|Review:||nott theodore says:|
Hi Dan! Thanks for requesting a review from me, and I'm sorry that it took me so long to write - real life has really been getting on top of me recently! I'm really pleased to get a chance to read some more of your stories though!
Your writing style is, as ever, so readable and enjoyable, and even though this chapter was 7K+ I didn't get distracted or bored at all, which is what normally happens when I read chapters that long. I really loved your attention to detail in this as well, with all the different characters and the references to different parts of the books. I was smiling so much all the way through this piece because of the thought you'd put into it.
Before I go on, I'll just point out a typo and a couple of Brit-picks (which are quite picky so feel free to ignore them):
"Roxie answered apologietically" - apologetically
"Care of Magical Creatures text" - we'd tend to say textbooks rather than texts here
"Privet Drive Neighborhood Association" - I love the fact that you've included this, but I think it's normally called Neighbourhood Watch over here
I know you said you were worried about the humour and the tone of the piece, but I don't think you have any need to be. The humour came across really well, and I think that if I was to mention all the parts I found funny, I'd be quoting most of the one-shot back at you. I loved the agreement between Harry and Ginny about drinking when their relatives were visiting, and the idea of Arthur playing with the saw and causing havoc all round the house was hilarious! I actually really want to read a one-shot now about Arthur meeting Dudley properly as an adult, because you've conjured up such funny images in my mind that it would be brilliant to read more about the two of them. And then, of course, Molly's reaction when Arthur wants to know where he can buy himself Muggle tools! It just made me wonder what sort of chaos he'd cause if he actually had access to them...
You also said that you were worried about some of the characters seeming a little over-the-top, but again, I don't think that's an issue here. Humour means that you play on the funny characteristics of each person, and you achieved that in a way that didn't make them caricatures but did bring the humour in what they were doing or saying to light. I'm impressed that you dealt with a large cast of characters here and managed to still give them each their own quirks and personalities, as though their voices were already coming through in a one-shot. I particularly liked Fred's appearance at the beginning, and I thought you described that awkward teenage boy phase perfectly - when they don't want to seem 'girly' and young so much that they look even sillier trying their best to be the opposite. I liked the relationships that you wrote between all the family members too, and I thought you got the dynamics of the Potters/Weasleys really well. My favourite characters were probably James and Albus, and the way that they go from working together on pranks on their cousins to telling tales on each other and arguing - it's so true of siblings who are close in age, and you capture that perfectly.
Harry was brilliant! I know that you've written a whole novel about him (which I've unfortunately still not had time to read!) so I shouldn't expect your characterisation to be otherwise, but I thought that you wrote him only the way that a dad could, really. Even though you managed to deal with his worries in a light-hearted manner, they were still there and very much real and believable. I know it's so stressful for parents to get the right present for their children, and they can judge themselves as a failure if their children don't like their presents or enjoy their birthday, even though the kids will probably forget it soon (I know that my parents still feel guilty about me being ill on one of my birthdays when I was younger, when it was completely out of their control!). I could sense that in the way he was determined for the day to be perfect, and the way that he became so fixated on it that he couldn't think of anything else. I really liked the way you handled those serious concerns and interspersed them with humour; the contrast made them stand out more but also made it a really enjoyable read.
The ending was so cute and made me laugh a lot - no matter how much poor Harry tried, Lily still didn't like her present - and Ginny got a bit too carried away with the drink, I think! The Permanent Sticking Charm was one of my favourite parts - the poor girl will never get rid of it now!
This was really great Dan, and I'm really pleased I got to read another of your stories!
Author's Response: Hi, Sian!
First off, thanks for pointing out those things. I've gone in and fixed them already. Much appreciated.
I'm really pleased that the tone sounded right to you. I like writing "funny", so long as it doesn't cross that fine line into "silly." I kind of like the idea of writing about Dudley, and I've pondered a few different plot concepts for him. Maybe this will motivate me to tackle one of them.
I'm also glad the characters worked well for you. I didn't put huge amounts of thought into Freddy's appearance, but I'm happy that he seemed realistic. I like writing around large casts of characters because I can let them come and go and decide who's the best person to use in any given situation. And I also enjoyed writing James and Al in this, even though they're behaving like little jerks. ;)
That's a very high compliment on Harry and I appreciate it a great deal. Transitioning him into parenthood isn't always easy since he had a pretty messed-up childhood. I tend to think of him as the very doting parent while Ginny is more likely to be the voice of discipline and restraint. I'm sure Harry would have felt terrible if Lily didn't like her gift, and she takes it pretty easy on him. Mixing up serious issues and humor is the only way to go, if you ask me. Adding a bit of lightness helps readers feel like they aren't being preached to.
When I was imagining Harry at the end, all I had in my head was Chevy Chase's character at the end of Christmas Vacation. So single-minded and determined that things were going to be **right** that he totally lost perspective. I'm glad you liked it.
Thanks so much for the lovely review! I always love hearing from you!