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Review:nott theodore says:
I loved getting more of a back story on Helga at the beginning of this chapter and it's really nice to imagine her being friends with Rowena for years before the creation of Hogwarts. It made me laugh that it's not only a Hufflepuff, it's the Hufflepuff, who is playing peacemaker between mother and daughter here. It's nice that she cares so much about them, and the portrayal of her as something of a free spirit is quite intriguing, but I would say that her advice leaves something to be desired. It's not very wise to put the idea of running away into your best friend's daughter's head without even speaking to your best friend about her side of the story!

Salazar is frightening in this chapter. To think that he has been planning the Chamber and the basilisk so meticulously for two years is horrible, and it's easy to see where Voldemort got those sorts of genes from (even if there was a thousand years separating the two). What makes it even scarier is that Salazar is so intent on protecting blood purity in the magical community that he is prepared to kill - in fact he seems excited at the prospect of murdering students in the school he founded. I've always thought that the blood purity line was something of an excuse for Voldemort to get what he wanted and the following that he needed, but here Salazar has taken his values to extremes.

Venn seemed absolutely terrified of the basilisk, and I don't really blame him. It's unfair for Salazar to place such a weight on his shoulders by telling him about it, although I'm interested to know why (far into the future) the Bloody Baron does nothing to help the school when he knows what the creature is. But I do like his humility here, and despite the many Slytherin traits he possesses, he is a much more human character than his uncle. He also appears to be maturing, though I don't know whether that is because of the prospect of his marriage or taking control of his kingdom.

And it seems that the couple both love each other now - or think they do at least. It was quite chilling to see what Helena's role as a wife was expected to be; provide an heir for the family and the 'noble bloodline' and manage the servants. There is nothing mentioned about love, and that emphasises how strange it was for a match to be made on it. That sort of attitude clearly remained for centuries afterwards, because it reminds me of what Sirius' family was like; everything was about duty and family honour.

In one way I'm glad that Venn refused to run away with Helena, but I think that could possibly cause more conflict in their relationship in the future. I'm a bit confused as to where Edeline came from at the very end of the chapter, though, because as far as I can see you haven't mentioned at any earlier point.

nott theodore :)

Author's Response: Hi NT! Sorry these last couple of responses are coming a little late; I've been a bit overwhelmed at work lately and just haven't had a lot of free time.

It's great that you liked getting to know Helga a little better here. I find her very entertaining to write and view her as a sort of model for Helena in encouraging her to be headstrong and not be afraid to buck tradition. Unfortunately, as you pointed out, she can appear as a little too much of a contrast to Rowena's more traditional wisdom at times, and it was definitely not the wisest thing to counsel Helena without consulting Rowena. Helga definitely means well, but I'm sure it would break Rowena's heart if she knew what her closest friend had done.

I sort of view Voldemort as having used the blood purity argument to build the foundations of his power, especially given that he wasn't even a pure-blooded wizard. Salazar, though, believes in it with all his heart, because he's terrified of a world in which magic is 'diluted' and spread out and shared with everyone. It's great that you're beginning to see the contrasts emerge between Venn and his uncle--if only Rowena was able to see them so easily. Several reviewers have brought up the question of why Venn didn't tell anyone at Hogwarts about the Basilisk, and I intend to answer that question toward the story's end, so thank you for bringing it up :)

Love is definitely optional for marriage at this time, but I've tried to show that it can grow even in other than ideal circumstances. As Venn and Helena have gotten to know each other, they can identify things within each other's spirits that forge a connection between them. They both see a slight hint of rebellion, which would be intriguing to most people, I think. Only time will tell if that intrigue could turn into a lasting, loving relationship...

Are you saying you don't know how Edeline is or why she appears in this scene? If the former, she's Venn's mother, and she first made an entrance in chapter two. If the latter, she appears because Helena rode to Venn's estate to try to convince him to come away with her, and Venn met her in the orchard on his family's property. Edeline was just watching them from the castle in the distance.

Thanks for your lovely review!

-Amanda


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