Hi, I'm back!!
Well, first of all I'm so sorry at how long it has taken me to read this review. I promise you that I have been looking forward to the moment when I could continue reading this and now it's here!! YAY!
First of all, the redemption of Narcissa. I like the way that you described her before the war as being cold and such, and the way that she changed from being Lucius Malfoy's unfeeling wife, a black sister, to someone who truly cared about her family. I love Narcissa as a character so it was really sad to read his reaction to her passing but it also makes sense.
So this is my first criticism I think I've had at all as I've read through it all, and I guess I was surprised to see that wizards dug graves by hand. I would think that it would be considered such a muggle thing to do, although I could see symbolism in doing it by hand. But I was just thinking that Wizards, especially pureblood wizards.might think they were above taking the time to dig a grave by hand, and do it with magic instead. To me, I feel like they would turn their noses up at it, but that's just my thinking.
I also love the way you've written Draco here in the beginning, his surprise at seeing Flint and his stressing that he is done with this old way of life that he has moved on. Before that, the interactions with Astoria were very real, I love the Draco/Astoria ship.
I especially really liked the part about the things that Draco had done after the war. Especially the fact that while all his other friends from school were sitting around making far fetched alcohol fueled plans, he decided to court Astoria instead. I never really had considered what the rest of the children of the death eaters did after the war, but I thought this was a grim and gritty reality. Really fabulously done there.
Ok, and now back to Flint. What a jerkface. I don't like this and I don't like the way it is going! Which means of course that it was brilliantly written but THAT is beside the point. :P I feel like his breaking out of prison is going to lead to all kinds of hell and that makes me sad haha.
Ok so this whole deal with Hermione and Astoria I thought was awesome. They clearly have a healthy respect of one another but neither clearly likes the other. And I can understand why that might that way, I can't ever imagine a scenario where they would be thrilled to see one another, even though they share a grandchild. For example, I can't ever imagine my mother and my mother in law ever getting along. In fact, when my mom sees my mother in law in the grocery store, she turns and runs the other way. (i'm not even joking. It's hilarious). So, I think the fact that the two of them are getting along this well despite their history is pretty awesome.
And then we have this entire thing in the magical records. What have you done to Hermione! I demand to know! :P I liked the inclusion of Ernie MacMillion in here, and I thought the action and suspense was very well done. Especially the description of curses flying around. I was definitely on the edge of my seat, trying to hard not to read ahead to see what was going on (I succeeded by the way :) ) I could really feel Hermione kick into action, keep her head about her, and just go. I hope she's ok :(
What a great chapter! Excellent job! I'm only sorry I didn't get to it sooner and I'm looking forward to heading to the next chapter!
Author's Response: Hello, again! So nice to see you back.
This chapter marks the end of the "setup" and the beginning of the story in earnest. So I'm really, really glad that you enjoyed it. Quite a few things happen, all of them quite significant.
I really came to like Narcissa's character by the end of Deathly Hallows. She showed a willingness to try to do whatever was necessary to save her family after her idiot husband put them in so much danger with his terrible choices. So thinking about the choices she would have made after the war was over, I couldn't see her allowing Lucius to put them at any further risk. And he was so broken after the war compared to her, I imagine she didn't have much trouble keeping him under control. As far as the graves go, I believe that the idea of wizards digging them by hand is "fanon" as opposed to canon, but I've really come to like it. There is an element of humility and sacrifice to it that seemed really meaningful to me.
If you want to know how Draco came to be "reformed Draco", I'm struggling to finish that story right now with Detox. But I'm really glad the idea works for you. I can't get into the idea of him being either a completely white-washed story of redemption or an unrepentant villain. I don't think either is consistent with his characterization from the books.
If you don't like Flint now... well, wait a few chapters. I'm thinking you'll like him even less. ;)
Hermione and Astoria have what I'd term a "productively arms-length" relationship. They're never going to see eye to eye on most things. They don't even really like one another. But when it comes to their children and grandchildren they're both willing and able to put all of that aside and do whatever is best for them. I really, really hope you'll like Astoria by the end of the story. Along the way, she became one of my favorite minor characters.
Ha! You'll know what happened to Hermione very soon. I really, really like writing fight scenes, so I'm glad it worked well for you. There are several more between here and the end of the story.
Wow. Such an awesome review! Thank you so much, and Happy New Year!