Oh, how to start!
I love your humor. It's subtle and understated, which is perfect. The standing arrangement on drinking limits at family gatherings was great, as was Ginny's line about there being "one and a half" of Freddie.
Loved the line Harry gave Albus about nana being able to do fingers as well as toes, and Ron's oh so helpful attempt to calm the Dursley kids.
I told you before, but I'm saying it again, I really like that you have included Dudley in this, as a good guy. I've never even thought about trying to redeem him, having him turn out okay, but I think your version is starting to grow on me.
The Molly/Kreacher power struggle is hilarious, btw.
The bickering cousins is great fun to read. I was always jealous of the kids who had cousins nearby and spent time with them. They had this huge built in system of friends that, even when they were fighting like crazy, would have your back no matter what.
Ah, Arthur - still the same. Love the man. :D
Love the image of Kreacher in the pan with the huge knife!
Okay, I have to gush for a minute here. Your magical puzzle is bloody brilliant!! So brilliant I wish it was JKR canon so I could use it in stories without coping you. I absolutely LOVED that part of this story, and the sub-story of the puzzle people was as compelling as the main one. Very, very, very cool.
I applaud you for the changes you made. This story flowed so much better now. I could really feel Harry's desire to mend his family, put them together, and the puzzle was the perfect metaphor for that. It really was a brilliant story. And the ending, with Ginny, fit perfectly now. (Although, Gin, I think we'd better hide the wine from you next time...)
Such a great story! Funny, but with an underlying dramatic element as well. And Harry - he might have saved the wizarding world, but he DOES have his moments of being over dramatic. So this was totally fitting.
Oh, and the little part in the author's note? Totally not needed. I'm just honored I got to read this early. But thanks just the same.
Author's Response: Yay, look who it is!
As you know better than just about anyone, this story was all about the humor. Just a nice, pleasant little diversion to shake off the Detox blahs. I think all healthy marriages involve a clear understanding of who is allowed to drink what at family events. It's all about defining boundaries.
I've always been partial to the idea that somewhere between surviving his encounter with Dementors and being taken into hiding during the war, Dudley realized that not all magical people were awful and most of what his parents had told him about Harry was crap. That's not to say that he completely changed his tune, but I think it's reasonable to think that he and Harry were at least cordial to one another.
I loved every second of imagining Molly and Kreacher feuding. Two irresistible forces colliding there. And having the entire extended Weasley clan available for birthdays and other events must have been quite fun. I really would have like to have included all of the kids in this somehow, but that gets unmanageable really quickly, I'm afraid.
The puzzle people were the idea that sparked the entire story, and I have a bad feeling like they got a bit lost in the shuffle. Stories always take on a life of their own once you start writing, I'm afraid.
Whew! I'm glad you liked the changes. I think they definitely helped make it more cohesive, although they also made the puzzle people fade into the background more. Sigh. Decisions...
So very glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for all the help and the good ideas, and thanks for reviewing!