This is for the Blue vs Bronze review battle!
So your prose here is just as gorgeous as it was in the first two chapters. I love the imagery you used in the first section and how Helena compared the different stages of her relationship with Eleanor to different ways of living. It really showed just how in love Helena was, and I thought it was cute.
I love your characterization of Rowena here, even though I don't really like her character. You've created such a cold and calculating woman and you've shed a different light on her character from what I usually imagine. Thinking about it, I can now think of a more logical reason why she wanted the smartest students: they were the only ones who were able to match up to her standards. And her characterization also adds to the story: if Rowena had been more caring, Helena might have felt comfortable enough around her mother to talk openly about her sexuality. Instead, nope.
Rowena casually discussing how Helena had no hopes for the future gave me chills. What sort of a mother would choose a man who has had many people express doubts about him as a suitable match for her daughter? Just because Helena apparently needs 'controlling' she does not necessarily need to be controlled. And even this Godric (Gryffindor?) doesn't like him. I have a feeling that this is the Bloody Baron and now you've set up a reason for how the story ends.
I loved Helena's reaction to this. There's a perfect mix of shock and anger there, as anybody finding out that their mother was planning to marry them off (against their will) to a less than desirable man would feel. And this sentence - Secrets floating round and round until they have stained the air a steel blue, the colour of deception. That is perfect. Just perfect.
Helena's logic about the separation of boys and girls and how it doesn't make sense is very interesting, and also made me ask the same questions that she was thinking. If boys and girls are supposed to get married, you should let them mingle so they at least get to know each other before being bound together for life. This quote - They are foreign beings to us. - is also perfect. I'm currently writing a novel that alternates first-person narration from Lily II to a male OC and writing chapters from his perspective is SO HARD because I have no idea how boys think.
Helena and Eleanor definitely aren't going to take this marriage news lying down, and I like that. They shouldn't just roll over and get separated because of political advantage or their parent's innate desire to get their daughters all married off.
At least Rowena is letting Helena get to know the Bloody Baron before she gets married to him. I think if it was any other woman (other than Helena) it might have gone better and she would've been happily married (or unhappily, depending on whether or not she liked him), but since we know Helena's true love, that of course isn't going to happen. However, I suppose Rowena's decision is a bit more free-thinking, from the little I know of the times.
I loved this chapter! Please write more! I know there's the fourth chapter but I'm thinking I should save it so I can savour it later.
Author's Response: Hey Olivia!
I'm so glad that you liked that because when I was writing this, we were discussing in philosophy the whole idea of life and what it is to be, so it sort of drifted into my writing, like lots of other philosophical things did. :P
I know, I don't really like what I've done to her either given that I'm a Claw as this feels like betrayal against my own house, but I feel as if it had to be like this in order for Helena to not be able to open up to her mother. Oooh, I hadn't thought about why she chose students like that before, but I think you're definitely right because she didn't care if they were pureblood or muggleborn, just so long as they were clever she would have taken them in I guess.
I know, Rowena is horrible like that. The sad thing is though it was most often the case for females in that era as they really had no rights at all and could not make any of their own decisions which is so sad as it was just left to their parents. You are right, that is Godric Gryffindor, though I wouldn't be so warm to him as he isn't against arranged marriages in principle, only because he doesn't entirely approve of the man.
I'm glad you liked it and Helena's indignation about this will continue to shape the rest of the story. Her love and respect for her mother really does start to go down here from now on too, as she just can't understand why someone could possibly do that to her.
I'm glad you found it interesting, as I initially didn't even think about it that much, it almost felt as if Helena took over me at that point and started writing that section herself, if that makes any sense. :P Bahaha, I know, boys are so confusing but I suppose they think the same about us girls being strange too, so really they should have integrated them more and they would have had more successful marriages as a result!
No, they are not, and it's definitely going to be all girl power and let us love from now on which is exciting. Albeit in a subtle way given the society that they live in.
I know, that is one good thing about her rather than just forcing it on her. Plus, it means we get to see exactly what the Bloody Baron is like and decide whether he would actually be a good match for Helena or not which is quite exciting.
Thanks for this fabulous review, it really did make my day! :D ♥