So, this started out as another action-packed chapter, but it settled down at the ending, all winding up to the big finish--who knew that Draco and Astoria could be so fluffily, deliriously happy? :D But it would seem that happiness has indeed won the day, and peace reigns again--for now.
Okay, so as if AVERY weren't enough, MULCIBER comes in to wreak havoc... BUT THEN THE PLOT TWIST!! I didn't see that one coming, let me tell you! The battle between the Aurors and the neo-Death Eaters was pretty frightening and fantastic--I think it's really realistic that Astoria wouldn't have known who was friend and who was foe. It was in the midst of a battle in which the good guys were dressed as bad guys! I would be confused, I know.
Oh dear... Ron's little confrontation with Draco made me cringe. It's totally realistic for him to act that way, but I sure do hope that he mellows out with age. You know, during that part, I couldn't tell if the harsh depiction of Ron was due to the fact that Draco has a vendetta against him or if you, O Author, have some sort of grudge against everyone's favorite redhead. :P It was probably a rather accurate depiction of him, though, considering that he was talking to Draco, but this story is from Draco's point of view--we can't totally trust him to be honest about Ron, can we?
But Harry was chill. I admired him for telling Ron to stand down. And the fact that he masqueraded as Zabini was another plot twist that I didn't see coming. :)
One question: Who contacted the Aurors? That might have been mentioned in an earlier chapter, but I think I missed it. Was it Draco? Narcissa? The Greengrasses?
At any rate, Gamp goes to prison, yay! I hope Daphne sees sense and dumps him. Even though she's sort of dumb and vapid, she doesn't deserve a husband who doesn't love her. Nobody deserves that.
Cue the "aw"s as Draco chats with his future father-in-law. The scene was quite realistic! You seem to have a certain knack for realism--I like it! The part about Draco asking Mr. Greengrass to call him by his first name was very interesting and I liked the bit of pureblood etiquette that was thrown in--did you get that from pureblood wizard canon, or did you take it from Muggle society traditions? And I appreciate the fact that, even though Draco asked to be called by his first name and shows immense respect for Mr. Greengrass, he isn't going to allow himself to be cheated just so that he can potentially marry Astoria. He's got potions skills, after all, and he deserves to be salaried thusly. :P Also, he gets to escape from the cold-hearted research lab of Madame Blishwick, hooray! :D This is a very good career move for him, indeed!
Cue more "aw"s as Astoria and Draco start being all cute. Srsly. They are definitely going to become the pureblood couple that shares love and also the responsibility of running an empire together. As such, they're going to be cute when they're alone and totally domineering in public. And Astoria isn't going to let him push her around--ever. I like that! Drastoria for the win! Basically, you've written this last scene with the specific purpose of showing how adorable they are, and now I want to go read more Drastoria fics. Thanks. :P But in the end, Astoria helped Draco become better than he was at the beginning of this whole mess, and they are such an awesome couple. You couldn't have written a better ending for them. :)
Great job, all around! Only one more chapter left for me to read, and it's the epilogue! I am incredibly interested to read about the scene from Draco's point of view--I'm sure it will be very enlightening. :D
Author's Response: Only one more to go? Doesnât seem at all possible! Actually, I guess if I think about it, it is possible. You were one of the earliest reviewers for this story and definitely one of the most loyal. You have my undying gratitude!
I really enjoyed unleashing both the idea of Mulciber and that little plot twist on the world. I wanted things to seem about as bad as they could possibly get before heading into the big finale. It seems like the sense of confusion and mayhem I was trying to create from Astoriaâs PoV worked well, too. All around, Iâm pleased with how things seemed to play out for you.
Part of me feels badly about how unkind Iâve been to Ron in this story. I definitely owe him a good one-shot or something. I donât have anything against him, but you recall his prior confrontation with Draco. I also needed some way to introduce Harryâs role in the capture of Avery and the other conspirators. And, no, you canât ever trust Dracoâs PoV where Ron is concerned.
Harryâs masquerade actually ties directly into a small subplot of Conspiracy of Blood. I enjoyed coming up with that one. To answer your question, the Aurors learned about Gampâs conspiracy when they were trying to track down Avery. Theyâd been communicating with Avery in the guise of Mulciber for some time. When Avery told âMulciberâ about a counter-revolution brewing among recent Hogwarts grads, Harry and Ron put two and two together. They went after Zabini first because they saw him as a soft target who would likely sell out the others to save his own skin. Zabiniâs mother was tipped off by a former flame inside the Ministry, however, and she slipped her son out of the country. Instead of seeing it as a setback, the Aurors decided to take advantage of the situation by impersonating Zabini and using him to infiltrate the conspiracy.
Gamp will be going to prison for the rest of his life. Essentially, that amounts to a divorce. Daphne doesnât completely abandon him because pureblood ladies donât do that sort of thing, but she doesnât have to stay with him, either.
The scene with Draco and Mr. Greengrass was challenging to write, but I really enjoyed it. It was fun to try to think through all of the little intricacies of how a couple of aristocratic purebloods would interact. I donât think there is any canon on the topic, so I borrowed a few bits from here and there and I made up the rest. Youâre correct, even putting aside the fact that it advances his relationship with Astoria, this is a tremendous step up, career-wise.
Draco and Astoria have great things ahead of them. I was definitely tempted to instantly have them jumping each other like a pair of hyenas in heat, but this felt a lot more natural. You know, I havenât found any other Draco/Astoria fics with this sort of dynamic. Then again, I havenât looked too hard.
Gah, one more chapter! Iâm excited and a little sad. I see you just posted in your review thread, so letâs go request. Thanks for reading and reviewing!