Hi, there! I'm here for the review swap.
I really love the idea of this. To me, there always seemed like so much potential for the Statute of Secrecy to act as much like a pressure cooker as a shield. Keeping magic limited to the shadowy, hidden world of witches and wizards for centuries must have led to a lot of disaffection and feelings of marginalization. It's just human nature.
The psychological aspects of how you wrote Rose's interaction with Mr. Walker were brilliantly done. He seems to be enthralled by her and terrified of her. He's trying so hard to maintain academic detachment and treat her as a subject of his research, but he can't completely manage to keep the personal feelings out of it. His curiosity seems like it could be his undoing.
"A graduate. Historian. An Intellectual. You came looking for answers, didnít you? You want to know what happened that blew the best kept secret of mankind-magic. -- She obviously has a good read on him. She knows why he's really there and it looks like she plans to indulge him.
The Inevitable War -- I love that title!
"Surviving is a habit, Mr. Walker, which I have perfected over years of labored practice. The more you face, the more resilient you become. I have escaped death sentences before. If I liked, I could escape this cell, I could kill each and every one of the guards, I could kill you, and I would leave without too much trouble." -- I promise that I'm going to do more than just parrot your own writing back at you, but I loved this passage so much. You make her so cold and menacing, but in a really accessible and relevant sort of way.
The meditation on the nature and practice of magic contrasted beautifully with the anguish Rose feels as she sees her younger brother dying. While I wouldn't necessarily agree about the parallels between magic and physic, I think what you wrote in that section was a great expression of the concept. Rose's "go for broke" effort to cast aside everything and save Hugo's life felt like a huge moment.
The trial was probably the only section of this chapter where I thought you could have gone into a little more detail and gotten quite a return on the extra investment. To me, I think the scene could have benefited from a bit more context. How was Rose caught doing what she's accused of? What is the evidence against her? What, if any, defense has been mounted on her behalf. If I understand correctly, this was meant to be sort of a drumhead trial, similar to the one that was -- or wasn't, I suppose -- given to Sirius Black. Summary justice was being dealt for a crime deemed so heinous that the normal due process and rights of the accused were seen as insignificant. I just wish that more of that was explained or at least alluded to.
Looks like Harry's no longer the head of the Auror Department, another fact that I'm really curious to see explained. Reading between the lines, it seems like the Potters and Weasleys, in general, are no longer sitting in positions of influence in the magical world. Also, it sounds like Ron and Hermione are both deceased. I really hope we get to find out how all of the changes happened.
Vincent seems like a scary piece of work. He obviously has his own agenda and it sounds like he's utterly ruthless when it comes to making his plans a reality. I like how you've set him up as being cold enough to be willing to use Rose -- a pitiable yet obviously dangerous orphan girl -- as a tool to achieve his ends. At the same time, his inner monologue reveals some uncertainty, perhaps even a bit of vulnerability. He realizes that he has no idea what's involved with raising a child and the prospect seems to concern him. I wouldn't go so far as to say it frightens him, but there are plainly doubts there.
"They probably think youíre some reincarnation of Herpo or le Fay or, Merlin forbid, our most recent Tommy." -- I love that little one-liner. He certainly has a way of putting things in perspective.
Aww! And Rose's only real request is that she gets to see her brother. I love that you ended the chapter on such an endearing note.
Excellent job with this! I look forward to reading more!
Author's Response: Thanks so much for your amazing review! I'm glad you enjoyed the Head and all the interactions in this chapter - I tried to fit as much into it without giving too much away. You're wondering all the right things. You'll have to read on to see what happens!