So I have a confession. I read this chapter probably a week ago. And then I read it again yesterday. And now I'm finally getting around to writing this review. Sometimes these things just don't happen as quickly as we'd like.
I love the contrasts that you were able to draw out between Venn and Helena in this chapter. At nearly every turn, Venn's aloof, aristocratic, snobby and judgmental nature shines through. Compare that to Helena, who is joyful, warm, open and accepting and plainly doesn't fancy herself to be better than the commoners who celebrate around her.
Some of the little things I liked about Venn: The way that he's convinced the muggles are out to rob him, the way that his hand keeps gravitating to the hilt of his sword, the way that he can't fathom the idea of the muggles placing their faith in Saint John and wishing bountiful times upon everyone, the way that he feels to need to hide magic from the eyes of the muggles and the possessive, almost jealous way that he looks upon the Peverell man who woos his mother.
On the flip side, I loved the way that Helena takes joy in the simple act of dancing among the falling flower petals, the way that she joins the muggles in making their offering to Saint John, the way that she mingles freely among the commoners without fear or hesitation and especially the way that she seems to find Venn a little thick.
Another thing I really loved was the way that you blended elements of religion into this chapter without letting it steal the focus away from Venn and Helena. A lot of authors feel the need to make a big statement about religion one way or the other because it's a topic that JKR seems to consciously avoid in the books. Here, it forms a lot of the backdrop to the events in this chapter, but it doesn't detract anything or try to pull the reader into a philosophical discussion.
And I'd be completely remiss if I didn't commend you on the wonderful history lesson where the gloves were concerned! :)
Overall, a great chapter that really moves the story forward. And I'm pulling hard for you in the Pre-Hogwarts Ship Poll!
Author's Response: Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm just happy that you're continuing to follow the story!
This chapter was absolutely all about contrasts. I felt like a lot of people, me included, would want to dance and enjoy the festival along with Helena; Venn is far too stiff at this point to participate in such a thing. At this point in the story, I'm not surprised that you seem to be Team Helena. Hopefully you'll find yourself pulled back and forth as the story progresses.
Venn makes me laugh a little, because in parts like this, I think you can really see his relation to Salazar. He's pretty fussy about the Muggles and having to mingle with them. Still, as you see there at the end with the public proposal, he knows how to command their attention and use his power to his advantage.
Helena, though, she's a real flower child. She's mostly been raised with positive energy--and most likely a father who lets her get what she wants. It's no wonder that she can find a way to feel at home no matter where she goes.
Haha, thanks, I was trying not to let the religious aspects of this chapter feel too overpowering. It was interesting to explore all that might have been involved with a special occasion like this, and to see where magic and the wizarding nobility could fit into things.
I personally think the glove thing is quite romantic. I couldn't resist including it. Naturally, Helena will have to provide a favor of her own when she watches her man ride in her honor. But that's for another chapter...
Thanks for the wonderful review--and for pulling for me! I'm keeping my fingers crossed :)