Oh, Bellatrix. Why are you so darn creepy?! And of course I liked the scene. I always like all the scenes you write her in. This one in particular had a lovely mix of the physical and the mental. This sort of zoomed-in shot of her in an otherwise private moment is super impactful. And it is so very ironic that she should be so focused on control when we know she ends up being so manic by the end of it all.
I don't think it's odd to ask about the characters at all! This is, after all, a very character-driven story. I feel like you've sort of got two questions rolled into one, so I'll try and hit on them both separately. First, if by "molded into themselves" you mean that each character feels distinct and displays internal consistency throughout the story, then absolutely yes! We've seen each of the main cast in enough different situations now to get a really good feel for who they are as people. Lily changes slightly when she's talking just to Belle or Alice, and again when it's with Remus or Sirius, or of course, with James. And she's always much more formal when adults are in the room. But she's always consistently herself, adapting to her "environment," which is very true to life. The same is true for the rest of the cast too. It's totally clear to me as a reader that you really know your characters inside and out, and that you never manipulate them just to serve some greater purpose to the plot.
Realism is a bit harder to address, but I'll do by best! The characters definitely feel real in that you depict them as having full, realistic lives. I see a lot of stories with school-aged characters who never seem to go to class, have homework, deal with family issues, etc. The characters lack depth, which is definitely not true for your cast. Everyone has a back story. Some characters we know more about than others, but it doesn't feel like any of them cease to exist when they aren't center stage. And they definitely aren't clones of each other. None of them have "perfect" lives, but they all come to the table with their own strengths and weaknesses, and none of them fall into the trap of being a stock character.
If you *really* want me to nitpick on something, I'd say that sometimes the gang come off a bit mature for their age. Well, no. That isn't exactly right either. Obviously these characters are going to be more mature than some of the their peers. Otherwise it's unlikely they'd have been recruited for the Order at such a young age. Plus they've been through a lot, and that tends to mature people quickly. So it isn't really their emotions that feel "too mature," but maybe more the way they are so able to eloquently express them...
I didn't think the part with Alice came off too harsh at all. I thought her parents were pretty rude and stuck-up, but I didn't get the impression that they were ever cruel to Alice, or mistreated her in someway. Mistreat the house elf? Yes. Their daughter? Not so much :P Some parents just aren't engaged with their children. It's actually nice from a literary perspective to see parents who aren't perfect without descending into issues of abuse.
I feel like this review is extra short for some reason. Sorry about that. I guess I'm just saving up for the big chapter ahead. I can't wait to read both the showdowns -- the wedding and a confrontation. Yikes!
And here are just a few typos I spotted. Also, there are a few passive voice sentences that might be clearer and more impactful if written in a more active voice. They aren't wrong as is, and I only pulled a few as examples, but I thought I'd point them out in case you wanted to take a second look. I put up a more active sentence for comparison, but it's only meant as a suggestion, since the others aren't wrong. Otherwise, another excellent chapter, and I've got a feeling it only gets better from here!
-- The ones who were born to live and breathe magic, crushing out those who were too underserving of the gift. (undeserving)
-- The idea of it sent a chill of pleasure shuddering through Bellatrix. (passive: Bellatrix shuddered with pleasure at the idea of it)
-- A few years from now, it would only be those of the purest blood that held their heads high in public. It would only be those who had nothing but magic in their veins that stepped through the doors of Hogwarts. (passive: A few years from now, only those with the purest blood would be able to hold their heads high in public. Only those who had nothing but magic in their veins would step through the doors of Hogwarts.)
-- James's room was on the other side of the hall, and the Mr. and Mrs. Potter were on the floor below them... (and Mr. and Mrs. Potter)
-- He was about to curse me in is sleep, I'm fairly certain (in his sleep)
-- Sirius's was forced to stifle a laugh. (Sirius was forced)
-- She could almost hear her father's pretensions voice commenting of the quality of the wood used to carve the massive, ornate dining table. (...hear her father's pretentious voice commenting on the quality of...)
-- "Suit yourself." Alice answered, her tone now nothing but sweet. (comma after yourself)
-- They said their goodbyes to Sirius as well, wishing him luck on his own excursion with Belle, before linking hands with Lily. (The end of this sentence isn't right. You have "they say" but the last bit is referring only to James, right? Maybe... before linking hands.)
--"Well, that's nothing new." Alice finally said. (comma after new)
"Thanks, Kitts," Alice said, her voice as warm as ever, before smiling at the elf and sending it on it's way. (on its way)
-- The closer she got to the family room, knowing Sirius would be waiting their, the slower her feet seemed to move. (waiting there)
Huh, I guess I should have asked you if you WANT me to point out typos. Some people don't, some do. Feel free to tell me to knock it off in your response if you'd rather I didn't :)
Author's Response: No I love you pointing out typos!!! Even more than that, I love that you point out what they are.
I'm really, really happy the characters feel realistic. That's what I worry most about... that and their personalities coming through the way I want them to. I honestly didn't think I would ever get half as close to these people. I know you understand what I mean after your Rose and Krum excursion...it's just crazy. It's crazy that I have all these feelings for people that don't exist and people I didn't create (although, I did create quite a bit of them... :P).
I agree with them feeling like they're able to sort of get out what they want to say a bit more maturely than most people their age. I hope that isn't something you dislike about the story, though... because I really don't know if I'd be able to change it at this point. There too much like that in my head...
I'm really happy that Alice's parents didn't come off as cruel. I was afraid after reading a few other reviews they might have. And like you said, they just aren't involved. They have their money, their lives, and their daughter is sort of just there. They do love her in their way, they just aren't the motherly and fatherly type. I'm so happy you picked up on all that, because it was something I worried about.
I have to stop this response now because I can not wait another second to request for the next chapter. I've been SO EXCITED to see what you think about it.
Honestly, the chapter was pretty short, and it didn't have a ton to review on. So I think all things considering, your review is absolutely perfect ;).
I've edited in the typos, but not the passive ones you pointed out. I want to wait for those until later when I can really read through it and see why I worded it that way/how to stop.
Thank you again, Becky ♥