Ah, I saw you updated this before I went to school and it was horrible having to wait the seven hours before I could get at it, so Iím finally here and yay for getting the 300th review too! Congrats on that by the way :D
I realised why I loved this story so much straight from the first line! The description you used to catch the atmosphere of the aftermath of the chamber of secrets was perfect! ♥ I think the really minor details such as the portraits adding in their ideas is what really pulled it off, because it enabled me to picture the scene so vividly.
Another thing in terms of description which I really loved was how you acted Hagridís thoughts out through his movement such as the clutching at his wand. I really sensed how much this meant to him and my heart well and truly went out to him because you really caught his burning desire to prove his innocence and it was so tangible!
Grimm really showed why I loved him in this chapter with his passion for saving Hagrid, and with McGonagall and Dumbledoreís pleas for him too it contrasted perfectly with how Riddle was feeling. This line just said it all really, ĎIt cast Riddleís face, with its marble whiteness marred only by his wide, black eyes, in a sickly, almost daemonic glow.í And the disgust given out by McGonagall afterwards was perfect.
One thing that I thought really shone in this chapter was your characterisation of Dippet. You cast him as the perfect ignorant person that was simply striving for good and that echoed in all of his actions. With his old views of the delicacy of girls, his immediate discrimination of Hagrid but then showing he wasnít all bad with allowing Dumbledore to take care of Hagrid and not throwing him out straight away. All of this served for excellent characterisation!
The friendship you wrote between Minerva and Hagrid was really beautiful! With the simple touching of the arm and her wanting to do good for him was so lovely. It really echoed what I picked up of it in the books and I think the idea of her trying to save him may soon become my head canon.
I really liked the scene with Grimm and Dumbledore because it seemed as if they had almost formed an easy sort of understanding in the time of trouble, and it was good to see that Grimm had finally matured enough to allow it to happen. Dumbledoreís information was so interesting! I really did not expect Myrtle to be the thief. To be fair, I didnít really have a solid idea as to who it could be but her name never cropped up, but now it seems to make perfect sense to choose an outsider like her.
I was really hoping that Myrtle had simply been put under the Imperius curse or some other spell, but again, sadly, it does make sense that she would do that on her accord. I really loved how you crafted this story together with all those little signs because not thinking back to it they do all link up and create a perfect mystery. You left it on a note that suggested Grimm was going to talk or do something to Myrtle so now Iím really intrigued!
The way the Gryffindors all rallied around Hagrid when he came back was truly lovely. It was a great sign of all their characteristics without overstating them. One thing that really stuck out to me was their resilience and how they were determined to convict Riddle of the crime and prove that it wasnít Hagrid. Minervaís reaction to that with the sense of tiredness was really great as it showed how even then she knew that fighting against Riddle would be futile.
A brilliant chapter, and I canít wait to see how this story wraps up! ♥
Author's Response: Thank you for being so prompt in reading and reviewing! It was a lovely surprise to see your review pop up so fast - it means a lot that you popped in to nab the 300th review. :D Not that you have that much competition, it seems, but that's a different story.
I'm really pleased to hear that the descriptions stood out because it was something I wanted to emphasize in this chapter. That first scene started out as almost all dialogue and action, so I made a point of adding descriptions, making the atmosphere a stronger force because, at Hogwarts, or anywhere in the magical world, the setting and atmosphere are extremely important. The places seem to have as much magic as the people and creatures that inhabit them, so including the remarks by the portraits and making even the candlelight uncanny is key to writing a Potterverse story, just as it would be for any fantasy universe.
It was interesting to find, while writing, that the two characters I had to pay the most attention to were Hagrid and Dippet. Perhaps it was because I hadn't written as much about them, but they're also at the centre of action here - Hagrid as the accused and Dippet as the one making the decisions. Although Riddle has certainly influenced him, Dippet does truly believe that he's doing the right thing, that Hagrid never even belonged at Hogwarts. JKR showed how much racism exited in her world, and if someone like Lupin - who was born human - could constantly have his humanity questioned and find himself excluded from much of his society, then what kind of prejudice would Hagrid suffer? But I didn't want to portray Dippet as a "bad" person - he isn't. He's weak and easily led by society's expectations, believing in what others think is best rather than thinking for himself - this is why he gives in when Dumbledore invokes the board of governors. In a way, he genuinely fears Hagrid for being half-human, half-giant - Dippet doesn't know how to deal with hybridity, with someone more than human. Tom Riddle, on the other hand, /appears/ perfectly normal, which is why Dippet so easily believes the accusation.
I'm glad that you liked how all of the characters were portrayed in this chapter, as well as the dynamics between them. I thought it was really important to show Minerva's care for Hagrid - part of it is out of guilt for not having done more to help him free Aragog, but she also feels an understand for Hagrid as an outsider and as a Gryffindor. There are a lot of similarities between them and Minerva recognizes that here is someone who desperately needs a friend. I suppose you could draw a parallel between Minerva-Hagrid and Grimm-Myrtle - that kind of mentorship that the structure of Hogwarts and its houses encourages.
I don't know if I'd call it an understanding between Grimm and Dumbledore. There's something nightmarish in what Grimm understands, how he sees himself in the older wizard, someone he still doesn't like - he now has to face the fact that, because of this similarly he sees between them, this guilt and unrealised potential, that he will hate the adult he grows up to be. Grimm has definitely matured, but he doesn't at all like the result.
The Myrtle part of this chapter worried me because I thought I'd shoved it in too unceremoniously. It wasn't part of the plan, but I needed to resolve that part of the plot somehow (it was probably a mistake to include it in the first place, all those chapters ago, but now I'm stuck with it :P). It's wonderful that it felt plausible and worked well with the rest of the story - it didn't feel out of join or anything, as I worried. :)
Thank you again for reading and reviewing this chapter! It's been fantastic to hear from you again! ^_^