Ah, I can't believe this is over! I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to this! And I really, really can't believe this is the first review on this chapter! (Though it might not be, by the time I finish this :P) So ridiculous... this definitely deserves more reviews than it has!
(Note: this review may be rambling in nature, at times insensible and illegible and filled with squeeing and general compliments about everything... sorry :P)
So, Bathilda. I love her. I just love how you portray her. The way we've almost gone through her life, from young(-ish) to old and the changes she's faced and seen and undergone. I love how she's a bit of a coward, really, even when it concerns things and people she loves, and how she shies away from things which are considered abnormal, despite writing history which is, frankly, full of secrets and 'abnormal' things and scandals and so on. The hypocritical nature of her is just so real and so lovely to see in fanfiction, since it's not always portrayed!
I love the beginning section with her mother's ring on her finger because it had fitted her, though it doesn't any more, and then how she stares out of the window and sees her reflection? An old woman? there, looking at her, and it's her but doesn't seem to be her. It's a beautiful way of phrasing it and such a haunting image.
The cameos were amazing, too! Filius and Albus and Mr Gaunt (last of the sane ones, I assume :P)... though I'm pretty sure Albus' hair when he was young was auburn, not 'sandy' ;) Don't know if that was a mistake or a conscious choice otherwise, but I thought I'd mention it anyway :) The idea that Filius was so concerned about dragon welfare is wonderful, as well as him saving the hour with a quick Aguamenti. Ravenclaw represent, haha!
The mentions of Muriel before the end section were so bittersweet. Because they kind of both ruined anything they could ever have had, you know, and it's not wholly either of their faults, but just something between them, and Muriel is too stubborn to change it, even though potentially she could have, in the end... it's a really sad idea, that she turned into the character we know from the books from that - so angry and old and bitter, and gossiping and rude... it's not a nice ending, really. I liked how she was still able to make a bit of conversation with Bathilda, though, it was nice to see that they could at least have a bit of conversation, despite everything, even if it was tense and awkward, haha. The little details about how Muriel organised Bathilda's funeral and all after she'd died were so sweet, too - that Muriel still cared about her in the end. Gah!
I loved the mentions of the books she wrote and about what, too; how she'd avoided writing about Gellert as far as possible. And I loved the use of Occlumency to block it from her mind so even Rita Skeeter couldn't get it out - and the little mentions of Albus slipping out of the window, arranging his clothes and all... :P I love how astute Bathilda is, that she thinks that information like that could have changed the war, but that it would also overshadow everything else they'd both done... because I think it's still true even today, you know, and it's such a horribly unfair thing!
The ending was fabulous, with the moon maiden appearing and Bathilda being dead and the use of the windows - which was so clever, I really didn't get it until you explained it! - to show different aspects of herself and what could have been, with the demon children... and Muriel! I love the idea that in the afterlife or whatever Muriel and Bathilda had their own little cottage, haha, and lived together :P (With Albus and Gellert down the road, ofc ;D)
Your writing, as always, is just stunning. You capture the era and Bathilda's voice both so, so well. It's so distinctive and beautiful and your descriptions are always so gorgeous. I don't really know what to say other than that it's just so lovely and I'm so jealous of how you can do that!
So yes, this is now one of my all-time favourite stories for sure, and if I see somewhere to recommend it, I definitely will because this is amazing. Just amazing. Honestly. I love it!
Author's Response: Hello! :) Wow, this review is just amazing. ♥ Thank you so much!
I love that you love how I wrote Bathilda! :) I grew so attached to her while writing this and I feel oddly protective of her now, she had so many trials in her very long life. And I love how you've noticed how she is hypocritical and very imperfect - in a way, she's more comfortable writing and learning about other people's history than addressing her own, which made her very interesting to me.
Thank you, I'm very pleased you liked that scene! And yes, I didn't want to fully identify the old woman as being a part of her - she is, in a way, but Bathilda is so much more than that old woman who was killed by the snake, which is the message I was sort of quietly thinking about while writing this.
Haha, I'll change the hair colour - good catch! :P I'm pleased you liked the cameos as well, Flitwick just sort of showed up but I thought it was a nice moment since he was one of those people who others would probably underestimate as well. But he got to save the day! I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with young Albus but he sort of had to make a proper appearance eventually.
Yes! It really isn't a very happy ending, until the very end... well, sort of. The fact that they lived for decades with this kind of bitterness and regret, and how Muriel in my mind held a grudge or was quick to gossip about Bathilda to her dying day is quite sad. But I imagined that Muriel would come together in the end to help out when Bathilda had nobody left to care about her. Muriel reminds me of Ron a little bit (though nastier) in how they hold a grudge and talk badly about people but eventually forgive the people they love in some way.
I imagined that while being connected to Gellert would be sort of socially destructive for Bathilda, being emotionally connected to him would be worse. And I wanted her to know that there was some secret affair going on between Albus and Gellert, but not to tell Rita Skeeter, so Gellert placing a block in her memory so she couldn't speak it fit well and seemed like the sort of nasty but self-preserving thing he would do. I agree, it is so unfair how back then this sort of knowledge would have affected the way people saw them, which is just ridiculous but of course still is happening in other parts of the world and even in daily life here sometimes. So I'm really pleased that part resonated with you! :)
I'm glad you liked the windows! I enjoyed building up the hints and explanations and then having the moon maiden explain it all - I actually wrote that last section when I was working on the first chapter so it felt good to finally post it. And haha, that would be hilarious! I didn't really expand much on heaven and what it would be like, but it was nice to hint at some sort of happy ending.
Wow, thank you so much lovely! I really loved writing this and the writing style it needed, so it means a lot to see you say that. Thank you for the beautiful reviews, and for recommending this, and just being so awesome and supportive! ♥