I loved this, and I think the style told the story just perfectly. You've been building up to what Daphne did for so many chapters, and this chapter answered all my questions while still leaving more to be revealed and discovered. I thought the explanations for Daphne and Pansy's closeness was very beautifully written, and fit well with why Pansy has such a sway over her. I really liked Daphne saving a place for Pansy at the Slytherin table- the Sorting is such a seminal moment, and reminded me of how it really does determine these kids' friends for the rest of their time at Hogwarts. That little image was very powerful somehow. The comparisons with how Daphne used to be - pleasing her mother, not really caring, being self-involved and not seeing the bigger picture - were so interesting, and really rounded her out as a character who recognizes her own faults and how she has grown yet remained stuck in the past.
You really told the struggles and doubts of a full lifetime in a few short yet powerful words, and I truly commend you for that! I feel I know Daphne so much better now. The descriptions of the battle of Hogwarts and its impact on the Slytherins was the perfect length in my opinion, and it shows how their story didn't end then, but the scars continued to hurt people like Daph and Pansy.
And Daphne was in Azkaban! I would not have expected that, though I feel it might even have been a good thing in rehabilitating her and allowing her to have penance and potential closure for her actions. But the description of the "Granger Reforms" was brilliant, and let me know what Hermione has been up to without even mentioning her: it was a nice way of having the world of HP and this story intersect.
The only advice I have is that the chapter is a bit consistent with how it addresses Astoria, sometimes in third person and sometimes as if Daph is speaking directly to her sister, so it might be less confusing to stick to one! :) She could even say "you, Astoria," instead of "Astoria" and it would flow well I think. Also, did you consider if one of the people Pansy etc. had attacked had died? It might be more severe, but would kind of make the attack even worse and Daphne's guilt even more valid. Though I guess then they might have never gotten out of Azkaban, but just a thought I had! :)
Another amazing chapter my dear, and I can't wait to see Astoria's reaction, how Theo and Daphne will continue, what's going to happen with Pansy... so excited! :)
Author's Response: I can't believe how long I've let this awesome review go unanswered- I've been away a lot this month, and everything's got a bit crazy, but I am sorry for leaving it so long!
I'm so, so glad that this chapter worked for you. I was pretty nervous about it as there are some fairly major reveals, and the style is fairly different to the rest of the story, and I'm just so happy to hear that it all makes sense to you!
Because this story is pretty character driven, making Daphne (and Pansy) a rounded person with understandable motivations was pretty necessary, so I'm just so incredibly glad that that works!
Writing the Battle of Hogwarts from a Slytherin perspective was something I found fascinating, because of course for them it's not a happy ending at all, and after that there's still a whole lot of stuff to deal with- I guess for both sides, but more obviously for the Slytherins. The thing that gets me about the war in the books is just how young all the characters are while these awful events are going on, and I guess I wanted to show the effect of all that...
Hmmm, would you say it was a good thing that you wouldn't have guessed about Azkaban? I tried to put in little hints without making it too obvious, but maybe that didn't quite work...? Either way, I think you sum up there exactly what prison did for her! Ahh and I'm glad you picked up on the Granger reforms bit. I love Hermione, and I like the idea that she could be indirectly doing Daphne some good! haha
I totally get what you mean about the way Astoria is addressed- I'll definitely go back and iron that out, so that it makes more sense.
Hmmm, I hadn't actually considered if one of the victims had died... I'll have to think about that because it would- as you say- validate Daphne's guilt, but I don't know if the prison sentence would have been significantly longer... Hmmm...
Thank you so, so much for another fantastic review. It's wonderful to have your support for this story, and I will update when everything calms down a bit! Thank you again!