sure, some of them were in it just for safety, plenty were in it because they believed in their cause. They didn't just bow down with their tails behind their legs. That's like saying ever Nazi that served under Hitler just skipped off into the sky afterward. That's what goes on in my head if someone comments that after Voldemort was defeated none of that happened ;). That was a huge castle, Harry couldn't see everything going on. I'm happy you agree with me on this, because no I can vent to you if I get called out for it ;)
That was actually one of my favorite lines too. She's more concerned about washing the blood away then knowing who it is. She's a bit scary! But I love it.
I think her need to get revenge, to know he's going to suffer for the rest of his life, was my favorite part to write. She had to watch her husband to be nearly die, and though his scars don't bother her in the sense of what they did with his features, could you imagine seeing those on the person you love every day and know that they almost killed him? It's a constant reminder that, yes you're both so lucky, but you didn't have to be. And that kind of reminder deserves revenge in her eyes.
I don't think she's the 'an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind' kind of person ;).
Thanks for all your awesome help and support Dan, you are the best beta reader/friend, *you* update soon :P!