Hello there, here for the BvB and what is probably my final entry for the month of what I've been calling to myself No-Re-View-Mo - November Review More. Other people were writing their novels, I took the time to review.
I came back to this story, after going to your more recent one-shots, because I liked what I had read of it before and wanted to continue.
We see the aftermath of the drastic events of last chapter. The sort of chapter we had is usually reserved for much later in a work than where it came, so it means that you are going to focus your attention more on other things than just the students-torturing-students theme that we know of from the books.
I have just been writing a grown-up Astoria for my story and she is such a wonderful cannon character because we know so little of her from the books. She is almost a blank slate and we can do with her almost as we wish. I really like your interpretation of her in this story - the way you have presented her, we can tell that she will be a good help-mate for Draco whom we know she marries in the fullness of time.
Luna is good too. You are really showing her Ravenclaw side, something that often got lost in her 'loony' portrayal. She is wise enough to know who her real torturer is.
The Hospital Wing is a study in horrors - though, as you so ably point out, nothing in comparison to what the children went through to earn them a bed there. The way you show how effected Madame Promfrey is by the state of the children in her charge is well done. She would be one of the ones most affected by the evil of the rein of the Carrows because she would be the one to have to deal directly with their handywork.
When Daphne comes too, her first thoughts are for her sister; the way you have drawn her, it could be for nothing else.
And Astoria, it's heartbreaking isn't it to see someone have to bow to what they know is wrong to ultimately do what is right. She said earlier that she wasn't brave, and it is good to know one's limitations, but she sort of puts it to the lie here. Sort of, because she knows what she will be able to be strong at so she chooses to go down the route of Daphne and comply. She knows that her sister can stand anything except to see her in pain, it is a great piece of characterisation. But again I say it is heartbreaking to see the sweet and innocent Astoria disappearing under the horrors of what this twisted reality is imposing upon her.
Daphne gets released from the hospital and runs into one of the Carrows. It is frightening to see how the oppressive regime is weighing her down and managing to crack her carefully constructed shell. She will bend to them only so far, the extra that they want from her she can never allow. If the other students knew what she was being pressured into and, what's more, resisting, then they would be more sympathetic towards 'Daphne the Ice Queen Torturer'. But it is likely that they will never know.
She seeks solace but finds instead Pansy. I do not like Pansy, but then there are few who would. The way you are making her out to be is perfect. She is not evil as such, but she has a particular world view and belief of her position in it that would be loathsome to most. The new regime would suit her perfectly and is a well judged inclusion on your part. She offers her help, such that it is, but Daphne cannot accept it. It also shows that Daphne is very much on her own - she cannot seek much help from her former friends and most of the rest who were probably indifferent to her before this year will be decidedly against her. She has a tough row to hoe.
Another good chapter, but a small cc if I may. There are a few errors of grammar, spelling and repeated word usage that are scattered throughout this chapter and would stand an edit.
Author's Response: Hi Andrew!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I've really hit a snag writing this story (I'm so, so, so close to done, but I just can't do it!), so it's great getting reviews. It's kind of the kick I need to get back at it.
You are right that this story is not focused on the torturing at Hogwarts really at all. It's just the beginning of the horrible things that happen to Daphne and Astoria.
I agree that Astoria is just a wonderful character to write. We know so little about her. I personally have many interpretations of Astoria. This is my favourite one, my headcanon if you will, but I've got plenty more because she's just such an open-ended character.
I've said this many times before, but to me, Luna is the epitome of what it means to be Ravenclaw. She's a phenomenal character and it means so much to me that you think I portrayed her well. She's one of my favourites in the whole series.
All of Hogwarts has become a true horror after the Carrows take over. I can just imagine the whole place seeming a little bit colder, a little bit darker when they're around. I talk more about the atmosphere of Hogwarts in my other novel Areopagitica, but the scene in the hospital wing here is one I quite like. I picture it a bit like those war infirmaries with just everyone in pain and there's not much the doctors (or in this case, matron) can do about it.
I feel so sad for Astoria here because she really has to toughen up. She's thrown her beliefs out in order to survive and to keep her sister from hurting again. The guilt she has for Daphne's torture is terrible and she'll have to live with that guilt forever.
Of course, Daphne has to live with the guilt of being the 'Ice Queen Torturer' and if you read on, you'll find there's much, much more for Daphne to be guilty about. This story is a lot of an exploration of guilt and how that weighs down on them. They do terrible things, but they had very little choice in the matter.
Pansy is pretty terrible. I tried to make it seem like she did care a little bit, but she's still just so cold.
I'm also definitely going over this soon to do a little bit of rewrite. If only I could get my muse back to finish the actual story... of well. Such is writing.
Thanks again for stopping by!