Hello, again! Progressing through this story is so bittersweet. On the one hand, I love it, and every chapter brings new, interesting developments and brilliantly written sentimental moments. On the other hand, I love it, and pretty soon I'm going to run out of chapters to read. So conflicted... ;)
I'm excited that they're going to see Ludwig. I feel really optimistic that a Legilimens might be able to find ways around their memory block that a regular Obliviator could not. Maybe he could peek around it, for instance, and find out some things that lie just on the other side. It seems that if they could figure out what happened just before Ron and Hermione were dumped into their "new" lives, it would give them a better chance of undoing the damage.
Ron's depression is really sad. It makes sense that he would be more upset by the failure of the un-Obliviate spell to work than Hermione. He feels so much more "at home" in their old life than she does and there's really nothing in his "new" life that he wants to go back to. Plus, he seems plagued by the loss of any memory of Fred, which is a terrible thing because he'll never have the chance to make any new ones. Very sad, but completely logical and nicely done.
Gah! Ron leaves and for once in her life, Hermione actually follows him! I love the subtle contrast to what happened in Deathly Hallows. She doesn't even know why, but she knows that she can help him and she really wants to. It was heart-warming! Ginny's subtle change in mood at the end of the section was also a really clever little touch. I think her reaction spoke for all of us!
"Ronald Weasley, stop and turn around this instance!" she yelled in the bossiest voice she could muster. -- Ha! That was brilliant! You brought "old Hermione" back to us in a moment. And Ron reacts perfectly in character. I love all the small things that tell us that both of them are still themselves, and it's all just lurking under the surface somewhere.
"Hermione herself wished he hadn't said it. For all she knew, it didnít mean anything. For all she felt, she knew it meant everything. And did she really wish he hadn't said it? This doubt was the reason for the guilt that was growing with each new day." - Another absolutely stunning line. It captured everything I've been hoping that she feels about him. This is the sort of thing that keeps the hope alive even in their worst moments.
Uh oh, I think I just spotted a small typo: "These guys just keep saying useless rubbis in the non-magical world, why should they be any different in this one?" - rubbish.
Everything about the scene in Diagon Alley was lovely. Seeing them gradually find places and things that make them feel at home in their old lives again was really exciting. Ron with his broomsticks and Hermione with her books... The two of them really felt at home again. And their celebrity obviously hasn't faded during their time away. Wow, so Lavender still fancies Ron, I see. I love Hermione's rather visceral reaction to seeing that! Too bad it couldn't coax a little hex out of her. What a hilarious way to find your magic again!
You always manage to create this incredibly warm tenderness between Harry and Hermione. There's an implied trust there that runs so deep that her memory loss doesn't seem to matter that much. I really love what you do with the two of them. In a very subtle way, he's so much better at steering her back toward Ron than Ginny is. He just helps her doubts get out of the way of her heart, if you know what I mean.
Ron and Hermione's differing reactions to Ludwig were well-written, I thought. It's such a funny contrast, how Ron is generally more comfortable and "at home" in this world full of strange people and magic but Hermione is much more comfortable with the particulars. In fairly short order, Ron seems to have absorbed some of the prejudices of the muggle world that are based on appearance. Then again, he always was a bit like that.
Wow. You did a great job of writing Ludwig's attempts to penetrate Ron's memory block with Legilimency. This is how I've always imagined that it worked: both the Legilimens and the subject seeing the subject's thoughts and memories playing out sort of like a movie being rewound or fast-forwarded at high speed. But he's unable to get past the barrier that separates Ron's past from his "new" life. Not only that, it seemingly attacks him for trying. Very interesting! This all seems more and more deliberate as the bits of evidence unfold. And what is this about things being dusty? Intriguing...
As disappointing as the outcome of their session with Ludwig was, I do like the fact that they've going shopping for new wands. Maybe reconnecting with their magic will help?
All in all, another terrific chapter. You're still delivering the story at a very deliberate, engaging pace that doesn't feel rushed or pokey. Just right, I think. Until next time!
Author's Response: Thank you for spotting that typo, I'll go change it later. Writing Ludwig was one, especially in regards to the whole wizarding psychology aspect. I imagined him helping George progress through his grief a little. I don't know why I gave him such a bad appearance, lol, probably wanted to make him interesting. And you noticed that right, Ludwig hit a brick wall and it reacted. You're also good at guessing that the memories aren't completely gone and I'm looking forward to explaining it. Thanks for complimenting the process of a Legilimens breaking into someone's mind, I really tried to make it believable. :)
The scene where Ron goes away to take a walk was inspired by the DH and Ron walking out. I like adding these little parallels, history repeating itself sort of...that time he left and Hermione didn't catch him, this time he wasn't leaving and she caught up with him, and it rang as something significant.
Lavender likes to rub it in Hermione's face that she had Ron first, I guess, and although Hermione couldn't care less, she can't help but feel agitated. Women. :D Putting Ron and Hermione into the familiar place of Diagon Alley was wonderful and I like writing about Harry and Hermione's friendship over and over again, so thank you! :)
I'm still in so much awe over these lovely long reviews. They're like dreams come true. Thank youuu! :)