Hello hello hello! Well, I've just finished this chapter and I have only this to say:
Ok, that's all I got, I hope this review was informative! (ok, I lie)
Alright, let's start at the beginning. First of all, I like the wizengamot that you have created. It's very lifelike and demonstrates the clipped coldness of a courtroom. I like that the prosecution was basically out for themselves, especially enjoyed the comment about the book deal. Isn't that always the way, these cheeky lawyers! I also really enjoyed the closing arguments, the accusatory over self confident prosecution vs the defense, who clearly knew he had it in the bag.
Moving on from that, I can't believe the trio was on trial for Ginny's murder! How awful that must have been for them, especially Harry, to be whisked away from home and the people they loved immediately after it had happened, and then locked away without being able to say a proper goodbye, without being able to mourn! Terrible for them. I did like Harry's running thoughts during the whole ordeal, it was a nice insightful thing, because I'm sitting here like...they could have easily killed this guy, all the points that were brought up make sense except there's no evidence! Ah you're throwing me through the emotional ringer here!
And then they were grudgingly acquitted which was great but just heart breaking to see their family come over and the tears flowing because now they can stop ignoring Ginny's death and just freely mourn it, which was sad.
Ok, so the whole scene in the woods was done so well. I really loved this, as Harry listened to it unfold and as Percy just kept talking and told all. Shocker of the year! But when he told it, it made sense, you know? This man who had been estranged from his family, and then welcomed back in to become closer than ever with them...and then the man who killed his sister is mocking him and clearly doesn't care what he's done. It could make anyone snap, really. But the way that Percy described the killing curse is just so chilling, the way it made him feel. I thought that was really well done because you know, here's a guy who has always blindly followed the rules, who, like he said above, stunned Rookwood when he could have ended him, who has always upheld the laws as a high ranking ministry official...and suddenly he has the power of death in his hands, and he likes the way it feels. It's just very chilling, and Harry even recognizes this fact too because he wonders about Tom Riddle and such but..I don't know I could totally see your Percy easily like...turning psychopath a la the show Dexter or something, and just killing all the bad people in the world to save other good people, a vigilante of sorts. And really I think that's just a testament to how well you wrote it :)
And finally at the end here we have the portraits which of course gave me the warm fuzzies. I'm like, why didn't Harry just commission a painting of them when he was in his first year at Hogwarts and carry it around with him? His dad could have snuck him answers during tests :P No, but I love that there are portraits of his family and of Dumbledore (LOVED the father christmas line, ahahaha) and it must help keep Harry sane, that he has these people to talk to. Though, really, what's sane about talking to a portrait?
It also makes me wonder like...he could get a portrait of Ginny too, right? And then he'd have her. But then I was all like, what do people do when their signficant others die, and then they get a portrait, is it like they are married to a portrait? Especially if the portrait has the same feelings and thoughts as the real person, and seemingly the memories too, but they aren't technically real? This has been Ashley's Wizarding World Wonderments for the day :)
Overall I really enjoyed this chapter, the flow of it was great and the way you revealed things. Personally I was relieved that you revealed Percy's secret in this chapter rather than holding onto it for a while because I might have gone crazy waiting! So if that's not the major theme of the story then...what the heck is? I can't wait until all of this unfolds because I can tell that it is going to be a fabulous, suspenseful ride :)
Author's Response: Well, I *have* actually gotten stranger reviews than that for this chapter. ;)
I still think of the Wizengamot as somewhere between a kangaroo court and a drumhead, even with all the reforms that Kingsley Shacklebolt surely implemented during his tenure. There's a great deal of pomp and circumstance attached to the proceedings and a huge amount of political theater plays out there. The trial of the trio was exactly that: political theater designed to distract an outraged populace from the Ministry's inability to secure Ginny's murderer for long enough to properly investigate what happened. As you can see, it was reasonably effective. Even though there was no evidence, the trial deflected attention for just long enough.
I remember spending a lot of time thinking about the killing curse and what affect it might have one someone who uses it. It's definitely a curse that's usually cast out of anger or fear. The idea that it would simply leave the person who casts it emotionally empty, draining away all of their feelings, fit nicely somehow.
Keep a close eye on Percy. He was present at what turns out to be a very pivotal moment. There is much of his story left to be told. Definitely don't assume too much. ;)
I always felt like magical portraits were a very under-utilized idea in the books. They provide this amazing continuity between past and present. As far as Harry commissioning a portrait of Ginny, I think that would be more of a torment to him than a comfort, particularly in his present mental state where he still grieves for her. Just like the Resurrection Stone drove people mad by giving them only a pale shadow of their lost loved ones, living with Ginny in portrait form -- unable to touch her or smell her hair -- would probably have destroyed Harry. Just my thoughts on the matter.
I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter. This is the last one that's mostly dedicated to setting the stage. The plot really begins to move in the next one. Thanks for reading and reviewing!