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Review:nott theodore says:
This chapter managed to make me really happy because of the update and sad because of what's happening at the same time. I almost want to stop reading because I don't want to see how it all ends, even though I know already... I could never stop though, don't worry!

The beginning of this chapter felt a bit like we were returning to the beginning of the story, almost as if the story is coming full circle. Venn's motives for marrying now are similar to those he had initially; securing his inheritance and power, and producing an heir. Helena's attitude towards marriage has almost returned to what it was at the outset of this story as well. It's so sad that the love story has turned tragic and they won't have a happy ending, because I've been wanting it for them so badly, even though I know it can't happen.

The scene with Salazar and Venn really served to show the differences between their family and the Ravenclaws, but also that Venn, in taking after his uncle and listening to what he says, is becoming more like him. Blood purity and their attitudes towards women are so similar now and it's clear to see how the same attitudes have continued to the era we see in the books.

Even though Venn definitely shares some personality traits with his uncle, I thought it was also obvious here that his views aren't as extreme, especially with his attitude towards the Basilisk. It is definitely understandable why Helena fell in love (or at least thought she did) with Venn. I'm really interested to see what happens with the Chamber of Secrets storyline, since Venn knows about it but obviously doesn't approve. It'll also be great to see how such a great secret leaks its way into other people's knowledge and becomes a legend.

I really liked Isobel's character in this as well. I think her youth makes it more believable that she wouldn't conform quite as much to convention as her sister, who is shocked by her behaviour. It was great to see her challenge Helena and I think Helena was probably amused by it as well. One of the things that I feel sad about in this chapter is that Helena won't fulfill her promise to Isobel.

Venn's appearance was perfectly timed, and the change in his tone and manner of speaking was so marked from the chapters when he was trying to court Helena and they thought they loved each other. He seemed so detached and cruel and to me Helena's reaction was completely believable and I can understand how she saw it as the only option. Venn's threats about her non-appearance at the wedding helped to foreshadow the ending really well.

The ending was so sad and dark! Of course I knew that it was going to happen soon and I really enjoyed the way that you wrote it. This line in particular "She did not need a castle, not when all of nature could be her home" was very poignant. It seems there's a kind of naivety to her still and maybe she doesn't realise how hard it will be for her to flee her family and home. But I thought each detail of that, including when she took the diadem, was written brilliantly.

I know that you said you were concerned about the readability of this chapter, but I really don't think you need to be. It was compelling and engaging, just as your writing always seems to be. The only thing that confused me was this: "with no concern for a husband and unborn children". Is Helena pregnant? I may just have missed it completely but I didn't realise that anything had happened that could result in that. Or is she just talking about the children she would be expected to have if she married Venn?

Something I always like about this story are the historical details you include and the real effort you make which help it to seem more authentic and believable as a reader. And I always enjoy finding out things like the game Truth or Dare being so old, which I didn't know about before.

I'm kind of not looking forward to the next chapter because of what's going to be happening at the end of this story, but as ever this was another lovely chapter!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hi again, Sian :)

I love that you pointed out that we are returning to the beginning of the story in terms of Venn and Helena's attitudes toward one another and marriage. I think I wanted to bring it back to that here at the end but hadn't really consciously tried to do so, so I want to jump for joy that it came through anyway. You're right, we are coming close to the end now and their fates will be sealed.

I'm happy that you can appreciate the intricacies in Venn's personality. He's really struggling for some direction because he stills feels inadequate for all that he has to take on. He's unwilling to totally forsake his instincts and follow his uncle, and yet he clings to what he does know, including old and tired beliefs. There was hope in the beginning that maybe Helena could mold him away from that, but for whatever reason, they have both returned to the people they are seemingly meant to be.

Yeah, the thing about Isobel is sad. She can't really understand all the pressure Helena is under, not that Helena has let anyone in enough to help her with the enormous burden.

It seems like you felt that Helena's flight was well-timed and logical, which is good, because I struggled slightly with the thought that maybe the situation wasn't yet drastic enough and yet I didn't want to introduce anything resembling forced marriage into the mix at all.

You are the third person to interpret 'unborn children' as Helena being pregnant, so clearly I need to go back and alter the wording there :D No, Helena is absolutely not pregnant, no worries. I'm merely referring to the family she would have eventually with her husband. You're right, nothing has happened that could have resulted in an outcome like that.

I totally didn't know that Truth or Dare was so old until I wrote this and wanted to attempt some kind of citation for it (fruitless endeavor, really). The original was called "Question or Command," not far off from the title I chose.

Thank you again for this truly lovely review :)

-Amanda


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