So wait, Emily gets to know Tristan's secret now but we still don't??? No fair! I'm starting to get a few guesses, though.
First off, though, it's killing me that neither Tristan nor Emily is picking up on whatís going on with Isobel. Tristan or Emily or any of the teachers or the Ravenclaw prefects or... well, anyone, for that matter. Granted, we're the all-seeing reader who's lived inside of each character's head for at least a chapter now, but it's still hard to imagine how everyone could still be missing the warning signs. Emily especially, since she's -- in a relative sense -- the most sober and well-grounded of the bunch.
The way you wrote the Peruvian potion was amazing. I don't know how much of this is research vs. first-hand experience -- and in the interest of keeping within the ToS, you probably shouldn't tell me ;) -- but you really nailed it with this one. The visual effects, the sense of disassociation and drifting, the feelings of interconnectedness with the world at large... all of it was perfectly in line.
And then it seems like this stuff actually does something more than overpower their serotonin receptors. That was a pretty crazy touch, and one that really brought the two worlds -- drug culture and magical -- together brilliantly. I loved every second of the way that we finally got to dig deeper into Tristan's character and his past. And it happened without all the unnecessary angst and posturing, all just completely matter-of-fact.
"I donít think youíre contagiousÖ or stupid," Emily gently offered in the brief pause after "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ended. -- Ha! I love that lyric. I was in my junior year of college when that song made it big and trust me, it was very contagious.
Ooh, so this potion even connects you with the glitch in the universal way, so to speak. You keep coming up with new ways to make me hate Higgs and Flint even more. Even though the things that Emily learns during her brief psychic connection with Flint were terrible, they were really insightful in a way. I love the amount of thought you've put into things for this story.
The scene with Emily and Tristan back in the "safe" corridor at Hogwarts was really sweet and touching, which doesn't happen all that often in this story. My speculation, based mostly on what I read in this chapter but also based on Tristan's mysterious middle initial, is that Tristan's muggle father isn't actually his father. I have a sneaking suspicion that his actual father is a pureblood Death Eater, perhaps Evan Rosier? Augustus Rookwood? Regardless, I think that's the secret that he's been trying to keep. I think that's why his middle name is such a stigma and I think that's why he didn't fight his sorting harder.
I hoped that the alone time between the two of them might grow into something more, but that would have been a lot to expect under the circumstances. Although I guess that, looking at it a little differently, it's already grown into something more.
Ah, the big give-away! I knew there was more to the flashback of Emily meeting Tristan than just the cuteness value, and on the second reading I picked up on those six little words: "It tends to go in families." If Tristan's mom was muggle-born, it seems very unlikely she was a Slytherin. If, perhaps, she was unintentionally impregnated by a pureblood fanatic -- sexually assaulted, even? -- it could go a long way toward explaining why she married a muggle and tried to take a step back from the magical world.
The more I think about it, that could also explain why Snape is so fond of Tristan. If Tristan has a muggle father yet he actually comes from an old, pureblood family, he and Snape would have that in common. So many possibilities!
I really loved this chapter! It was awesome in so many different ways. Great job!
Author's Response: Gah, I know, right? But, if memory serves, teenagers can be a bit self involved, and eating disorders often take a few months before they are obvious. Plus, those robes are really baggy.
I did online research for the Peruvian potion, but fractals writ in pink and green are something I've seen under different circumstances. That potion was incredibly fun to write, and the foray into psychedelic magic was, I thought, I nice digression from the rest of the story. I really liked the idea that, in a fictional magical world, folk magic is literally real. Also, divination being such a vague discipline, I liked writing about a magic more subtle than wand waving and incantations.
And yeah, I think it's really easy to take Nirvana for granted now that it's on such constant radio rotation. But it *was* such a big deal for so many people once, and their emergence meant a lot for many young people. Since I'm going for era-accuracy, I didn't want to underplay that. One of my big issues with the Potter movies is that they didn't set them in the 90s (and they didn't wear ROBES).
Oh man, the Higgs and Flint thing was so interesting to work on. I really wanted to challenge myself to properly conceptualize the prejudice. Also, I'm certain that seeing yourself from someone elses POV must be shocking--how things you do are interpreted in bizarre ways you wouldn't imagine (wet hair at breakfast). I definitely also wanted to imply that prejudiced people have weird and repressed fascinations--because I think that is often true in the real world. (I would imagine that Death Eaters secretly read Hustler).
"Looking at it a little differently, it's already grown into something more," that was a brilliant analysis! Oh man, wait until you see some phrasing way later--you might be psychic now, too!
I'm really stoked to see your speculations! I'd never ever ever tried to write a mystery before, but I've read a lot of Christie and Rowling's new books. I think the best mysteries are those where a number of possibilities are available to the reader, so I'm really pleased to see people's theories! Since I know what's going on, I wasn't sure if it was to obvious, or to obscure, but I think people are picking up on exactly the right things at precisely the right times!