Oh, yay! New update! (Well, newish. It's the first time I'm seeing it, anyway.)
This was a great chapter overall, but I want to mention a couple little mechanical things that felt a bit awkward before getting down to everything that was good about it.
In the beginning, the descriptions of how Brienne's friends are reacting to this very startling news didn't always come off as well as they could have. I felt like you were trying to emphasise how important and dramatic the moment is - which is good - but in the process you ended up describing things in a bit too much detail, which felt out of place in the context of the rest of the story. I also think that you were a bit too careful to give everyone equal face time, which took me away from Brienne's perspective (which is something you're typically very good at getting across).
For example, in dialogue at the very beginning (paragraphs 2-4), I think you could have collapsed things a bit. For one thing, if they all spoke at the same time she probably wouldn't have really understood each distinct sentence, especially given how stunned she was that she'd blurted it out. I think that everyone talking at once probably would have overwhelmed her more, and she might have just caught a little bit of each. She's feeling disoriented right now - leaving the readers initially unsure about how her friends are taking the news would have helped bring us further into her frame of mind.
Alternatively, you could have made it so that they didn't all talk at once. Fred could have said his line, then George could have said his, and you could have left Angelina's out since she says essentially the same thing a little while later. Either choice would have helped draw me into Brienne's frame of mind a bit more.
The same thing was true of the fifth paragraph - if Brienne's head is in her hands, how does she know what they're all doing? Again, I wanted to be drawn into her emotional state, which is something you typically do quite well. Just redirecting the perspective so it's really all about her, like this -
Brienne had her head in her hands. She couldn't believe what she had just blurted out to her friends. She was having a very hard time breathing, and she could feel tears starting to trickle out of her eyes. What on Earth had she been thinking?
She could hear one of her friends get up and begin to pace the room. The other two were silent.
"Brienne, y-you don't have to think that way," Angelina finally said. "It could be a coincidence."
- would have been a bit better, for me.
I also felt like some of the dialogue tags were a little out of place and unnecessary. In the fourth paragraph, I think just having, "George sounds as if he had" would have been sufficient, and a bit later on, I wasn't sure why Fred was literally yelling.
It wasn't bad - it just wasn't quite as strong as I think you're capable of.
Other than that, though, this was a(mother) great chapter. I loved the way you depicted her friends' reaction after that initial bit, especially the bit where George hugs her, and the brief conversation about taking her to see Dumbledore/McGonagall that ended with Fred pointing out that wandering around the castle wasn't the greatest idea was a nice way to contextualise things and remind us what else had happened that night.
I also liked the fact that you didn't let the very important canon occurence slip to the back burner - it was clear that there were other important (and more immediate) things going on, and Brienne definitely seemed to acknowledge that, especially regarding George and Fred. You balanced Brienne's issues with what was happening in canon really well, IMO.
That wasn't really surprising, of course - that's what you've been doing for the entire story, and it's part of what makes Joker such a pleasure to read. You never neglect what was happening in canon, but it's still a fundamentally different story in many ways from the books themselves - it's a balance that I think many authors who write OC-centric fics set in the Hogwarts era really struggle to find, but you continue to impress me with your ability to do so in a way that comes off as seamless and genuine.
This was another terrific chapter. I can't wait for the next one! ♥
Author's Response: Hey! Ah, it's so good to read your reviews again xD When I read your name I squeed.
You know, I KNEW when I was writing that that it wasn't quite right xD It just seemed too methodical and, yeah, detailed. Thanks for saying exactly how I could make it better, cause I just couldn't figure it out xD
Yeah, making sure Brienne was having her own crises that wasn't overshadowed or tiny next to the canon things going on, that was important to me.
Thanks for including the word "seamless" in a review, that makes my day :D Thank you!