Hello! I am here with your review, after all of that confusion. I don't usually read Founders fics, so I'm excited about this one--especially the 'ship! Hufflepuff is so overlooked and neglected, even a bit in canon, and then in fanon it's just become kind of a joke to be a Hufflepuff. But we need to stay strong! :D
Anyway, here is the review proper. Like I said, I haven't read more than one-shots with Founders era, so my canon is a little rusty.
Your introduction is beautiful. I feel like you have engrossed yourself, and therefore the reader, in the time period you're describing. The fact that the Hufflepuff clan were travelers is brilliant. Did you make her aunt a kitchen maid on purpose? It makes me thing of the Hufflepuff common room being near the kitchens at Hogwarts; really ties it all in together.
I love the line "simple and full of light," but am distracted that she goes from saying this to saying her childhood was marred because she carried a secret. I guess it's just the phrasing used, because it's entirely possible to have a simple childhood with the downside of having to keep your magic a secret. But it seems to go from saying that everything was pretty much perfect and her not having any secrets to hide, which is wonderful, to having a secret. A very minor detail, but it does seem to conflict a bit :)
The relationship between Godric and Helga is really endearing. I wish his wife, Elaine, had a fun and esoteric name! xD But it's nice that she accepts him for who he is, and very rare in those times.
Interesting change to go from Helga and Godric having to hide who they are from their families, to having to hide their families from Salazar. And it's brilliant that her role as a traveler comes back into play when she is able to point them to an abandoned castle to use as Hogwarts!
I'm interested how they contacted their first round of students. If it was so difficult to come out as having magical powers back then, how did they find them? How did these very first people to ever hear of a magical school react?
Also, I would love to see some dialogue here. Your storytelling abilities are wonderful, and for the amount of back story here, you really do retain the reader's attention. But it would be nice to be shown, and not told, certain aspects of the story in real-time.
The line "in hindsight, I suppose that was my first mistake" is brilliant. Are we going to have an explanation as to why exactly Salazar is so prejudiced? Especially since the general worldview back then was that he was the one "in the wrong" for being a Wizard, rather than exhibiting a trait of magical nobility?
The exchange in the kitchen was easily my favorite part of this chapter. Helga isn't like your typical female character, playing tricks on boys out of spite--she only did it because she was challenged, and up until then kept her mouth shut about her abilities. She and Salazar are really compatible. They're equally ambitious and passionate, the only difference I see being that she's much more private about her opinions.
I think this is a really great start--I'm glad I got to read it!
Author's Response: Hey! I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to respond, but I so appreciate you swapping with me! This review is wonderful, and you've given me some awesome feedback.
I love getting review from people who don't read many Founders fics. As a Founders enthusiast, I'm always hoping for more readers to enjoy this awesome genre with me :) And I wanted to write about Helga not only because she's the founder of our awesome house, but because of exactly what you said: Puffs are overlooked so much, and I wanted to give Helga a chance to stand out.
Yep, I made her aunt a kitchen maid to give Helga a foundation for her expertise with food. It seemed like a good way to work that in :) And I'm glad to hear that the writing feels true to the time period, because that's been really important to me while writing this story.
I reread the chapter just now, and I see what you mean about that conflict being a little wierd. That's something I'll definitely work on when I edit. And you know, I never really fleshed out their methods of contacting students. But now that you ask, that could be something worth figuring out :)
I've actually been playing around with some dialogue to add here. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about the backstory, but I definitely agree with you: there needs to be something to break up the monotony of that first section. Maybe sometime I'll actually get around to editing :)
Salazar's motives for his prejudice will be explained later, yes. He's a very proud person, and that plays into it. But I hope to give a more complex portrayal of him than the generally terrible person we tend to think of him as. And that kitchen scene! That was such fun to write :) I loved giving Helga a chance to stand up to Salazar and give us Puffs a good name, haha. She and Salazar have different world views, but they're more compatible than they seem at first glance, like you said.
Thanks so much for your feedback! This review was so awesome (and by the way, so is KC&CO. I think I'm already hooked!) I'm so glad we swapped!