I feel left out having not read the Conspiracy of Blood Jeremy Gamp means nothing to me. Well, I suppose once all of my exams are over it will give me an excuse to read it ;) This probably sounds really minor but I liked the addition about wizarding whiskeys, itís so nice to see the author go to the extra effort to include that and it gives you a better sense of the magical society.
I really loved this line Ė ĎIn truth, he wanted nothing more than to stand up and leave.í It just showed how much Draco had changed by no longer wanting to be with them. I think youíve shown his transition from a Death Eater to someone who no longer fully agrees with their views perfectly, and all of his actions throughout the story perfectly correlate with this moment. It kind of makes you wonder what he would have been like without Astoria as she was a big help in him reaching this point.
This may sound weird but Iím really liked this Gamp person. Obviously I donít like his personality, but he seems to be the perfect villain, one that you hate so much you end up loving him for that reason. Iím guessing that heís the main antagonist in CoB? If so these is an even bigger motivating factor to get round to reading it, because what theyíre discussing now is probably foreshadowing for the book.
It was strange to see Draco stick up for his family, yet it seemed sense that he would do so. Even though he probably doesnít agree with what they did then, he isnít the type to sit there and just let Flint offend his family however he wants. I liked this spark in Draco as it was reminiscent of his often quick temper we see in the books.
I found another line I loved Ė ĎZabini was a lover, not a fighter.í I donít what it was about this line but it fitted perfectly with my mental image of Zabini as I always imagined him as a lover. I really liked how you didnít make Zabini perfect and best friends with Draco as Iíve seen that done a lot, so what you did was a refreshing change. I never imagined him to be so revolutionary, but then again, we know so little about Zabini you can really manipulate him to be whatever you want him to be.
After what you said about Zabini being of a higher class to Gamp and Flint I really began to pick that up in every aspect of them. It was subtle enough for it not to be in your face, but it was done subconsciously so you still picked up on it. I think it was their mannerisms and speech which pulled it off and it was most obvious when Gamp called Draco a ponce.
I liked learning about the legend of the tiara, like the whiskey, it was a really nice touch and made a simple object a lot more interesting. I really like the clear difference youíre showing between Daphne and Astoria, as I always wondered why Draco didnít end up with Daphne considering they were in the same year, and we have an explanation here.
I really enjoyed that scene between Narcissa and Astoria, it was perfectly done. Narcissaís understanding of the situation was great, and she just seem to instinctively know how to handle Astoria and how to say the right thing. I liked how she recognised how much Astoria had done for Draco, and it seems as if she was giving her blessing for their relationship.
I really enjoyed that chapter and I canít wait for the next!
Author's Response: Hi, there!
I don't normally respond to reviews out of order, but one thing you said made me do enough of a double-take that I felt like I needed to answer you right away. I really, really doubt that you'll like Jeremy Gamp after reading CoB. I won't spoil anything for you, but suffice it to say that he does some genuinely horrible things. Obviously, there's no way you could know this, but when I read it in your review it leapt off the page at me because I don't think *anyone* who read CoB liked Gamp by the end of the story.
Anyway, you're right about Draco. The war changed him drastically, and his relationship with Astoria has helped him continue to change in a positive way. He no longer has any desire to associate with the likes of Gamp, Flint and Zabini. And it isn't because he doesn't agree with them about muggles and muggle-borns, he's just seen enough war and death to last a lifetime and he doesn't want any part of any new conflict. Moreover, he knows that they are doomed to fail.
Draco is the sort, I think, that will always stick up for his family if he perceives that an "outsider" is insulting them. That's just the way he was raised, and nothing is ever going to change it. He may think that Lucius is the biggest fool in the world at this point, but he'll still defend his father against someone who isn't part of the family.
I don't think that Zabini is as much a revolutionary as he is disenchanted and impressionable. He no longer sees the "golden future" that he was expecting when pure bloods were the "royalty" of the wizarding world and held enormous influence over the Ministry. Combine that with all of the big talk that Gamp, Flint and the others are filling his head with, and he's really started to believe that they are destined to "retake" their world. He is much too naive to realize just what a dumb thing they're doing.
The tiara filled a need I had to draw out the differences between Daphne and Astoria, but also to show that Astoria is still a teenage girl who's still prone to moments of juvenile behavior and silly rivalries. After the first few chapters, I really started to worry that she seemed too old for her years, so I wanted to show some different sides of her.
Ugh. So I'm feeling shades of deja vu as I reread the conversation between Astoria and Narcissa. When I started writing Marked, it was meant to be a "Draco story", but Narcissa stole the show in a few places. It's a hard temptation to resist. For one thing, her story is so tightly intertwined with Draco's. Also, I find her to be one of the most interesting characters JKR created: this very different version of what a mother is supposed to be compared to Lily Potter or Molly Weasley, yet her love for Draco is obviously no less and in the end she plays a very important part in making Voldemort's defeat possible.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed this. I don't think I've ever had quite this much difficulty writing a chapter where I went in knowing exactly what I wanted to do. Hopefully the next one will be a bit easier. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reactions!