Hello! I'm here again with another review for you! :D
As always, this chapter was VERY well written, with every nuance and suspense-filled glance worked in perfectly. I will admit (most shamefully) that while I was on holiday from school in October, I used the whole weekend to read everything on your author page. Everything, except for this story, of course, because I keep meaning to go back and reread it all to get the full effect of your genius. I didn't review your stories then, because I was so anxious to read the next one and the next one and the next one... But when I reread this one, I will review every chapter. I promise!
One thing that I'm especially glad of about indulging myself with your brilliant writing is that I read the story "The Fires Within." It gave me so many more Tiberius/Minerva feels, even though the story wasn't about them. I love that "This Longing" explores the events of their younger years, because I just LOVE the personalities that you've given them.
Okay, now I'll actually review this chapter...
Armando Dippet is just a little bit (okay, A LOT) prejudiced and bigoted. The whole time that he was in this chapter, he managed to constantly infuriate me with the way he spoke to/about Tom Riddle. WHY IS HE SUCH A DODDERING FOOL?!?! Thank you for portraying him in this light. He isn't someone that we hear too much about or see in action, whether in fanfiction or the actual books, so seeing him up close and personal like this just shows how stupid he really is. Perhaps he knew what he was doing--that he was indulging the wishes and commands of a teenage murderer--but it might've been on a subconscious level. He sure didn't seem too reluctant to say "no" to dear little Tommy Riddle. Ugh.
Dumbledore, on the other hand, is intelligent without being too likable. Your characterization of him is very close to that of canon Dumbledore, but of course, through Grimm's eyes, you make him seem less of the friendly, pleasant old man that Harry (thought he) knew. Naturally, I agree wholeheartedly with this portrayal--Dumbledore, while being brilliant and a champion of those whose blood was less-than-pure, was still a bit of a politician. He hid the secrets of his past, covered them up, so that people would only see a facade. This is understandable, but it is rather unsettling to note that the esteemed Headmaster once fraternized with one of Wizardkind's greatest enemies. Through Grimm's eyes, it is very easy to see him as a younger man, a man who hasn't completely become that old, twinkly-eyed mage that Harry knows. He is rather difficult to admire, indeed!
This possibility of Myrtle being under the killer's influence, doing things willingly, is an intriguing one. It flips things around, warps the perspective of the story being just another random occurrence of tragic death. It means that her death was planned TO THE LETTER. And knowing Tom Riddle, I am not at all surprised. Is this revealed in the next chapter or so? (Perhaps it is never revealed. After all, they didn't solve the mystery completely until Harry's second year.) This is most curious!
Poor, poor Hagrid. I feel so bad for him, being the victim of Tom's quest for power. Seeing the story from this angle, actually experiencing the moment when Hagrid got expelled, makes it all the more tragic and powerful. The poor man spent 50-some-odd years in a hut on the grounds, wand broken, deprived of education, just because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, AND he was opposed by a beautiful lie. Fortune favors the beautiful, as they say, and that is most unfortunate for the innocent Hagrid.
I am so excited that you'll be finishing this story soon!!! I think that I'll go and reread everything once it is finally marked "Completed" so that I don't have to wait for the last chapter. And I'm also really excited about chapter 10 of "Pride and Pestilence." It's one of my current "Most Favorite Stories on HPFF." ;)
Author's Response: Eeee, thank you very much! Your first review for this story inspired me to give it another go, so it means a lot to hear more from you about it. It's exciting to finally be wrapping it up - seeing it marked completed will be a wonderful thing after all these years of promising myself that I would get to finishing it. :D
Holy canoli, you read everything?! That's insane. Even... wait, I have read it all, but over a much longer period of time. I hope your head didn't implode from all the pain. Thank you for the fantastic compliment!
Writing Fires gave me so many Tiberius/Minerva feels that it was twice as hard to finish that story because I only wanted to write about them. XD I'm so glad to hear that you felt the same way from a reader's perspective and that you like how they're characterized here. They're unique characters to write, and they feel oddly real, perhaps because I've been working with them for so long. It doesn't take much effort to call them forth - they naturally flow onto the page, contradictory and difficult human beings.
I'm pleased that you liked this version of Dippet. I wanted to construct him like many of the Ministry officials from Harry's time, gullible and painfully narrow-minded. It's something I admire JKR for because it's a sadly realistic vision of many people, and it's important to include such characters in stories to demonstrate the problem of such ways of thinking and how much damage that system of belief can cause. Even in a non-magical setting, a dispute between someone like Hagrid and someone like Tom would always end in Tom's favour - he, the handsome, popular, well-rounded boy who is likely to become the exemplar citizen, even a potential politician. And people like Dippet allow the Tom Riddles to succeed. He doesn't know what Tom is really up to - no one really knows for sure. Dumbledore and Slughorn know the most, but as we see in the books, it took decades for Dumbledore to learn what Slughorn knew about Riddle. Tom is that brilliant at covering his tracks and evading detection.
Haha, I find it hard to write Dumbledore in a positive light because of what we know of his past. His connection with the very ideals that Voldemort would one day follow is disturbing, and I like to be able to show how Dumbledore is still very conscious of them, and is still consciously fighting against them inside of himself. Grimm doesn't see the other side - of Dumbledore's love for Gellert and the death of Ariana - he can only see the politician at work.
The problem with Myrtle's case is that it can't be solved at this point. It frustrates me that I can't give that storyline closure - Grimm and Dumbledore can only guess at the solution, and even years later, Myrtle still isn't telling what truly happened. There's too much grey area, and I suppose that it works to have it that way, and I'm glad that you mentioned that it will perhaps not be revealed in this story. (In reality, I should have been more careful with the plot structure back when I wrote those parts from Myrtle's perspective because they've only given me trouble in these last few chapters. Bah.)
Thank you again for your kind words, and for being such a lovely avid reader of my stories! I'm really happy to hear that you've enjoyed them, and this one! so much. ^_^