I'm back from being sick and holidays and Easter and there's a new chapter for me to review - WOOT!!
This is one of those sorts of chapters where nothing much happens and yet heaps happen.
It begins with a bit of fluffy character stuff with hints of the major plot point to come - what has Danny being doing?. hmm.
As well, it sets up the reason for Sarah to carry out her revenge prank on James. There is no real reason for the inclusion of this scene in the story, nor the inclusion of Rose within the scene itself - which doesn't mean to say that it's unwarranted. It's a bit of fun at heart and doesn't waylay us from the plot too much. It shows us that Sarah is not to be messed with. It's saving point is that within the scene is some important character stuff. This is why these almost asides of Saratia's are never jarring and cause us to disengage from the story - they usually contain small but vital pieces of character study or plot information.
In this case it's Danny again, methinks I smell a theme to this chapter. Well from his point of view there is not much wrong with his relaionship with Sarah - he gets her basically when he wants her. I wonder what is happening in Sarah's mind - just further variations upon her emotional conflict over James. I think for her, Danny represents the easier option - she doesn't have to put any thought into the relationship, it just happens.
Rose's inclusion has actually a few explanations. Firstly, the story is mostly from her POV so her inclusion is necessary right there. The POV has switched before, but it wouldn't be a good fit here - it would personalise the prank too much to have it from either James or Sarah's view. Also a good prank needs a receptive audience and Rose is clearly it.
It also puts her right there on the spot for the revelation of the prank's culprit. This is important (not just for the humorous resolution of the affair) because it allows her to bring up her feelings/suspicions/whatever-they-are about Danny to James. He seems to shrug it off but ... and he brings up Amy; hmm, curiouser and curiouser.
I cannot tell you how much her portrayal in this story matches my own thoughts of what she should be doing. It's still no surprise to me that she is the only grandparent taking an interest. Her reaction/attention to Rose is the proof to me that everything will be OK for Rose in the end: even though she's stuffed up her schooling with the timing (if I've kept track correctly she'll have the baby well before her Newt exams).
Switch to James' POV - he has taken Rose's words to heart so does a bit of snooping and finds nothing short of an unexploded bomb - an atomic bomb at that.
Danny and Amy.
This would be too pat, too easy a way to resolve the James/Sarah/Danny situation except that the seeds for this were planted as long ago as the second chapter (if my memory serves). Danny and Amy shared some-sort of a significant look, witnessed by Rose and we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop since then. Sarita certainly doesn't mind playing the long game with some of her story elements.
What is it though? Is it just Danny being a dog? Or, is it something true because both Danny and Amy both realise the ones they are with don't love them? I don't know which way it will go, one way is reprehensible, the other is almost understandable. Whichever way it is still a betrayal and, again, there will be tears before bedtime before it is all over.
The main thing will be what James does with the information, it will be a true test of his character. Will he dump it upon Sarah. That would break her heart and may not produce the effect which he desires (that of driving Sarah back into his arms). Does he confront Danny with it? Does the nature of how he found the information out taint it? What did he expect when he began to spy upon Danny anyway, how could anything he found out come to anything good (in the long term maybe/hopefully for his sake). This is certainly as much as he could have hoped for - a great reason to bring about the end of his relationship with Amy without him looking bad and, similarly, the best way for him to forever distance Danny from Sarah. I just hope it all works out the best for those we want it to work out for (even for Danny and Amy, if they deserve it).
However James decides to act, I bet he confides in Rose as his first action. He may be the head of the pack but Rose is it's heart and conscience.
Castle Rose is becoming stronger all the time,
her path is eased by an unexpected personage
- the Dam of The Knight of the Rose.
Author's Response: Aww I'm glad you're not ill anymore, I've missed your reviews!
I was actually going to cut the scene of Sarah getting her own back, but I realised that I'd actually let slip a lot of secrets-not-secrets in it. For example, her reaction to Rose wondering whether Amy shares James' bed, and her last, fleeting and sad look at James before she enters her real boyfriend's bed. Serious stuff.
As you've said, Danny is a simpler option for Sarah - the relationship needs very little attention as the two of them are generally compatible people, despite everything that this chapter revealed.
Rose's POV was important to witness James' eagerness to play around with Sarah and Sarah's equal eagerness to get him back.
Astoria just keeps getting more and more popular. In my mind she isn't the only grandparent on board, but more (as I've said in a previous review reply) Hermione has to keep pace with Ron - if she supports Rose too quickly and too abruptly Ron won't have a chance to get used to it, and may baulk further. If Hermione keeps in step, he will be more likely to come to his daughter's aid on his own. I tried to parallel Rose and Hermione's patience here.
James always takes Rose's intuition as pure hard fact - she has never steered him wrong. And, in his dogged manner, he cannot shake the thought that maybe he's right about Danny not being completely kosher. Where Rose thinks, James acts. And James discovers the truth.
I really enjoyed playing the long game with the Sarah/James/Danny/Amy love quadrangle as the end game was so promising for me and my own amusement. The relationship between Danny and Amy is revealed fully, the curtain finally being pulled back. However, my long game isn't over yet and the truth doesn't come to light until Chapter 40 (i.e. the tears before bedtime.)
James' decision is a difficult one - does he, as you say, dump it on Sarah and risk being shot as the messenger or does he confront Danny and become part of the lie - in James' mind NOT telling Sarah would be dishonesty. So of course, he must consult with his Heart. But that is for the next chapter.
Castle Rose is fortified with friendship and family, and all the while is guarded by the tireless Knight.
P.S. I loved your review, as ever. Thank you so much!