Hello Amanda! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to return to this wonderful story. I should be kicked.
I swear if you don't win a Dobby for this, I'll riot. At the very least, that's what this story deserves. I can't get over your talent, Amanda! This could be an original piece, it really could.
You know how much I love my history and I loved all the touches you put in this chapter. It adds depth and realism to an otherwise foreign world. At first I did wonder why Venn didn't tie the token around his arm, but I like your interpretation. To me, it represents his duplicity. I know that sounds wild - it's like he's cheating history and tradition, just as he cheats in the tournament. He can't cover up his nature if it's exposed, but by romanticizing the token and putting it over his heart, he can hide his less-than-honorable attributes. Okay, so maybe I just totally English major analyzed that, but there you go! :P
Now, at first, I didn't catch that he was cheating, but after the one man said something, I picked up your clues. And that man? Is he the Bloody Baron?
I liked the mixture of emotions in this chapter, especially those pre-wedding jitters. Helena wondering if she should or shouldn't marry Venn, how she knows so little about him, the argument over the color of her dress. By the way, I thought that was genius. It's so simple, arguing over the color of the dress, but shows just how little power Helena has over her own life. It reminded me of Helena as the Gray Lady in DH. She's bitter towards her mother and I can see why. She doesn't really have a choice. It's subtle and yet, so incredibly sad.
Another fabulous chapter, Amanda! Even if by some horror you don't win a Dobby for this story, it'll be Dobby worthy to me! :)
Author's Response: Shelby, you're too sweet! I hope it wins, naturally; after getting the TGS award last year, a Dobby would be the sweetest icing on top of the best cake ever. We'll have to see!
I kind of love your interpretation of Venn misplacing the favor from Helena. It's like he was trying too hard to be romantic and sweet, when in reality he does have a lot to hide. Of course, Helena can hardly be expected not to swoon at such an elaborate display, poor girl.
I won't answer your question outright, so you aren't spoiled, but answers will be coming :)
I think you nailed it--Helena has so little control of her own life, and I think she's beginning to regret agreeing to be courted by this man when she was bold enough to turn down many others. A wedding is such an important time for many young women, and if it was anything like modern times when Helena was around, I'm sure it must be a deep blow to not have much of a say in how things go during that event. Pretty soon that bitterness will start to leak out.
Thank you so much for your wonderful review and, as always, incredibly kind comments :)