Woah, so much happened in this chapter. QUIRRELL! ACK! I did not see that coming. As if Isobel really needs more issues to deal with - give the poor girl a break! Asdjfkoasjdokf
Ok now that I've gotten that out, I'll attempt to do this review in order. I'm so glad Isobel talked with Professor Sprout for a bit, she really needed that what with all her friends being so caught up in their own problems. Also, along those same lines, I love that you have these random sections from Sprout's POV! I've never seen anything else written from her perspective and it's such a lovely change. Also a nice balance to have narration from a such a grounded, stable person who's got life sort of figured out and sees things very differently than the teenagers do.
Tristan finally stood up for himself! Kind of. I mean, it was through owl post, but the fact is that he did tell Emily to stop dealing, rather than just not caring about anything. He told her what she needed to hear, even if it might get her annoyed at him (and I feel like he wouldn't really have done that before). So that's something, right?
Loved the scene with Hagrid as well - you very subtlely built on all we know from the book and it was so cool to see that in here. When you mentioned they were going into the Hog's Head and that the gamekeeper was there, I was like OMG THIS IS WHEN HAGRID GETS NORBERT(A). And then it was so cool to see it unfold, especially when Hagrid was carrying the twins (haha) and Isobel was carrying the dragon egg and even asked about it but Hagrid passed it off as a joke. Good thinking, drunk Hagrid. Ahahaha it was fabulous though. And THIS:
Fredíll lecture my ear off tomorrow though. -- So that's how George lost his ear. :P Omg, but this was the best line ever. (Also, no, not too soon - can you believe it's been SEVEN years since that book was released? Man, I feel old.)
I love the ending paragraph too, with Isobel at the Ravenclaw door, and the bit about good is distinguished by the presence of love. She should reconsider her old friends in that light, and maybe it'd help her reconcile with them, to see things while standing in their shoes, so to speak.
Also the line about perforated cauldrons. You are very quotable, you know? (Not to sound creepy or anything :P ) Awesome chapter!
Author's Response: Oh yes, that was quite awful! I made an icked out face every time I wrote or edited that sequence, and the prose around it is VERY sparing as a result (because really, who wants to hear any more detail than what was there). That situation wasn't the first time writing this that I felt like "Oh god, this terrible thing is going to happen"--like it wasn't up to me.
Ah Sprout! Yeah, that was the exact reason I included her interludes. She's most definitely a wonderful and grounded (hah) canon character, but she doesn't get nearly as much play as, say, McGonnagall (also, I felt like there would realistically be some sort of guidance counselor--Harry gets that from Dumbledore, but not every student could). And I definitely wanted to break up all the teenage POV with an adult mindset, to offer perspective and another interpretation of the characters.
I am SO glad that people at HP Lexicon figured out what dates in 1991-92 the events of PhilStone took place! They did so much work, and it made it so much easier to plot out the story against canon! I find it really fun to play with all that dramatic irony, too--we know it's Quirrel under the cloak, Isobel doesn't.
You are totally on to it, as per Isobel reconsidering her friends in that light. That idea, the Presence of Love, is definitely a theme that carries through the conclusion.
And SO glad you liked the perforated cauldron bit! That line came to me all at once while writing, and I was so stoked on it!
Ah! I can't believe there's only a few chapters left already! A few challenge deadlines are coming up I'm trying for, so it'll be a little bit before the next chapter comes up (maybe a week-week and a half, depending on the queue). Thank you for reviewing! We're so far into the story, it's really awesome to see what you think of how it unfolds!