Hello, again! So first off, awesome way to end the chapter! Like anyone isn't going to keep reading after seeing that. In fact, as soon as I'm done writing this review... ;)
Before I dive right into Ron and Hermione, I wanted to mention that I really like what you've done and what you continue to do with Hugo. He seems like a great combination of hard-earned wisdom and slightly goofy little brother. All of the challenges he must have faced when coming out into a family that's pretty sharply divided at times between the doggedly traditional (Ron) and the super-over-enthusiastically progressive (Hermione) really come through in his pep talk to Rose. He's well rounded in his limited appearances and seems like a really good guy to have around.
I don't think you could have done much better writing Ron and Hermione. Rose has driven them both far out of their comfort zones, both in general terms that would bother any parent -- having to deal head-on with their daughter's indiscreet sexual escapades -- and on a topic that's obviously very personal for both of them. Your Ron was brilliant, trying to recuse himself from the entire, ugly matter but failing utterly when his sarcasm and temper get the best of him. Then Hermione was unable to stop herself from taking the bait. I loved it! This is how Ron and Hermione have dealt with difficult situations for as long as they've been friends. They turn on one another and fight and argue until they wear themselves out to the point where they can slow down and think rationally again.
Poor Rose is stuck in the middle of the storm, but she seems to be used to it. It was as if Rose had suddenly gone invisible. I think that one line sums it up perfectly. The argument stopped being about Rose about two rounds into the fight. Now it's just Ron and Hermione, doing what they do best.
I thought it was sweet, the way that you let Rose and Hermione share the sort of mother-daughter moment that seemed to take both of them back to a simpler time in their lives. It appears that things will never be that simple again. Gah! I was so bummed that Hermione ducked the question about her relationship with Krum. Not surprised, really, but bummed.
The balance of the chapter sort of eases into the big finale. One more line that I had to highlight as I was reading: Still, she had to admit, the man’s ability to deny reality was astounding. Nobody can ignore the unsettling parts of reality quite like Ron!
So why on earth is Krum's second wife visiting Rose? This should be very interesting indeed!
Before I wrap this up, a couple of minor typos:
She felt the red-hot glares of her co-workers burning into as she passed through the halls. burning into her
Facing her parents was nearly as bad as she’d expected, at least not at first. - wasn't nearly as bad?
This is getting so exciting, and all of the major players seem to be coming together! Back soon...
Author's Response: I'm so glad you're continuing to like Hugo. I tried really hard to keep him from becoming a stock character, and I also didn't want him to feel too similar to Albus. I hope they each bring something different to Rose, and I thought it might be fun to have him as the wiser of the two siblings, being the younger brother and all. He's already been on his journey to find himself and can guide Rose a bit as she goes through her own now, but still with that irreverent air of a little brother.
Hooray! I'm so happy you liked Ron and Hermione. This is the first time I've ever written the pair center-stage before and I really wanted to find that balance between being true to who they were as teenagers but also acknowledging that people mature and mellow as they age. I don't think they have a bad marriage, just a tumultuous one. Fighting IS what they do best. They just manage to make it work anyway.
And I'm so glad you like that line!! It's really the foundation of how I see Ron. Sometimes it's a good trait -- being in denial probably made him able to go through all he did with Harry. And here it keeps his temper in check. But it does put a wall up between him and his children, which is sad but hopefully true to life.
I was afraid it might feel like I chickened out a bit on the Rose/Hermione scene, but the truth was, there really wasn't much to say. I don't have in my head that anything happened between Hermione and Krum beyond what we saw in GoF, so it would only be a rehash to the reader. Also, I thought it actually might feel a little lame -- like a non-issue when said aloud. "Oh, he sent me a few letters and we went to a dance together. We kissed once or twice when I was 14, but I never liked him all that much." Not really a scandalous story, and it felt like it might almost diminish the oddness or potential creepiness of the situation, which I think stems more from what does Krum want with the daughter of a girl he used to like than anything else. Anyway, hopefully it didn't feel like I skipped something important there, though I do wonder...
Thanks for another amazing review!!