|Review:||nott theodore says:|
I finally have a break in my exams, which means that I have a chance to read this for the first time since I saw it was updated a few days ago. As always, this was another fantastic chapter!
Somehow, and I'm still trying to work out how you managed it, the process of cleaning and preparation for the engagement celebrations was actually interesting. I loved seeing the process from the perspective of the servants, who do all of the work and get little reward from it. The effort that they put into everything emphasises how much the rich liked to show off their wealth; the two families were already famous, but their engagement had to be celebrated with a sumptuous feast.
One aspect that I love about this story is that you're not afraid to gloss over the flaws in Helena's character. It would be easy to portray her as a perfect person who was driven away by the faults of others, but here she isn't. The way that she runs away from the party rather than facing up to her problems illustrates that fact, as does the growing rift between her and her mother (though of course Rowena should take some blame there too). She's quite headstrong and obstinate when she believes she's in the right, and it's rather sad that she doesn't believe that her mother is actually quite ill. I wonder if the outcome of this story would be any different if she actually knew that Rowena was sick.
I do like the fact that Rowena's absence gives us a chance to see more of Witter. I don't envy him for his position between his wife and daughter!
You wove the locket and the diadem into this chapter very cleverly. I remember realising the locket-Selwyn connection to Umbridge when I first realised that Venn was Salazar's nephew, but I enjoyed seeing it here again. And of course the diadem - I think the suggestion that Rowena lent it to Helena for her wedding is a very plausible way about how she would have obtained it. I also enjoyed the way in which Rowena and Salazar's attitudes towards their prized possessions mirrored the other's.
I get the impression that the honeymoon period is over for Venn and Helena, and they're both starting to notice aspects of the other's personality that they turned a blind eye to before. Salazar has definitely had an influence on Venn and his beliefs, and is probably manipulating him to some extent as far as the ideas of pureblood supremacy are concerned. Venn also has a clear view of women being inferior, which is difficult for Helena to accept since she's grown up with equal status to men in her household. The cracks are beginning to show in their relationship, and I can see why they're incompatible and the ending will be so tragic.
Another element I really enjoyed was the argument between Godric and Salazar. I loved seeing Godric have a much stronger role in this chapter and I love the idea that the rifts between the Founders were happening alongside the downfall of Helena and Venn's relationship.
I can definitely understand the servant's reasons for thinking that Helena was acting like a spoiled princess, but I think the main reasons behind her actions were because she can't face up to the reality. In a way, I think that Helena's education has made it even more difficult for her to cope with following the social conventions; she's bound to feel more trapped than someone who hasn't been taught to think for herself. It's so interesting to see this not only as a story about Helena and Venn, but as a reflection of the traditions of the time as well.
I'm so sad to know that this story is coming to an end, partly because I know that things are going to get a lot worse for the amazing characters you've created, but also because I'm enjoying reading this so much that I kind of don't want the story to end at all. And I'm extremely flattered that you mentioned me in your Author's Note!
Author's Response: Hello Sian, thank you for stopping by! I apologize that this response took a few days :)
I'm pleased to hear that you found the prep work interesting. I wanted to do some perspective-switching and go with the servants for a few brief moments. Clearly Venn and Helena had an elaborate celebration planned, and it's too bad things didn't go well.
I am so glad you pointed out the idea of Helena having flaws, because I totally agree--her running from the party instead of dealing with her disagreement with Venn like an adult just goes to show that she's not ready to be a wife and she has some selfish tendencies just like he does. It's also sad, like you said, that she's closed herself off to her mother and grown rather bitter toward her.
Yes, do keep an eye on that diadem! This feast will not be the last you see of it.
I would say that yeah, the honeymoon is over really before it had even begun. Venn is similar to Salazar; he may not want to fight for outright pureblood supremacy, but he does believe in protecting his position, and he's become rather paranoid with the entrance of Nentres and his confusing feelings about Helena. He never expected to actually fall for the woman he was going to marry, and with that love comes the possibility of caving to her desires, even if they differ from his own. Helena, as we've mentioned, is clearly still very childish and petulant at times and can't stand the thought of everything not being just like it is at home, except that her parents both adore her and her husband dotes upon her. The idea of giving up her freedom and unconventional lifestyle is suffocating to her, though I would probably feel the same way.
It's great to hear that you like Godric's appearance. I tried to take reviewers' opinions into consideration and give him a role more worthy of his status in the Potterverse's history.
You're welcome for the mention--your reviews have energized me about finishing this story. I'm excited to see what you think of the next chapter, which will hopefully be out soon.
Thank you for this fantastic review, Sian :)