"Astoria felt cold fingers of panic creeping up her spine. Maybe coming to Isadore for advice wasn't such a good idea after all."
Ahem. That's what instincts are for, Astoria. Use them. Use them wisely.
"...and I think the boy has some sort of phobia about teeth..."
You know, I put all the staining fruit in the freezer before I sat down to this chapter. I really WANTED to give Isadore a fighting chance here, but argh!!! I can't decide whether she's really been there or she's still blowing hot air. Or a little of both. Who's to say? Although, that line about the Sorting Hat was awesome.
I really liked the pure frustration Astoria is having with the entire concept of imagining something that no one is willing to come out and describe to her. Bless her, but she's trying to understand and get what she can out of the conversation, anything helpful at all, and all it's doing is putting more worries in her head. I can only hope that she's not taking her best friend too seriously. Oh, who am I kidding? You're doing this to her on purpose, aren't you?
I knew girls like Isadore. From a distance. My best friends and I always believed that Sorciere Magazines were full of tripe anyway. Except the brownie recipes. Those were awesome! Okay, okay, occasionally I would fall for the latest trend in lip gloss, but only when I was feeling particularly weak.
Madam Blishwick's laboratory scene just makes me want to get my hands dirty. All the cool stuff is in there, I just know it! It was fun, seeing Draco all serious-minded with his work, trying so diligently to do the job right, to get some recognition that didn't involve any condescending attitudes or whatnot.
And then the plant interferes in the worst possible way. I love how Blishwick calls him "Edgar" as if he has a personality of his own... which he probably does. I want an Edgar. Hahah! Oh, but then she pulls out the real reason she's interested in him, and that doesn't sound very pleasant. Draco's verge-of-panic reaction was very well-done. I was right there with him, envisioning the horrors of what may be expected of him. Why indeed, are they torturing doxies? The whole thing tastes bad. He wants so badly to put all of that horribleness behind him, but it's coming back around again. To see the academic side of the Unforgivable Curses, to know that these people in the lab really have no idea what it's like to actually do that to another human being, to have it reduced to some curiosity, must be absolutely horrific.
At least he's able to see the morbid humor in his situation at the end. It's not funny, but since he's already given up his lunch, he's either going to laugh or cry about it.
Does this mean I have to defrost my blueberries for the next time I see Isadore? I hope she's wearing white...
Author's Response: Hi, pix! Sorry for the embarrassingly long time it's taken me to respond to this.
Sure, Astoria could stop paying attention to Isadore's awful advice, but what fun would that be? It's gotten her this far.
Isadore has *sort of* been there, in the same way that a lot of teenagers *sort of* experience these things. Has she been there often enough to really understand everything that happened? Of course not. So she fills in the gaps with things she reads in magazines and her own over-romanticized imagination. I was particularly fond of the Sorting Hat line, myself. You can leave your staining fruit in the freezer because this chapter will be Isadore's last appearance in the story.
Of course I'm doing it to her on purpose! Astoria is a planner and a compulsive over-thinker, so situations like this are torture for her. More to the point, however, I'm setting the stage for things that will happen in upcoming chapters. Astoria's anxiety about the things she doesn't know and whether she compares favorably to Draco's past girlfriends will play a major role very soon.
I, um, don't think there are brownie recipes in Sorciere. Unless the brownies are laced with some sort of love potion.
I really, really enjoyed writing the scene where Draco is brewing potions. I love that sort of nitty-gritty, technical magic, even if I do have to make up all of the details. It was also nice to have a scene where Draco is squarely in his element, even if it doesn't last for very long.
And it doesn't. You would shake your head in disbelief if you knew how many names I went through before I decided on Edgar. I doubt you actually want an Edgar. He's a pain, especially when you're baking brownies. Always messing with your ingredients.
Yep, the real reason Madam Blishwick wants Draco to work for her has a lot less to do with his potioneering skills than his wartime experiences. I think your read on her is just about right. She's a very pure academic who doesn't fret much about the social context of her work. The fact that other people might find it horrifying -- even traumatizing -- to experiment on doxies with the Cruciatus Curse doesn't really occur to her. It's going to lead to some very difficult moments for Draco.
Like I said, you've seen the last of Isadore for this story. Although I'm really tempted to write a one-shot or maybe a short story about her, just to see whether I can get you to throw fruit at your computer. :p
Thanks for reading and reviewing!