Tagging you from Review Tag 2.0!
Right out of the gate, you did an absolutely brilliant job of taking us through Harry's tumultuous emotions as he tries to come to terms with what's just happened. Joy and fear and a sense of disbelief... it's all perfectly natural and completely believable. I love your choice of the memories that he touches as he ponders whether this is all real or just some wonderful illusion. But he gradually comes to realize that something isn't right with his two best friends. Ginny, of course, is too emotionally driven to stop and ponder such things. And in the midst of this remarkably powerful moment, I liked the way that you weren't afraid to stop and have a little chuckle at Ron's expense when Ginny hugs him and he develops a bad case of hover hands.
Everything about their "first" conversation was done with so much finesse. It was very well thought out. Nobody launches into anything too quickly. There's a very protracted feeling-out period where both sides take their time and try to figure out where the other side is coming from. All of the little pieces slowly come together from Ginny and Harry's point of view: that Ron and Hermione don't know them, that they don't remember who they used to be and eventually the fact that they don't know anything about magic. To me, this scene would have been so easy to mess up by rushing through it or trying too hard to for Harry and Ginny to start shoveling information at Ron and Hermione. I applaud your deliberation and restraint. They made a huge difference.
Right away, it seems like I can tell a difference between how Ron is reacting and how Hermione is reacting. It isn't that Hermione is unhappy at all. This all seems to be as much of a relief to her as it is to him. But she's not warming up to it all quite as quickly as he is. To him, it all seems to feel more like a sort of vindication. As though he expected that one day he was going to wake up and discover that this hole in his life contained all these wonderful, exciting secrets. Whereas Hermione just seems to be in a sort of "happy shock". She knew there was a hole in her life, and she knows that she's found out where it leads, but she was wholly unprepared for just how strange the answer might actually turn out to be.
You know, this really makes me think about just how difficult it would have been to explain any wizarding war -- the first or the second -- to somebody who had no idea. Even Harry feels compelled to add that little bit of reassurance to his retelling of the events. That was a clever little touch.
Interesting choice on Ginny's part, concealing the fact that Ron and Hermione were engaged. I know she had her reasons, which she explains later on in the chapter, but I sort of wonder whether this decision will turn out to be a good one or a bad one in the long run. Both Ron and Hermione know that they feel a connection to one another, and that it's a very strong one. And because of what's been hidden from them, they still have no explanation for that connection. It's just sort of cognitive dissonance at this point, and I think they have more than enough of that with everything they've just learned.
Poor Harry! How much it must have hurt to say these words: "So… it's your decision whether you want to stay here, with us, where you belong," Harry remarked emotionally, averting his gaze. “Or you can go back." Gah! He's just found his two best friends after believing for nearly three years that they were dead and now he has to face the possibility that they might choose their "new" lives over returning to their "old" ones. It's heart-breaking if you stop and think about it. Still, I think you've done Harry's character such a service by making him come to the correct yet unpleasant conclusion that he can't simply make the choice for them. They have distinct and different lives now and as much as it would hurt everyone, they might decide that those lives are better somehow.
For Ron, of course, it isn't even much of a decision. For Hermione, I could easily feel the hesitation in her reply. Oh, you wouldn't! Would you? It can't be, you wouldn't do that to me! But I bet you're going to torment me with it. I feel mad at you and I don't even know whether I should be yet. ;)
You did wrap it all up in a lovely way, though. As conflicted as she is, she just can't seem to stay upset when Ron makes that connection. I hope it's enough to carry the day.
Another sublime chapter! I really love this story and I'm looking forward to reading more.
Author's Response: Welcome back! :)
Writing that scene truly was a struggle. I was thinking the same, is this too much? Will this go over the top? Isn't this way too mundane, though? Somehow I really tried to find balance, so I'm really happy you think I did it right, but believe me, it wasn't easy. :D And what can I say about your descriptions on what the characters are feeling, you're right in everything and I couldn't have explained it better myself.
I don't think it was overall a good decision of Ginny not to tell them. Maybe it would be too much to tell them at this moments, but since you read further you know they conceal it from them for quite some time. That was an obvious mistake on their parts, but even I wouldn't know what to do in a situation like that. Hermione has a fiance and it must've been weird to just barge in on her with the words, YOU HAVE ANOTHER ONE, ACTUALLY. :D But, they will find out eventually.
I'm glad you understood why I had Harry saying those things. He didn't want to feel like he abducted them all over again like the previous culprits, and he felt like it was their right to be offered a choice. But who would leave upon finding out all this? Not Ron, and certainly not Hermione despite all her hesitation! There's such a world for her to discover now. :) Oh and there's also Ron whom she just can't ignore. I love writing the little things between them so much. They're my eternal love.
Another sublime review. I'm so spoiled right now. I just bounce on my chair like an idiot every time I read these. Thanks so much. You put such effort into these reviews, it means the world to me, it really does.