Tagging you from Review Tag!
To start off, I have to say that this is one of the most unique stories I've come across in a long time. Not just the subject matter -- which is pretty brilliant in its own right -- but the storytelling style is very different from anything else I've read recently. It almost had the feel of listening to a wandering minstrel, telling tales for his supper. Or perhaps listening to a favorite uncle spinning yarns around the fire. It's very original and you seem to be very adept and comfortable with the style.
You set up a great scene in the village of Hamlin. It's fun to ponder a time in the distant past when all of the rigid formality surrounding the lives of witches and wizards in Britain did not yet exist. No Statue of Secrecy. No Ministry of Magic. No Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery. I love how the witches and wizards of Hamlin don't completely conceal their abilities, but they don't exactly flaunt them, either. Just a nice, live-and-let-live sort of approach.
Your three protagonists in the village were all very interesting and engaging characters. Marigold seemed very sweet and caring and humble, but also strong and practical. I'm trying to work out which of the three Hallows her father possesses. I'm guessing the cloak, although I suppose it could be the stone. I can already feel difficulties brewing for Trip, as a muggle-born wizard. He's about to be thrust into a place where he'll feel the sting of Salazar's bigotry. At least he'll have Marigold there to take his side. I somehow doubt that she'll be able to conceal her wealth and noble birth once she's surrounded by her own kind. I'm almost more intrigued by Blind Johnny than the other two, however. There were no disabled students in the books and it's a topic that's rarely touched upon in fan fiction. This unlikely trio you've constructed should have a very interesting life inside the newly founded school.
There's not too much to say about the three village counselors. They were suitably sinister and misguided. I actually think my favorite thing about the section was that historic detail you worked in about the villagers slaughtering the dogs and the cats because they suspected them of spreading disease. It was one of the worst mistakes made during the Black Death. You've done an awesome job of wrapping the history of the event into your story!
Lastly, there was the meeting at Hogwarts. I thought that your characterization of the four founders also set your story apart just a bit from the other founders-era stories I've read. Salazar was probably closest to his "traditional" fan fiction characterization, but there are definite differences. He seems more respected by his peers than he's usually written. Either the conflicts have yet to arise or he's being more clever about hiding his prejudices. Helga seemed much stronger than I typically see her. If I read it correctly, she was the first among the founders to suggest rushing to the aid of the magical residents of Hamlin, even if Godric was the loudest. Godric came across like a bit of a lout. An older man who was perhaps a little past his prime, allowing his sons to carry the family standard. My favorite, I think, was Rowena. She seemed younger than the others. Bolder and quicker to action than I normally see her. But there's also a coldness to her character. She seems willing to leave the villagers to their fate if they're unwilling to take responsibility for their own safety. And her treatment of little Helena was not very admirable.
All in all, a brilliant start to your story! I look forward to having a chance to read more!
Author's Response: Hi there! :)
Wow, thank you so much for all these amazing compliments! I'm very pleased you found the story original both through the plot and the writing style. I loved writing it and imagining how a legend might be translated into print, and your descriptions of how the style felt are really lovely and just what I was hoping for. Though the narrator isn't in the story, I liked the idea of being able to feel the narrator through the storytelling, the sense that perhaps one time this story had been spoken and told.
It's wonderful to hear you liked the explanation of Hamlin as well. I imagine that things would have been quite different and rather unlawful, judging from what I knew of History of Magic from the books - whidh given Harry's lack of interest in the class, isn't a whole lot!
Marigold is just that - she knows her own mind and is very strong while also being kind. Yes, Trip is one of the earliest Muggleborns to be revealed and things would have bee more difficult for them. I'm really pleased to hear you were interesting in Blind Johnny as well, and what might happen to him in the course of the story. I felt that for a blind orphan, he would be one of the luckier ones to be brought in by the Peverells, and he's a lovely character for me to write about.
The counsellors are quite sinister! I'm afraid they're quite power-hungry and don't have many redemptive qualities to their credit. I'm really glad you pointed out that detail about the cats and dogs, when I read about it I thought it was just awful and so sad. And then the fact that then there were no animals to kill the rats!
I'm glad you found the founders a little original with their usual portrayals! I seem to read a lot of stories where Slytherin is more of a good guy and becomes more sinister later on, but I really wanted to write him as rather dark, at least to the reader. Yes, Helga! I imagined that to be a woman working among men at this time, both she and Rowena would need to be quite strong-minded. I thought that her compassion mixed with her power would make her a strong advocate. Haha, that's just how I see Godric! I'm glad you liked Rowena, she fascinates me the most here. She is quite cold, quite logical, and she lacks Helga's compassion. I imagined her as wanting to reject the standards of what was expected of her as a woman, which sadly includes motherhood. She doesn't know how to be a mother and a political player, which is quite sad for Helena.
Thank you so much for the incredible and thoughtful review! :) I really appreciate all your kind words.