Unsurprisingly I loved this chapter. It's so amazing to see into Astoria's head and her motivations, and how the stories she's conducting to explain to Draco are so different from the truth. I really enjoyed the structure of this chapter, with the mention of Epping Forest and how they really do mean a lot to Astoria.
whether or not a family's heads would be handed to the Dark Lord--or, more aptly, his snake--on a silver platter... Ew, but loved this just because it is so true. Nagini and her carnivorous ways really give me the creeps and you brought that fully to life here with this symbolic but also literal image.
Ginny being her contact actually fits so perfectly. I like how this showed how perceptive Astoria is and how she takes in the little details about a person to use to her advantage later. I really like the idea that nobody really knew that Ginny and Harry were together, and how that might have affected Ginny's place at Hogwarts - I remember thinking when I read the books it was a little unrealistic that she was allowed to stay at Hogwarts for so long but this fits so well.
She lived by her wits, not by her wand. I love this line and the spy mentality it conjures. Astoria is so quick and seems one step ahead of the game, and I like the reminders that she is this way because she was raised to be so.
Are you Weasleys so poor that you have to wear your money so you don't lose it, then, Blood Traitor? This was just so nasty but also a really good reminder of how the Slytherins (especially Draco) treated Ron and his family. Money was one of those things that they dangled over their heads and I like how Astoria is very aware of that. Also the detail about the DA galleons and how Astoria noticed Ginny's special attention to it was fantastic in hinting at what was going on behind the scenes.
Ginny cared about Astoria's motives only so much as they might prove she was telling the truth. I just really love the way you've written Ginny here, how pure and noble and caring she is. She's a bit of an anti-Slytherin in the way that she doesn't care about the secrets, but only if they mean that Astoria is genuine. Actually the conversation reminded me a little of Snape convincing Dumbledore that he had changed when he revealed his love for Lily.
I like how Astoria doesn't want to be remembered as a hero - it fits really well, she's a spy, not someone who wants to be in the spotlight for one reason or another. People knowing she's a spy would decrease her credibility for the future.
This was an amazing chapter, I loved learning more about Astoria. I'm so excited to read on and find out what happens next! :D ♥
Author's Response: Ew, the snake quote! I was always fond of it, in a darkly humorous way, and I think you're the first person to mention it. Nagini is sooo creepy, isn't she?
The Ginny/Harry thing was something that always bothered me, too! I know Harry broke up with her to keep her safe, but I always wondered why the Death Eaters didn't use their relationship to their advantage. The only explanation I could come up with is that nobody noticed. It seems a stretch, as popular as Harry was, but it was N.E.W.T. and O.W.L. time for most students their age, and they probably mostly hung out around other Gryffindors, who maybe wouldn't talk? Besides everyone being shaken by Dumbledore's death. Maybe they avoided being front-page news for just long enough?
It is such a mean thing to say, isn't it? I think that Astoria is so aware of the Weasleys because (well, apart from her being hyper-aware of everyone) they are, in essence, what she'd become if her fellow Purebloods discovered that she helped the Order. She's the type to think through potential consequences, and when she looks at Ginny, she sees what she could become (and that's if she was really lucky and wasn't killed outright, which would be her first assumption. Astoria isn't exactly an optimist).
I loved throwing in the DA coin bit as a little background. Besides, some of the things Astoria is noticing might come in handy later...
Thank you! Ginny was really fun to write in this scene. She's strong, like Astoria, but comes from such a different world and mindset. It was fun to compare them.
Astoria's insistence on *not* being a hero is one of my favorite things about her. She's not in it for the glory (not even in the quiet way her mother was). In fact, Astoria doesn't think of herself as a particularly good person, at all. Astoria probably wouldn't admit to being a hero if someone stamped the title on her forehead. She's a very different sort of person. And, as you say, she wouldn't like the idea of people applauding her. Makes it more difficult to slink around unnoticed ;)
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your review! And favorite quotes are so fun to see. I love reading about what struck people, in particular.
A pleasure swapping with you, as always :D