Hi there, I'm here for a bit of BvB action.
I really love Rose and Scorpius and as such have a definite fondness for his mother Astoria. Yes I've seen her written as a pureblood, ice queen, nasty piece of work, but I don't agree with that interpretation. I like to think that a Scorpius we can like, must be the product of a kind and caring mother. This seems to be the sort of Astoria you are writing about.
It is an interesting choice to not make them pureblood. It is always assumed that the Greengrass family is, from memory I think it's even implied. So for you to choose to make them half-bloods is unusual but I think it works. Especially if they are secretly half-blood, that their family has concealed the magical origin of (presumably the mother). What it does do,for the purposes of your story, is to make Daphne a bit of an outsider - able to be within the Slytherin elite, but standing outside it and viewing the events at Hogwarts from that angle as well. It's cleverly done, not many readers would be sympathetic with a story told from the perspective of someone who enjoyed the ways of the new regime and the torture it brings with it.
I also like your choice of personality of Daphne - not one we learn much about in the books either (even though she is in the same year as Harry). The no-nonsense, practical person she is should be a good choice for the story you want to tell - based upon your story summary. When confronted with a difficult choice, the practical person can make the wrong choice for all the right reasons.
Like with the house, Daphne is all for moving, cutting their losses and going away to ride out the storm, but her mother won't have it. Daphne's not being cold, but practical - it'd be breaking her heart too, but better than being killed or Azkaban.
The last paragraph of the first section, as seen from Astoria's eyes, was well done: her tears at all the emotions; her agreeing with the sentiments of both her sister and mother; and the final, 'England needs us.' I'm not the greatest Slytherin fan (books Slytherin, not here - HPFF Slytherins are awesome), but I'm glad you are showing some that aren't the unremitting evil/bad-guys they all had to be for the purposes of the books.
The way you describe the sisters is well phrased - using the lighting terms is a good choice; evocative and effective. Making Daphne not be resentful at her sister's 'superior' charms is a good choice for a practical sort of character; and gives her that one thing that will humanise her no matter what she does - the unconditional love for her sister. But you show it works both ways, the love and caring that Astoria gives back is equally as precious.
I like how you made Daphne the more socially aware/outgoing - that fits into her practical nature. Astoria could be that too, but you've decided to keep that goodness she has, low key. The picture you are painting of the two sisters is very different to each other, but we can see that maybe it is all the closer for being so.
You've shown us what was only alluded to in the books, the employing of students to torture others in 'detention.' It is interesting to me to see this delineated and I don't think it's too far gone from what I imagined. I said before, but I'll say it again - you just couldn't show this scene from the angle of someone who enjoyed it. I like your characterisation of Daphne here and also of Crabbe - who I always thought was a dumb slimeball, and low and behold, that's what he is. I always thought that allowing the students to torture the other students, instead of letting the Carrows do it was Snape trying to protect the students. As JKR established in the books, when Harry got so angry and tried to do the crucio, it didn't work so well, because you have to really mean it. So the torture the student's are capable of might be a lot less than what an adult, full of hate and insanity, could do.
Poor old Astoria though cannot so easily hide her weakness ... did I just say weakness? I meant humanity and love and open-mindedness and everything. You are showing us the different Muggle Studies classes - again something alluded to in the books but never shown. It doesn't go so well for her - keeping perfectly within her character - and she is detention bound. Daphne might just find it hard to keep her promise that no one will hurt them.
This is a good start to your story. We have two very different and interesting siblings who are in a very difficult situation. It promises for an interesting continuation.
Author's Response: Hi Andrew!
Thanks so much for this amazing review! I really appreciate it so much.
I also love Scorpius and Rose, which is actually how I got to writing about the Greengrass family. I think that in order to have a Scorpius who isn't a carbon copy of Draco, you need to have a sympathetic Astoria. I just couldn't see the kind of caring, loving Astoria I pictured as Scorpius's mother coming from an old pureblood family though. The Greengrass family is on the Sacred 28 though, but that list is from the 30s, so I figured things changed since then.
Your interpretation of Daphne is spot on. She's pragamatic and realistic. Though she of course loves her home country and the house she grew up in, Daphne is not the kind of person to be clouded by sentiment the way her mother or her sister are.
As for Astoria and Daphne in Slytherin, I tried really hard with both of them to sort of defy the Slytherin stereotype, but also make them fit the mold. I think it's clear how Daphne's an Slytherin, but Astoria belongs there too I think. She's loyal to her family and quite prideful and cunning, but her strongest instinct, like Daphne, is self-preservation.
Another big part of this is the unconditional love the sisters (and the rest of the Greengrass family) have for each other. Family love is a big thing in this story, showing the way families care for each other and what families will do for each other is something I tried to explore here. Daphne and Astoria love and depend on each other a lot, despite their differences. They have this incredibly close bond.
As for Crabbe, he is an absolute slimeball. In this story, I'm trying to make some Slytherin characters slightly different from the usual 'evil' but Crabbe was one that I simply could not redeem. He's terrible and horrible and cruel and abusive. I can't see him in any other way at all.
I also think your view on the students torturing each other is quite interesting! I've never thought about it that way. I always saw it as a kind of double punishment. Obviously there are some students who are sick and enjoy torturing, but for some students, like Daphne, hurting other students that way is it's own kind of torture. I'd imagine that for many students, torturing and watching their fellow classmates get tortured is an intense mental trauma in itself. But that's also true that it must certainly hurt less coming from inexperienced hands.
And Astoria, oh back to Astoria. She's my favourite character. She is young and sweet and innocent and kind. She's everything that gets your hurt in horrible times like this, but she's so vital. I real ray of sunshine in these dark times. Her hatred in muggle studies is sort of two fold: she can't bring herself to believe the Carrows' dogma, but she also hates herself for failing a class - something she's never done before.
Anyway, thanks so much for reading my story! I'm glad you liked it :)