Finally! Iíve had to delete about half of what I wrote Friday night, so letís put some coherent thoughts back into this review.
The girl talk turned out really well. Having a friend as inappropriate as Isadore is something that could really come in handy in instances like these. And from the way she lectured Astoria about what they read in the articles, Iím fairly convinced youíve flipped through your wifeís cosmo magazine :P
I loved Astoriaís shaky nature with it all. She knows she wants to do something, though probably not everything, but not knowing how is creating a lot of turmoil for her. Though her naive nature is probably something that will astound Draco more than disappoint. He had someone who was knowledgable about all this, as Isadore points out, and that wasnít enough to stick them together. But of course Astoria is a teenage girl, and thatís an impossible age to think rationally :P.
Oh my gosh. The line about her not being able to see Draco. I donít even know what I feel about that, haha! Itís like when you witness an overly private moment and feel like you should look away but donít want too.. thatís how I feel :P Definitely gave me an awesome giggle.
The idea that sheíd start on safer grounds, like a massage, definitely felt like a good solution. She gets the chance to get use to that more intimate setting and to gauge his reactions more, plus she probably wonít be as shaky from nerves that way :P
Dracoís entire section was one of my favorite so far. You know how much I love when magic is described, and creating things with it, so watching him handle the potion was a lot of fun. I was excited to see how careful he was with it, though still seeming completely confident in his abilities
That plant really had me confused at first. I was worried it was just a normal plant, behaving badly as sort of a test for is temper. They know his past and we werenít entirely too sure of what was thought about it, so I was afraid that it was her own way to see if Draco could handle it without losing his temper.
Than when I learned it was the opposite, a test to see if heís able to do anything necessary to preserve his potion and not let interactions ruin what he has going, I was super exciting. I actually really liked Madam Blishwick. She was to the point, didnít play games with Draco, and made it clear that his past did have some to do with her interest in him. Her job and what she can do with the potions she invents seems like the most important thing to her and she wants to put the people who are going to be most helpful in achieving these on her team. I actually can see her and Draco getting along very well in the future, and Iím anxious to see how the boy whoís always tested authority to the max will handle working at the bottom of the food chain, having to take orders and be a nice boy :P.
Awesome chapter, Dan! And it feels like both Draco and Astoria are really headed in a solid direction. Iím excited to see how her plan plays out, and even more exciting to see what she thinks of Dracoís new job!
Author's Response: Funny how vacation sometimes leaves us with *less* time instead of more, huh? Here is your rested and relaxed - hah! - review response, straight from the wilds of Southwest Virginia.
You and sophie deserve so much credit for how the girl talk turned out, I don't even know where to start saying thank you. I actually managed to avoid getting my greasy fingerprints on any of my wife's magazines, thanks to all of your help. I'm really pleased with that scene and like I've said to a couple of other reviewers, I'm in awe of female authors on HPFF who manage to tackle "guy talk" scenes, because the ratio just isn't as favorable for you ladies.
Poor Astoria is way out of her depth, so I'm glad that came through well. And I agree, Draco will be impressed at some level that she's gone to so much trouble. He'll probably also be more than a little bit startled. Which do you think will win out? ;)
I felt like I was dancing a tricky line with some of the visual imagery in this chapter, especially the bit about whether she would be able to see Draco. I guess that's what an M rating is for.
I really enjoyed writing Draco's section, once I got into it. I took a lot of inspiration from your scenes showing Lily in Slughorn's potions classroom. There's something about immersing the reader in the nitty-gritty details of ingredients and preparation that seems to lend itself to writing good introspective narrative.
Wasn't Edgar fun? I'm a mean, horrible author because I love tormenting poor Draco so much in this story. I think of it as a form of payback for seven books worth of life being awful to poor Harry. But in this case, it gave him a chance to have a moment of triumph, even if it does confuse him.
Madam Blishwick is an odd duck. I'm not quite sure how I feel about her, myself. She certainly isn't evil, but evil fascinates her in an academic sort of way, like an historian studying the concentration camps of World War II. She's so caught up in her work that she's more than a little tone deaf to the moral and ethical implications of some of her research topics. Not exactly a great boss for somebody like Draco, who I've decided is suffering from a form of PTSD.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed it, and thank so much for all of your help! I'm looking forward to digging into the next chapter, once I can get a break from my vacation. ;)