Hey, there! I heard through the grapevine that you have a new chapter posted. Let's see what this is all about...
Right out of the gate, let me say that I loved the way you anchored the story in time without coming out and having Harry, Ron or Hermione say that their Fourth Year was coming up. The World Cup was a nice, subtle way to deliver that piece of information. It should also make for a very interesting trip. Without knowing for sure, I really can't imagine that Sadie likes crowds. Especially loud crowds. And loud crowds fleeing from Death Eaters? Very interesting, indeed.
I thought you really nailed Mr. Weasley's emotions as he gradually reveals the news about Sadie to Harry and the others. His and Molly's both, actually. The poor guy has to be feeling a lot of inner conflict. There's obviously joy at learning his best mate's daughter is still alive. On the other hand, I'm sure this opens up a lot of old wounds that he'd assumed were healed many years ago. The melancholy sort of mood you put him in was perfectly suited to that type of emotional dissonance. Molly retreated into her default behavior of mothering everyone, much as you would have expected. But the small moments of emotional connection with Arthur were really nicely done. Whether it was supporting him as he told the tale or trying to talk him into making things more gradual for Harry, she really sounded like Molly Weasley. And then all the kids were so frightened of her. Perfect!
Ah, so there was a connection with Charlie. Nicely done!
Then we come to poor old Harry. The world just never stops throwing him curveballs, does it? I really liked the way that you worked an uneasy sense of foreboding into his reaction. I could definitely see a temptation not to put a cloud around the silver lining here. All other reasons aside, a lot of authors feel like the poor guy deserves that golden moment of unbridled happiness. But Harry's been through too much by this point not to have doubts and concerns. At the same time, he's saying all the right things to Ron, Hermione and the others. He knows, at some level that he should be happy, so that's the face he's trying valiantly to show them. That's great characterization for him.
Even your minor characters were good. Ron being mildly emotionally tone-deaf and blunt to a fault. Hermione serving as the conscience of the group while Fred and George are obviously poised to be the ones who simply try to dissect this girl and figure her out. And even Ginny following in her older brothers' devious footsteps. You gave each of them a bit of room to shine, and I really appreciated that.
I saw a few things that looked a bit odd as I was reading:
He vividly remembered that first week when the entire eyes of the school seemed to be glued to the scar on his forehead. -- the eyes of the entire school?
But one thing we do know and you should be prepared for as well. -- But there's one thing we do know?
Another thing that jumped out at me was this line: “I hope not,” muttered Harry, thinking how well that had worked out for one Tom Riddle. -- I can't remember whether Harry finds out that Tom grew up in an orphanage before Dumbledore shares that memory with him in Half-Blood Prince. Please ignore me if you looked that up and I'm just forgetting where that's revealed.
Lastly, I would be completely remiss if I didn't point out my favorite passage in the whole chapter: He had a cousin! A cousin he didn’t know about. A cousin who wasn’t Dudley the Human Whale. -- Aww, poor Dudders! OK, stop rolling your eyes. You're right, there was no reason to ever feel badly for Dudders at this point in the books. Also, have you ever noticed that "Dudders" is just "udders" with a D on the front? Bovine humor is the best.
Not much else I can add. Awesome chapter! I am so eager to see where you're taking our heroes and heroines in this tale!
Author's Response: I'm not entirely sure the smile this review left on my face is ever going to go away. This might be bad, because occasionally, I'm going to need my "mean teacher" face again.
First of all, thank you for the corrections. I've read and edited this things a million times, but when you look at something for that long, your eyes just skip things or fix them in your head without permission. Edited the chapter to fix the awkward sentences, so thanks again!
I worried about how to get the time frame out there. It is book 4 and the World Cup, but I fudged a little and added an extra day between Harry arriving at the Burrow and having the big dinner outside on the lawn with the Weasleys and when the Cup starts. No one's called me on it yet, so I'm guessing it's okay. But I really don't like having to tell everyone the setting and timeframe blatantly - would much rather slip it in on the side.
As for Sadie at the World Cup - I'm going to say if you are a betting man, you have really good odds.
I can't tell you how GLAD I am that you found Mr. Weasley's emotions to be just right. I think I told you that this section of the story is 8 years old - the first thing I wrote for this fic when I first started imagining it. By the time I got around to posting, this section was feeling mighty flat and unemotional. I considered scrapping it all together and trying a different way to have Mr. Weasley deliver his news, but I did like the family atmosphere. So I spent the last two weeks editing and tweaking to try and get the emotion I wanted into Mr. Weasley's story, but not overload it. Thank you, your comment really made me feel better about the choice I ended up going with.
Yup. Connection with Charlie, just in a different way. You are the only one to catch that early, however, or to even comment on it.
Yeah, poor Harry. But, hopefully this can be a good thing for him. (And hopefully I can pull it off in a non-clichÃƒÂ©d, annoying way. :) )
Writing for a big group is hard. Every time I end up doing it, I get done and I'm like why did I put myself through that again? So, thank you for the compliment! I do worry about keeping them in character, especially so many at once!
Yep. Good ol' Dudders. I should try to redeem him sometime, but he's just too much fun to use as an antagonist. (Thank you for the cow humor.that made my day. Ron, however, who is still stuck in his purple cow suit, was not as amused.)
Thank you so much. I love all my reviews, but the ones that pop up out the blue without having to ask for them make me grin especially hard.