Hello, I'm here from review tag! :) It was so hard choosing a story to review as all of your stories seem fascinating and I suspect I'm going to be lingering around your page quite often in the next few weeks to read them all! But since I loved your last Moody-centered story that I read so much I thought this would be a good one to check out.
I absolutely love how Moody is characterized here, and the descriptions of his leg and how he goes through the phantom pains. His and Dumbledore's understanding with each other, how Moody understands that he has to find answers for himself, is really fascinating. He's such a great character since he's sort of the underdog among the Aurors and a little rough around the edges, and Dumbledore choosing him to be the one to investigate is so very canon. It's quite interesting to see them still on last-name terms and before they were really friends like they are so far in the future.
Something I really loved was the portrayal of the castle itself as this living, dangerous thing which opposed him. And then there were these lines: They’d never wash the blood from the flagstones or silence the echoes of screams in the halls. which were so chilling and I loved the darkness of Hogwarts here. You really brought to life the darker side of Hogwarts and how dangerous and notorious it really is. It's so unique and fits with the mystery genre, and I adored it. The whole story has this sense of tension and being watched which was really perfect for the theme and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The lyrical, powerful description really enhances that. I especially appreciated the reference to Bluebeard's castle, which just thinking of adds to that whole creepy manner, and the subtle references to the word "riddle" is just perfect.
I don't think I've read anything set in this period before and I'm really excited to see how you continue to shape it. It's so unique to see characters like McGonagall and Moody and Hagrid when they were the young ones, and the mystery revolving around Voldy trying to get back into Hogwarts is brilliant. I enjoyed the little details like how Moody was in the war - the Muggle war - and how it affected him, as it surely would affect everyone who grew up in that time. Then the mention of the Hepzibah Smith case and Moody recognizing Riddle's name from that was a great touch, especially how Moody's thinking the elf was innocent really shows his character and how he's unique for a wizard and an Auror, especially in that time. I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and how Hogwarts and the HP world evolves and changes in other eras and I'm really intrigued to see how that will continue.
McGonagall and Voldy seems really interesting and something I've never actually read! I'm curious to find out how she is involved and what sort of a character she would be like as a young woman. I've wondered when I've seen Minerva/Riddle pairings on the site how authors fit them together and make it work so finding out that role in the mystery should be really interesting.
Great job with this, I can't wait to read the next chapter and find out what's going on! :D
Author's Response: Thank you for choosing to read and review this story! It's one I should really revisit because I still like the idea of it and the various themes it explores - of course, writing about Moody is something I also very much enjoy. He's a fascinating character to write about, perhaps because I'm able to expand on JKR's characterization, which is in some ways basic, more caricature than character, if that makes sense. He's a fighter, but he also has to deal with the numerous disabilities that plague him throughout the years - for instance, in this story, the loss of his leg frequently obstructs his ability to work, and he is still working at adapting to his new body.
I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed that description of the castle. It's one of my favourite things I've written - being able to take the magical castle of Hogwarts and place it within a film noir context was an interesting experience. It's easy to forget that it's a medieval castle with a disturbing past that includes bloody barons, a giant basilisk, and more recently for Moody's time, the death of Myrtle. It has the potential to be a terrifying place, just as many locations do - it all depends on how you frame the descriptions and what kind of lighting or filtering you use on the images.
It's probably my favourite Potterverse time to write about - these characters have so much to offer, as does the time period surrounding them. Thankfully JKR has provided just enough Magical history to provide a background for these characters and the darker world - post-War, pre-Voldemort - in which they live.
:O You've never read Tom/Minerva? It's what happens when you make Draco/Hermione more sophisticated, with a lot more potential for horror. ;)
Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! I apologize for the late response!