Jami, I'm taking a deep breath and counting to ten... Nope, didn't work, I'm still annoyed. What, exactly is Bellatrix's little dungeon muppet doing around Belle? I do not approve. Not in the slightest. I think we need to have a talk.
You did an awesome job of setting the scene for the N.E.W.T. exams. I could visualize every last thing about the Great Hall and the examination room. You could have cut the tension with a knife, and it seemed to flow off of the screen at me. These poor kids! Now we know what they mean by nastily exhausting.
Ooh! You've put Snape and Lily in the same exam room. How deliciously tense. Just when you thought the whole experience couldn't be any more difficult for Lily, life jabs her right in the "he used to be my best friend" feels.
She wasn't naive enough to think Abigail losing her prefect badge had shut her up for good, but what else could it be? -- Ugh. I almost don't want to know.
I love the little tension-breaking conversation between Lily and Belle inside the enclosure. The tension in this scene is so thick, I think the two of them really needed something like that to loosen up and get back in the correct frame of mind for the test. It also helps to break up the tension just a bit for the reader, which I appreciated.
This time when Madam Penrose's eyes fell on Lily -- their shade a brown so dark that it slipped closer to the color of a midnight sky -- the annoyance was gone. -- Ooh! Foreboding...
Lily's fight with the Inferius was another one of those awesome little moments you excel at that I always love. The precision with which she uses fire as a defense, the carefully selected parameters... it was just awesome!
You did an awesome job writing Lily's encounter with the Dementor. It was paced really well, starting with the change in temperature, then the darkness and finally the psychological effects. You took all the things we knew about exposure to the Dementors from the books and really expanded on that, adding detail and new layers of subtlety to the experience. It was a really lovely piece of writing, even if the subject matter was less than savory.
The scene with Lily and James's patronuses (patroni?) was awesome and beautiful and very touching. Talk about a sure sign that two people are made to be together.
She'd been careful after fifth year never to cast the Patronus Charm around him, not wanting him to annoy her even more with his jokes about the two of them belonging together.
Maybe they hadn't been jokes after all. -- About time she was figuring that out, huh?
I'm still a bit uncertain as to the role of the examiner with the pipe and Severus in all of this. The guy with the pipe seems to be glued to Severus. Since we know that Bellatrix assigned Mulciber and Avery to get to Belle, it makes me wonder whether the Dementor was part of Lucius's trials for Snape and Rosier. Perhaps the burly wizard with the pipe wasn't actually burly after all. Perhaps he was simply in disguise. Hmmnnn...
Of course McGonagall doesn't get a thing from questioning Snape. I'm impressed with how focused and unemotional you've been able to make him.
And of course Madam Penrose is gone. If she wasn't the real Madam Penrose, I assume that the original will turn up dead somewhere, if she's ever heard from again.
I liked that you tempered James's anger toward Snape just a tiny bit, enough for him to question whether he's specifically mad at Snape or he's just mad and Snape is a convenient target. You can almost feel the guy growing up as the story moves along. He's older, wiser and he's made it through some pretty awful things at this point. He's starting to feel a lot more like the James who dies in Godric's Hollow than the James who hangs Snape upside down in front of the entire school. At least until Sirius comes along and pokes him.
"Besides, who else is going to put zese idiots back together each time zey hurt zemselves?" -- Well that's a good point.
If he was being perfectly honest with himself, it had gotten harder and harder to not confess the truth about their Animagus sides. -- This is definitely a moment I'm looking forward to. I'm still not sure how Lily's going to take it, and I'm very curious to see.
Augh! What is going on with Belle??? I am not cool with this, Jami! I think somebody needs to curse Mulciber so badly that he oozes more than walks for the rest of his life. Nice little nod to the books with the Imperius Curse, though. That was supposed to be one of his specialties.
Gah! I do not know where we're heading next, but things definitely took a rough turn in this chapter. I guess I'll find out later! ;) Great job!
Author's Response: Dan ♥
And my response spree continues!!!
Don't be annoyed! It's not MY fault Bellatrix and her maggots are bad and mean and, erm, here. Have a cookie :D
I felt too much like I was back getting ready for finals with their NEWTS. only they get to take them on magic, not boring stuff. So, at least there's that. Oh wait, the magic is deadly half the time and corrupt people are walking the halls. So maybe my finals were the better of the two?!
I feel like I threw Snape in that room just because I'd realized I hadn't had him in for a while. haha. So he seemed like a good person to heighten the intensity :P
Abigail's story is one that's going to continue on to the next book, so at least we get a mini break from her! well, sort of. I guess the last two chapters are far from a break for anyone.
I had a lot of fun trying to think of NEWTS Defence type of tests. I mean, how can you defend yourself against the Dark Arts without real dark arts? It was sort of tricky trying to keep it hogwarts appropriate, at least until we see the little Dementor attack...
I'm so excited you think that section played out well! It was weird, because I almost couldn't remember how a Dementor us supposed to influence someone who hasn't heard their mother die. We know Harry hears the screaming because of that... so I didn't want to make Lily's encounter as dramatic, but still dramatic enough.
Ahh I loved those two finally getting to see them together. Exactly, if there was every a bigger sign that two people are one another's, I haven't seen it. And the fact that their animals go together, and not that james is so obsessed that his takes Lily's form, yeah, that's love :P.
To be totally honest, I'm not exactly sure of that connection either... maybe there will be a good place for the guy with a pipe to come in next book? ;) I'm just going to pretend anything that isn't explain is for book two. hahaah. Snape's only reason for being there was because Jami realized she hadn't paid attention to him for a while :P.
Getting James closer to the man who dies in Godric's Hollow is one of the biggest goals of these, and showing how he grew up, so I'm really thrilled that the transition is coming through!
Dan! I'm not even mentioned the Belle stuff because, well, you know why :(.
Thank you again for helping make all this happen ♥