Hi! I love stories where the author has the willpower to adhere to a schedule. I seriously wish I had that. And that real life would allow it to happen if I did have the willpower. But that's neither here nor there. Onward!
You did a great job of capturing the cozy, comfortable chaos (Augh! Alliteration attack!) that we all associate with the Burrow. With that as a baseline, I think you layered in just the right amount of awkward tension. Nobody's quite sure what to do or say -- more importantly, I guess, what not to do or say -- around Sadie and Sadie has almost forgotten how to act in a "real" family home. I liked the sense of mildly uncomfortable wonder you gave her. It reminded me a lot of Harry's first visit to the Burrow.
All of the canon characters had just the right ring to them. Professor McGonagall somehow managed to be firm and reassuring all at the same time, a skill that she plied with great regularity for six consecutive books. Molly was playing the loving mother figure and the family drill sergeant with equal intensity. The twins injected levity into the situation and they seized the opportunity to learn something new from Sadie... and turn it into a way to make trouble. Hermione was her usual endless library of passingly relevant facts and figures -- Snape would have rolled his eyes and called her an insufferable know-it-all -- as well as an earnest and enthusiastic listener. Bill, Charlie and Percy were all nicely done in their smaller, supporting roles. Ginny sort of disappeared in the shuffle. I know it would have been well-nigh impossible to give everyone a long moment in the sun in a chapter like this, but I did sort of wonder what became of her. She's no shrinking violet.
The two most interesting by far were Arthur and Harry. If Harry and Sadie weren't related, I would swear that you were setting up an awkward teenage romance. The dynamic between the two of them was perfect, seeing as how neither is outgoing at all. They were acting like the proverbial kids standing along the wall at a middle school dance, stubbing their toes on the floor and stealing glances. I really, really hope that the two of them can become friends, although knowing what's in store for Harry, that's a rather frightening prospect in and of itself. Poor Arthur seems to have his emotions pulling him in about six different directions at once. The sense of duty he feels to his deceased friend almost feels like it's crushing him. He wants to help her so badly, but he really has no idea how to best go about it. There are so many things he wants and/or needs to tell her and so many things that he wants to ask. I feel terribly for him.
Hmmnn... so Sadie spent a bit of time in Vermont. Interesting, although not especially enlightening at this point. Maybe she was kidnapped by Ben & Jerry! :p Her memory of her first visit to the sign language class was powerful, powerful stuff. That was far and away my favorite section of the entire chapter. It was really amazing to see this poor, lost child suddenly find one thing in the entire world that she could grab onto in order to save herself from being lost forever. Later that night, in large letters that wobbled and swayed from ages without practice, a grubby, awkward hand gripped the pen and pushing way too hard on the pad of paper wrote the words: My name is Sadie, My name is Sadie, over and over again, until at least two precious pages were filled. -- ::sniff:: Excuse me, I think somebody's chopping onions around here.
I honestly don't have a thing I can recommend for this chapter. Awesome stuff, from start to finish!
Author's Response: Hi Dan,
SO sorry I'm very slow with this response. Life has been insane this last week. And I can't believe you are praising me for sticking with a schedule. Do you remember that other story of mine? That sits for AGES without an update... Yeah.
Cozy, comfortable chaos. I love it! That's exactly what I was going for! Thanks! And yes, I wanted to show Sadie's wonder, but also not have it be like she was instantly at home and best buds with everyone.
Thanks again for the reassurance on the canon characters. You know I worry about writing them, so to hear they are okay means a whole lot.
GINNY! Oh dear. You are SO right! I just kind of missed her. She was there, in my head, but I never let her speak up so no one else knows she was there. That's not right. Ginny doesn't let herself get shoved to the background. Too late for this chapter to fix it, but next chapter Ginny will get some lines! Promise!
I got a good giggle at the idea of a Harry/Sadie ship. There are some places in America where that's ALMOST acceptable you know. But, I'm really NOT writing that kind of fic, hehehehe. Don't worry, though, I do want them to become friends, even with the peril that could cause in the future. I just don't want it to happen too unrealistically fast.
Arthur - he has surprised me in this story. In my first draft, I didn't focus much on him, as this was Sadie' story, and to a lesser extent, Harry's story of how his life changed by getting a cousin. But, as I've been editing to post, I keep adding all these scenes or bits into scenes that focus more on Arthur and how this impacts him as well. I like it, but it is unexpected. So glad you like the emotion it's creating though!
Yep, Vermont. And no...Ben and Jerry not involved. Though, now I'm wishing I'd thought of it...
The last part of this review has seriously given ME warm fuzzies. I think I've read it a dozen times since you put it up. That scene where she finds the sign language classes was not part of the original chapter. I was editing, and it just hit me, and so I wrote it almost in one go. It really somehow struck me hard. But I wasn't sure if it would do that to anyone else. I was so thrilled when you said it did, pointing out the one sentence that meant so much to me as I was writing it, even. THANKS!
Oh, and sorry about those onions chopping.
Thanks as always! I look forward to your review each time I post. I hope you continue to like the story. :)