Girl talk! Aside from the general humor surrounding Astoria's ... predicament, I was actually blown away by how girly the talk was! You captured the spirit of curios, confused and scared teenage girls perfectly. Another thing I loved was the humor of the situation. It's a very thin line between funny and inappropriate in these kinds of situations and you described things in such a way that made us understand what they were referring to, all the while making it hilarious to read!
Now, onto the Draco part. Just when I thought this couldn't get any more interesting you just set the awesome level so much higher! The interview part was a delight to read, just like the parts where JKR herself described the various magical ingredients and such. As a writer I am in serious awe of the level of detail you put into that! I am blown away and can't find enough words of praise for how perfect that was! Even Edgar was such an interesting addition. And I love that you named him Edgar.
Now, this new OC, Madam Blishwick gave me the creeps. It's like in those old thrillers, where you know something's wrong with her but you can't quite put your finger on it! I don't know what bothers me the most. The fact that she wants to study the effects of the Imperius Curse, which to me is the most dangerous out of the bunch (because you can't see it. You can tell when somebody's being tortured, or hear them if you're close enough... and well, you can tell if they've been killed, but you can't tell if somebody is being manipulated into doing something against their will), and her interview is seeing how well Draco waits until blowing up a plant. I understand the subtle motives behind this, but it's creepy. Like, Ollivander style creepy... "The Dark Lord did great things, terrible, yes, but great."
She gives me the impression that Draco is more to her than an employee but an actual test subject. And just like Draco, that idea makes me sick to my stomach.
But in half a chapter you've introduced this new characters that I am dying to know more about and that is awesome to me!
Another brilliant chapter! I am looking forward to seeing what happens next and how the weight of the new job description impacts Draco and Astoria's relationship.
Author's Response: Hello, again!
See, I told you there was going to be more girl talk. I have to give an enormous amount of credit to Jami and sophie for that scene. They gave me so many good ideas and suggestions. My hat is off to all of the ladies on HPFF who manage to write good "guy talk" scenes, because it definitely helps to have someone who's been there read it over and there just aren't that many of us in the HPFF community.
I really enjoyed writing the potion-making part of Draco's interview. I'm a complete geek for "technical magic" and really getting into the nitty-gritty of how it all works. I only draw the line when authors start making up total mumbo-jumbo, like wizards having "magical cores" and such. I named Edgar after Edgar Bones, Susan Bones's uncle who died during the first war. Seemed like a good choice.
Madam Blishwick isn't really evil, but evil fascinates her. She is a student of dark curses, and she studies them with the same sort of academic zeal as an historian poring over the pictures and records from World War II concentration camps. The inherent evil of the subject matter isn't *completely* lost on her, just mostly. And it's easy enough to her to convince herself that the "greater good" her research might lead to outweighs any niggling ethical dilemmas. In short, she's Draco's worst nightmare: someone who will constantly remind him of everything he's trying to forget and do it in such a way that he can't even justify getting angry at her. Not that he might not get *unjustifiably angry*. ;)
Poor Draco and Astoria always seem to have something weighing against them, don't they? Tune in next time and see how it all plays out. And thank you so much for all of the kind words and encouragement!