Hello! It's nice to review one of your novel-length stories! :)
There really isn't enough post-war fanfiction, I think. At least, I haven't seen very much, and when I find it, it's usually about life being pretty grand (except that maybe the OC doesn't have a boyfriend, and she wants to fall in love with one of the war heroes). You know how it is.
So I am REALLY glad that this story shows a whole different perspective: the perspective of the loser. Draco Malfoy, I would like to believe, did NOT go back to Hogwarts in order to become Head Boy and fall in love with Hermione Granger. He was under a lot of pressure during the war, and war is a tricky thing--the side that falls is the side that civilians are prejudiced against. No one likes a loser.
When the scene opened, I thought that it had been a few years, that Draco was older and had been a drunken sot for a very long time. But that does not seem to be the case. It seems as though it's been half a year, maybe a little bit more, but still, the war is a rather recent thing. No wonder Draco feels that he has to bury himself in a bottle. You write drunk people quite wonderfully (not that I've ever been drunk--I'm kind of not old enough/I don't want to experience it). Your descriptions are MUCH different from the drunken scenes that I usually see (of course, in those scenes, it's usually some party in the Room of Requirement; festive bacchanalia rather than the miserable after-effects of war). I really appreciated all of the description that you put into it; I felt as though I could see Draco vomiting in the street! (Ugh...)
The Leaky Cauldron scene was really shocking. Again, I don't have much experience with post-war fics of this sort, and so when the bartender was especially cruel, I was slightly appalled. But it makes total sense. Everyone was afraid of the Malfoys before the war, and now that they've been defeated, the people feel that it's okay to kick a dog while it's down. You did a marvelous job of showing that shift in attitude during this scene.
Astoria... She doesn't seem TOO perfect, but some of the things that she does are a little out of place. For instance, why does she giggle and grin at Draco? I know that we're not really seeing her perspective, but it seems a bit strange. Draco probably stinks--he's just emptied the contents of his stomach out onto the street! The whole matter of Astoria seeming "too perfect" will just have to be resolved later, when we find out more about her personality. There isn't enough of that to tell what she's like in this chapter--after all, maybe she's just a person who is easily tickled by crazy drunk ex-Death Eaters? Whatever the case may be, she seems fine to me. She's very well-written,indeed!
The only thing that I really found out of place was this line: "Because maybe if she can understand then so can I." This seems like a PoV switch, which I'm not quite okay with. Perhaps it was meant to be in italics, as one of Draco's thoughts? Or maybe it was just an accident (happens to the best of us!) and you meant to say "Because maybe if she could understand, then so could he." Whatever the case may be, it's not a major deal. After all, one mistake in 4500+ words is hardly noticeable!
Thanks for asking me to review your story!! I really enjoyed this first chapter! :)
Author's Response: Hi, there! I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this.
I couldn't agree with you more, I'm a huge fan of post-war fics. I love discovering different perspectives on what happened between the ending proper of DH and the epilogue. I found it really interesting to try to imagine what would have befallen the "losing side" in the aftermath of Voldemort's death. I think some things are obvious, like most of the Death Eaters who managed to escape being hunted down, but there had to be a lot of consequences for the purebloods who were seen as sympathizers or outright collaborators. In spite of Harry taking up their cause, the Malfoys definitely would have been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, I think.
This story begins in the fall of 1998, nearly 4 months after Voldemort's final defeat. Draco has been mired in depression since the battle and Astoria is visiting Diagon Alley with her father to shop for her school things. I tried hard not to glamorize my descriptions of drunk Draco in any way. He's not some James Dean rebel sipping whiskey from the bottle, he's suffering from PTSD and massive depression. Real alcoholics aren't charming Dudley Moore types. I thought it was really important to convey that.
The Leaky Cauldron scene was meant to essentially be "rock bottom" for Draco. He can't go any lower. He's drunk, depressed and he's been humiliated by a bar full of people he's considered unworthy of his scorn for nearly his entire life.
Yep, I do feel like Astoria is a little too perfect in this. Someday I'll go back and work on that. The only thing I can say in my defense is that you're seeing her from Draco's point of view, which definitely put a very soft focus on things. Blurry, even. I promise that she will be a lot less perfect in later chapters.
That line has given me fits! I love the idea so much, but I haven't ever been able to get the phrasing quite right. Maybe some italics...
Thank you so much for the lovely review! I will be back soon to re-request!