That was completely adorable. You did a great job of capturing the warm, welcoming chaos that I imagine would accompany any holiday gathering at the Burrow.
I love Fred and George throughout the story. They sound so perfect. Their humor hasn't reached the level of refinement we see in the books, but then again they're only -- I think -- nine years old here. They're still perfecting their craft. The game of "almost touch Muriel" was a fun touch.
Ron and Ginny were completely adorable. They would be, what, seven and six at this time? The childish little arguments and the poking competition were really cute ideas. I loved when she called them the "Chubby Cannons"!
Poor Percy! Trying so hard to be the responsible adult and help his parents keep Muriel entertained. But she shoots him out of the sky in the end. Which bring us to...
Aunt Muriel! She's just ghastly. I think you did a great job with not letting her walls of grumpiness and condescension show so much as a single crack. I though it was nice to make her not directly related to either the Weasleys or Prewetts. She's just the obnoxious, old lady who's been forced upon them all.
Uncle Bilius seemed like a great role model for the twins. I wish you had indulged us with more of the content of his stories because I bet it would have been hilarious. Still, I understand the choice. The flow of the story wouldn't have been quite as good.
I loved your portrayal of Molly as the overworked, long-suffering hostess in the story. She's killing herself to try to make everybody happy, and it's unfortunate that she seems to place disproportionate weight on the opinion of the one person who wouldn't be happy no matter what. Thankfully, her obsession with Aunt Muriel's enjoyment is balanced out by...
Arthur! Oh, how I adore that man! He seems to know just the right thing to say to make people feel better. And he carved the turkey without messing it up somehow. You captured his childlike wonder and irrepressible happiness beautifully in this.
I only saw one thing in the story that might be a typo. Or maybe I just didn't get where you were going with it. Either way, here's what I noticed:
The others turned to him with a range of expressions, but Charlie followed his suggestion by picking up his own golden cracker and waving it madly in the air.
"Yes, I think crackers would be a good idea, donít you Molly?" -- I would have guessed that it was Charlie speaking here, except I think it's actually Arthur. You might want to add a dialog tag just to clarify things.
Excellent piece! Best of luck in your challenge!
Author's Response: Hi Dan!
I've had the idea for this fluffy Christmas one-shot for a while, so it was great to get the chance to write it. I love the Weasleys and it was great fun writing them at this chaotic Christmas!
They are still quite young here - I think they are nine, if I remember correctly - so their humour isn't as developed as when we first see them in the books, at the age of 13 (also, I'm not very good at coming up with jokes when I'm rushing to get a piece submitted for a challenge :P).
Ron and Ginny's arguments may have been inspired by some I had with my brother when we were both younger... It fit really well with them, I thought!
In my head canon Muriel's just sort of forced on them, like this - I couldn't imagine her really related to such a fun and friendly family with the way she behaves! I loved her shooting Percy down (probably a bit too much) and juxtaposing her with Bilius. The two of them were really fun to write - maybe I'll have to expand on Bilius's adventures one day!
I felt really sorry for Molly here, but I'm glad you liked my characterisation of her. She cares so much about making other people happy that I think Christmas would be really stressful for her (not that it isn't for most parents) and Aunt Muriel definitely doesn't help matters. I'm so pleased you liked Arthur, too! He's so fun to write about and I love him and Molly together.
You're right, that was a typo (silly me, writing at ridiculous times). I've fixed it now, thank you for pointing it out, and thanks for the review!