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Review:Flavia says:
Oh wow. The beginning of this chapter was just incredible. Like terrorising and haunting and just amazing. It gave such a brilliant insight into the fear that Draco is experiencing and shows just how much the war and his interactions with Voldemort are ingrained into Draco's psyche.

The scene in the café was a really good way of showing the struggle that Draco is feeling about his decision to change. It isn't like he decided to be a better person and then 'bam' he's changed. It makes it so much more realistic that he's still struggling to keep away from alcohol. Even his actions towards Blaise and the other people in the café show that he is not this perfect person, there is so much pride and rage and darkness inside of him. I think that aspect of his characterisation is spot on - I cannot stand this attitude that some people take that Draco was this innocent victim who is so inherently good inside. He's still an arrogant, prejudiced bully who was horrible to a lot of people in his life because he had the power to. He does want to change but there's still that tension between the sense of entitlement he's always had and what he thinks might be a better choice.

I love that you have some people on the 'good' side who are still pretty aggressive and violent. With Harry, we saw someone who had such a good moral centre, who didn't believe in killing or hitting someone when their back was turned. I suppose with Dumbledore as a mentor he developed a real maturity about that. But the reality is that not everyone is like that. The oppressed can be as vicious and the oppressors if they are given enough power, these sort of things are rarely black and white and it shows such a sophisticated understanding of the world that you've shown these shades of grey in the survivors of the war.

I find Astoria's father to be a fascinating character! The fact that he thinks his prejudice is alright as long as he isn't trying to take over the world is brilliant. He's so quick to blame others for his own misfortune, he doesn't see his drop in status as something that is justified or a reason to open his mind and look at things differently; he sees it as a crime that has been committed against him by the death eaters - he believes he is the victim in all this when it's attitudes like his that caused the problems in the first place! I love the irony of him carrying on about how arrogant the Malfoy's are when he is his own brand of arrogance!

Again, the writing was beautiful, I couldn't spot any mistakes and I was captured by every word. Can't wait to read the next chapter :)

Author's Response: Whew! I'm really glad that you liked the nightmare scene at the beginning. I'm always worried about how that's going to come off. I had this really clear vision in my head of how it all looked, and I feel like it didn't come off quite right. At any rate, I'm glad it worked for you.

Draco is struggling a lot at this point. He's a recovering alcoholic, but all of his old "friends" still drink a lot. He's also struggling quite a bit with his own values. It isn't that he doesn't still think that his blood status and family history make him superior to others; he definitely does. But he knows that he's going to have to tone it down enormously if he's ever going to be accepted back into "polite" society. Zabini doesn't realize any of this. He's still living in his own world of post-war disaffection and rampant alcohol abuse.

The wizards inside the cafe aren't inherently bad people. But like most witches and wizards they suffered from the harsh conditions imposed by Voldemort's Death Eaters during the war. They probably lost people that they knew, either because they were muggle-born or just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So Zabini's diatribe sets them off.

You're absolutely right about Astoria's father. He's no saint. There really are no saints in this story. He's prejudiced and more than a little bit arrogant. He's also very naive about Voldemort. He truly believes that Voldemort was some sort of mentally unbalanced charismatic who never would have risen to power without the support of wealthy, old families like the Blacks and Malfoys. Obviously, that isn't true, but Mr. Greengrass doesn't know how powerful Voldemort truly was. So he assumes that the Blacks and Malfoys were playing kingmaker.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for the awesome review!


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