Wow. So I really wanted to come back and enjoy another chapter of this story and now I'm sitting here, trying really hard to process everything I just read. I have never seen an original character in a HP fan fic introduced in such a blaze of glory. I've never met Joseph Heart and I obviously never will, but I sure know the type. Grumpy and set in his ways, opinionated, loud and rude, intolerant of anyone who attempts to reign him in, yet with a soft spot for people that he takes a liking to. Reminds me a lot of my grandfather, except for the loud part.
I want to back up just a moment before I dig into his character, though. The information you laid out in your Author's Note was helpful. Now I know at least part of the reason why Viktor found himself where he is in the prologue. That said, I think it would have been better to hang onto it until we actually meet Viktor in the normal course of the plot. I'm worried now that if I were to go a week or two before I came back to this -- probably not gonna happen, but let's roll with it ;) -- the info might not be at the forefront of my mind when I need it in context.
Moving right along to Joseph Heart, I thought the young, unaware lawyer made a great foil for drawing out a lot of character definition in both Heart and Rose. He pushes the one button that seems to set Heart off worse than anything. He tries to tell Heart what he can and can't do. Ooh, boy. Big mistake. For her part, Rose is sympathetic to the lawyer's plight, but only to a certain point. She's plainly developed the survival skills required to weather one of Heart's tantrums. She's calm and observant. I can see already why she was a pretty good choice to write a book about Viktor Krum. She knows how to sit back and listen and not get caught up in the emotional turmoil of her subject.
So... were you thinking of anyone in particular when you created Regina McFey and her smutty novels? ;) I stopped and almost giggled out loud when I read your description. As a general rule, I think authors on this site need to do more to maximize the humor value of silly fads like sparkly vampires and dungeon games for housewives. Maybe that's just me. At any rate, I loved the way you used it as a contrast for Rose's book. As much as I'd like to believe that Heart is correct about readers getting bored with "romance rubbish", history suggests otherwise. The idea of Rose writing a completely personal novel about her struggles with her parents' fame that didn't turn into a trashy, tell-all expose on her family's life was perfect. I have to imagine that all of the Potter and Weasley children quickly tired of the constant attention and the limits it placed on their ability to lead normal lives.
I guess it only makes sense that a man like Heart would have a tumultuous marriage. There's such a thing as too much honesty in a relationship.
Let's see, what else? I absolutely loved all of Heart's pithy exclamations, even though I can't include any of them in this review. He's such a character. I don't know whether you intend to have him be a recurring character in this story or not, but I'm blown away by the depth and definition you gave him in this chapter. Through that lens, we also learn some important things about Rose. I thought it was brilliant and I loved it!
Author's Response: Blaze of glory, huh? I am totally choosing to take that as a compliment. But you're right, I absolutely see Heart as the type of man who is loud and belligerent (and probably a little racists at times), but you just can't bring yourself to hate him. He's fiercely loyal, and that has to count for something.
I'm hopeful that how the events in the prologue tie into this chapter and the ones that follow aren't confusing to readers, even if they take long gaps between reads. The rest of the story is very linear. But if you do end up reading any future chapters, you can let me know if it's not. Or do you mean the expert from Rose's book, because those continue on for several more chapters. It's my way of saving the reader from trudging through really long scenes of Rose asking Krum a million questions and him ticking off a bunch of replies.
It's true. You've caught me. All the bits about Regina and her novels are my not-so-subtle jab at some books that were all the rage this past summer (when I wrote this chapter). And I think you're right. They aren't going anywhere anytime soon. And deep down, I think Heart knows it too, but he's smart enough to know there will be swings in the market. The pendulum will come back the other way at some point and he's trying to hedge his bets -- have something waiting in the wings. And yep, Heart will be around as a secondary player for much of the rest of the story. I see his as the kick in the pants Rose doesn't yet know she needs.
Thanks for another awesome review. I'm starting to think you've got a knack for this sort of thing :P