I'm here. Let's rock and roll.
Ginny remains the best mother in the history of stuff. I love how she's stayed recognisably Ginny in this story while still, well, turning into Molly in her own way. I like to think that Freddie never confirmed one way or another about the family breakfast, just that Ginny got food on for him anyway, knowing he'd be there. Like a boss.
Oh, Ron. Never change. Never get caught by Hermione. It took me a moment to realise why Hugo wouldn't even notice the others weren't there, and then I remembered you mentioning his torrid romance with a Longbottom girl. Ha! And I love Louis. Perhaps most of all of the extended Weasley clan. Okay, that's a lie, but he's in the top five! I'm not sure I could write my own Louis now, I think yours would creep in too much as an influence.
The George and Percy box. Oh dear. That sounds like hell on wheels. At least Audrey would be there to keep the peace!
Mrph. Undignified noises in public places at Molly promising James she'll cheer for him. And aww, Albus, he's so right. This is a moment James will remember forever, one way or another, and he should at least RELISH it. Even if they lose, it'll be an experience.
Brigid! Good girl. Okay. I should be a little more coherent and probably not go through my reaction to everyone wishing James good luck but basically all the feels.
...what on Earth would the England mascots be?? I will laugh if you wrote mascots being banned because you couldn't think of it. Because I sure as hell can't think of any (magic. Bulldogs.).
Right. The match. *rolls up sleeves*
I thought it was really good. Admittedly I had to occasionally check back on my names for who was who in the Irish team, though I think that was only in confirming who was taken out by Cato's bludgers BUT I'm getting ahead of myself. You do a good job in establishing the build-up, especially by focusing on the microcosm of the situation that is Ryan and James. And then establishing the patter of the Chasers through a few set scenes before letting it carry on is fine, I didn't find that at all jarring.
I think making the Beaters exchange the main 'drama' of the match was good. The Lynches have been established in the past, we had the Bagmans' tricks against them last time they faced off; it made sense not just for them to be in the final, but for them to be the centrepoint of conflict. The only other option would have been things getting perhaps more fraught with James and Ryan, but that could have run the risk of being contrived.
And Ryan's a sweetheart, anyway, for helping stop Cato from beating the hell out of the Lynches. And Cato goes on to be a... agh, 12+. Bad Posterior. You know what I'm saying. :P Instantaneous takedown of two players at once is a nice trick (and we are of course not even sorry that Feargus broke his arm). That was the time I lost track of who was who, briefly, mind - I forgot Brianna was the Seeker and had to trawl back. I think that's the only time I lost the flow in this, and that's possibly my bad memory. Lots of names! Like I can judge!
The only change I would have suggested would have been adjusting the transition from 'game went on' to 'Seekers chase Snitch'. Perhaps some fraught Chaser-on-Chaser action (ha!) broken up by the Seekers flying straight THROUGH it to cause everyone to stop what they were doing and watching. But honestly, I'm only being so critique-ing because you were fussing over this match; I wouldn't have known you were struggling with it if you hadn't told me. It's a stonking good game and worthy of the final. If nothing else, the build-up made the atmosphere fine and the game played out well. I *like* that the match wasn't James Potter, Superstar - his most defining moments in the game are him being a great team player, working with the others and helping Cato and all that.
Way to go, Jess. That's the only time I've wanted to hop directly into someone else's POV for the story - for the match to come right down to Seeker vs Seeker and for her to win, basically winning the whole match, the whole World Cup, and she will likely be credited as The One Who Won It - that's got to be pretty amazing. Good on Michael for just handing her the cup to lift for the first time; that girl EARNED it. So, basically, I want more Jess now.
And I really like how it doesn't sink in at first! It wouldn't, by then they were very entrenched in the game just being like another game. Even if it did have the backdrop of size; my mental image really did have the background of this match being more like the Millennium Stadium, while the previous matches were more like... I don't know, Underhill Stadium. But I digress. It slowly sinking in, James getting the biggest cheer and it being PROBABLY for his name (as he did well, but it was a team effort and the players probably most deserving of individual cheers would be Jess and Cato) and still not CARING... Good boy. He's come far.
I'm not going to lie, I thought they would lose the match. I thought you were going to go all Rocky on us. But I'm PERFECTLY okay being wrong.
And Ha! at the serendipity of broken brooms.
GOOD WORK, BRO.
Author's Response: Ginny's inherited Molly's nurturing nature, that's for sure. I can't HELP but write her that way, every time. But yes, still very much Ginny. And I think Freddie definitely turned up on a whim, and Ginny just KNEW he would.
Torrid Longbottom romance indeed! I didn't want to signpost that one because it's been mentioned before, albeit briefly, so I like that you picked that up. LOUIS, oh Louis. He steals the show EVERY TIME. He's in the next chapter, and you will love him there too. I should write him into more scenes, really...
Emotional family moments galore. They filled me with much squee to write. Especially the Molly moment.
I couldn't help but laugh at your mascot comment. Because you've absolutely hit the nail on the head, I spent a whole evening trying to find a cool mascot-worthy creature from England and when the best thing I could come up with was leprechauns riding crups around the pitch (cute imagery, but not really on the same level as Veela) I decided to cop out. So yes, you too may laugh.
I was a bit worried about throwing all the Irish names in because while they've been mentioned to differing extents before, it's been a while. Of course we know the Lynches, and the Chaser play let me throw their names in (and then I realised I'd given one of the Irish Chasers the same name as James' broom, I've never hated myself more) but that still leaves the Seeker and Keeper unaccounted for. I possibly could have made that clearer, I'll check that out in a mo.
As I was writing this match I thought "It's Bagmans v Lynches, this is NOT going to be a clean game". Like you say, it wouldn't have made sense, with all the bad blood between them. And it meant avoiding pitting James and Ryan against each other EVEN MORE, which I obviously didn't want to do, because that would just break my heart. Bad Posterior. I like. I worried for a moment about why you were calling Cato a 12+, THEN I REALISED. Not an insult but a compliment. And I breathed easy once more.
Ugh, I both like and hate that you've mentioned that transition, because that was the one I felt most uneasy about. In fact, that was my main concern about the whole match - that it was too clunky, and didn't quite flow. Cheers for the advice on that one, again I'll see if I can tweak it. But it's a massive relief to know the match was Final-worthy, because it was the most ridiculous pressure knowing people were so excited for this point and expected GOOD.
I admire your stadium metaphor.
I may well have had England lose the match - because let's face it, that's the biggest cliche I could have written and I hate doing that - but James HAD to win the Cup for him to do what he does next, so it would have totally ruined my future plans had he lost. He's NOT the superstar player though, because that really would have been horrendously cliched. That's why he got Player of the Match in the semi-final; I wanted him to shine, but it couldn't be in the Final.
GOOD REVIEW BRO.