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Review:CambAngst says:
Hi!

I absolutely loved the cold, distant, Victorian relationship that you created between Bellatrix and her father. One of my favorite recurring themes throughout Before They Fall has been Bella's obsessive need to be in control. She's all about mental and physical discipline. This was such a nice vision of where that all-consuming passion for control came from. Everything about her interactions with her father, his associates and his underlings was about suppressing all of the behaviors that come naturally to a ten-year-old child and being Cygnus Black's perfect pure blood daughter. She was so extreme in her determination that it was almost creepy.

You have already collected Sirius, Bellatrix and Regulus in BTF and now I think you've added another Black family member to your cupboard of perfect characters. I thought that the way you wrote Cygnus was terrific. It was all about the small details with him: the way that he only acknowledges Bella when they're alone, the pride that he takes in her rude, dismissive treatment of the hostess at the restaurant and the way that he uses his very rare compliments to feed her need for perfection. Topping it all off, once the sun rises on a new day, yesterday's triumphs are old news to him. Bella is right back at square one.

In spite of the fact that he's a complete and utter bastard to her, Bella obviously lives to please him. Again, you've reinforced a precedent that we see again and again in BTF. I'm not sure Bella has any idea how to live for herself. It's as though she smoothly transitioned her subjugation of self and desperate need for approval from Cygnus to Voldemort without missing a beat. Poor Rodolphus never even factored into the equation, it seems.

The ugly conversation Bella and her father share about muggle-borns was the final element that you incorporated, and it filled in another important facet of her (deranged) mindset. Her hatred of those who don't come from a pure blood line obviously comes directly from her father. The viciousness of the comments they make was breathtaking. I am almost frightened to read what comes out of her mouth when and if this story reaches the aftermath of Andromeda running away with Ted Tonks.

I think that's mostly all of the good stuff. Just to keep it all balanced, a few typos and other things that I noticed as I was reading:

Students that think just because they posses a wand they’re as good as you... as good as the few amount of pure-blood families we have left. - "few amount" sounds a bit strange. Maybe "small number"?

She was not addressed for the remainder of the meal, therefor not permitted to speak, but she didn’t mind. - therefore

Belle let her mind wander and began thinking of what the next few days would bring. - Bella. (Freudian slip? :p )

She supposed it had a lot to do with all that she’d learned that day, and couldn’t wait to tell her sister’s that she’d gotten to attend a business dinner with Father. - "and she couldn't wait to tell her sisters that..."

As she neared the dining room and Cygnus’s became recognizable, - "... and Cygnus's face became..."

I'm sure you're laughing at me right now. No, I can't turn it off.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying this story. It adds even more depth to her twisted, terrifying character. It's really fun to see how her head got bent so badly. Nice job!

Author's Response: Dan Dan Dan!!!

I've really think Bellatrix had to have some sort of daddy issues. Not that she wouldn't be crazy regardless--- either a person has it in them to murder others or they don't--- but I do think that Cygnus's treatment of her, or more so the fact it was just as easy for him to ignore her as it was to pay attention, started the ball rolling for her to need a certain kind of approval.

I don't think Bellatrix could have been *just* that devoted to Voldemort. We saw over and over that she cared nothing for her own life and everything for how valued she was by Voldemort. So having her start those feelings young in a less of an extreme scale felt right. Her father's approval is the only one she seeks until Voldemort comes along. And we'll of course see how little Rodolphus got tangled into all this.

I'm so happy you liked Cygnus! He wasn't as hard for me to write as I thought he would be... I think I was just in that right mindset at the time. Mwahaha.

Thank you for the typos &hearts, and yes, i was laughing at you. Hahaha. But you know, in that loving sort of way ;)

I'm so happy you're enjoying this new little project so far!


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