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Review:Debra20 says:
A great chapter, as expected. You warned me that this will be the beginning of the real story, that this chapter marks the start of their journey and I could definitely feel it. That feeling that something is amiss and not quite right.

I have to ask this because I'm still in awe at how successfully you managed to depict the trial scene: do you work in the law department or something connected with law enforcement? Because the trial scene was AMAZINGLY done. I couldn't shake off the feeling that I was sitting in an actual real life court room and was witnessing a trial unfold. It gave me chills.

I certainly didn't expect Percy to have been the one to kill the Muggle. I mean, it does seem a more logical explanation that any of the others could have done it but not him. Not that he couldn't do it because he lacked the knowledge, but he couldn't do it because he never gave the impression that he was a killer. This brings Percy to a whole different level to me. You've given him so much growth with this little scene, it's incredible.

You know, death and the feeling of losing someone is such a strange thing. You can empathize with people who suffered losses in their life but it's never the same as when you live it. Having lost someone dear to me a few days ago, gives a whole different perspective on what everyone is living with Ginny's death. It's like I'm reading a completely different story. I think the feeling of loss is like the feeling of being a parent: you can try and feel it as others do but when you yourself feel it, it's like nothing you've ever felt in those moments of empathy. My own mourning changed this story in so many ways for me. I see Harry in a new light.

I do enjoy the ominous feeling you've left clinging at the end of the chapter. The portrait's conversation opens up this new adventure for Harry that we've been hinted at since the first chapter. Can't wait!

Author's Response: Hi, there! What a nice surprise!

I think out of all the chapters in CoB, this is still one of the ones I'm most proud of. I actually don't have any legal background at all, aside from testifying in a couple of administrative hearings as an expert witness early in my career. I tried to capture some of the formality I've seen in courtroom scenes in books and movies and still keep a little of that "kangaroo court" feel that I remember from Harry's "trial" before the Wizengamot in OotP.

I'm glad that Percy didn't immediately come to your mind. I think it says a lot that the Ministry never suspected him, even though he was sent to the jail to watch over Stoops. If you're enjoying where his character is going so far, I think you're really going to like what happens with him later in the story. ;)

I'm really sorry to hear about your loss. I agree, it is very different when you're experiencing it firsthand. No matter what Harry does throughout this story -- and you'll see him wander pretty close to the edge at times -- I tried to keep in mind just how much he's still hurting. He never properly came to terms with Ginny's death, and it still eats at him day and night. But that does change somewhat by the end.

I always loved the idea of portraits being able to talk and share some of the personality of their subjects. I felt like they were under-used in the books. So I did my best to work them into this story on occasion.

I'm so pleased that you're enjoying this! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and reactions.

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