Tagging you from Review Tag!
Ooh! So many new developments in this chapter! I've read through it twice now and I still feel like there are probably little things I'm overlooking. Every time Snape gets inside Devlin's head, the symbolism and nuance starts flying all over the place. I'm always pretty sure I'm missing something. Anyway, here's what I took away from this:
Poor Devlin. It's as though he can't quite believe that he told Harry about the little girl he saved and nothing bad has come of it. I feel so terrible for the kid that his reality was twisted so badly that he thought Harry would hate him for using the Imperius Curse to save the girl's life. It's just one more example of the rigid black-and-white reality that Voldemort imposed on him, I guess. Harry Potter hates dark wizards, and anything that makes Devlin "dark" will make Harry hate him. There was actually an off-hand comment of Geoffrey's from a few chapters back that I didn't think much of at the time. The one where Geoffrey said that Devlin was definitely a dark wizard. That might be true from Geoffrey's point of view -- heck, it might be objectively true in a way -- but I wanted to bring it up because it instantly came to mind later in this chapter when Snape is telling Devlin that he needs to stop being dependent on Geoffrey. More on that later.
He wasn't quite sure why, but Voldemort often didn't think he was capable of anything that Voldemort himself wasn't. -- That's quite a conceit on Voldemort's part, but we know very well that he has more than one noteworthy blind spot. He always undervalues that which he does not understand.
Ha! I love the way that Emma cons Devlin into playing with her stuffed animals. And then she manages to get a grip on those heartstrings of his. She's so adorable.
I thought that the book was very significant. A message about how to escape? A portkey? I'm so intrigued by all the possibilities.
I liked the way that you made Voldemort's torture and murder of the captured Auror seem... I think "incidental" would be the right word. Torturing and killing don't mean anything to Voldemort. They're just means to an end. Old hat. "Do not eat him," he hissed at Nagini. OK, that line made me laugh out loud. I laughed out loud so much that I can't even abbreviate it "LOL". That doesn't do it justice.
One thing I've always loved about this story is that you think things through to such a great extent. It comes through in the small details. The fact that Harry and Dumbledore had noticed the decreasing frequency of Voldemort's mental connections to Harry, that they had speculated as to the cause and now the fact that Harry has a pretty good idea of why it happened were amazing little things to work into the narrative. They add so much depth!
"You're all idiots if you're calling them rumors," Harry said firmly. -- Attaboy, Harry! Call it like it is!
While we're on the topic of calling it like it is, Devlin doesn't indulge Harry's coddling attempts to explain away his absence for very long. That's something I both like and hate about the boy. He has a tragically well-developed understanding of how certain things work in life, and he isn't at all shy about challenging the adults when they try to sugar-coat things for him.
"It's about him. It always has been. I'm just here because we're both tangled up in his head." -- That was deep. So deep, actually, that I'm not sure that Harry really understood where he was going with it. Harry's still talking about blame and responsibility while Devlin has unerringly cut right to the quick of the matter. Devlin is alive because he reminds Voldemort of a young Tom Riddle.
"I don't know how to love you. I don't understand what I see in your eyes." -- That line was horribly sad. I can't imagine the pain of a parent hearing that from their child. :(
Then we transition into what I thought was far and away the most interesting part of a very interesting chapter. Devlin -- or perhaps it's more Devlin's wolf -- is so hung up on his need for Geoffrey. I wonder whether it's because his wolf sees Geoffrey and a alpha. An authority figure who can simply order him to disregard these unsettling feelings that are tearing him apart and pushing him to the brink of a seizure. Is it the sense of familiarity that Geoffrey brings? The reminder of how to control his feelings?
Potter wouldn't demand better of him like Geoffrey, Potter wouldn't insist he hold it together - that made Potter very very frightening in a whole terrifyingly foreign way. With Potter he was free, and he found that freedom petrifying. -- I think that pretty much says it all. He's finally free to hurt and to recoil from the horrors he's witnessed in life and he has no idea how to deal with that.
What about the cave? What about the little run down cottage? What about what he had done to that boy? -- Ooh! I smell horcruxes! Now I'm very, very intrigued! I wonder just how much of the truth about his survival Voldemort shared with Devlin? Might Devlin hold the key to the Dark Lord's undoing? If that's true, I'd say Devlin legitimately has something to fear from Dumbledore.
The entire scene with Snape was brilliant. I don't have enough characters left to do it justice. What is really striking, however, were the conclusions that Snape ultimately draws: (1) there is something very unusual about the psychological relationship between Devlin and his wolf, and (2) Devlin's dependency on Geoffrey is dangerous and has perhaps been engineered on purpose. The possibilities boggle the mind.
I'm quite sure that I'm almost out of characters now, so I'll simply say bravo! Awesome chapter, couldn't find a thing wrong with it! Until next time...
Author's Response: I think he is afraid what Harry will think of him, but I think he does have enough sense to know that what he did would be considered worse by Voldemort than by Harry. He is more afraid, I think of telling Harry darker things. He has proven to himself that he is capable of breaking - of revealing - and that is frightening.
"He always undervalues that which he does not understand." Yes, that is very true - or simply forgets things that do not suit his apparent needs/desires.
"I thought that the book was very significant. A message about how to escape? A portkey? I'm so intrigued by all the possibilities." You are so often right in your guesses, that I had to point out that it is none of the above. *evil grin*
" "Do not eat him," he hissed at Nagini. OK, that line made me laugh out loud." LOL, I did not picture that as a line that would make anyone laugh - in fact I was picturing Voldemort saying it in a very...serious manner? Alright...now it seems funny.
Thank you for the detail compliment. :) I do try.
"Harry's still talking about blame and responsibility while Devlin has unerringly cut right to the quick of the matter. Devlin is alive because he reminds Voldemort of a young Tom Riddle." More so than that, Devlin is still alive because Voldemort sees him as a young Tom Riddle - not just a reminder. They're tangled up in his head. It is why Devlin feels that there is a possibility Voldemort will not think him capable of betrayal.
I think the wolf knows what normally works for Devlin and was seeking that out; Devlin needed the calming routine like another child might need an inhaler or a hug. It makes him feel centered and calm - something all children need but Devlin only got in those moments. In reality think of what a mess his mind must have been most of the time and how much better he must have felt clearing it under normal circumstances. We will learn more about the wolf's ability and inabilities as we go forward.
"He's finally free to hurt and to recoil from the horrors he's witnessed in life and he has no idea how to deal with that." - Yes, exactly.
"Ooh! I smell horcruxes!" Hmm, what do they smell like, do you suppose? ;-) The Ministry did suspect that Voldemort would tell Devlin things because he would know Harry would never let the child's mind be torn apart - remember?
It would be interesting to know why you felt like Devlin knowing about how to defeat Voldemort would mean he had anything to fear from Dumbledore. I'm not saying he doesn't, just interested in why you think that would be the reason.
Thank you, I had a hell of a time writing it. Snape gave me quite the headache and I had 3,000+ words left at the bottom of the chapter that never made the cut. lol
Both of those are very interesting conclusions. The one about Geoffrey especially - although I think we already know the werewolf engineered the dependency on purpose, the question I think you are really trying to ask is whether it was done for the better or worse of Devlin - and whether Voldemort knew.
Next time is about 1,500 characters in and will probably join us after the new year on HPFF because of the queue shut down. It will probably join us much sooner on the other major archive, though. :)