Hi, Roxi! I saw that you had something new posted and I had to come check it out. Very, very neat idea! What on earth could have been going through Bella's head? Or did Tonks just imagine the whole thing? I'm really eager to find out!
I don't think you could have picked a better start than having the poor, hapless girl trying to force open the out-of-order doors. Maybe if she was pushing doors that were clearly marked "Pull", but that is fairly cliche. Suffice it to say that you made the character instantly recognizable.
You did an awesome job of drawing out the emotional turmoil that's still gripping her after the battle. Physical details are always the best way to help a reader get their head about a big, emotional moment, and you brought those right to the forefront. The ambivalence that Tonks feels about the memory of her aunt killing Sirius was a really nice touch. People do have a perverse tendency to dwell on the memories that haunt us, especially when there's something about them that just doesn't make sense. I can't imagine what reason Bellatrix would have had to feel remorse over killer her blood traitor cousin, but the idea is fascinating. It's no wonder that Tonks can't put it out of her head.
It definitely took a lot of courage to face her mother and ask the questions she did. You created such a different Andromeda Tonks from the one I'm used to reading about, and I have to say that your version is one of the most interesting. Probably one of the more consistent with her background, too. I always struggle a bit to buy the idea that running away with a muggle-born would have instantly turned the privileged, aristocratic Andromeda Black into this warm, huggable, grandmotherly type that most authors embrace. The losses that she suffered during the war very likely changed her, and I think you've hit upon a very realistic middle ground between the girl she grew up being and the woman who was touched by so much tragedy.
From the moment Tonks arrives home, you set a tone for the interaction between the two of them. Andromeda is commanding, intimidating and obviously a complete perfectionist. If an elf was doing the cooking, there would be little difference between her and her sisters. That's what makes it so intriguing to see her react so viscerally to her daughter's questions. When she declares that her sisters are dead to her, you have to wonder how much self-loathing is woven into that sentiment. Aside from Andromeda's very well-written responses, the scene is filled with nervous energy and a palpable sense of danger. You get the feeling that Andromeda could explode at any second. The conversation was paced quite well and everything built very nicely to Tonks's indirect rebuttal of her mother's refusal to talk.
I'd feel remiss if I didn't give you at least a little something constructive, so I'll point out a few little typos that I spotted:
Stealing a fleeting look behind her so she could be sure no one was coming her way, she pressed her back against the cold stone wall, allowing her body to slid limply to the floor. -- to slide limply
‘Nymphadora, what have I told you about slamming the doors? How many times I ask you? -- How many times have I asked you?
Tonks walked onn the other side of the sideboard, sat down and pulled the nearest bowl towards her. -- on the other side
Aside from those three things, I thought your writing was lovely. The chapter had a nice flow to it, and it was an easy read to get lost in for a few minutes. Looking forward to what comes next!
Author's Response: Heya! I know I've already told you this, but the fact that you take your time to read and review my stories means more to me than I can put into words. You really are one of the HPFF authors I look up to most, so naturally, you can imagine my reaction when I opened the Archives yesterday morning and found this fantastic review :D
I actually sat on my chair for about five minutes, thinking how best to open my chapter when suddenly, this image of Tonks trying to shove a door that clearly wasn't bulging came to me and I knew that had to be it. I thought it would be the perfect opening and it would draw the readers in from the get-go, because this is the type of thing Tonks does. She's very clumsy. Bellatrix will have her work cut out with her haha
"People do have a perverse tendency to dwell on the memories that haunt us" - Exactly!! This is exactly what went through my mind when I was writing that scene. Humans really are weird, you know. They like to dwell on memories or thoughts that hurt them or make them sad or are simply negative and unhealthy. Humans have always had an odd fascination with evil, darkness, madness, etc. It's in our nature to be attracted by the negative side of life, so I thought that Tonks would not be the exception. As much as she realised that thinking about her aunt's memory over and over again was not doing her any good, not only she could not help it but she felt she NEEDED to think about it. A desire that she could not understand, but that she finally allowed to overcome her to the point that she has decided to keep the details of the event alive in her mind.
To be honest, I don't know if I have read more than one or two stories that featured Andromeda, and that happened a long time ago. I did not look for any particular inspiration for her characterisation. I just sat down to write and the image of this strict, orderly, perfectionist woman came to my mind almost without thinking too hard on it. As you've said, I think many people are too quick to overlook the fact that for the greatest part of her life she has been a Black, raised in the Black traditions, a sister to Bellatrix and Narcissa. I imagine Andromeda as a lovable mother, and a great wife, but I also see her as the person who has a set of rules that everyone in her home must absolutely follow (like not bothering her when she's cooking, no door slamming and others you will see later on). It's impossible that she can't have 'inherited' some of her family's traits. You can't wash away more than 18 years of your life, especially since I believe that childhood is the period when you first establish the kind of person you will be later on (this is not always the case because many people grow up to be very different than how they were as kids, but the change is never complete - you tone down).
So thank you for the amazing compliments regarding my characterisation. Since this story relies heavily on characterisation and descriptions, it means the WORLD to me! The path I set up for me (having Tonks switch sides) is certainly a difficult one and I want to do it right, not rush it so that it can make sense and come natural. I really hope you will come back to leave me your thoughts because it's great reading them ;)
Thanks for pointing out my typos! I know there must be some in there. I wrote this chapter late into the night and even if I edited it twice, and Ral read it once, there always are the odd ones that slip your attention. I will edit it again soon enough and correct those.
Thank you once again for reading this! And sorry for rambling so much haha. Hope to see you soon!