Hi, Tori! The timing of your swap was so fortunate. I was having a hard time finding motivation to bang out some reviews tonight for the Gryffindor Review NaNo and you gave me a reason to get in gear. Please pardon me for a moment while I keep score:
GryCReMo (Review #23)
I think Devlin on Calming Draught is my favorite thing you've come up with in a long time. It's a little like he's drunk, only more age-appropriate. So many things that he would never normally divulge are making their way into Snape's waiting ears. Also into the minds of your eager readers.
"I torture myself a lot, too," he said and he could feel Snape's narrowed eyes on the back of his head. -- OK, this wasn't really new information, per se, but I think it's good that Devlin actually acknowledges it at some level.
Such unnecessary knowledge you have placed in a man you mean to dominate,his wolf growled. He felt a thrill up his spine that he always got when their minds worked together; the wolf pulling from his vocabulary, his brain pulling from the wolf's perspective to understand what he meant. He always felt most alive when he was that boyish wolf. -- I love this passage! I love Devlin in general in this chapter, but I really love the psychology of this line and the joy that Devlin sometimes finds in his duality. Such a different take on lycanthropy compared to Remus. Then again, Remus never saw his wolf as anything other than a dangerous, savage parasite.
"I like you. Just shut up and think before you get yourself hurt, Andrew." -- It's always interesting to see the things that count as acts of kindness in Slytherin House. I think Devlin does genuinely like Andrew.
"Let us just consider it a curiosity of mine, and a payment of yours." -- I'm fascinated to see what Snape discovers about this new potion. If someone is trying to poison Devlin, then they're playing a dangerous game on a level that not even Devlin has contemplated. Killing the Dark Lord's favorite toy would have to lead to a most horrific death.
It's always fascinating to see Devlin's interpretations of other people, what he makes of them. Since Voldemort is the yardstick that he uses to measure people in most instances, it's kind of ironic that this half-blood prefect is someone who seems to fair pretty well by that standard.
When Devlin talks with Dumbledore it's a close second to his conversations with Snape in terms of how interesting it can be. Both of them are masters of the art of keeping their own secrets and the art of teasing out the secrets of others. I liked the extra effort that Devlin puts into trying to appear and act "normal" in front of Dumbledore. Even with Devlin's considerable skills, it seems that Dumbledore is able to wrest the upper hand away from him. The dueling club is certainly an interested idea. I sort of agree with Devlin on this one. Seems like there's an above-average chance that someone who isn't Devlin might get hurt. Although it's also possible that Devlin will choose not to put the full array of his skills on display. That would be giving away a lot.
The scene with Harry watching Devlin on the Marauder's Map was warm and touching. Since the horcrux hunt in the tent presumably never happened in your world, this is a pretty close substitute.
You did a great job with the dueling club scene. You paced it really well so that everything built up to the grand finale. And I'm obviously not talking about the duel, although that was nicely done, as well. Devlin was holding back, which I would have expected from him. But when it came to the moment where he had to make the most important choice, he makes the choice that he knows Voldemort will approve of. Even though that choice will only serve to make his life harder, he believes it will keep him alive. So there's really no choice for him.
I saw a couple of things that I think were typos:
Half the time, when people called him Mr. Potter, his reflex turn was simply because he associated it with Harry. -- "his reflex was to turn"?
Last night he had slept, dreamlessly, in what must have been months. -- "for the first time in what must have been"?
Great job! Thanks for the swap.
Author's Response: Hello! I am TRYING to respond to all my reviews. O.o
I enjoy writing him on calming draughts. If you recall he had one during his initial stay with Harry - it tasted like cherries. I also really enjoyed his wolf here, and thought it showcased well how his wolf might have helped him with Voldemort as a child - no matter what they had him drugged on, or spelled, obligated or confounded (all things I can realistically see Voldemort using), his wolf would have remained impervious to such things and therefore been the most logical and informed part of Devlin's brain.
It is definitely odd writing Slytherin's. They have to remain true to age/experience, but also have this underlying personality that makes them see the world as something to manipulate and be manipulated by. Niceness is therefore almost an awkward affair in which someone is always sticking their neck out and acknowledging that they're risking themselves, because that is how they see the world.
I imagine Snape is fascinated too - a form of potion making he's never seen before. I was just watching a marathon of House M.D. and thinking that Snape is probably a lot like House in terms of potions and puzzles. I'm sure he's wondering equally about the potions brewing process as he is wondering who is behind the potion itself.
Devlin has said before that sometimes Voldemort made him better without even knowing it. I think Voldemort (and his environment) probably taught Devlin that blood means very little when one is worried about how much someone can hurt you physically or socially. Someone who can take it all, is probably someone who can dish it out as well, and I think Devlin probably knows that better than most.
"I sort of agree with Devlin on this one. Seems like there's an above-average chance that someone who isn't Devlin might get hurt." I like how you put that. LOL. I think Dumbledore is doing two things: to Devlin he is extending a level of trust, and also illustrating that he doesn't always need to consult Harry (and therefore, couldn't Devlin tell him things that he wouldn't NEED to pass along to Harry?). But also, I see this as a jab at Voldemort himself.
I'm glad I did well with the dueling scene. I really struggled with it!
Thanks for the awesome review, Dan!