Hello again! :)
I was really happy to see that you didn't skip the whole Manor scene and just move past to the aftermath. I was really excited to see that we get to witness a fight scene and what a fight scene it was!
What I was most impressed with (because fight scenes are really hard for me to write, so any coherent fight scene, especially of this caliber, blows my mind) is the way in which Narcissa remained centered throughout. For me she is one of the strongest female characters in the series (she lied to Voldemort's face. She hid the fact that Harry was alive right under his nose... That's a horrible pun, moving on) and she sort of radiated power and self control throughout this whole fight scene and maintained balance.
Lucius losing his mind is something I expected and for him to relive the Battle of the Department of Mysteries makes so much sense, since to our knowledge it was his darkest hour and it was the starting point of his fall from grace and the troubles in his family. Following the conversation they had in the previous chapter, I think that battle made such a big impact on Lucius' subconscious because it was the source of his son's troubles. That lead to the events we saw in "Half Blood Prince" and in "Marked". I guess that on some strange and twisted level he is trying to make it right for his son by winning that battle.
Moving on from Malfoy Manor to Astoria's house, I just find her and Daphne's conversations so hilariously inappropriate. Having a younger sibling myself, I could never have those kinds of talks. It's better as the older one to keep an air of mystery around oneself and be regarded as somebody who knows what they're doing, instead of shattering all illusions that you somehow mastered the secret of life. In my opinion. Although, in the whole Astoria/Daphne dynamic, I think Astoria is the one who is "older", mainly because she realized at a young age that life isn't about being "Mrs. Somebody", but also about being your own person.
And thank you so much for the cliffhanger. I honestly missed one of those! Now go write because I need to know what happens next, the curiosity is killing me over here!
You did such an amazing job on this chapter, it was a pleasure to read! :)
Author's Response: Hi, Ral! It has taken me ages to get around to answering these reviews. Unconscionable, I say!
I never would have dreamed of skipping the Manor scene. For Lucius and Narcissa, I thought this was *the* key scene of the entire story. It shows that the Malfoy family as a whole is finally moving on from their past. Lucius might not fully realize he's doing it, but that's another aspect of the situation. Narcissa and Draco really assume leadership of the family at this point.
I enjoy writing Narcissa in anything that happens after Lucius is arrested in the Department of Mysteries. Her entire character changed for me in Spinner's End. It became plainly obvious that she really was willing to do anything to protect her son, including defying the Dark Lord's direct orders. What's a little dust-up with Gamp and Flint compared to that?
Poor Lucius has lost the plot, as the Brits say. He has moments of clarity, like we saw in the last chapter, but under duress he loses his handle on reality. To me, he was sort of careening back and forth among lots of different memories, some in the Department of Mysteries and others from the first war. The only thing that matters, I suppose, is that he kept fighting.
Daphne and Astoria have an odd relationship, no? Most of the time Daphne tries to play the protective older sister. When she's upset, however, the roles seem to get reversed. Daphne is alarmed to see her marriage in trouble after less than a week and she's desperately hoping that her calmer, more rational younger sister will think of something that she's missed.
I promise that I'm trying very hard to wrap up the next chapter. The ending is pretty easy, but getting the beginning right is killing me. Back to work...
Thanks so much for all of your awesome support and reviews!