Hello, again! I am seriously loving this story.
This chapter was so haunting and beautifully written. You took the tragic story of Hamlin's end and handled it with a what I thought was a really appropriate sensitivity. You didn't dance around the ugly details of the event, but you didn't glamorize them in any way either. It was horrible to read the sheer, callous brutality of it all.
I liked the way that you got Stephane over his lingering doubts. Salazar is a menacing figure, indeed.
So I have the feeling that we've just seen a very early incarnation of the Imperius Curse at work here. You worked so many small details into your descriptions that fit perfectly with that idea: the mindless obedience of the children, their indifference to pain, their super-human strength. Even in their very fortunate escape from the muggle villagers, there were tragic notes. I definitely felt the worst for poor Blind Johnny.
Following on that, you wrote the Founders with some really nice nuance and sensitivity. Soft-hearted Helga would of course be the first to rush to the aid of the newly-awakened magical children. I loved the little detail of a tear slipping from Godric's eye before he resumed his mask of unshakeable courage and strength. We learned some new things about Rowena in this chapter that continued to really set her apart from every other portrayal of her that I've read. The idea that she was, at one point, a wand for hire and a temptress who used her magic to lure untrusted courtiers to their demise was really clever and different. Of the four founders, I definitely thing you've brought the most to her character. Salazar reacts pretty much as I would have suspected.
Then there's the massacre, itself. I like the way that you didn't simply allow the wizarding folk to overpower their attackers and escape their fate. As I'm seeing things, they would have been very overwhelmed, having just lost their children to the Piper's curse. The plague was defeated, they were victims in this situation and I don't think they would have seen the attack coming. I'm curious to see whether Master Prince will demand any sort of vengeance.
Not that there's apparently much left to take vengeance on. In their lust to destroy, the poor fools burned their own town. There were no winners here, only various degrees of losing. In that sense, I think you kept very true to the spirit of the original story.
I see that the story comes to an end soon, and that makes me kind of sad. But I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of it. Awesome job!
Author's Response: Hello again!
Wow, thank you - I really wanted the scene of the fall of Hamlin to be tastefully yet vividly written. I remember feeling very solemn after visualizing and writing that scene, if that makes sense. It was very important to the story, and in some ways was the pivotal scene which represented the change between the old era and the new, so I wanted to do it justice.
Ah yes, I imagined Stephane would have a hard time resisting his father's immediate presence, the poor boy.
You're spot on with the idea of the Imperius Curse. That was just how I imagined it - the version is a little primitive, since the Imperius curse in HP allows the caster more direct, mind-to-mind control and allows the victim to act like they're still living a normal life. So this was a lot larger and less refined, but still terrifying. I'm glad you felt sorry for Johnny - I loved his character and debated his fate a little, but it fit best with the original legend and began the sequence of tragic events.
I'm pleased you liked the Founders as well. I felt that Helga and Godric would be the most compassionate, both internally and externally, while Rowena is very... cold. She's a little calculating and very rational. I'm happy to hear you liked the history on her as well, as I quite liked coming up with it. She was certainly my favourite of the four to write.
Ah yes, the massacre. I think it was very important for the story to have an absolute ending and then a new beginning from the ashes, as they say. I felt horrible for the wizards, particularly the Peverells' rather grisly fates, but felt that it was an important and tragic scene of hatred getting carried out of hand. Master Prince, I'm sorry to say, is quite cowardly. I don't imagine him having a happy end to his life, nor necessarily trying to return for his children.
Very true! It's not only the wizards who fall, but the Muggles and the structure of the town and the magical-Muggle harmony that it represented.
Thank you again for such a wonderful review! :) I've really enjoyed reading all your thoughts and appreciate you taking the time to leave me such detailed reactions, it's very helpful! :D