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Review:Violet Gryfindor says:
This was another enjoyable chapter to read! As I thought, it was worth waiting to see more of what Alara can do and better gauge her personality (you can probably guess that I'm out of practice with reading OC stories). Even now I want to know more about her, and I like how you're introducing new aspects of her history and her abilities slowly. You've also used the duelling scene to show readers her skills and judge these skills for themselves - she is almost a match for Snape (he does have more experience on his side, as well as the fact that he designed the place) and I can easily see how successful she must have been as an Auror. I'm interested to learn more about what she had to do during the war and how she dealt with the Death Eater control of the Ministry - it's something that links her to Snape, makes her understand what he was doing more than others, who weren't forced to play a role, would.

The one thing I have to admit being skeptical about still is the special wand. It's likely a matter of needing to learn more about it - you've provided the basic background information, but I can sense that there's a much bigger story involved. In a way, I suppose it's like the positive, white magic, female (as in ancient earth/healing goddess magic) version of the Elder Wand, passed down through virtue rather than prowess. What I find interesting is that Alara doesn't embody the virtues of the wand in an obvious way - she has the apt speech and eminence (to a degree just short of pride), but one has to read between the lines to see her goodness and charity (which partially drove her to speak up for Snape at the trial). I'm curious as to how you'll develop this aspect of the story - will Alara have to prove herself in some way? Will some danger arise that requires her particular abilities to resolve? Will the past somehow come to haunt her? It'll be fun to see what happens.

The action scene in this chapter is fantastic! You found just the right way of describing it so that it came across vividly while also maintaining a fast pace, and of course I really enjoyed the creativity of the whole duel scene. It shows how complex magic can be when practiced by experts, those with a thorough understanding of both theory and practice, which is something we only get glimpses of in the books, such as when young Snape creates his own spells, or when McGonagall or Dumbledore cast a highly advanced spell. What also stood out was how Alara and Snape discussed the spells as they used them. Part of it was to goad each other, but at the same time, they're both genuinely interested in this material, their subjects requiring the most complicated spell-work of all the subjects offered at Hogwarts. What you demonstrate with this is that, while Snape was involved with the Dark Arts, his interest is more with the spells and the intellectual exercise involved in using them. But he really holds back no punches, doesn't he? He's still the same professor, dangerous to have in the classroom because you never know when he might seriously injure someone or otherwise scar them for life. I love the idea of the duelling room because, as Harry proved, it's crucial for the students to know how to defend themselves and actually use magic, but will it work in practice? We'll see.

Excellent work with this chapter! It's been a pleasure to read this story so far, and it'll be great to see how you continue to develop the plot and characters! :)

Author's Response: The wand was a literary device I used to communicate several things about the character in a short span of time, at least at this point in the story. Not quite the Elder Wand, more like Lucius Malfoy's wand, a family heirloom handed down through the centuries. This one just has a bit of a story around its creation, enhanced by it's peculiar loyalty to Ravenclaw witches. It's importance to the story won't be the driving theme, but it will come back a few times.

The traits are also viewed from undoubtedly a Ravenclaw perspective, a Hufflpuff may not see "charity" the way that she does, though I think we'll start to glimpse some of it in the next chapter when we find out a bit more about what Alara did during the war.

Thanks for the kind words!

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