Surprise! I closed my eyes and picked a story and it was this one, but I'll be over to read some of your Oliver story soon!
I'm mostly going to go through the chapter in order, hitting on your AoCs as we get to them chronologically, but I apologize in advance if it's a bit disjointed. I actually read the chapter over two days so I'm having to try and decipher my own scribblings :P
Being a boyfriend was complicated, but James couldn't deny loving it. I just loved this line. He's falling into the role so well, but it's nice to see that while his affection for Lily comes naturally, knowing how to be a good boyfriend is a whole other matter. I also really liked the line Lily really had been born a Gryffindor. James always gets the credit for being the "true" Gryffindor of the group, but there has to be more to Lily than kindness and loyalty or she'd have been sorted into Hufflepuff. It's just a small line, I know, but I thought it was sweet.
I thought you handled the match perfectly. You've had some Quidditch before that you skipped over, and while I certainly didn't feel this needed a FULL account of the game, I liked that you didn't completely brush over it. I thought you tucked in just enough to hit the balance between looking like you just didn't want to write it out and boring the readers with an account that was longer than necessary. I thought you managed it perfectly.
Should I be worried about Polly? I feel like I should be worried about her. She's too adorable, but I'm afraid you're going to be a really cruel author and kill her off as a casualty of war.
I'm totally buying the way the suspicions are unfolding regarding Alrek. Using the Quidditch match as a way to jog that memory for Lily was very clever. Since we as the reader already know it's him, having them looking everywhere BUT at him would feel like you were intentionally dragging it out. I think this is perfect. They've made a very believable connection between what might have been said in his presence and what happened with Bella, and while they aren't ready to chase him down with pitchforks, they are bumping him waaay up the suspect list.
Aw... I loved the arrival of Gideon and Fabian and the way they rile up Moody the same way Fred and George might. I really enjoy when you write from McGonagall's perspective. You have a very nice way of humanizing her. And this is just another aside, but I really liked the line That allowed more time for someone to find a hole and break into it. I love this sorts of things -- the ones that get your brain churning on the inner (and often messy) workings of magic. And I think what Dumbledore said covers it all: we must allow him control of his own future, or we're no better than Voldemort's side.
Okay, last point. The characters. No, I don't feel the characters have been "created," if you mean in the sense that they do and say things that only meant to serve the plot. I think you've kept them true and consistent throughout. Though I should also add that I don't think creating characters to serve the plot is always a bad idea, as long as there is internal consistency and logic in why they do what they do. When it comes to characters, my philosophy is the messier the better. Real people are complicated, and characters should be to. Good guys should, on occasion, do mean, spiteful and foolish things, and bad guys who might not mind killing you can still me nice to their mothers and help old ladies cross the street :P
Ooops, I got a little sidetracked there. Sorry about that. I spotted some typos. Not sure if they'll fit. Anything that doesn't, I'll pm you. Another great chapter. I can't believe we're getting to the start of the end. Please don't kill Polly, okay?!?
-- Consequently, had to tell Frank and Sirius that they were expected to take their dates somewhere lovely, as well (I think this is missing a word)
-- James went through the calculations in his mind: They beat Slytherin the first match, Gryffindor scoring two-hundred and thirty points to Slytherin's ninety. (lowercase they)
-- Neither of those teams worried James too much, it was mainly Hufflepuff he was concerned about. (comma splice)
-- "No." He said firmly. ("No," he said...)
-- But no one is alone with him and, unless we somehow learn... (is to be alone)
-- Violet jetted through the air, her entire body forming to the the broom with the Hufflepuff... (double the)
-- ...but something about the way he'd been looking at her, the color of the dark blue... (eyes? is this missing a word at the end?)
-- "Polly, you were bloody amazing out there." The deep voice said followed by a sharp cough from McGonagall. (out there," the deep voice said)
-- Mr. Prewett and Mr. Prewett, if you would all care to take seat... (to take a seat)
-- I believe they aware of certain aspects as it is (they are aware)
-- He doesn't know what we are by name, but he understand that there... (he understands that)
-- He deserves to think through the offer presented by My. Henniway. (Mr)
-- Mr. Potter's future isn't he only that's been discussed this evening (isn't the only one that's)
Author's Response: Hiii! It was so hard for me not to respond to this review the second I saw it yesterday. I swear, works main goal in my life is to try and cut into my HPFF time :P!
It was a lot of fun getting to play back inside James's mind for a while in this. As much as I love writing from Lily's perspective, James is just really a ton of fun for me. I'm so happy you liked watching James sort of struggle with the actual being a boyfriend role. It's definitely still new for him :P! Though I think he has a lot easier of a time with it than Lily being a girlfriend...
Ahh I'm so happy you liked the match! I realized I couldn't actually take us away from it like before, but that didn't mean we had to be paying attention the entire time :P.
Polly is sweet, isn't she? Um. I don't know how to answer that question. She serves an important purpose during the next book. That's all I'm saying :P!
I really didn't love bringing Alrek into the list of suspicions, but then I figured having us know and having the group *kind of* know, but not really, would be a good balance. Like you said, if I wouldn't have looked at him it would have felt too drug out. I worried that jogging Lily's memory during the game felt too planned, so I'm really relieved you liked it!
The more I wrote McGonagall's perspective the more comfortable I get, but she still takes a million times longer to write than anyone else. Balancing the part of her that I think would be very caring with the woman we saw in the books is always a struggle for me. And you know how much I love jumping into those messier magic parts. If I wouldn't have actually been trying to entertain people with this story, it probably would have ended up being a 31 chaptered fic of nothing but classes and spells :P!
Ahhh I'm so happy the characters feel natural still!! Now that you mentioned it, I just realized how many I did create for a certain purpose, but I don't want them to feel like they only have that purpose. Though you don't know what those characters purposes are yet, so maybe I'll bring up this AoC after we get there. haha. I don't know if that paragraph made any sense :P.
Haaha I love your sidetrack moments. Especially the idea of a killer heading out and doing his thing then getting home and kissing his mom goodnight :P
Yay thank you for the typos! Those have already been edited in. Should i send you best unofficial beta in the word cupcakes??
Thank you so much for another absolutely amazing review, Becky! ♥