Hi! Sorry for the wait with this review, I was trying to write for the Winter Duel and finish off another chapter for one of my own stories. Many apologies.
So this chapter was another really well thought out one. I thought you brought up so many issues Draco would have had to deal with post war so brilliantly and flawlessly. Which makes me love this story even more as i've always imagined his life after to to quite difficult. I remember in the books how there was quite a bit of derision for individuals who were thought to have got off scott free from the first war and that same derision I believe would have intensified after the second war. Draco was caught in the midst of it. His very presence at the school seems to spit into the faces of the families that were torn apart. Especially so soon after. It's like tearing into their very fragile wounds and ripping them open again. I think you handled all of this so very well. It wouldn't be easy to see a suspected Death Eater roam Hogwarts just as it's being rebuilt because it's this constant reminder of what happened and who got away.
Saying that, it is really believable that people would react the way they did. Part of me feels bad that the Gryffindor's reacted that way, but it is so in character for a Gryffindor to get into other's faces. Also, completely understandable, given the fact that his very presence served as such a reminder. No one would be happy to see someone who was a bully, follower of Voldemort, and pureblood supremacist still around and unpunished. I think it goes against most people's sensibilities. (Even though we'd all like to believe we'd give people mercy and second chances, if it came down to it, i think many would react the same in that situation.) You handled that like a boss. I also like how Draco doesn't seem all that reformed yet. He can tell that something has got to give, but it doesn't mean he's left behind his old thinking. He also briefly thinks about relying on his old habits after McGonagall tells him off (thinking of going to tell his father!)
I think you handled McGonagall fairly well. She's such a difficult character to get properly. I think her anger is justified and her stance is a stance she would have taken post war. I like how this is hard for him and that people aren't ready to believe in him and his want for change. It's so much more interesting to see this struggle where he's still very clearly arrogant and rude to muggle borns (loved that line about the filthy muggle borns etc, it was striking to see exactly where he stands on the issue now, also, it is so Draco and it's nice to see that he isn't any sort of saint even after the war!). I think, however, that there were parts in McGonagall's speech that didn't have enough professional detachment. It could be explained away quite easily, however, i've always seen McGonagall as quite classy when it comes to this sort of thing. Those few sentences where she's calling him a DE and a coward. Although she would have thought that, it was there I felt she lost some of her professional detachment and attitude. The rest of it though was spot on.
I liked the moments with Astoria. I thought it was interesting to see more of her childish side. I thought you captured typical teen girls fairly well as well. More to the point, Isobel made a very valid point. I think that it was really striking to hear her say it. It brings a lot of light to what individuals who supported Voldemort must have been experiencing post war. This includes Draco obviously. They are all scarred in their own way, had their own demons to fight after their horrible decisions.
Very quickly I wanted to mention Luna. Such a lovely job you've done with her. I could literally 'hear' her accent with her dialogue. It all seemed very her and only she'd put a stop to that display. Very well done.
Really great chapter here. You've really dove into some really great topics and explored them with expertise. You've made this a very complex story with complex and interesting characters. I like how you're making it so clear how many families were hurt and how that hurt doesn't quite go away . You can really feel this story if you know what I mean. Thank you so much for re-requesting!!
Author's Response: Hi! So glad that you're enjoying the story! And please, don't ever apologize. The fact that you offer your time to help authors grow and improve is awesome!
You pretty much hit all of my thoughts exactly. I expect that there were some pretty big social shifts after the war. Anyone from the "old families" who didn't end up in Azkaban would have been viewed with a lot of suspicion and possibly even overt anger by the survivors who were terrorized by the Death Eaters. On the flip side, Draco's presence at Hogwarts would have seemed like a slap in the face to everyone who fought in the battle or lost a loved one. It's a very emotionally charged situation.
The two Gryffindors responded harshly, but I think that's the life that everyone at the school became used to under Snape and the Carrows. I'm guessing that the Slytherins faced little to no consequences for attacking their fellow students, so it was probably "curse or be cursed" a lot of the time for the Gryffindors. That would have to be hard to move past, even after four months of Hogwarts being back to "normal", whatever that is for Hogwarts.
I argued with myself quite a bit on how to handle McGonagall. In the end, I think my biggest deciding factor was how much she personally lost that she would have blamed on Draco and his family. Draco let the Death Eaters into the castle at the end of HPB, after all. From her point of view, since she presumably didn't know about Dumbledore's master plan, Draco was directly responsible for the death of her beloved mentor and friend. Combine that with all of the other deaths and injuries and I can imagine her professional detachment slipping more than a bit. But you're right, that last bit might have been a little over the top.
I really feel like I put Astoria on too much of a pedestal in the first chapter, so I spend a lot of the next few trying to bring her back to a realistic age and level of maturity. I'm glad you thought they seemed like realistic teen girls, since I've obviously never been one myself. ;)
Whew! Writing Luna is sort of like being in love. You can't explain in words what makes Luna sound like Luna, you just know it when you read it. Again, whew!
Thank you so much for the lovely review! I really appreciate all of the thoughts and feedback!