Hi, Jami! I'd hoped to be able to review this for the HC competition this evening, but it was not to be. So without further ado, here it is:
The meeting in the Hog's Head really helped to keep us in tune with how bad things are getting outside of Hogwarts. If you weren't giving us an occasional look into what's happening with the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters, it would be fairly easy to get lost in the stress and excitement of a group of Seventh Year students on the verge of finishing school, falling in love, starting their new lives and all the other wonderful things happening inside the castle walls.
I loved your Dumbledore in this section. All the different feelings that pass through him as he ponders the lives of his students -- current and past -- were a beautiful compliment to a character that seems like a very happy, mischievous soul who's been forced to deal with far too much sobering reality. He's trying his best not to let the war drag him down and destroy everything that's good and joyful in life, but it's hard. And that difficulty not only makes him sad, it makes him angry. A lot of writers are afraid to cross that line into "angry Dumbledore", but I think it's an important part of who he is and why he fights so hard to stop Tom Riddle and the Death Eaters.
The last bit, where he ponders the students and whether they'll become involved in the war, was bittersweet. It would be fun to think about James, Sirius and the others taking their places to fight against Voldemort except that we know how that ends. :(
Poor James! I love the pre-last-game-of-his-Hogwarts-career jitters. Even more than that, I love the way that his friends are relentless about not giving him a moment's peace to wallow in his nerves. (Can you wallow in nerves? Is that a thing?) In a way, I'm sure they're doing him a favor.
Lily couldn’t let that lie go untouched. “No, you had the firewhiskey flu!” - Ouch. Love hurts sometimes.
Bodies had to compress themselves and organs had to endure the pressure of squishing together until your travel was complete. A bit grotesque when you thought about it, really. - And Lily is just the one to think about it! I really do love it when you let her stop and ponder the ins and outs of magic.
I'm starting to get a definite "Friends" vibe about the group's post-Hogwarts living arrangement. Just trade the ditzy blond girl for Peter and I think we're there. You'll have Frank and Alice coming in from the 'burbs to go bar-hopping. The city crew heading out to Frank and Alice's house for cookouts...
Ooh! I can't wait to see how they're going to pry Sirius's money out of his parents' vault. Expecting lots of wonderful mischief!
I really liked the small token of appreciation and affection that the rest of the team gives to James before the match. Ooh! Before I forget... I really think you need to start making a list of all the little things that James and Lily are collecting over the course of this story: the sweet dreams snuggie, the Snitch and the picture, Lily's painting, James's first broom... I think all of it needs to end up in the family vault. Because then you, Jami, need to write a story where Harry finds it all after the war ends. I am expecting feels to end all feels... :)
I know how much you dislike writing Quidditch games, but I have to say you did a fantastic job with this one. I loved James's perspective, the sort of unfocused way that he spreads his attention all around the pitch, but then suddenly zones in when the Quaffle is in his hands. It really felt like the way a high-level athlete perceives the field of play, especially one that's calling plays for his team. You kept the speed of play crisp and there was the constant, palpable sense of danger that really should be a part of any well-written Quidditch match. It's a dizzyingly fast, incredibly dangerous sport and you could really sense that in the way that you wrote it.
His breath was coming in spurts as he tightened his calloused hands on the broom, then he made a quick decision, reckoning he didn’t really need all his limbs. - Sigh. Yep, that's our boy.
Moving on into the stands, I liked the warm, easy rapport between the group. The comfort level between all of them, and especially Sirius and Belle, has reached incredible proportions. Alice is practically inside Lily's head these days.
Lily's brief setback in the tent wasn't fun to read, but I think it needed to happen. It was a very realistic touch. It takes a long time to get over the kind of assault that she suffered at Alrek's hands. It was great that James was there to help her through it. OK, strictly speaking, he was the cause of her setback, but that's really beside the point.
She was okay. She would be okay. - Atta girl!
Another fantastic chapter. I knew you could write a good Quidditch match, and you did a great job with it. We're getting so close. This is tense!
Author's Response: Hi Dan! Guess who's on their response spree?!
I think sometimes I took on too much with all the different stories in one story. The order, the DE, the group and all their mini stories. But when I think about it, I definitely feel like it gave it all a very round sort of feel.
Dumbledore and I might be getting closer to making an agreement. I won't throw fits if he stops being so damn difficult. Though that doesn't prove true for the last chapter so far, because his section is turning into a nightmare. See, aren't you excited for Friday night now? ;)
That breakfast scene was one of those that feels like it takes forever to write. I almost cut it until I read through and was like... hmm... i guess it's amusing enough. This must be why jkr picked 3 main characters. Because 8 are a nightmare when they're all together!
I think I definitely imprint some of my feelings about magic in Lily. But it makes sense, we both come from muggle families! although I'm a muggle that comes from muggle families, so I guess that's the big difference :P Oh and I don't have James Potter in love with me. HAHA.
I love your comparison to the Friends vibe! I would love it more if we still had our French blonde ;(. I'm anxious to see how I do with them all in such different settings, though! It'll be an adventure, that's for sure.
Hahah Dan, if you can get someway to have a family vault with all this stuff, you are more than welcome to that story. Harry and I do NOT get along :P
I'm so excited you liked this Quidditch game! It was one of the most difficult thing I've written in this chapter, and I don't think I've made my distaste for writing it anything close to subtle ;). but I think I pulled it off rather well. When I was writing it, it sort of clicked just how dangerous the sport is! What are they teaching these children?!
I'm so happy you pushed me to write that setback, because I agree that it was really important. She's human and deserves to feel human things, not just breeze by stuff like it was no big deal.
Isn't it crazy how close this story is the end? It doesn't even feel real yet. I don't think it will until after I go to work on that weeks chapter, and realize I'm working on an entirely different book! haha!
Thank you so much Dan for all your amazing support ♥