Has it really been more than month since I reviewed? That's shameful. Thumbs down for me. Oh, and congratulations on finishing your 5K! Running is one of my least and most favorite things to do... depending on the day :P
I really like Isadore. If Astoria is the heroine from a Jane Austen novel, Isadore is the slightly less insightful but always up for a bit of good gossip best friend. She offers a nice balance for Astoria, and a good character for her to play off of. She's a bit more shallow than Astoria, but in her own way, far less naïve. She's interested in the drama of it all -- the sneaking around, the scandal, the snogging. It's all very teenage-girl of her. Astoria, on the other hand, is wondering if Draco is her "one true love," and seemingly blind to the fact that while he did what he did under threat of death, there were a lot of people on the side of good who did what they did in SPITE of the fact that they might be killed at any moment. It's very enjoyable to watch as Astoria tries to figure it all out.
Oh, and the line: Bad ideas were so much easier to spot when they came from somebody else's lips. Brilliant... and so incredible true!
Hooray for Snape! I love when he pops up in a story. I can't help myself. He'll always be my favorite. Aside from that, in the context of the story though, he makes a great addition. He really does have good perspective on the issue. He knew what Draco did and why he did it. But he also isn't one to give credit where credit isn't due. I loved his line: To truly be evil requires a courage in one's convictions that neither Draco nor his father will ever possess. A compliment and an insult all tied up in one pretty package. In other words, Draco isn't malicious, just spineless. So Snape!!
Well, I can't say I'm surprised at Lucius, though he's an idiot if he hasn't learned his lesson by now. And poor Draco. All that hard work down the drain. The fall is so much harder the second time around.
And can I just say how much I loved the line: Dark curses had a way of consuming strong emotions, leaving him feeling pleasantly numb. What a cool concept. It's almost as if dark curses take something from the caster without them really realizing it. It's almost like a drug that leaves a high, which is really only the byproduct of it killing off brain cells. There has to be a story in there somewhere!
Okay, I'm going to offer a bit of CC, which you can take or leave as you see fit. I noticed something in this chapter -- a tendency to "announce" the impending dialogue instead of just jumping right in. A few examples:
-- Isadore interrupted her silent contemplation, lowering the tone of her voice and sounding very serious.
-- A tense moment passed before McGonagall's clipped Scottish brogue filled the silence.
-- She heard him snort in response before continuing.
-- As soon as the door closed behind the Headmistress, her father fixed her with a glare and spoke in a low, angry voice.
-- Lucius laced his fingers together and forced a smile onto his face before speaking.
Variety is the spice of life, and of course, a long conversation with no narration is also a problem, but personally, I think it might punch up the scenes of bit to allow a bit more uninterrupted back and forth in the dialogue. I think the breaks are mostly unnecessary, and I'm not sure if you do it intentionally, but you almost never string together more than two pieces of dialogue without a narrative break. Anyway, just some food for thought to do with as you wish. It was just something I noticed and thought I'd pass along.
Just a couple of typos. Otherwise another lovely chapter. I can't wait to see the repercussions of Draco's fall off the wagon.
-- They stone gargoyle regarded her with a disinterested expression and spoke before moving aside (The stone)
-- If it is your wish that she no longer participate our visits to Hogsmeade, that is your prerogative (participate in our)
-- This was one of those times where it was essential to be a a good pure blood daughter (double a)
-- Yes, I want you to make well reasoned decisions (well-reasoned)
-- No longer will be be forced to endure the petty torments of blood traitors and mudbloods (will we be)
Author's Response: Hi, there!
First off, thanks for the typos! I went through and corrected them all. And I completely understand what you mean about "announcing" dialog. Writing in this style of separating the dialog is driving me insane. Once I finish this story... never again! Well, unless I feel like it. ;) But even then, I will be careful not to "lead in" to the dialog.
Isadore winds up being a sort of mirror that Astoria can stare into and see some of her own less desirable traits. It helps that Astoria has a friend like Isadore who's a little shallow and self-absorbed and dramatic. Astoria can see those bad traits more easily in somebody else. And you're right, Isadore is more worldly than Astoria, particularly when it comes to the opposite sex. That's about to become a pretty big deal in chapter 10...
Originally, I had Dumbledore offering a bit of advice to Astoria. But it dawned on me that he really had no significance in her life, while Snape was both her Head of House and Draco's "protector". So it made more sense to use him. I thought that line sounded so much like Snape, I fell in love with it right away.
Yes, Lucius is a total idiot. And the problem is that the entire family is already skating on such thin ice that even Lucius's pathetic attempt to regain his "relevance" as a force of evil could land them in big trouble. So Draco is understandably furious.
The bit about dark curses draining away unpleasant emotions was an idea I came up with while I was writing CoB. It clicked really well for me, because it cast characters like Voldemort in an interesting light, I thought. Maybe the reason he had to keep using the Killing Curse again and again was to temporarily ease the pain of his shattered soul? Whether or not it makes total sense, it became my theory and I'm sticking to it!
Thank you for such a thoughtful, thorough review! I love readers who can see the forest and the trees, so to speak.