On the fifth day of Christmas...
I seem to be slipping.
"Albus nodded dumbly, unnerved by his aunt's deathly serious expression but confused as to what could possibly go wrong. Greyback might be a werewolf, but the full moon was three weeks away. He was wandless, surrounded by three Hit Wizards and they were deep in the bowels of the Ministry. Only a fool would try to escape under those circumstances."
Can you bottle up a batch of "crystal clear" prose and send it my way? Here, you are setting us up for an escape scenario, where the big, bad werewolf loses control and tries to break free. But that's not what happens, is it?
He craves the blood and the violence so much that it spins him into a frenzy. He doesn't want to run away. He wants to bathe in the massacre. Greyback is indeed a monster. A big, scary, violent, unrepentant beast.
I love seeing Hermione's actions through the eyes of someone else. I love that you gave us Albus' eyes to watch her every move and to speculate on what is coming next. He knows about enough that the reader knows, and he has the same missing pieces as we do too. I felt like we were both trying to figure it out together, which was a really neat experience.
The action rolled so smoothly that I almost lost myself in the pensieve, but you gave me enough of Albus' thoughts to pull through. I think your concept of keeping everyone else distracted by the battle was genius. The only thing I wasn't certain of was how much Greyback changed. He didn't seem to be a werewolf at first, but then he began moving like one. It read like perhaps he was a half-man, half-werewolf kind of thing... or maybe I'm mixing up canon facts with other things.
Seamus was a surprise, wrapped around a 'ship. I'm so glad you didn't have him exact vengeance on Greyback and have him still working towards a peaceable life. The twist was totally unexpected and was a great fit to the story.
About that section, I really loved this:
"She was gentle as a lamb," Seamus mused softly, "but when the Carrows pushed her, they woke a lion. Twasn't fair. She never shoulda been forced to change like that."
This was a unique concept that you pulled off brilliantly. Really great story!
Author's Response: Hello, again! It's so easy to slip this time of the year. So much going on, so little time. Anyway, I have to say that you're really spoiling me with these lovely reviews!
I really loved being able to use Albus's point of view for most of this. He knows just enough to have an idea of what's going on, but not enough to see things for what they really are. He's so comfortable in the sense of peace and security that his father made possible and so steeped in his aunt's idealism that everything she's saying seems strange and implausible to him.
The Memory Chamber scene was really difficult for me to pace, so I'm glad it ran smoothly for you. I had to go back twice and rearrange the events so that it felt like it gave Greyback enough time to lose his resolve. I also really struggled to figure out where in the course of events to have Greyback lose it. It needed to happen at the peak of the violence and bloodshed, which meant that it couldn't wait for everything to fall silent when Harry and Voldemort were circling one another.
I borrowed quite a bit from JKR's own descriptions of Greyback in the middle of the battle. He isn't transformed, but his physical state and his actions do seem like they're somewhere in between human and wolf. I think of him as a person who chose to sacrifice his humanity entirely and embrace the wolf. That's what makes him so dangerous.
I picked up a lovely bit of head canon along the way that had Seamus and Lavender in a hidden relationship during the year that Snape and the Carrows ran Hogwarts. The idea was that it was hidden in order to protect her. If Snape or the Carrows learned of it, they would have used her to control him. It made her death even sadder, I think.
Ah, I'm so glad you liked it all. At times while I was writing it, *I* didn't like it very much. But I put my head down and bulled through it.
Thanks so much and Happy Holidays!