Oh no... Judging by the title and the already LOADED content of this chapter, this is going to be one heck of a murder mystery!!!
Your whole style for this chapter is really suspenseful and... creepy. Focusing on the hand at the beginning was a fantastic way to start the story off, as it just raised my suspicions of just who the hand could belong to. The firelight, the late night, the disorganized thoughts of the letter writer... Those all worked together to make me think that he is absolutely, no-holds-barred, one hundred percent crazy.
I enjoyed James' study of his friends. He's definitely a different James than I usually see. He seems to be more mature, more pensive, except of course, when Sirius is making breakfast sandwiches. You've taken the Marauders, a group that is often written about in Harry Potter fanfiction, and you've made them your own. It's really great to see Peter with his own personality, even if that personality does have an inclination for being a bit stupid at breakfast. After all, he was up late, reading, which would make anyone nod off in the morning. Instead of an air of idiocy, which people give him quite often, as I'm sure you've seen, in this story, he's got some substance. I like that a lot. :)
Lily is a different Lily than I usually see, too, which is refreshing and perfect for this story. After all, if she was always in a snit with James in this universe, she would never ever let him see the letter. She would fly about in a rage and maybe the mystery would never get solved. But here, she has more gravity than she usually would. She actually believed James when he told her that he would never call her such a nasty word, and she took his offer of help like a mature person. You know, I would be really okay if they didn't fall in love in this story, because it seems like they've got a pretty good rapport going on right now. However, if they DO fall in love, I'm okay with that, too. :)
And what can I say about the note...? The note was just as creepy, if not more, than the person who wrote it. It was clearly the mark of an insane person, and it. Was. So. Scary. After I read it, I turned around to check behind me and make sure that there wasn't somebody with a knife waiting to stab me! (I may or may not be a little paranoid...) The accompanying hullabaloo of the students being ushered back to their common rooms just served to show that something is fatally wrong at Hogwarts. I don't know who George Asher is, but I'm sure that he was a Muggle-born, and whoever wrote the note (or an accomplice) killed him in cold blood.
Geez, you're such a brilliant writer! I really wish I could say that I had some constructive criticism for you that would make this review worth reading, but... I don't. All I can do is gush about how terrifying it is, and anticipate the next chapter with wide-eyed fear.
PLEASE update this as soon as possible. I MUST find out what happens!
Author's Response: -bites nails- I HOPE THIS IS A GOOD MYSTERY. I've never written a full-out mystery story before, and going through and reading everyone's theories and plotting the story out on my own, I remember why! And there was a definitely intended disparity between the two sections, which I'm so glad so many people picked up on. I've said it in the past -- I have a thing for hands. I notice them on people in real life, and subsequently they pop up in my writing!
I think I somehow tend to write both Lily and the Marauders differently than a lot of people see them, and I hope it doesn't sound too egotistical to say so. The timing of this story is crucial to their behaviors, too; it's sixth year, and I think James would be a bit more mature around this time, while Lily would be warming up to him slightly (the idea that she just magically fell in love with him and agreed to marry him in one year always seemed a bit absurd to me). I wrote a long analysis of Lily in particular in response to academica's review, if you wanted to read that!
And I just love writing the Marauders in general. ♥ They're essentially extensions of how I wrote them in the Marauders trilogy I just finished, which made me miss writing those books terribly, but they all formed distinctively in my mind during that writing process. I'm so pleased you seemed to enjoy them so much! ♥
You'll find out a touch more about George Asher in the second chapter, and more about the note in both the second and the third. :) Thank you so much for being willing to review this for me, too!! You are absolutely much too kind, and I don't deserve such lofty praise.
I'm updating tomorrow, and I hope you come back and check out more of the story then! ♥