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31 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

4th March 2015:
Hello Dan! I’m back again. I’ve been sick or else I would have flown through this story already.

The young woman was clothed in bloody rags that hung in shreds, interwoven with the streaks of red that ran through her long, flaxen hair. The horror of her death was frozen on her face.

That was creepy. It really creeped me out I shuddered and had to stop momentarily because I wasn’t sure if I could continue. Naturally I had to read it over again because I wanted to face my fear over the sentence. Who know one sentence could shake you to your core?

Every glassy eye a reminder of his final solution to every problem.

I feel like Draco would have never felt truly comfortable in Malfoy Manor again. Too many bad memories and nightmares. I imagine he would no longer visit certain parts of his home for this reason. It’s big enough where Voldemort’s presence wouldn’t haunt him in every room but there must have been some cleansing or decorative changes done to try and forget about him. It would have been futile though. The Manor is kind of like his own prison.

His mother pulled her hand away, looking deeply worried as Draco gasped for air.

See I didn’t get that he was dreaming. I thought he was hallucinating from undergoing detox but it works either way.

‘Look at me, the Great Lucius Malfoy! My power knows no limits! I can pluck a raving madman off of his street corner and make him ruler of the magical world!’

Wow. I don’t know what to say. I believe Draco and his family would be hated after the war. Heck, they were hated during the war but it’s an interesting take. I like that he’s not just angry at just the Malfoy’s. I also like that he’s not just angry about the second war but the first one as well. Heck, his daughters are in Slytherin. I’m sure he has some darkness in him as well and has money but maybe power isn’t as important to the Greengrass’s.

The only person I’m living for now is myself.

In the first chapter he was in a hazy fog of denial but then he found this ‘light’ if you will and decided to change. Now he appears stronger and his mind is clear but is he really strong? No. I don’t buy it. He wants to change but wanting to do something and actually doing it are two different things. I can’t exactly decide if Draco is an addict or not. I don’t mean just alcohol either but is he addicted to pain? I don’t know how to explain that question but it keeps popping up in my head.

Blaise was an interesting character. He’s essentially in the same boat as Draco except now that Draco realizes this he wants nothing to do with it, with whatever Blaise and he had planned and the rest of their motley crew. I believe Draco is lost and the only person that can find him is himself. Only then can he start to live a life he truly wants and deserves.

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds! Hope you're feeling better!

Draco's nightmare was an important part of the stage I was trying to set. He's haunted by the things he witnesses and took part in, even if he doesn't feel like they were ultimately his fault. He didn't believe in the Dark Lord the way that his father once believed and his aunt believed until her death. He was terrified of Voldemort, terrified that his mother or father or he would be the next to die. At the end of the day, he's relieved that Harry Potter killed his so-called master.

Parts of the manor definitely still haunt Draco. It's like your scene where he hated going into the cellar. I can't imagine he willingly went down there for a long time after the war was over.

Dreaming and detoxing aren't mutually exclusive, I guess. A lot of alcoholics go through periods of depression and mental instability when they're getting clean.

One of the things I liked about Astoria's father -- and it drove some readers up the wall -- was the fact that he had a different perspective on Voldemort's rise and fall. Being a wealthy, successful pureblood who wasn't caught up in the Death Eaters, he never felt *directly* threatened by Voldemort and the movement he represented. Based on his limited knowledge of Voldemort, he looked at the Dark Lord as a sort of crazy demagogue advocating an extreme solution to a problem that didn't really need to be solved. Purebloods already controlled a disproportionate share of the wealth and power in the wizarding world. From his point of view, the *best case* outcome of Voldemort's wars would be causing a lot of chaos en route to an end state not all that different from what he already enjoyed. And chaos is bad for business.

He isn't nearly as strong as he's leading Zabini to believe. Not yet, anyway. There are still a lot of hurdles he needs to overcome. If that wasn't the case, this would be a pretty short story. ;) Blaise serves to illustrate a different path from what Draco's choosing, a continuation of the status quo. You'll definitely see him again.

So glad you're making your way through! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #2, by mymischiefmanaged 

17th September 2014:
Hi Dan, I've been looking forward to reading this chapter and it's everything I hoped it would be.

First, that whole image of the chandelier made of corpses...gahh it's horrible but exactly right for the nightmare you want to convey. You always get just the right balance when you write about terrible things, only using as much as you need to to make your point. And the nightmare shows us a lot about Draco, both about the things he's been forced to witness and about where his loyalty really lies.

Narcissa's support of Draco is very moving. I loved the line about focussing on Draco moving on before focussing on Lucius. I think the way you've written Narcissa feels very true to what we see of her through Harry's eyes. She's a woman who's been through more than she should have had to go through and unlike Lucius and Draco, who in JK's books seemed to focus primarily on self preservation, Narcissa understands that there are things more important than her own well being.

Astoria was lovely again, and the reminder that she's still at school was a helpful one. I'd forgotten, but of course she's still not finished with Hogwarts.

I'm unsure what to make of Horatio. You've explored some really interesting themes through his character. When he first started talking about his dislike for the Malfoys I found myself agreeing with him, and also thought he made some interesting points. Voldemort certainly wouldn't have wanted to think he only rose to power because of the status of his supporters, but it's definitely true. In some ways (but not many ways) Lucius and the Lestranges and co are more culpable than Voldemort himself. It's a very interesting exploration of pure bloods and inequality in wizarding society.

And then Horatio started criticising mudbloods and muggle borns and I lost my sympathy for what he was saying. He doesn't seem to have any particularly moral problems with what Voldemort did, he just doesn't like how it turned out for his family, which is very unlikable. He may be a good father but he definitely has his flaws.

It was good to see Zabini, although the things he was saying are a bit worrying. You did a very good job of showing how difficult it is to stand up to a friend, and Malfoy's disagreement with Zabini was very interestingly explored. I liked the way Malfoy didn't criticise Zabini's ideas but made it clear that he wanted no part in them. It shows significant character development.

The duel (does it count as a duel?) was another example of the leftover effects of the war. It's sad that things like that would happen but it's hard to see how they could not after people have suffered so much.

Although by the sounds of it this guy potentially didn't suffer very much. He seems to regret the fact he didn't do his bit during the war, and is trying to change that now when there's nothing to change. It's not a very admirable mindset but in a lot of ways is understandable. I think a lot of people would share his views. It would be hard not to feel survivor's guilt after realising how much other people (i.e. the Weasleys etc) had been through.

I'm loving this story, maybe even more than I liked Tales of the Death Eaters. I'll definitely be back for chapter three :)

Emma xx

Author's Response: Hi, Emma!

Whew. I'm glad Draco's nightmare came across so vividly for you. That scene was hard to write because I wanted to create the right image, but I also wanted to keep it very spartan and dark, focusing as much on Draco's reactions as on what he's seeing. So anyway, whew!

Over the course of writing Marked and this story, I really came to like Narcissa as a character. I find really interesting parallels between her and Lily Potter or Molly Weasley. Two very different visions of a mother who's determined to do what's best for her family. I hope you continue to like her, because she plays a pretty significant role in this story.

Astoria is entering her sixth year at the start of this story, which is her canon age according to all sources I could find. It makes the timeline a little complicated, but overall I think it works.

Horatio is meant to be complex, partly because he is and partly because you're seeing him through the eyes of Astoria, who's still trying to work a lot of things out for herself. A part of his dislike for the Malfoys comes from a misunderstanding on his part. He was never a Death Eater or close to any of Voldemort's inner circle, so he has no idea how powerful the Dark Lord truly was. To him, Voldemort was essentially some crazy street preacher that the Blacks, Malfoys and other Death Eater families elevated to become their puppet king. He doesn't realize that Voldemort would have become powerful no matter what, families like the Blacks and Malfoys just made the process faster and easier. As far as his feelings toward half-bloods and muggle-borns, he shares many of the same prejudices that most purebloods do. But he's not fanatical or violent about them. He didn't really see a problem with the state of affairs before the war and he's convinced that what the Death Eaters did has turned the tide in an unfavorable direction.

Zabini gives us an idea of where Draco's life would have continued to go if he hadn't had his fateful meeting with Astoria in Diagon Alley. By spending time with the most rational of his old friends, Draco is testing himself. He's trying to see whether he can function in that social circle without lapsing back into his old ways. He mostly succeeds, until reality catches up with him. The wizards who attack Draco and Zabini were not victims of the Death Eaters, per se, but they do know people who were. I think you're pretty much spot on with your read on them. They weren't brave enough to fight when Voldemort was alive, and now they're looking to take out their frustrations.

I'm so pleased that you're enjoying it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #3, by Roisin 

28th July 2014:
I really like how gently you introduce Astoria's privilege. Since her sections are ostensibly her POV, it makes sense that she takes expensive jumpers and private chambers as average. Also, she isn't portrayed as totally spoiled or anything. As with a lot of aspects of this story, you let the characters have certain elements that isolate readers, while still endearing us to Draco and Astoria anyway.

Also, Horatio's prejudice--I'm really enjoying all these little complications to a story that could have been a straight-forward romance. It's very easy to tokenize prejudiced people, or divide supporting characters neatly between good and bad. You do a great job of setting a story in the ambiguities. Obviously, I'm wont to dislike Horatio, but it makes sense that Astoria loves her father.

Overall, I really enjoy the intricacies of the aristocracy you examine here. It's almost like two stories. Draco's is a darker, war survivor, plots be brewing situation, while Astoria's is almost a comedy of manners.

Getting super off-track because I read ahead, so sorry! But also: I tend to avoid Draco ships, or Draco as a main character, but you do it really well. I really believe his prat moments, and his occasional sweetness breaking through the surface (running away to muggle cafes). You've done a stand-out job of analyzing the interiority of the wannabe Death Eater who didn't rat on Harry to Bellatrix. Generally, I think Draco and Hermione are of the most misrepresented characters in fanfiction (hence my categorical distaste for their pairing). So yeah, ramble ramble ramble, you've done a real good Draco.

On to the next disorganized review!

Author's Response: Moving right along...

I didn't want to overplay the life of privilege that Astoria comes from. It's part of who she is, but unlike Draco it doesn't completely define her. I think of her family as being "the working rich". Her father runs his family's companies and manages their investments.

I'm not sure that Horatio is prejudiced against Draco so much as he just doesn't understand the truth about Voldemort. Horatio wasn't a Death Eater and he stayed out of the conflict completely. He doesn't understand how dangerous and powerful Voldemort truly was. In his mind, Voldemort was a creation of power-hungry families like the Blacks and Malfoys. He thinks that they used their money and influence to create a political movement around a madman.

I hadn't thought of this as being two stories in that sense, but I can definitely see it now that you mention it.

I absolutely agree with you about Draco and Hermione being frequently misrepresented. In fact, it very often happens to both characters in the same story. *cringe* People try to write Draco in a way that's black and white. They write him as either an arch-villain who never gave up his family's ways or as a completely reformed and enlightened survivor of his family's terrible brainwashing. I don't think he's either of those things. There are elements of those characters in him, but he's far more complex.

I don't find your reviews disorganized at all. You're reacting to the things in the story that caught your attention or imagination and really those are my favorite kind of reviews! Thanks!


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Review #4, by nott theodore 

12th July 2014:
Hi Dan! I figured that since I'm reviewing anyway it was about time for me to come back to this story and leave a few more reviews!

This was another great chapter! I really liked the way that you progressed from the first chapter to this one and showed that things are starting to change a little bit for Draco. The description at the beginning was fantastic and it helped me picture things really vividly, but I think that my favourite part of the chapter was the dream that Draco has which is a flashback to the war. It's really important to show that it's not only the winners who suffered like that from the war.

I liked the fact we saw parts of both Astoria and Draco at this point as well. It's nice to see both perspectives and I liked the fact that Draco's really starting to make an effort here to change his lifestyle and control his anger. I think it's a very important beginning, especially if he's going to end up with Astoria!

Sian :)
Gryffindor House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hi, Sian!

Draco has taken the most important step, but there's obviously still a long way to go. Otherwise, this wouldn't be a very long story. ;) I'm glad you liked the nightmare. It was tricky to write because I wanted a very spartan feel to things but I also needed enough detail to make it easy to visualize. And you're right about the war, many of the Dark Lord's followers suffered just as much as the victors.

In general, you'll see things from both Draco's and Astoria's perspective in each chapter from now on. I like alternating the narrative point of view, just to give the reader a more rounded impression.

Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #5, by Veritaserum27 

2nd May 2014:
Hello Dan - here for review tag.

Another excellent chapter! We get to see a little bit of where both Draco and Astoria are coming from, and that sets the story up nicely for a rocky road ahead. Astoria seems she will be conflicted between loyalty to her family (her father, specifically) and wanting to be her own person. She is growing up and seems to feel the conflict between fulfilling her family's expectations and making her own way in the world.

Draco, on the other hand, just wants to break free. Free from his past, free from his associations and free from his family's reputation (his father at least). It is a little unsure where Lucius will stand in this whole situation, as he hasn't made an appearance yet. Will he view Draco's new path in life as a slight to their family or a reinvention.

I liked that Draco is making a true effort to control his anger and actions. It shows that he has real intentions to proceed with his plan - despite the conversation with his mother at the beginning of the chapter.

Your description is so effortless, it makes the story easy to read and isn't overdone, yet enhances the reader's experience. Thanks for writing this fabulous story!

Beth

Author's Response: Hi, there! Welcome back.

This chapter was meant to give an idea of the challenges that both of them are facing on the family front, as well as Draco's challenges in dealing with his former housemates. Astoria is very conflicted because she loves her parents deeply. At the same time, she can't quite square what her father thinks about Draco with her own experience, and she's the sort of over-thinker who finds that deeply bothersome.

Draco is trying as hard as he can to put the past behind him. At this point, he's spent a couple of months trying to drink his demons away and that obviously didn't work. Now he's ready to try something different. Lucius will make several appearances, both direct and by reference, throughout the story. His personal difficulties will definitely play into Draco's challenges.

Anger will be Draco's constant enemy throughout the story. He has so much resentment and bitterness left over from the war, when he discovered that most of what he was brought up to believe was false and Voldemort used him as a pawn. Learning to control his temper is one of the keys to him getting better.

Wow, I'm glad that it seems effortless. Believe me, it took a lot of effort.

Thank you for reading this story! I'm really pleased that you've enjoyed it so far.


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Review #6, by TheHeirOfSlytherin 

1st March 2014:
For Blackout Bingo, the G v S competition.

Hey, Dan!

Whoa, gosh, that nightmare. It was so... chilling, just totally devoid of hope. Poor Draco, I'd probably wake up screaming, too. You wrote it so well, I could picture it in my head, and as a lover and writer of all things dark, I loved this. It was very well done.

I like Astoria. Mostly because of my headcanon, but the way you write her makes me sure I will soon love her in general. I can't wait to see how her relationship with Draco will progress, especially with her father and his views. I understand his views, given everything that happened, and Astoria seems like she does what she things is best but would rather have the support of her father than not. I could be wrong, this is only the second chapter and I only have my version to go on, but since they get married in canon, I'm making a guess. I look forward to finding out.

Draco's trying to clean up, he must really like Astoria, or at least like the potential she saw in him when they met. I hope he manages to do it, keep from drinking, go back to school and do something good for his reputation. I assume he will eventually, even if it's only enough to have Astoria, but it's a long road between now and the epilogue. I can't wait to see your take on it.

I'll be back soon!

Sam.

Author's Response: Sam! I love reading your reviews. They never get old!

Whew! I've been really worried about how the nightmare reads. I wanted to keep it visually very dark and spartan, but I also needed enough detail to help the readers immerse themselves in the scene. So if it worked, whew!

I became a big fan of Astoria while writing CoB and my goal was to show a younger, less worldly version of her in this story. Her father's approval is important to her, but as you'll see later, it isn't the only thing that matters. He has some fairly naive ideas about what caused the war and how it all played out. He wasn't a Death Eater or a sympathizer, so he wasn't part of the inner circle and he has no idea how powerful and dangerous Voldemort really was. Since he doesn't know, he assumes that the Blacks, Malfoys and other Death Eater families used their money and influence to make Voldemort powerful.

Draco is trying very hard to clean up his act and make something out of his second chance. Naturally, he won't have an easy time of it. That wouldn't be a very fun story. ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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Review #7, by 800 words of heaven 

22nd December 2013:
REVIEW TAG!

I read the first chapter of this story quite a while ago, so my review is a little late because I went back to reacquaint myself with Draco.

I actually like Draco a lot more in this chapter than I did in the first. I don't know if that's because more of his personality is revealed, but it feels as if there's been a lot of character growth between chapters one and two. It was as if Astoria really kick-started his life, and it feels like he's become a lot more aware of what he is in a very short amount of time. He's not exactly "getting better" and the scene in the restaurant really illustrated that he has a long road ahead of him to get what he wants.

It's quite interesting that Draco still wants a standing in society and respect from his peers. I would think that considering his current headspace, society and what others think of him would be the last thing on his mind, but in a sense, it makes sense. It's the way he's been brought up, and he feels if he achieves those things again, his life may begin to take on some semblance of normality. It does feel as if the kind of respect that he wants is different to the one his family had previously. Even this early in the story, it feels as if he wants his family name to be remembered for its own merit rather than its blood purity. I'm not sure if I'm reading too much into this, but I think it shows that Draco is quite mature in those terms already.

What I find so intriguing about this story so far is the turmoil Wizarding society is in. Right now it feels as if it's beginning to lean towards a very extreme hatred for purebloods, rather than acceptance of people regardless of their blood status. I think that's quite realistic portrayal of the situation. The society as a whole suffered a great trauma, and like the individuals that make it up, it's going to take some time to heal.

Your portrayal of the Greengrasses is also so fascinating. They are blood purists, but their views are more restrained and mainstream, I think. They actually make me think that if the Weasleys weren't poor, and Arthur wasn't obsessed with Muggle technology, their views on blood status could be very similar to those of the Greengrasses. I just love how they hate the pureblood families that supported Voldemort, not because of the idealisms that they advocated through him, but because it besmirches the good name of old pureblood families as a whole. I always forget that the Wizarding society of Britain is just so small. They function more like a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, and families that have been around for generations actually means something. I just love how the Greengrasses are a window into life on the other side of the glass, so to speak. I don't really know how Astoria is going to be as a character as yet, but I definitely hope to see some more of that tension in the old families.

I just really adored this chapter for the world building that you did, as well as further character development of Draco. It has me very interested to see where Draco, as well as the people that surround him in general will all go over the course of this story.

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Draco has made the most important decision when we see him at the start of this chapter, but he still has a long way to go. I'm glad you see a little growth in him, but hopefully you'll see a lot more before it's all said and done. Meeting Astoria was the impetus for him to change, but certainly not the endpoint.

Draco is concerned with social standing, but more from the standpoint that he doesn't want to become a complete outcast. By this point, he's pretty much made his peace with the fact that things are never going to go back to the way that they were before the war. Pureblood society in general is in shambles. But Draco has realized that earning the respect of at least some of his peers does actually matter to him. That was a big change all by itself.

I think you figured out exactly where I was trying to go with Astoria's family. They do embrace a lot of the same pureblood values as the Malfoys and Blacks, but they're much more pragmatic about things. And they realize that purebloods all by themselves do not constitute the whole of magical society and that they can't afford to ignore the rest of it. Her father is angry about the war because of the impact it's had on what he considers "respectable" purebloods like his own family.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #8, by Rumpelstiltskin 

18th December 2013:
I've returned (and am here under the guise of Review Tag)!

First of all, I found the imagery very captivating. The sense of dread that Draco felt during his dream came across astoundingly realistic. The dark and damp setting and Draco's terrified emotions only added to the horror.

I'm very happy to see some Astoria's characterization is beginning to be revealed. It is not entirely fair for her father to be judging Draco based on Lucius' actions, but is understandable given Lucious' position during the two Wizarding Wars. The conversation also unveiled Astoria's kindness and ability to see the potential in others.

Draco is also given more depth in this chapter. His drive to change himself is an endearing characteristic. I'm anticipating how Draco and Astoria will cross paths again, and how their relationship with eventually develop.

This was fantastic!

-Rumpel

Author's Response: Hi there! Please feel free to return under any pretense that suits you! :)

I'm really glad that you liked the dream scene. I was struggling to hit a balance between keeping the descriptions very dark and spartan and trying to convey the horrors that Draco sees.

Astoria starts to even out a bit in this chapter. She's not quite so perfect and you get a sense of where she comes from. Her father doesn't understand how dangerous and powerful Voldemort was because he wasn't a Death Eater and he didn't really take sides during the war. Horatio Greengrass really does believe that the war was started by the Blacks, Malfoys and other Death Eater families as a way to seize power by installing a puppet ruler.

Draco really does want to change, but he is still learning just how hard it's going to be. He will definitely cross paths with Astoria again, and soon.

I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #9, by UnluckyStar57 

17th December 2013:
Hello again!

So, Draco's getting sober now, and if the dream was any indication, it's going to be a LONG road for him. I loved all of the creepy imagery that you put into the dream sequence, showing Draco all of the death and destruction that Voldemort caused. As a fledgling Death Eater, he must've witnessed some of the cruelty and bloodshed, but seeing the bodies of his enemies and his friends lined up like that (even in his subconscious) should definitely spark a change. In fact, he should want to start running as far away from all of that as possible.

Draco's conversation with Narcissa was incredibly vital to his start on the road to recovery. She loves him, that much is plain, and her words of encouragement were very good for him to hear. I think that it was wise of her to state that Draco needed to work on his own mind before worrying about Lucius' misconduct--after all, Lucius is older and more set in pureblood and Death Eater customs. His mind will be much harder to change.

Astoria's father is not very likable, in my opinion. I can tell that he, like most purebloods, is quite entrenched in the customs of pureblood supremacy. The only difference between him and Lucius Malfoy is that Mr. Greengrass reviles the Death Eaters for wanting to overturn the Ministry. He does not seem to agree with Voldemort's ideas, and he hates that the war has sullied the reputation of being a pureblood. He's a very interesting character, and I'm sure that he'll show up in later chapters!

As for Zabini, he doesn't seem too dense, but in contrast to Draco, he is a drunkard fighting for a lost cause. All his talk of rising against the Ministry and taking what is rightfully theirs is a bunch of nonsense, and on some level, he knows it. He is crafty and cunning, but alcohol has addled his brains. Draco is disgusted with him, and rightfully so.

The way Draco handled the two wizards was impressive. He is still a fighter, but he will only make trouble if others provoke him. My impression of him was that he acted out of necessity and played it off with an air of suavity that seems to be his birthright. Before the fight, I saw a marked change in him when he cursed the fact that the restaurant served alcohol. It is apparent that he truly wants to change his ways, and good for him! :)

'Til next time!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Yes, Draco has begun the long journey back to sobriety and better mental health. And you're absolutely correct, it won't be easy. I'm really glad you liked all of the imagery. I wanted to keep it really stark, but also dark and creepy, so I was worried about whether I had too much or too little description.

You're spot on with Draco talking to his mother. She is a key figure in his life. She was the only one who was there for him at all times during the war. She risked everything to try to keep him safe. Lucius... well, Lucius will be a project.

I didn't really want readers to like Horatio Greengrass too much at this stage of the game. He is very naive about Voldemort and what actually happened during the war. That's good in one way, because he wasn't a Death Eater and he never associated with them. But it's bad in another way, because he has no idea how powerful and dangerous Voldemort really was. He just assumes that the Blacks, Malfoys and other Death Eater families were propping up a madman because that's the only thing that makes sense to him. You will see other sides of him in later chapters, so I'm interested to see whether your opinion changes at all.

Zabini is still living the dream, so to speak. Like Mr. Greengrass, he was too far removed from Voldemort's inner circle to really understand much about what happened. Unlike Mr. Greengrass, he bought completely into Voldemort's "vision" of a perfect world. Draco is very disgusted with him and you're right, he should be.

Draco definitely learned how to fight during the war. He couldn't have survived otherwise. But he isn't eager to do it. He merely defends himself and then leaves.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed the chapter! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #10, by SilentConfession 

14th December 2013:
Hello again!

I think that you've started fleshing Draco so much more in this chapter. He's beginning to feel a lot more real and rounded. What I think helped this was the dream he had. As I said in my first review, my sympathy for Draco isn't too big as most of this is his own mess. I'm pleased he's making an effort to change though, but I don't feel massively sorry for him. Anyway, the dream bit helped give us an idea of where he stood even during the war. I think there are a couple different ways you can take Draco and the impression I'm taking from this is that you're taking him along the lines that he sees his part in the war as regret and that is actually was in error? That's what i've taken from this and if that was your intention than I think you've done a really good job at creating an atmosphere for that. The dream was so vivid and i think it dipped really deeply into Draco's subconscious and his thoughts of how following Voldemort didn't bring the power anyone thought it would. It just brought more death. I can't even get over that scene. It was so brilliant and so gruesome. I feel like those two words shouldn't belong together, but in this case they have to. It was so well done.

I didn't think he seemed too eager when he was talking to Narcissa. I liked how he was still leaning on his old training about not thinking before answering. That little bit was really poignant because it gave an idea of how much each person didn't really matter in Voldemort's circle. He wanted puppets and Draco made a good puppet for so long. It will be interesting to read how Draco overcomes this and becomes a better man. What i'd be interested as well to see is how much he stays on this path. It would only not be believable if there weren't any obstacles for him to overcome, or relapses. Typically recovering addicts will relapse and I can only imagine this happening to someone like Draco as a> he isn't the strongest of people b> he's gone through a lot of trauma which have scarred him. I think both things together are tough to overcome and as long as you keep exploring that I think it would remain believable.

I do wonder about Draco a little at this point. I feel like if I continue reading it'll be clearer of where he stands as I get the impression this is going to be a very complex story. However, with his character it has seemed in the books that he does believe that he's better than muggleborns because of his blood. I think perhaps he began questioning whether it was worth his life, but i'm not sure if I buy that he thought it was wrong and i don't think it ever fully left him that muggleborns weren't proper magical. I think the word i'm looking for is entitlement. Saying that, I do like where you're going with this, i'm just curious to know more about him and if his part with the DE's was just survival or something more. The scene at the cafe really helped with that though and explored some of his struggles at becoming better or toning down his own sense of entitlement if he's to survive post war. I also think it makes sense that he's worried about his reputation. That always seem to be an important thing to him at Hogwarts.

I like Horatio. I think his explanation made sense, even if he was a bit naive about the whole thing. I liked some of his comments about the puppet king and the like, but it made him seem like he had no idea what actually happened in the war. Which will make it interesting down the road when things begin to pick up between Astoria and Draco and when Draco probably tries to explain what it was like to be in that circle and the pressure that he had to face.

Anyway, this is turning out to be an essay of a review. I'm so sorry, but there is so much to analyze with this chapter and so many questions. This is a really good thing though and you've done brilliantly with this chapter. I've really enjoyed it.

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I'm glad that Draco started to come to life a bit more for you in this chapter. The first one was meant to show him at rock bottom, so he was necessarily a bit overdone, I think. Here you start to see some of the reasons why he was such a mess in chapter 1. He's haunted by a lot of the things he saw and took part in during the war. Dealing with the risk of dying on a daily basis left him with bad anger management issues and depression. You're correct that he came to realize that it wouldn't have been a good thing if Voldemort had won the war. It's hard for him to square that with the fact that he spent nearly his entire life believing that the Dark Lord was "the right side".

I'm glad the conversation with Narcissa didn't seem overdone. She really becomes his biggest supporter, aside from Astoria, so it's important that their relationship seems genuine. Draco will definitely experience a few setbacks along the way. Much more on this to come.

Draco still has a lot of that prejudice and arrogance in him. He does still believe in the superiority of pure magical blood. That's part of what attracts him to Astoria. But, he's also realized that some beliefs aren't worth fighting and dying for. In the course of this story, I hope that I never stray into that place where Draco starts to seem "redeemed". He did some terrible things, both before and during the war, and he still holds some fairly odious beliefs. He is a very complex character.

Horatio doesn't understand the real power structure within the Death Eaters because he was never a part of the organization. He only has an outsider's perspective combined with what he was told by the Ministry. Horatio doesn't understand powerful dark wizards, he understands money. Therefore he undervalues the importance of the former and overvalues the importance of the latter.

I really enjoyed your review, so please don't ever worry about the length of them. It's always a pleasure and I'm really glad that you enjoyed the chapter. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #11, by WeasleyTwins 

7th November 2013:
Hello Dan! I'm finally back after about twenty-five years. They told me that teaching would be difficult and time-consuming, but I really had no idea. But anyway, I'm back. This might all come out as a fangirl squee and make so sense, but I'll try to sound like someone with an English degree.

I must tell you that I was completely green with envy as I read the descriptions of Draco's dream. They were so haunting and chilled me to the bone without being downright disgusting or uncouth. I adore the imagery - it's impeccable. As I said in the last review, I'm very picky about my Draco, but you've won me over without a shadow of a doubt. I knew that from the first chapter, but this one confirmed it: you write Draco better than JKR. Where did you come up with the idea for the nightmare? One wouldn't think at first that the war and all its gruesome and morally despicable acts would bother Draco, and then you write something like that. I'm insanely jealous of your style and ability to turn a phrase. It's a work of art. As a fellow writer and avid reader, I appreciate and admire the effort you've put into crafting each sentence. It's a true joy (and relief, really) to read a story in which the writer enjoys and reveres his craft, whether it be fanfiction or original.

I'd like to also say that I think you're doing splendidly when it comes to Draco's dialogue. He's only, what, 17 or 18 here? He has obviously changed and we're getting into his head, but you've shown that he's grown (perhaps) and changed as a person through his speech. Pre-war Draco had this...immaturity to his speech. And now, it's as if he's aged a thousand years. For me, Blaise still holds those traces of, well, what I like to call teenager talk. It's excellently crafted.

I do have to wonder about Astoria's father's reaction to her question. He did go off the rails quite a bit. I have a few ideas, but I don't want to spill yet because it's only chapter two and things are bound to get more complex, knowing you!

Oh, by the way, calling Voldemort a "raving madman off of his street corner" - literally had me in stitches. I know that's not what you were going for, but for someone to call Voldemort a raving madman? It's preposterous. Astoria's father is hiding something. Anyone with sense would never say that, not even Dumbledore (who, I think, knew Voldemort's heart-per se- and intentions better than anyone). It's the word choice - I took wayyy too many English courses where we analyzed such miniscule details. It's all in the details, though, isn't it?

I find your diction fascinating and compelling - so advanced, yet not overwhelming for the average reader.

Overall, Dan, I'm in awe. I must be barking mad not to have been here sooner. You're one of the best writers I've seen on this site. In all seriousness, you are. I love it. I can't wait to see what's in store - please do be patient as I work my slow way through? (Hope this made the tiniest bit of sense!)

Excellent!

Shelby

Author's Response: Hi, Shelby!

I'm glad you liked Draco's dream. I was going for a very dark, spartan feel, but I also wanted to be descriptive. It wasn't an easy combination and I was worried it was too hard to follow. Anyway, whew! As far as the idea goes, I was following on with the idea that Draco is still haunted by the things he saw and took part in during the war.

Draco would be around 18 at this point in the story. Like most of the Hogwarts students who survived the war, he had to grow up fast. The snotty, arrogant kid who used to torment the Trio is pretty much gone by this point, replaced by an adult who's vary cautious and deliberate and more than a little scarred by the experience. Zabini, on the other hand, was much less affected. You can see it in his reckless behavior.

Astoria's father is a pureblood from an old family, but the Greengrasses stayed out of the war. So he really doesn't understand how powerful and dangerous Voldemort was. In his mind, it was the support of wealthy, influential families like the Blacks and Malfoys that allowed Voldemort to rise to power, hence the raving madman comment.

I try really hard to keep the diction appropriate to each character, so I'm really pleased that you like it. It's tricky when you're combining relative children like Astoria with high-bred adults like her father.

Thank you for all of the compliments. I really appreciate it!


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Review #12, by MissesWeasley123 

29th September 2013:
Hi again! *waves*

Like, dude, seriously, the first section had me shaking. At first I was so confused, and then I was having a panic attack. I was literally saying, "Wait.. WHAT?! They can't be dead!" Your descriptions were so vivid. I think it hit me when you said, It was the Lovegood girl.

That and everything after, from the Weasleys to Seamus, and even Draco's own people was so chilling to read. There was a sick kind of thrill I felt, and everything was flawless.

I really liked reading more of Astoria in this. Her father seems loving, and I love the person he is. I always imagined him to be a Death Eater, but your way makes much more sense so I think I like that :) Astoria seems perfect for Draco.. I think so at least. She's sweet and lovable and just... ah ♥ I want to be her friend. Nuff said. But also.. Since she's so nice and Draco's a jerk I think some major feelsies is going to be coming up in the future chapters so I'll make note to bring kleenex next time.

Your descriptions for Blaise were so well done. I could see that he was a little wrong in the head, and was falling apart.

Again, I love this Post War scene you create - it truly is Post War. You really keep it close to canon and your attention to details blow me away.

I'm feeling sorry for Malfoy, I really am. I can't wait to see how you give depth to his character. You pull him off magnificently. Though he's broken and stuff, I can still sense the lingering Malfoy swagger in him. It's there, but only just.

A fabulous chapter! And now, onward!

Author's Response: Hello, again! And thanks for stopping back by!

Whew. I'm really glad that Draco's nightmare played well for you. Out of the entire chapter, that was the thing I was most worried about. I wanted to keep the descriptions very spartan and dark, but I was worried that nobody would be able to figure out what was happening.

Astoria's father loves her and Daphne a great deal, he sometimes just has very different ideas about what's best for her. He's very traditional in many ways, and he also feels a lot of resentment toward the Blacks, the Malfoys and the other old families who supported Voldemort during the war. In his mind, they tarnished what it means to be from an old, pureblood family out of simple greed and arrogance.

Zabini didn't live through the same things that Draco did, so he doesn't understand what the war was really all about. To him, it just seems like a big lost opportunity. I'm glad that his wrongheadedness came across clearly.

Draco and Astoria both have many trials to face, but there will be some happy moments along the way. I hope you won't need **too many** tissues. :)

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #13, by Sharvi 

11th August 2013:
Another great chapter! I can't wait to see if Draco actually goes back to Hogwarts and meets Astoria. Also, I really like the way you portrayed Astoria and her father's relationship! I've always imagined her to be closer to her father =)

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Yes, Draco goes back to Hogwarts, but he isn't really able to send time with Astoria there. Their first "alone time" is coming up in a few chapters. Astoria and her father are very close, although that bond will be tested before the story is over.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #14, by Pixileanin 

10th August 2013:
Hello there! I've finally gotten out of my head for a little while, so I decided to come play in your world for a bit.

My favorite part about this nightmare is how it completely matches in tone and intensity to the bar scene where Draco is getting sick. Everything is grossly tangible, horrifically vibrant. I'm afraid to ask what kind of movies you've been watching lately.

The way that his mother whispers his name was truly creepy. I wish I could bottle up that kind of creep. It would sell. And then she's right. There. The creep factor just got more intense. A really well-done nightmare.

I liked the relationship you have set up between Astoria and her father. It was fun to read about the little digs about her sister that they shared. And when she brings up Draco, the overprotective parent definitely appears.

"If he seems like he's changed, it just means that you haven't figured out what he wants from you."

Yes. Just like that. But I also think that his attitude towards the war is justified - from his slightly warped point of view, it completely makes sense. I bet there were a lot of pureblood families that got tarnished because of the war, whether they were involved or not. Attitudes and prejudices. They are so difficult to overcome.

Oh boy. I can already tell that a cup of tea will not mix well with Draco's old buddies from school. When Blaise showed up, I cringed in anticipation of badness. And of course you delivered. There was a lot of tension in that place, so much that I'm surprised Zambini didn't pick up on any of it... but wait, he was already drinking so I guess that a room full of people about to hex him to neverland wouldn't register. I loved the contrast that the scene provided between Draco, who desperately wanted to get out of there unscathed and without a scene, and the completely oblivious Blaise. I was half expecting Draco to punch the fool when they apparated away. It's a wonder that Draco managed to keep his cool at all. That must have been some strong tea.

I had horrible visions of Gamp and Zambini and the rest of them sitting around and thinking about all the "good things" that Draco Malfoy could teach them about being tough-as-nails bad guys so they could prove to the world that they deserved... I don't know... something. Deserved to take over the world, maybe? Ugh! They make me sick. At least Draco is making a very serious effort to stay out of trouble. You have just demonstrated how very difficult that is going to be for him. I don't see Draco thinking that he's going to be on the same side of anything with anyone for a long time coming.

And now I'm starting to feel just a wee bit sorry for the guy.

Author's Response: Hey, Pix! Thanks for stopping by!

I don't think there's ever a harder sentence to write in a story than the first sentence of chapter 2. Chapter 1 always seems easy because you're excited to get started and you're on fire and you pour everything into it and then... ugh. The nightmare was my answer to getting chapter 2 rolling, so I'm glad you liked it. I'm also glad you found it easy to visualize. I was torn between trying to make it vivid and trying to keep it spartan and dark.

Astoria's father is an interesting character. He doesn't understand all that much about what *really* happened during the war. When you hear about the complacent populace that allowed Voldemort and his followers to seize power, that's basically Horatio Greengrass. He wasn't especially threatened by Voldemort's rise, being the head of a wealthy, old pureblood family, but he didn't really see the necessity of it, either. In his mind, Voldemort was some crazy cult leader that the Blacks and Malfoys decided to turn into a puppet king. And while the Greengrasses weren't ruined by the war like many of the old families who openly supported Voldemort, they were certainly harmed by the aftermath, both financially and in terms of the loss of prestige that all purebloods suffered. Net-net, it was a bad deal for him.

Zabini is sort of living in his own little world, as are all of Draco's other former housemates. The combination of his mother's money and his substance abuse problem make him more or less oblivious to the fundamental ways that the world has changed since the war. Draco probably should have punched him, but one of the things Draco was trying to prove to himself was that he could control his temper.

Draco's former "friends" are definitely plotting something. How serious that something is will become more clear as the story progresses. Suffice it to say that it will cause Draco a lot of problems before the story is over.

I'm never quite sure how to react when people feel sorry for Draco. This mess is mostly of his own making, after all. But he is putting in an effort to change, so I suppose that's worth something.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #15, by Debra20 

28th July 2013:
I am absolutely speechless. I don't know where to begin to fully express how much this story has drawn me in, this early on. Everything from the idea, to it's execution, character portrayal, description, scene visuals and the overall handling of the plot you're laying ahead is masterfully done. I know this might seem like an over praise, but I have done my share of book reading, and your style is amazing, rich, so visual! It would be ashamed not to pursue a side career in writing. Have you ever thought about it?

Anyway! Going back to the story, this chapter is exactly what I imagined it to be after our first peek into what had become Draco's life. I am especially happy about how you're handling Draco's path of recovery. He is still weakened by his desire to immerse himself in a state of forgetfulness that alcohol brings, thus he feels the temptation creep on him again. However, he resists. Even if I sense that at some point there will be a relapse (or not?), the scene when he steels against his unconscious desire gives me hope that he will eventually overcome his addiction. Which makes me oddly happy. You'd think I'd be more happy to see Draco in such a pathetic state, but I'm not. I think he deserves another chance at a normal life, a family and a place in the wizarding world without anyone shooting him glares, muttering insults behind his back. It will be difficult of course, but totally worth it!

I am also very happy to see we're going to see Astoria's perspective! That could offer great inside into what kind of person she is, and I think we've started this chapter. Having a sweet, kind girl besides Draco is an image I can picture very easily. In fact, I think only a girl like Astoria could manage to steer him in the right direction. He desperately needs someone to believe in him, that he's more than who his father is and more than what his family's done, and Astoria is that person. I think her father will be one of their most difficult obstacles to overcome. He seems really set on hating Draco, and to a certain degree I can understand why. The legacy the Malfoy's left to Draco isn't one that he can be particularly proud, but Horatio is also very hasty to judge Draco just because he is part of the Malfoy family. I always try not to judge people by groups, rather by individuals. Otherwise, you can make big mistakes.

I am really, really looking forward to the next chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Wow. I'm not altogether sure how to respond to your first comment. I did have a lot of time to think about Draco and Astoria before writing this, between Conspiracy of Blood and Marked. I guess it paid off. I really, really appreciate the compliments!

Draco has started the long road to recovery, but as you correctly guessed, there will be bumps along the way. I didn't really think it through to the point of affixing a label to Draco's condition before I started writing, but as I've gone on I've decided that Draco is suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress. He has most of the textbook symptoms: flashbacks, substance abuse problems, difficulty controlling his anger, depression and feelings of hopelessness and disaffection. Astoria finally offers him something that seems worth pulling himself out of his downward spiral. His path ahead will certainly be difficult, but we already know from canon that he makes it.

Ah, Astoria. I love her as a character, but I still have a bad feeling that she comes off a little Mary Sue-ish in these early chapters. Her father has definitely made his mind up where the Malfoys in general are concerned. It's actually understandable, from his point of view. He wasn't ever part of Voldemort's inner circle, so he has no idea how powerful and dangerous the Dark Lord really was. In Horatio's mind, Voldemort was more or less a crazy cult leader who would have remained on the margins of society if the Blacks and Malfoys hadn't elevated him with their money and influence. It's a naive viewpoint, but one that he comes by honestly. He just might learn a few things in this story, as well.

Ah, so glad that you're enjoying the story! It started out as a challenge entry and has sort of become a labor of love to finish it. Thanks for your lovely, supportive reviews!


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Review #16, by Wasim 

23rd July 2013:
Terrific .. I just hope we'll see a little Harry,Ron and Hermoine too .. Who else sees Laura Marano as Astoria .. Ain't she perfect ?

Author's Response: Hi!

I haven't really gotten around to thinking about casting. Somebody would have to want to make a movie first. ;)

You'll see a little bit of the other canon characters, but this is Draco and Astoria's story. I try to keep the focus mostly on the two of them.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #17, by ChaosWednesday 

14th July 2013:
Review Tag!

Well, needless to say, I loved the dream sequence in the beginning. My favourite paragraph was probably the one that ends with "Their fanatical devotion to the Dark Lord had bought them nothing in the end, just a few extra steps on the straight and narrow path toward death." First, I thoroughly enjoyed the way you went through the effort of giving each character their own morbid death expression ;) Also, it just made sense that the death of his own kind - the idealistic, power-crazed teenagers - would strike a most painful chord by Malfoy and I found that the build-up to that moment (and then the parents) was very strong.

I also enjoyed Astoria's father! I liked how practical and political he was about the entire thing, acting almost as if the country hadn't been ravaged by civil war just a year earlier but had instead just seen some unfavourable election results. It made sense and I could really imagine his working class, simple-life type of appearance.

The conversation between Draco and Blaise was a good way to introduce the after-effects of losing a war that these people gave up so much for - some can move on, while others can never admit that all they did was for nothing. Well, and alcohol plus joblessness (and never finished education) surely doesn't help become more politically or socially reflective either :P
Additionally, that scene was useful for establishng Draco as the smooth anti-hero type that is so popular nowdays, which is good! After all, he must have learned some moves while working for the Dark Lord, even if he didn't get to show off any in the books.

And now to Astoria...So she is in her sixth year now, huh? You really had me thinking she was fourteen - maximum. Well, I get it that you are going for the innocence saves the brooding hero type of story but, well, here's me hoping that I've judged too soon and that you will give her more qualities than being innocent and liking Malfoy. I've noticed that even wonderful writiers seem to forget how to write female characters sometimes, it's quite odd :P I'll be checking back on this one though, cheers!

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I'm glad you liked the dream sequence. I've never felt quite sure that it came out right. Trying to balance the dark, spartan feeling of a nightmare with the need to paint a vivid picture was tricky. Poor Draco has all of his worst fears from the war laid bare. By the end, he was well aware that only Voldemort was meant to survive.

Horatio Greengrass is a rather practical fellow, although he comes from privilege and has a lot of the same prejudices as the other purebloods. He just didn't see any point in fighting a costly, destructive war over them when, as a practical matter, the purebloods already controlled magical society.

Draco did learn a thing or two from his aunt and the other Death Eaters. He probably wouldn't have survived if he hadn't.

Astoria definitely has more going on that just innocence and being rather smitten with Draco. That said, she also has quite a bit of growing up to do.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #18, by Courtney Dark 

4th July 2013:
This was an awesome second chapter!

I knew almost immediately that the bit at the start was a dream, but that didn't make it any less haunting. I think it's your imagery, especially, that puts a shiver up my spine - the way you described each person gave me the creeps. This bit: 'Draco remembered her imperturbable calm as she faced the harsh treatment meted out in the cellar of the manor. The terror etched in her unseeing eyes chilled him to the bone' I found especially creepy, because I could just imagine Luna, with her distance, far-away eyes. I am extremely envious of your writing right now!

Ooh, we got to see some of Astoria's point of view! I liked it, and I liked the way you wrote her relationship with her father. He seems a strange character - definitely very anti-Death Eater but also a pure blood at heart, too. So far Astoria seems like a very kind, caring persona and I am looking forward to learning more about different aspects of her personality, and what it is that draws she and Draco even further together.

I can see now how hard it is going to be for Draco to redeem himself, when people everywhere still despise his name and what he was. And Zabini was definitely not helping matters! I personally think Draco needs to get himself some better friends.

Moving on to the next chapter and definitely adding this to my favourites!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Hi!

So the dream sequence came to be because second chapters are so hard to write! Nothing ever feels right when you start a second chapter, and Draco's nightmare allowed me to "ease into" his conversation with his mother in a way that just sounded more natural to me. I actually agree that Luna was the most unsettling part. Anything that can actually get to her has to be bad.

I'm glad you like Astoria's PoV, because I alternate between her and Draco in this story. Mr. Greengrass was a tricky character to figure out. He is a pureblood and he's proud of it. He has a lot of the prejudices. But he's also very pragmatic. He doesn't see why the Death Eaters had to take things so far when -- as a practical matter -- wealthy, old pureblood families were *already* at the top of the social ladder. He writes it off to arrogance; families like the Blacks and Malfoys wanting to make a show of just how rich and powerful they were. In his mind, Voldemort was pretty much just a crazy street preacher that the Blacks and Malfoys decided to turn into a "puppet king" so that they could run the world. He was never part of Voldemort's circle of influence, so he has no idea how wrong he really is.

Zabini gives you an idea of just how deluded Draco's former housemates are at this point. And as you meet more of them, it gets worse. Draco does need better friends, but first he'll need to find somebody who's willing to associate with him.

Thanks so much for another awesome review!


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Review #19, by Dark Whisper 

14th April 2013:
CambAngst,

Wow, the "grotesque chandelier?" Incredibly dark and terrifying... and quite worrisome.

I liked the fatherly advice, but "that boy is a Black and a Malfoy..." bit... Ouch. The truth hurts. But she saw something that has her thinking otherwise... smart girl. :)

And this whole conversation with Blaise... I love the threat, which quite honestly establishes a hierarchy between them (or at least reiterates and seals what was already there while still in school).

He is honest with Blaise about his abilities, which I find interesting. And it must be difficult and a bit sad to realize that his roommate and Slytherin brother for so long will not be with him on this change of his.

You've set up a very intriguing potential for conflict and I must say that it is really, really good.

And also, he is amazingly cunning and smart with this entire scene at the restaurant... what he says, what he does, and how he does it is truly spot on his character. I loved his patience until the precise moment.

And I must say that I love your details, like the coin rolling to a stop. You're a master.

Excellent chapter,
Dark Whisper

Author's Response: Hello, again!

So I had this really clear image in my head of what the hanging bodies looked like when I was writing this and I'm never completely sure of whether that came across clearly. I didn't want to go overboard with the detail because this is meant to be a nightmare, so I think it should have a very spartan feel to it. Anyway, I'm glad that you thought the imagery was good.

Mr. Greengrass is not going to easily forgive or forget the consequences of the two wars, and he blames both of them on the old Death Eater families that supported Voldemort. He's a bit naive about it, really. He wasn't one of the Dark Lord's followers, so he doesn't realize how powerful Voldemort truly was. He thinks that without support from wealthy families like the Blacks and Malfoys, Voldemort never would have amounted to anything.

Draco definitely has no problems putting Zabini in his place. Since Voldemort was so obsessed with status and pecking order among the Death Eaters, I imagine that Draco learned to function in a dog pack. But he's also become a realist. He knows that Zabini and the others are going to wind up in Azkaban if they don't change, but there also isn't much he can do about it. He's chosen his path and they've chosen theirs.

When I read, I always find that small details go a long way toward selling a story. They add gravity and realism, I think. Thanks for noticing!

I am really, really glad that you found this story and that you seem to like it. I appreciate the feedback!


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Review #20, by Flavia 

11th April 2013:
Oh wow. The beginning of this chapter was just incredible. Like terrorising and haunting and just amazing. It gave such a brilliant insight into the fear that Draco is experiencing and shows just how much the war and his interactions with Voldemort are ingrained into Draco's psyche.

The scene in the café was a really good way of showing the struggle that Draco is feeling about his decision to change. It isn't like he decided to be a better person and then 'bam' he's changed. It makes it so much more realistic that he's still struggling to keep away from alcohol. Even his actions towards Blaise and the other people in the café show that he is not this perfect person, there is so much pride and rage and darkness inside of him. I think that aspect of his characterisation is spot on - I cannot stand this attitude that some people take that Draco was this innocent victim who is so inherently good inside. He's still an arrogant, prejudiced bully who was horrible to a lot of people in his life because he had the power to. He does want to change but there's still that tension between the sense of entitlement he's always had and what he thinks might be a better choice.

I love that you have some people on the 'good' side who are still pretty aggressive and violent. With Harry, we saw someone who had such a good moral centre, who didn't believe in killing or hitting someone when their back was turned. I suppose with Dumbledore as a mentor he developed a real maturity about that. But the reality is that not everyone is like that. The oppressed can be as vicious and the oppressors if they are given enough power, these sort of things are rarely black and white and it shows such a sophisticated understanding of the world that you've shown these shades of grey in the survivors of the war.

I find Astoria's father to be a fascinating character! The fact that he thinks his prejudice is alright as long as he isn't trying to take over the world is brilliant. He's so quick to blame others for his own misfortune, he doesn't see his drop in status as something that is justified or a reason to open his mind and look at things differently; he sees it as a crime that has been committed against him by the death eaters - he believes he is the victim in all this when it's attitudes like his that caused the problems in the first place! I love the irony of him carrying on about how arrogant the Malfoy's are when he is his own brand of arrogance!

Again, the writing was beautiful, I couldn't spot any mistakes and I was captured by every word. Can't wait to read the next chapter :)

Author's Response: Whew! I'm really glad that you liked the nightmare scene at the beginning. I'm always worried about how that's going to come off. I had this really clear vision in my head of how it all looked, and I feel like it didn't come off quite right. At any rate, I'm glad it worked for you.

Draco is struggling a lot at this point. He's a recovering alcoholic, but all of his old "friends" still drink a lot. He's also struggling quite a bit with his own values. It isn't that he doesn't still think that his blood status and family history make him superior to others; he definitely does. But he knows that he's going to have to tone it down enormously if he's ever going to be accepted back into "polite" society. Zabini doesn't realize any of this. He's still living in his own world of post-war disaffection and rampant alcohol abuse.

The wizards inside the cafe aren't inherently bad people. But like most witches and wizards they suffered from the harsh conditions imposed by Voldemort's Death Eaters during the war. They probably lost people that they knew, either because they were muggle-born or just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So Zabini's diatribe sets them off.

You're absolutely right about Astoria's father. He's no saint. There really are no saints in this story. He's prejudiced and more than a little bit arrogant. He's also very naive about Voldemort. He truly believes that Voldemort was some sort of mentally unbalanced charismatic who never would have risen to power without the support of wealthy, old families like the Blacks and Malfoys. Obviously, that isn't true, but Mr. Greengrass doesn't know how powerful Voldemort truly was. So he assumes that the Blacks and Malfoys were playing kingmaker.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for the awesome review!


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Review #21, by LilyEPotter 

9th April 2013:
Wow. Great chapter. It's amazing that Blaise could be so oblivious to the mood of others around him, especially so soon after the war.

Author's Response: Hi. I'm really glad that you liked it. You'll see more of Zabini before the story is over. He really is quite oblivious. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #22, by Arithmancy_Wiz 

27th February 2013:
I'm back for another dose of Draco!

Wow, what an opening. I really like that you didn't hold back on the gorier details. I'm not one for a lot of blood just for shock value, but it's appropriate here, in proportion to the horror the Death Eaters and Voldemort inflicted. It also makes for some great insight into Draco's current state of mind. He's being tortured himself, only obviously in a somewhat less literal way. I couldn't help but wonder if the vivid nightmares aren't also a symptom of withdrawal, both physically from not ingesting the alcohol and mentally, his sobriety clearing his mind enough to dredge up the things he'd been repressing.

I can't really quote most of my favorite lines from this section for obvious reasons, but I will say I loved the line, "Somebody had finished the work his mad aunt had begun." I actually found this one even more disturbing than the descriptive phrases. I don't know why, but it just lept of the page.

The only part I was a little unsure on was what the mood was supposed to be here. It's a dream, so realism isn't exactly a concern, but sometimes it felt like the wording and the intensity of Draco's feelings didn't totally match up. Like his "overwhelming dread" addressed in the same sentence as the "plush carpet." Or a sudden "dampness" on his check causing him to pause (as opposed to stopping short or halting or even jumping or recoiling). The writing was lovely but, at times, I thought it undercut the wonderful tension a bit.

I loved the contrast you created by putting the two parent/child scenes back to back. Draco and Astoria are still young enough to be reliant on their parents, even as they are working to come into their own as adults. And in their own way, each parent is just trying to do what is best for their child. It was just a nice literary touch having them one after the other with the gender rolls reversed.

Your Zabini is fantastic! Well, no, he's kind of terrible, but your writing of him is wonderful. His voice when he speaks is very distinct from the other characters, and IMHO, reads the most naturally. You're really hitting a perfect note with him.

I spotted a couple of small typos:

--Whether it was in real or in a nightmare, he could not recall, but something terrible waited in the distance. (was in real life...or maybe just...was real...?)

--He turned his back on Draco and took a could of steps, but then stopped. (couple)

--The tattered remains of a hand-knitted jumper clung loosely to his body... (This isn't really a typo but "clung loosely" is a bit of an oxymoron :D)

Well, I'm definitely getting hooked. I'm excited to see where this story is headed next...

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I'm glad you like my second little Draco project. I don't know when I started to enjoy writing him so much. The funny thing is that I don't usually enjoy reading Draco stories at all, even when they're done well.

In my mind, his nightmares are driven by all of the terrible things he witnesses during the war that he hasn't even begun to come to terms with. During the months after the war, alcohol helped to keep them at bay, so I suppose that one effect of withdrawal could be that they're getting worse. At any rate, I had this very stark vision in my mind of a sort of "chandelier" of victims in a long, dark hallway. The carpet was meant, I think, to be a sort of contrast to the horrors he sees hanging above. I remember thinking at some point during Deathly Hallows what cold comfort the Malfoys' luxurious home must have been when they had to share it with Voldemort and the rest of his insane followers. And the fact that he never stops walking down the hall is just one of those things that seems to happen in nightmares, kind of like how you never think to just turn around, go home and put on pants. ;)

Horatio and Narcissa do contrast pretty nicely, don't they. He's more openly affectionate toward Astoria than Narcissa ever was with Draco, but I don't think that's any reason to assume that she loves her son any less. They're also both very concerned with family and with their children's place in society, although Narcissa was probably far more concerned before the war and far less concerned after.

I think of Zabini as a bored, somewhat disenchanted rich kid for whom the early stages of alcoholism are beginning to take their toll. Unlike Draco, the war was never a matter of survival for him. Being something of an outsider looking in, I'd say he viewed it as a missed opportunity for social advancement. And he certainly still wears the arrogance and prejudices of a pureblood scion.

Thanks for the typos and the other suggestion. I will see to them straight away!

I'm so happy that you're enjoying this! It's been a struggle, to be honest, because I'm having a hard time deciding how long I really want it to be, which in turn gives me fits with plot outlines. But that's my row to hoe. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #23, by patronus_charm 

22nd February 2013:
Hi again! This story seemed to be pulling me back to read it, and it really caught my attention, so I knew I had to finish reading this :D

Wow what a dramatic start to the chapter! You created such a vivid picture, that all I could picture in my head was bodies, and it was starting to scare me. I really liked that you showed that Draco was still being affected by the war, as some people tend to think that everything is perfectly fine after the war, and everyone recovers immediately, but of course that would never happen! It was interesting that he pictured ‘the good people’, before thinking of the people on the side he was on. Perhaps this is showing some levels of remorse towards the people he fought against?

I really liked how you showed that Narcissa had some parental concern over Draco’s nightmares. People often make her out to be some cold dragon, but I don’t think that’s accurate, so I like what you’ve done with her. It was also nice to see that Lucius was being shown in a positive light for once, as again there’s a tendency to make him out to be evil.

I really loved that scene with Astoria and her father. She sort of reminded me of Hermione, with her keenness to get ahead of everyone by reading her Charms book. It was nice again to see that there is a nice bond between the parent and child, as I almost imagine that as they’re purebloods, they could be a bit heartless towards the children, but it was nice to see that wasn’t the case.

I would have thought that the Greengrasses would have supported the Malfoys and their cause, but again that was a great twist to find that wasn’t the case. It also showed you, that you may think that all the non-blood traitor purebloods would support their cause, it may not be the case for all of them. Astoria’s father did seem to show a lot of anger towards them, and that juxtaposed with Astoria helping Draco.

It was nice to that positive change in Draco’s life. I thought it was really sweet that he wanted to go back and finish his newts, even though the entire school would most likely hate him, due to his parents, and what he did in the war. You can see that he’s really determined to ‘detox’ his life.

I thought this was a great chapter, and you can expect to see me back soon!

-Kiana :D

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I'm glad the dream scene turned out well for you. I'm still not 100% happy with it, but I stared at it until my eyes hurt and I can't think of any other way to improve it. I had such a vivid picture in my head, but I also wanted the scene to be really dark and spartan. Not an easy combination.

I think Narcissa is a very good mother. I never would have thought that until HBP and DH, but those two books totally redeemed her in my eyes. I hope I didn't make Lucius sound *too* positive. He might be back to cause some problems for Draco later in the story...

More than anything, I wanted the Greengrasses to come across as a *relatively* normal, well-adjusted family. Granted, you can only be so normal when you're an old, wealthy family of wizards and witches, but the key takeaway here is that Horatio loves his daughters very much and he disapproves of the way the Blacks and Malfoys conducted themselves during the war if not necessarily the underlying philosophy of the Death Eaters. He believes in the merits of tradition and blood purity, he just thinks that those ideals were twisted to serve the ambitions of a murderous madman. And he's essentially correct. What he doesn't appreciate is that the Blacks, Malfoys and other Death Eater families didn't create Lord Voldemort. Voldemort would have been incredibly dangerous with or without their support.

Draco does want to make positive changes, he's just just not sure how to go about it and he doesn't yet realize how difficult it's going to be. But he'll know very soon...

Thanks so much for coming back to this! I really appreciate your thoughts and reactions.


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Review #24, by CloakAuror9 

24th January 2013:
Hello! (:

It's been ages since I last read this story. Oh my gosh. I ended up having to re-read the first chapter because I had forgotten what happened then. Ugh. My memory and I. -.-

Anyway, Draco's nightmare is absolutely something that I do not wish to experience ever in my life. I was shaking a bit while I was reading it, so imagine me having that dream. I'd probably never wake up. Putting my fears aside, I thought you did an amazing job describing that scene. To me, it felt like that scene also showed Draco's true emotions.

Princess. Oh my gosh. I know Astoria's dad only said that four times (yes, I counted) but it felt like he said it more than that. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I dislike him or anything, but I just couldn't stand people who call their daughters/girlfriends princess. It just annoys me. His opinion on Purebloods and respect is very true, but I don't agree when he says that Voldemort would've never gained followers if it weren't for the Malfoys and Blacks. Ugh. He just doesn't get it, does he? Voldemort didn't need the Blacks and Malfoys (that much) to become the infamous, powerful and evil being he is. He's just jealous of Lucius and Draco, but if only he knew how bad the Malfoys suffered in the hands of Voldemort, he wouldn't be jealous at all. (End ramble.)

Astoria seems like she has a very strong bond with her father with that 'princess' nickname and all. I wonder how she'll react to meeting Draco because of all this nasty (is that the word I'm looking fir?) things her father has said about him.

And then there's Blaise Zabini. The tension between Draco and him while they were in the restaurant was intense. I don't even know if they are friends or foes, at the moment. I've always thought that he just follows Draco around, you know. Like what Draco does, he does, so I'm a bit surprised that he doesn't want to continue his education.

Speaking of education, I wonder how Hogwarts will react to Draco coming back -if he gets accepted, of course. I can imagine him having a hard time with the rest of the Slytherins. Mhm.

Okay. This was longer than expected, but I just wanted to say too many things. You're a fantastic writer, Dan. You seriously are. One of the best around HPFF. ♥ Now, just write a fluffy one-shot and you'll be even more perfect. ;)

~Izzy

33rd review out of 100
(I'm getting there, I think...)

Author's Response: Alright, then! (rubs hands together) Sorry it's taken me ages to respond to this. Without further adieu...

I'm glad that Draco's nightmare seemed real to you. It was one of those things where I had a really clear image in my head and I was worried that it wasn't translating into words very well. Draco does give away a bit with the anxieties that surface in his dreams. At some level, he does realize that things would have been terrible if Voldemort had prevailed. And he has no idea what he'd do without his mother.

Ha! I may have to have Mr. Greengrass use that a lot more. ;) Astoria is his little girl, and she's also the "good child", as opposed to Daphne, who's not very focused and doesn't really have it all together. He's definitely naive where Voldemort is concerned. Since he wasn't a supporter, he really has no first-hand insight on just how powerful and terrifying the Dark Lord was. So he doesn't realize the truth: that Lucius Malfoy didn't make Voldemort powerful, Voldemort was already powerful before he recruited and eventually more or less enslaved Lucius Malfoy.

Astoria does have very strong ties to her parents, but she's also strong-willed and independent-minded. She's determined to figure things out for herself. She's not your usual pure blood princess.

I think Draco chose to get together with Zabini because he's relatively benign, at least compared to Gamp, Flint, Nott and the others. He cares more about his reputation, even if he does still believe in all of their pure blood supremacist rubbish. So Draco figures that he's a safe choice to sort of "test himself". That idea nearly gets both of them killed.

You'll find out very soon how things go when Draco tries to finish his education. It won't exactly play like a "stay in school" public service announcement. ;)

Aww, you're always so nice to me! I really appreciate all your thoughts, observations and reactions!


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Review #25, by Remus 

23rd January 2013:
:D

Hola!

About time I made my way over here! :D I've decided to review-bomb you! :D Mwahahaha!!!

I absolutely loved and shuddered at the nightmare. Just the imagery and setting alone was creepy but when you added the upside down bodies...that was chilling. When you showed Harry hanging there dead Draco's own despair over Harry's death, it made me wonder if he, in the books, ever wished for Harry to win over Voldemort.

I like how you're making Draco change slowly instead of a night to morning transformation that I often see in fics. Even the nightmares seems logical. Some that write Post-War fics tend to ignore the trauma that those that fought went through. But for you to add trauma and nightmares to those that fought alongside Voldemort felt very realistic to me, specially when Draco was forced. I mean...it was Dumbledore's life or his.

The change will happen slowly, I'm sure and that's what I like about this fic. Even his acceptance in the wizarding community will come in with baby steps.

Wow, it has been ages since I've heard of the term "hasn't grassed me up." Haha, I remembered an old friend from Liverpool explaining me that one.

So Astoria's father...He doesn't like the Malfoys and he didn't fight in the war. Yet he doesn't seem to like muggle borns, right?

Ugh! I just want Draco to stop having bad friends! Seriously!! Zabini is irritating me, haha. I like how Draco is trying to get back to Hogwarts. The thought never would've occurred to me but it makes perfect sense. He does come from a higher 'pedigree' so finishing his education seems logical. Wow, can't imagine what Minerva's first thoughts would've been when she got Draco's petition.

The last bit in the restaurant was fantastic. Zabini's got a knack at annoying me, that's for sure. Haha! I don't know if I've already ask you this before but is this story go a bit along CoB? Not saying like a prequel but just a side story that falls under the same universe you created with CoB.

Anyway! I really enjoyed reading this chapter. Astoria made a small appearance but I think things are going to not go so well with her father when she and Draco start dating. I wonder, however, if you're going to bring any info as to what the Golden Trio are doing right now...aside from Hermione being at Hogwarts. But I still have a few chapters to go so we'll see!

On with chapter 3!

--Rosie

Author's Response: Take cover! It's a review bombing!

What an awesome surprise! Absolutely made my day!

I'm relieved that Draco's nightmare seemed to work for readers. I had this really vivid image in my head and I felt like I was struggling to translate it into words. I'm not sure when Draco crossed the line in his own mind, but definitely by the time he lied to Bellatrix about knowing who Harry was, he had come to the realization that if Voldemort killed Harry it wasn't a good thing for him.

Draco is very gradually coming around. I agree with you. If it happens too fast, it doesn't seem very real.

I think Astoria's father is well-intentioned but somewhat naive about the truth of Voldemort's rise to power. The truth is that Voldemort didn't become powerful because of the Blacks or Malfoys, he recruited the Blacks and Malfoys because he was already powerful and he knew that having them on his side would increase that power. But make no mistake, he would have caused a war with or without their support. And Horatio Greengrass also harbors some of the same prejudices as other heads of old, pure blood houses. He just isn't militant about them.

You know, I really didn't think about whether Zabini's story is going to line up with the way he's explained in CoB, but I suppose I haven't directly contradicted myself yet. As Draco's erstwhile Slytherin friends go, Zabini is somewhere in between. He isn't as much of a dead-ender as Flint, Gamp, Goyle and the others, which is why Draco experimentally reaches out to him.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. Astoria will feature more and more prominently in the chapters to come. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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