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Review:toomanycurls says:
I'm kind of a next-gen n00b so it took me a few minutes to get into the story (but if I were more familiar with next-gen I would have gotten into it much easier).

I liked that Dudley and Harry were making a go at being family. I'm curious who initiated that and how they got to an awkward but livable arrangement. I did find it a bit disheartening that people weren't more welcoming of Dudley and his kids (even though Dudley was quite horrible to Harry). You really touch on some difficult topics regarding abusive families and how relationships repair over time. Harry's insistence that they complete the puzzle together (even at everyone's desire to give up) shows how much he's trying to create what he considers an idealized childhood for his kids. You do see that a lot with people who did not have a happy or typical family environment. they try to find out what normal is and almost force it upon themselves. It's a little sad too because most of the human condition is trying to find this thing called normal despite that being a terribly subjective term and ideal.

You captured the kids being kids very well. Their interactions reminded me of how my cousins and I got along at big family events (Part friends, part annoying). I'd hope to see them a bit more accepting of Dudley's kids as his kids weren't horrible to Harry. I did love the teasing they did back and forth, it's a very good depiction of children.

I am a touch worried about Harry throughout this. What's his motivation for forcing his family to appreciate their muggle heritage? Again, this is another very interesting idea you've put forth. I've never thought of wizards trying to connect with their muggle roots. Most of the examples from the series show the magical community (even people who have a muggle background) embracing magic and not really looking to connect with muggle lifestyle.

Also interesting that everyone follow's Harry's lead (again, despite their desires to stop) in finishing the puzzle before leaving. It really shows how much he is blindly followed by people who care about him.

There was a lot of humor in this that made me laugh. The idea that the puzzle was a box of wood chips was hilarious. I think that's a reasonable interpretation of a puzzle if Lily hadn't seen one before. Also the horror at seeing the pieces cut up and there only being half of some of them. I do think it was a bit grim but there was also comedy behind that.

I liked Ginny and Harry's relationship. Their marital bickering and rules about how much they could drink based on who was coming made me laugh. Also, I like that they're still quite into each other. I did kind of feel that Ron and Hermione were in the background a bit - but that could have been that the story focused more on Harry. I'm not sure I could see Kreacher still being hateful towards muggle born folks after being in Harry's house for so long. His opinions had been widely shaped by Walburga (because he cared for her and respected her). I got the feeling that Harry was starting to earn the same level of respect from Kreacher in DH.

Overall I think this is a really enjoyable, light-hearted yet deep story. ^_^

Author's Response: Hi, there! Thanks so much for the prompt, thoughtful and detailed review.

I always felt like Harry learned a lot about the value of family during the events of Deathly Hallows. His adopted family -- Hermione, the Weasleys, Tonks, Remus, Mad-Eye, Dobby, etc. -- fought for him and in some cases gave their lives to help him win. His biological mother's sacrifice made his final victory over Voldemort possible, and both of his parents were there for him as he faced his own death. Because of that, I think he would have felt a little bad about cutting Dudley completely out of his life. I doubt they'll ever be great friends, but Harry probably would have wanted that last remaining connection to his mother's family. I definitely see your point about Dudley's kids, and I probably should have spent a little more time on them.

Harry got a little too "caught up in the moment" in terms of trying to get his magical family to embrace his mother's muggle roots. I think we're all guilty of that sort of thing when we're under duress.

Everyone seems to have a knack for following Harry's lead, don't they? It worked well for them the last time. ;)

I'm really glad that you found the story amusing. That was really the point of it all. I actually started off with the idea of a "wizarding puzzle", where the poor subjects of the picture would be trying to deal with their fractured reality. It all sort of snowballed from there.

I do think that Kreacher became as fanatically devoted to Harry and his family as he was to the Blacks, since he was magically bound to the Potters and because they treated him kindly. But some of the prejudices he inherited from Walburga and Orion were likely too much for the poor, old elf to overcome. And he *especially* does not like Molly trying to take over *his* kitchen.

"light-hearted yet deep" Wow. That's actually a pretty big compliment. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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