I had a review in progress while I read this for the first time. And then I closed the window. SLIDE IS SMART.
I like the touch of how James' inexperience is now no longer as big a deal, if only because the rest of England are as out of their depth as he is. More or less. I like seeing Michael do more - Demelza's good, but she comes across as rattled, despite expressing her belief in the team. Michael backing that up is good to see.
On the one hand, it would have been nice to see a semi-final game. On the other, I agree and appreciate that there are only so many times you can depict a Quidditch game, most of the tricks have been pulled out, and skipping the semi-final in order to keep more vim and vigour for the final is a perfectly sound idea. We have had a LOT of matches this story, and one could fuss about, 'Oh, maybe there should have been fewer matches earlier,' or the like, but A: I'm not sure that's true, and B: If only we could all edit the hell out of our serialised stories once they were done. Sigh. I think it was a good build-up to the gaining of confidence, bringing everything down to a more micro-level of James wigging, then getting his bearings, which was all we really needed to know. Adversity happened and was overcome.
I had the sense, while reading, that I'd lost track of Ireland and, oh my, what if the final winds up being England vs Ireland. My drama sense tingled most accurately.
Della is adorable. Good chapter! I promise a better review next time as I will not DESTROY my work before posting it.
Author's Response: So many times. SO MANY TIMES I have done this too, and lost a magnificent review in the making. And the thought of having to type it all out again is so painful that I run away from the chapter for about a week or more. Luckily, my most common mishap is pressing the back button, and if Chrome is being clever it saves my masterpiece for me. Shutting the window is just curtains though.
In all of James' worry that he's in new territory, he's forgotten that with every step they take through this competition, more and more of them are finding themselves in his situation. This is that moment of realisation - and actually, I imagine it's a comforting thought in one sense, that he's not the only one wading into the unknown. Demelza's in a similar position herself! Hence why she's more rattled - she's been charged with getting some serious results from an England team, and the closer they get to the end the more nervewracking it gets.
Oh yes, the semi-final debate. This chapter gave me a huge headache because the last thing I wanted to do was write another Quidditch match. I knew the Dreaded Final was looming, and the thought of having to write the semi-final out as well was putting me off getting this chapter done. So in the end, I made the call to skip it. Yes, it would have been nice to see, but on the whole I think I've spoiled you guys with matches, so hopefully this one's omission isn't too disappointing. The final will definitely have much more focus - it has a whole chapter to itself, naturally, and it's a whopper. I've written it. It probably needs a lot of editing. But the first few painful steps are done.
You called an Ireland v England final a chapter or so back, so you clearly hadn't completely lost track of them! Drama indeed. Thanks for reviewing!