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Review:800 words of heaven says:

It’s been a really long time since I read this story, and I’ve missed it :( I really need to get better at regularly reviewing stories, because I know how much I love feedback and it sort of makes me a horrible author for not doing the same. But, anyway! I am here!

Draco’s worry about being recognised and his struggle to get readmitted to Hogwarts made me think of something. It must be so difficult for people who were on the “losing” side of a war. A lot of the time, these people were not directly involved in the conflict, but are still negatively associated with it. I love this aspect of the story, how it makes me think about the repercussions and aftermath of big calamities. The struggles and bigger themes are very applicable to daily life, and that’s a real pleasure to read.

I remember you mentioning in my last review that this wasn’t going to be a “Draco getting better” story, and with Draco’s symptoms of PTSD, I think I have a better understanding of where you might be taking this character. I love how you’re portraying him as more complex, blurring the lines between “good” and “evil” as they are, making him far more human. It’s obvious that he hasn’t given up in all his beliefs from before the war, be they good or bad, and I’m really looking forward to his ensuing struggle with those beliefs being challenged by others and himself. I think the biggest drawcard for me about this story is that I really want to know where he ends up at the end. What is he going to be like?

The extreme reaction of Minerva McGonagall really has me as surprised as Draco. They really don’t like him, do they? I can understand limiting his interaction with the student body in order to facilitate the recovery of the students, for which he is partially responsible, but McGonagall’s reaction… threw me. At first, I was like, “what? No! This isn’t the McGonagall I know and love” but then I was thought that she’d also lost people for which she cared, and after all, she is human. She’s allowed to grieve and be angry.

For some reason, I had an insane fit of giggling at the mental image of Isadore’s crazy cat lady aunt.

Oh, my goodness! I love the way you write Slughorn! He’s a little self-absorbed and very materialistic, and I’m just fangirling over the way you show these characteristics in his speech and mannerisms. So awesome!

Ooh! Clandestine meetings between Astoria and Draco! I’m sort of excited and anticipating awkward teenage communication, but also at the same time dreading the possible second-hand embarrassment. Especially now that we know that Astoria fancies Draco… And Draco is also quite the awkward turtle. Lots of chances for second-hand embarrassment to look forward to!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I'm glad the story made enough of an impression that you remembered it. I'll take that as a compliment. :)

I tried really hard to paint a realistic picture of what life was like for the losing side of the war. Far too many post-war stories have Draco continuing to behave exactly the way he did before the war with no consequences whatsoever. (Or worse still, becoming a completely different person.) I'm sure that even the old, pureblood families who didn't support Voldemort experienced a certain amount of backlash. Too many people suffered too much for that not to have happened.

It isn't going to be *solely* a Draco getting better story, although I hope you'll see his character make some progress by the end. He is definitely suffering from PTSD after his own fashion. I believe that it affects everyone differently, and one of the biggest symptoms in Draco's case is uncontrollable bursts of anger. I'm really glad that you don't find him to be purely "good" or "evil", but rather a mix. That's exactly what I was going for. By the end of Deathly Hallows, I did think of him as a very complex character. He was mostly able to differentiate between right and wrong but he'd been conditioned his entire life to believe that his father's beliefs were right, no matter who got hurt.

At this early point in the story, I imagined McGonagall being in a position where she was nurturing a very fragile recovery at Hogwarts. So many people lost their lives before and during the final battle and the school, itself, suffered so much damage. If JKR had written in the epilogue that Hogwarts was converted into a memorial to those killed in the war and a new school was opened, I think most readers would have accepted it. Emotions must have been very raw during that first year back. I bet nearly every corridor in the school held an awful memory for at least one or two students. Into this touchy, emotionally charged situation, the school's Governors have just decided to inject a young man who personally fought for Lord Voldemort along with his entire family. If I was McGonagall, I would have been beyond furious.

Lots of witches and wizards keep cats as familiars. I just decided to throw in a touch of crazy, old muggle lady in Isadore's aunt's case.

I think you're the first reader to comment on Slughorn, and I'm glad you liked him.

Yes, there is a clandestine meeting coming up very soon. I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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