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14 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

10th June 2015:
Then Jasper and Sophia found him in his bed at home, naked and... defiling himself.

Oh Dan, really? Uh. It was enough to assume in the last chapter but to hear her motherÖack. Wrong on so many levels.

Interesting. I just finished the conversation between her parents. I have to say I understand Horatioís side of the story. I have to keep putting myself in his time and then Astoriaís actual time period. I think for one itís hard (clearly) for him to change his viewpoints. He brought up a certain way but from the way his wife spoke to him I think he changed. He could have just pushed any guy towards Astoria, made her never want to focus on school or learning. Obviously in his time it would have been more important for the man to have an education, not the woman but he has to value her education somewhat if heís allowed her go to Hogwarts this long.

Heís worried that sheís going to end up alone. Understandable but I think he underestimates his daughter. Having his wife stand up to him and fight for her side was great. We didnít hear too much about her mother in the story. I think my main focus has been Horatio because it seems like heís the more important figure in Astoriaís life. His words and his thoughts impacted her more.

Madam Blishwich and shared a quick glance with Penhallow and then her voice took on a coddling, almost patronizing tone

Youíre missing a word here.

He was furious, but the anger was blunted by a horrible sense of disappointment and regret.

Wow. I saw it coming as their conversation progessed but it felt like an explosion in my head. I could hear him yell the curse. Itís unsettling. He can relapse at any moment especially given the state he is in.

I know that things havenít been exactly cordial between the two of us recently and I know that.

How much of that was rehearsed? I mean COME ON! You know Narcissa had to drill some of that into her husband.

the possibility that old Lucius might actually die had never really crossed his mind. Now it filled him with a cold sense of dread unlike anything heíd ever felt.

I cried a little when Draco and Lucius were finally speaking candidly. The old man is just gone. Itís unfortunate because I think he could have changed. It would have been uncomfortable and hard for him but I think he would have at least mended his relationship with Draco and I donít think he would have backed any idea of another war. Come on, the Malfoy family backed out of two essentially. He pretended he was under a curse after Voldemort was first defeated and then supported Narcissa who said Harry was dead.

You also donít ever realize how important a character Narcissa is. In reality she is the head of the family. She is the one that has the most to lose because even though Iím sure her husband loves her and needs her and he loves his son, she is the one that would do anything for the both of them.

Draco finally opening up to her seemed completely realistic. He did open up to her once before in the beginning of the story but to see him completely just let loose and tell her everything. That really shows the bond they share and the respect he has for her.

I have an eerie feeling about whatís going to happen next. I know Draco will be okay, but there could be some casualties.

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds!

Ha! Well, all if can say for myself is that I felt like I needed a little something light-hearted to break up the heavy ending of the last chapter and the heavy start to this one. And Emery is such a fun punching bag. It's hard to resist.

Astoria's father comes from a certain upbringing that's shaped his thoughts on proper behavior and relationships. I do think he wanted Astoria (and Daphne, for that matter) to do well in school and think for themselves. He just believes that there's a "right" way for young ladies to do things and he's struggling to see things from Astoria's point of view. You're right, he underestimates Astoria a great deal. To him, she's still his little girl. He can't quite see the capable -- if somewhat immature -- young woman she's grown into. His wife does help out somewhat. I think of her as one of these aristocratic ladies who's a good deal better at "managing" her husband than he realizes.

It never fails to amaze me how many times people (myself included) can read the same chapter and there are still typos to find. Thanks!

An addict never stops being an addict, whether you're talking about alcohol or uncontrolled anger. Draco will struggle with these things for the rest of his life.

I think that *most* of what Lucius says was rehearsed, even if he only rehearsed it in his own mind.

I think you're right. I think Lucius had changed -- or at least developed a new sense of what was most important in life -- by the end of the war. His mental problems are interfering with that change, but the sane part of Lucius still wants to have a relationship with his son. Family is everything to him, even if he has an odd way of "looking out" for the family.

Narcissa is a pivotal character in the last two books. Think of everything she did, either on purpose or by accident. She came to Snape seeking his help, which helped Snape in his mission to obtain the Dark Lord's confidence. She supported Draco, even when he lied to Bellatrix about recognizing Harry at Malfoy Manor. She lied to Voldemort's face about Harry being dead. Her character is one of my favorite things JKR did in the series. She took this disposable, absurd pureblood trophy wife and crafted her into an alternate vision of a strong female character who embodies the ideal of maternal love. You'll never mistake her for Lily Potter or Molly Weasley, but the principle is the same.

Well, let's move along and see whether your eerie feeling is right. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #2, by Pixileanin 

13th December 2014:
It should probably go without saying that the life of a traditional high society pureblood woman does not appeal to me. Regardless, I am unfathomably happy that not only has Astoria's mother defended her in some way, but that the girl had the opportunity to overhear her do so. I think that made the scene all the more powerful, that, in the middle of her wallowing and misery, we got to hear the conversation between her parents and the effect it had on Astoria. Light. Tunnel. Hopefully not another train.

One of the things I admire about your storytelling is that you tend to follow up and show us the direct, and sometimes indirect consequences of the characters' actions. You've shown us Mr. Greengrass' attitude towards Draco's family. You've given us a clear picture of how even McGonagall had to struggle with her personal opinions of him when he returned to school. And now, because of his unforunate, yet unique and valuable experiences with the inner circle of the Dark Lord, the persistent, academic in Blishwick just pushes him farther than he's prepared to go. She even goes so far as to guilt him into proceeding with the experiment. Draco is trying so hard to put everything from the war behind him, and here, this woman, who probably thinks she's doing the world a great favor, is forcing him to relive his experience so that she can... disect an abused doxy? Wow. It's a good thing Draco has such excellent wand control, or he might have cursed the wrong target in the room. I was terrified that he might actually do it, too.

Ahh, he can't even escape his own family either. Such timing for a talk with his estranged father. They don't seem to want to do it, except that Narcissa wants them to, which in this case, clears up a whole lot for Draco, again, unpleasantly. Lucius' degrading state definitely takes him out of the running for the man responsible for the new uprising. But if not him, then who?? I love how this revelation puts Draco's mind spinning, not just about what his friends have been up to, but also his personal plans for his future. Making him realize that his father, as much as he thought he despised him, might not be around for much longer, and also that Draco would miss the old coot, really puts a heartening twist on his character. He doesn't want to, but he cares. That makes me want to care about what happens to him too. So humanizing, that moment.

I think Narcissa talks more sense than any of Draco's other contemporaries, even if they're all put in a room together to sort it out... which seems like another Bad Idea... but perhaps an entertaining one.

Except that they show up in the wrong house, and Nott has the audacity to bleed all over everything. Oh, Dan! Think of the stains! Actually, it's great timing for the story. Excellently placed cliffhanger to pull us into the next chapter, and it complicates the neat little solution that Narcissa and Draco just planned out.

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

Astoria's mother was a fun character to try to figure out when I was writing this chapter. I didn't want to change what she is -- a very proper pureblood lady with a romantic streak -- so I had to be very careful. She would never overtly tell her husband that he's wrong, instead she finds very subtle, cunning ways to make him rethink his opinions. Don't fear the light. In my stories, the train always sneaks up behind you. ;)

You didn't think Madam Blishwick was going quietly onto the dust heap of single-purpose characters, did you? Oh, no, she's much more useful. She's one more reminder that even people with the best of intentions -- in her own, bizarre way, her intentions are for the greater good -- are unable to let Draco move on. I think the target that Draco winds up cursing had as much to do with luck as it did with his wand control. That could have ended very badly.

In general, people always want to have Very Important Talks at the worst possible time. The Malfoys are no exception. Narcissa is the one who forces the issue; Lucius and Draco could have gone on for quite a while without speaking to one another. Poor old Lucius isn't faring well. So you're right, he's not the one who's been conspiring with Gamp, Flint and the others. Who? Well, you'll find out very soon. ;) When Draco realizes that his father's days could be numbered, it does force him to take a sobering look at his own situation. You're right: no matter now much he wants to not care, he does.

I believe that house elves have many secret tips for removing blood stains from marble. I hope they do, anyway. Otherwise, somebody will be ironing his hands later.

I was excited to see what you thought of the next chapter, and then you went and reviewed it right away! Awesome. Thanks so much!


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Review #3, by Roisin 

28th July 2014:
Such a twisty story!

It's really interesting that Draco just kind of assumes he has loyalties, because he's so used to having them. In reality, outside of Astoria, they shift and turn. The Malfoys have always been primarily after their own interests. In that light, Draco's path to goodness is simple: all he needs is purity of intention.

I'm really glad for something you did here, namely, it isn't just a big JUST TALK ABOUT IT AND TELL THE OTHER HOW YOU FEEL--PROBLEM SOLVED thing. Both characters decided to do right by the other, but then some plot outside of their control stumbles into Draco's foyer. It let the conflict simmer for just long enough, but ultimately took the issue out of "easily remedied" waters.

Also, I hate Madame Blishwick. So. SO much. I am know officially theorizing that she's the big bad, hurrumph.

It's realistic, too, even if she doesn't turn out to be evil. I studied the science in college, and Academia can seem very cruel (I was genuinely bummed to not get an unpaid lab job "fixing" mice--aka, dosing them with ketamine then replacing their blood with plastic--because the research was so interesting. Then I remembered that my immortal soul was at stake, and was glad not to be hired). You gotta compartmentalize, or nothing can ever get done. That said, I still suspect that all surgeons are sadists.

MORE TO THE POINT: I'm really relieved that Lucius isn't the unnamed Death Eater, and man, you wrote his magical-dementia really well. Again, a really unique take on Lucius, and a great way to reel Draco back into family loyalty.

I can't believe I'm almost done with this story!

Author's Response: Correct, you don't need to think badly of poor, old Lucius. At least no more than you already thought badly of him.

Draco does have a few absolute loyalties, his mother for one. He's absolutely loyal to the *ideal* of the Malfoy name if not necessarily to the current leader of the family. And now he's absolutely loyal to Astoria.

Come now, you know me better than that! There was no way I would settle for a boring "talk it out and share your true feelings" ending when I had the chance to have curses and fire and explosions. There are no easy remedies in the magical world.

Your read on Madam Blishwick is spot on. She's a tone-deaf academic who lacks any appreciation of the social context of her work. She truly believes that there's redeeming social value in understanding the precise bio-magical (is that even a term?) mechanisms through while Unforgivable Curses harm people.

You're so close to the end! But this is where the roller coaster truly begins. Thanks for all of the awesome reviews!


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Review #4, by Veritaserum27 

18th July 2014:
Helo Dan!

Yikes - this chapter was a doozie! I can't even get over all of the events that occurred in such a short span of time. I'm dizzy from all of this action - but it seems to be just the beginning.

What a fabulous portrayal of a broken heart. Poor, poor Astoria, reduced to physical pain and basically a sickened stupor. She really feels that she has lost it all. There is hope, however. Her mother may be an ally in all of this - she seems to be able to manipulate Horatio when the need dictates. It reminds me of a line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding "The man is the head of the household, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants to." We also see a little bit of this playing out between Narcissa and Lucius - but I'll get to them later.

The little comment about Emery Montague and his - er... situation made me laugh out loud. I love the way you slip in little bits of humor for the reader - even in a dramatic chapter like this one.

Draco's emotions during the scene at the Ministry were also beautifully described. He abhors dark curses after living through their effects. I also think Draco abhors part of himself because he once was seduced by the power that accompanied following dark wizards. Standing from the other side, it physically and emotionally sickens him. He might think of this as weakness, but I feel this will become one of his greatest strengths. I don't know if you did this intentionally, but Madame Blishwick reminds me a LOT of Delores Umbridge. Both were fools to think that the ends justify the means and both were blinded by their desire to achieve power and fame. In both women, nothing else mattered but success in their set goals.

The scene with Lucius and Narcissa was powerful, revealing and all around awesome. So the truth comes out that Lucius is not well, mentally. This horrid fact forces Draco to grow up in a matter of minutes. He goes from being (somewhat of a) petulant child (more like a brooding young adult) to the realization that your parents are mortal. Right in the middle of his tirade about how Lucius put the Malfoy family in a tricky spot in terms of moving on in society, Draco is suddenly faced with the fact that his father may not be around for much longer. Lucius suddenly appears very weak. It is a difficult thing to accept that our parents are mortal - because it forces us to face our own mortality. Great job with the emotions playing out here.

But I've saved my favorite part for the last. Narcissa is brilliant. She is clever, ambitious, self-preserving, dutiful, proper, proud, loving, cautious and clear minded. And Awesome. Let's not forget awesome. I've never been a fan of hers, mostly because she found herself on the wrong side of the war, but you've really brought her to light in this scene and she was a joy to read. She was able to assess the situation quickly and cleverly come up with a plan that would keep her family safe and help he son to get what he wants. I also really loved her interaction with Lucius. She never made her husband feel like he was deranged or weak, but she was able to talk to him in a kind manner and still help Draco at the same time. I LOVE the plan that they came up with - it is perfect. However, I feel like you aren't exactly going to let us see that one through, are you Dan?

And - of course you dropped a bomb on us at the end. How is Draco going to get out of this mess now? Ugh! I think it is safe to say to expect some more reviews fairly quickly - I don't know if I'll be able to wait to read the last few chapters!

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

All of the chapters from here to the end are pretty busy. The ball is rolling downhill, top speed, toward the end of the story. This is what I've been building up to, so I hope you enjoy it!

I hope the scene with Astoria wallowing in her misery in her bedroom is, in some ways, similar to the way we see Draco at the start of the story. She's hit rock bottom on this unrealistic fantasy she's been living for the past few months. Now it's time for her to decide whether to throw in the towel or pick up the pieces and rebuild around more realistic goals and desires. I think you nailed it on the relationship between Astoria's parents. Priscilla Greengrass manages her husband artfully. He mostly doesn't even realize he's being managed, which is really the gold standard for effective management.

Ah, Emery. Sometimes I think it's good to create a character who really serves no purpose other than to be the butt of jokes.

Draco finally snaps under the pressure when Madam Blishwick really pushes him. It's been building for a long time. I never thought of her as being similar to dear old Dolores, but I guess I can see some similarities. The big difference, though, is that while Umbridge is all about appearances and fake courtesies, Madam Blishwick is 100% sincere in every respect. She sees no issues with the ends or the means, because she intends to meticulously study both.

I'm glad you liked the "big reveal" on Lucius's condition. Lots of small things in this story tie into Conspiracy of Blood, and Lucius's declining health is one of those threads. (He passed away well before the start of that story, leaving Draco with some unresolved baggage.) It is a major moment in the maturity process when you finally accept that your parents aren't going to live forever. It changes Draco's outlook on a lot of things and forces him to take another look at the future that he'd imagined with Astoria. It also added more urgency to his desire to reconcile with her. Lastly, if Lucius isn't the Death Eater Gamp's been conspiring with, who is it?

I think I mentioned this in my response to an earlier review: Narcissa has a tendency to steal scenes in my stories. She is pretty awesome to me. In the books, I thought there were very interesting parallels between her and Molly Weasley. Both were managers of their respective families, in a sense. Both of them were willing to do anything necessary to protect their children. Two oddly similar visions of how a mother is supposed to behave, given the vastly different worlds they come from.

Nope, the end of this story won't be anywhere near that simple. There's a lot of drama and action left. I hope you enjoy it and I'm really looking forward to seeing your reactions! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #5, by UnluckyStar57 

8th May 2014:
Hi! School has finally adjourned and now I'm (relatively) not busy, so here's your review for Chapter 12! :)

Astoria kind of reminds me of the Lady of Shallot in this chapter, not gonna lie. She pines away in her room, watching shadows pass by in her mirror. Unlike Tennyson's Lady, though, she's actually going to end up okay (hopefully!). It does help that she's got her mother on her side now. I feel as though her mother might have known what it felt like to be in her situation--though she was content with marrying Mr. Greengrass, perhaps she had more academic aspirations in her youth? Regardless of whether she did or not, I'm glad that she's finally cottoning on to the fact that Astoria has a suitor all lined up--as long as she can finish her schooling first. I admire Mrs. Greengrass for standing up to her husband in such a calm, regal manner! It takes a lot of practice to do that, especially since she's dealing with a really stubborn, rather prejudiced man. She handled him expertly, I think!

Ooooh, Madam Blishwick really made me angry in this chapter. If her Hogwarts House hasn't been mentioned yet, I believe that it was Ravenclaw. She seems like a complete academic, but one that is so far immersed into the world of experiments and tests that she can't even remember what it feels like to be human anymore. She's obviously insensitive and unaware of Draco's anguish. In my opinion, she embodies some of the worst traits of the Ravenclaw House (and this is coming from a proud 'Claw!!).

Her insensitivity, combined with her curiosity about Bellatrix's "invaluable lessons," is enough to push Draco over the edge--big time. I'm glad that he didn't end up Crucio-ing Blishwick, otherwise there would be a steep price to pay! Still, the pain and fury that went into the torturing of the doxy were conveyed realistically and EXTREMELY obviously. If it were anyone else, they would know that they REALLY messed up, but Blishwick just gets excited about the revelation that "you have to MEAN it." Ugh. I hope that Draco finds a new job after things settle down, because I know that Madam Supreme Potioneer-ess is never going to be able to understand or empathize with him.

While I'm rambling on about this section, I must point out a teensy little typo.

"Madam Blishwich and shared a quick glance with Penhallow and then her voice took on a coddling, almost patronizing tone."

"Blishwick," of course, requires a "k" instead of an "h." And the "and" is out of place. But that's all! :D

*sigh* Draco is really being super sensitive about his life right now, which is completely understandable considering that his boss is a robot and he broke up with his girlfriend, but the return of the alcoholism is extreme. He had been doing so well! Ah, well, there are still four more chapters left for him to reform his ways!

Oh wow, Lucius. I never even dreamed that memory loss could be the case!! So he's not going back to help out the new generation of Death Eaters, after all! This bodes well for the future, except for the fact that he can't seem to get his mind out of the past. Poor Narcissa, having to deal with all of that nonsense. They probably should have told Draco so that he would've known not to get entangled into the traps and tricks of Gamp&co., but then where would the plot be? :)

So of course, the troublemakers themselves have to turn up, just when things might've worked out for the best! What is Flint doing with a bloody Nott? When will he realize that Draco isn't actually on his side? Dun dun duh. This can only end in a mess!

'Til next time!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I haven't read much Tennyson, but I have learned a little along the way about upset, overly dramatic teenage girls. She will end up alright, but every story needs a low point and this is it for Astoria. Her mother has sort of put the pieces together, even if she doesn't specifically know that Astoria is pining away for Draco. Mrs. Greengrass is a proper, pureblood lady. There is no other way that she would stand up to her husband, but she's extremely skillful at managing him. I'm glad that came through!

Her Hogwarts house is never mentioned, but I'd say Ravenclaw is far and away the most likely choice. She lacks any sort of ability to understand the way her research affects other people. To her, it's an academic problem devoid of social context. Unfortunately for Draco, the context is all too real. He came very, very close to using an Unforgivable Curse on his boss, but managed to redirect his anger slightly at the last second. In a perverse sort of way, it's progress for him. Not that he he really feels all that accomplished.

Thank you so much for catching that typo! I'll tidy that up.

Draco is also being a bit melodramatic in places. I can remember times when I thought this thing or that thing about my first job out of school was **the end of the world**. It never really is, of course, but it seems that way at the time.

Now you know the truth about Lucius. There happened to be an unfortunate overlap between his paranoid delusions and Gamp's co-conspirators. In spite of the difficulties caused by his condition, I'm sure that Lucius was far too proud to want anyone -- even Draco -- to know about it. And Narcissa is definitely the sort to try to be strong for her husband and respect his wishes. So we come to the point where we are.

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Theo.

Theo, who?

Theo Nott, bleeding all over your floor!

You'll find out very soon why Flint and Nott have shown up and why Nott is injured. All in our next, action-packed chapter!

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #6, by TheHeirOfSlytherin 

19th March 2014:
I'm really glad she didn't burn the letters; she probably would have regretted it if she had burned them before coming to the conclusion that she might just be able to fix things with Draco. Which is what I, I mean she wants really. :D

That she thinks the world is ending because of a boy is such a teenage thing to think. And I know she loves him and the epilogue will come and they'll be together eventually, but it just lets me pause and remember that though they're going through all these things and some of it's bad and she's got all these expectations, they're still teenagers. I like that.

It's so hard for me to dislike her parents when they act all worried and then her mother stands up for what she wants. Okay, I don't dislike them, just some of their actions, and I really wanted at least one of them to stand up for her; I'm glad it's the mum and I'm hoping for the dad next... or one day. First studies, then relationships. Baby steps and all. :)

Ha! He got caught! I find this hilarious, too.

Sneaky Astoria! I like it. I hope her luck isn't so bad that she ends up in a bed next to Emery... :P

I stand by my opinion that Draco's boss is creepy. With a lack of empathy. Or her work completely clouds it. I hope Draco will get how he feels through to her without losing control or doing something he'd regret. That would be sad.

He fell off his wagon. ;(

Will he quit? That was the question I asked myself just before Lucius said he should. Now Draco is not allowed to quit. He can fight this and win... maybe.

Ah! Lucius is not part of it! Oh, that makes me so happy! Kinda. Since his mind has gone because of his time near Dementors, I'm obviously not completely happy. But the Malfoys are playing no part in the war. Good, very good.

But if it's not Lucius... Plot twist: Horatio Greengrass! Dun, dun, dun... :P Okay, so I have no idea, but if I am right I will be so proud of myself. :D

Go to the Aurors. Now why didn't I think of that? :P

AHHH! Yes! Go get Astoria back! Great minds think alike, she's planning to get you back, too! :D

...What did you do to Theo?

Okay, so I know I left a comment on your profile saying I'll finish Detox tonight, but it's twenty past one in the morning now and I have a lecture tomorrow. But after it, I'm free till Monday. So, I'll finish this by Sunday. Which makes me both happy and sad. :)

See you soon!

Sam.

Author's Response: She definitely would have regretted it if she'd burned his letters. Fortunately, she realized the mistake she was about to make. Now as to why her parents didn't find the pile of letters when they forced their way into her room... well, there's a small continuity error that I'm surprised nobody has picked up on. ;)

This is pretty much the low point for Astoria, but you're right, she is being a fairly typical teenager here. I imagine most readers know that her life is not, in fact, coming to an end, but it feels that way to her. I'm not sure what it says about the way that I think of Astoria that I had to go out of my way to make her act her age.

Astoria's parents really do love her and they want what's best for her. It's just that their version of "what's best" is not at all like what Astoria wants for herself. They're very worried about her here, and her mother is starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Astoria's mother also realizes that she needs to manage her father very carefully, lest the situation get even more out of hand. The scene was tricky to write, but ultimately I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

I couldn't pass on the opportunity to have one last cheap laugh at Emery's expense. Have you ever created a character that you completely loathe? That's Emery Montague for me.

Madam Blishwick doesn't really get the concept of her work being outside of other people's comfort zone. She loves what she does so much and she feels that it's so important that she can't understand why other people would object to it. So she pushes Draco. Too far. And then bad things happen.

You're correct, Lucius has nothing to do with Gamp's conspiracy. It just so happened that the participants in the old man's delusions were the fathers of some of the conspirators. I hope it's been apparent for a while now that Lucius is not in a good way. Between Azkaban and the war, he suffered mental damage that can never truly be repaired. Only the symptoms can be managed. In a way, it's sad, but in another way, he got what was coming to him after a lifetime of aligning himself with the wrong side.

What did I do to Theo? It's more like what did Theo do to himself. You'll find out shortly... :p

I am having a blast responding to all of your reviews! Thank you so much!


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Review #7, by Remus 

11th January 2014:
Hola! It has been a while! I read that you have a new story being Beta read so I figured I need to finish Detox before the new one comes along! Don't want to be too far behind! :D

This line right here:

She should be attending dinner parties and balls, not studying for exams that will never matter again once she's married."

Kinda made me feel bad for Astoria. I mean, here she is, trying to excel herself in her studies, to become someone and her father is like "meh," about it. I mean, he's right in a way. Once Astoria marries there's no need for education. Even with Malfoy she doesn't need it even though I'm sure that Draco would like an intelligent woman by his side. But her "end" will be getting married and raising children, not join the workforce.

I love Priscilla! I mean, she somewhat wipes the floor with Horatio with her argument.

Madam Blishwick is certainly...unique. Haha. She doesn't see the war or Bellatrix as something horrible but as an advancement of magic/science. I like her because she takes the analytic side to things and has zero regard to Draco's feelings or the horrors he saw during the war.

I love Lucius in the books but your Lucius just irritates me! He makes me want to jump into this story and give him a couple of slaps. I mean this line just...argh!!

After a week of relaxation, you'll be back to your old self again and your ancestors can stop spinning in their graves.

I mean...really Lucius?!

Wait...he has redeemed himself a bit. A bit!

Lucius seemed to shrink before Draco's eyes as he stared blankly at his shoes. He sunk back into his chair and rested his walking stick across his lap. Finally he shook his head and lowered his forehead into his palm before speaking softly, more to himself than to anybody else.

What's ironic about this line is that Lucius here is acting like a child who has been caught.

Wait...this has taken a turn that I was not expecting!

What sort of ending was that?! What evil cliffhanger is this?! Gah! I'm so glad that I don't have to wait for the next chapter!!!

--Rosie

Author's Response: Hi, Rosie!

So I have been genuinely awful about responding to reviews this past week. Time to work on that...

I felt very bad for Astoria while writing this. I know that nearly every teenage girl in the history of our species has thought this, but in Astoria's case it's the truth: her father just doesn't understand her. His background and upbringing are such that he simply can't understand why his daughter would be so intent on finding her own way in the world. Her mother, on the other hand, at least has a sense of where Astoria is coming from, even if it's only from reading her trashy romance novels. And she does pretty much run over her husband in this chapter. ;)

I think I've said this in past review responses, but it bares repeating: Madam Blishwick is a very pure, single-minded academic who is completely oblivious to the deeper philosophical implications of her work. In her mind, if it can be analyzed and understood then it should be analyzed and understood in the name of science. Well, in the name of magic, I guess. You get my point, I hope.

The enigma of Lucius finally starts to unravel a bit in this chapter. He's not well, mentally. And it just so happened that his paranoid delusions lined up with the particulars of Gamp's conspiracy. Unfortunate for him and for Draco.

What sort of cliffhanger? Why the best kind, of course! The kind that makes Rosie want to read the next chapter! Muahahahahaaa...

So glad you're enjoying this! Then end is near. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #8, by MissesWeasley123 

6th November 2013:
Whoa. So intense.

Let's take a moment to applaud me on the fact that I am now on chapter 12. Yes. Only three more chapters to read and review and I will be all caught up! (Which is also kind of sad, because it's taken me so long to finish)

Astoria ♥ She's so broken... NEERRR. :( You really captured her pain really, really well. There was a certain amount of anger boiling when Horatio talked about getting her married. The term "betrothed" sickened me, because it was really sad to see that she doesn't have a say.

I take back all that I said about Blishwick. I still like the depth you've given her, but she's so twisted, it's just plain, wrong. Oh I hate her so much. What she did... Was not nice, to say the least. I'm again so proud of Draco for getting through that, but when he snapped, I was really happy. Blishwick really is creepy. The way her mind works is troubling, and I hate how she tortures Draco, without even realizing she is. In that way, I guess, she's very stupid also. Her thoughts and opinions on Bellatrix was grossing me out, because it was as if she expected Draco to idolize her. Yuck.

I'm very curious about Lucius' condition. He's got some form of Alzheimers... but his memory isn't completely gone. I think Draco's very smart to pick up on the fact that maybe these conversations Lucius is having, is indeed with Draco's Hogwarts friends, rather than the former Death Eaters. But maybe Lucius is very fazed and I can't really be onto something, especially with his word...

I shiver at thinking what's going to happen next. I really hope that he doesn't go... :(

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I applaud your dedication sincerely. After the last chapter, I applaud you for picking up your feels off of the floor and coming back, actually. I still have your tomatoes here. :p

Astoria also managed to pick herself up off of the ground here. Her father is a bit stuck in the past, which I don't think is all that uncommon among purebloods from old families.

I'm not sure that Madam Blishwick is worthy of your hate. She's just very, very single-minded about what she does, to the point where she really doesn't understand how it might be perceived by other people. Creepy? Definitely. She thinks that Bellatrix is the most interesting research subject of all time, kind of like how historians and sociologists are fascinated with Stalin and Hitler.

Lucius has problems differentiating between old memories and recent memories. I was thinking about how being around Dementors for a long time might affect a person. With Harry, they always seemed to invoke strong memories. I had an idea that perhaps being around them for a prolonged period would start to mess up the sequencing of your memories as they sort of forced you to live in those memories. At any rate, when Draco and Lucius were talking in Lucius's study, Lucius was mixing up old memories of talking to Nott, Sr., Goyle Sr. and one of the elder Gamps with recent events.

Ah, you're getting so close to the end! I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #9, by MissMdsty 

1st October 2013:
Guess who? :)

Dan, you are evil! I swear, you are so evil! My insides turned to ice when I read the ending of that chapter and now I'm rushing through this to get to read the next one!

I loved how you described Astoria's heartache and her depression. That's kind of how I felt at 16, 17 when I had boy trouble. You have such a way with words, that you just spin this image into the reader's head of a girl lying on the floor in her own misery and it just tugs at your heart. I felt for her, really. And the whole process, from being sad and depressed to deciding to do something to mend this, it was so natural and flowed so nicely. I'm impressed!

Draco's boss reminds me of Umbridge. She uses her power and authority to legally abuse the system. I actually think it's a form of bullying, what she's making Draco do, reliving his memories of Bellatrix. I can understand that from an academic POV she might be fascinating, but when I studied criminology we didn't look to the victims' opinions of the events. Because that is just wrong.

And I had such hope in my heart when I realized Narcissa might have the answer to all of Draco's problems. Mother knows best, after all. But that ending. I was just so excited that maybe everything would work out, and BOOM! It isn't going to because those creeps stumble in being creepy and creeping me out. You get the point.

Now I have to go read chapter 13, maybe I'll find some peace of mind!

This was an amazing chapter as usual, I'm sorry I didn't get to read it sooner! My loss :) Good job!

Author's Response: Hi, Ral!

So... about that peace of mind thing... Sorry. /shrugs helplessly

As is usually the case, I had some good pointers and suggestions on how to be a heartbroken teenage girl from Jami and sophie. I really don't know what I'd do without the two of them. I'm glad you liked all of the small details. I tried to imagine the sorts of things that you wind up staring at when you're depressed and miserable.

Madam Blishwick is a social misfit, but she's no Dolores Umbridge. I don't see her abusing the system so much as she simply doesn't comprehend how people could misuse her work to do very bad things. She's a pure academic, and dark magic is just a big, endlessly fascinating research project to her. She also doesn't see Draco as a victim, because she has no idea how awful the war was for him and he isn't about to share that with her. It's just a bad situation for him to be in.

Narcissa has the answers to *most* of Draco's problems. Unfortunately life keeps adding new problems to the list. All I can say is that things will work out. We know they do. It's just not going to be as tidy as you might like. ;)

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


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Review #10, by Jchrissy 

3rd September 2013:
I seriously love the changes you ended up making in this. I'm sure I've said this on all the others, but this chapter really might be my favorite. Seeing Draco's emotions on such a thin string felt perfect. From snapping at work and cursing the doxi, although I guess it wasn't as much snapping since he was told to. But anyway, he wasn't planning on using that curse then his ability to handle our lovely half loopy boss brought out that sort of fire in him.

I'm going to back up to Astoria's section, which you know I loved. God, you couldn't pay me enough to be that age again. She's so sad and broken, I just want to hug her. I felt like you really had a good dynamic going with her parents. It's obvious that they have a certain type of standards that they live by, and a certain way a pureblood wife treats her husband, but she still stood up for what she thought was right concerning her daughter and I just love that.

You really havea a knack for Narcissa. She sort of levels Draco in a way that we see Astoria can too, more so in CoB though. Maybe that saying about men going for women like their mother's isn't all just talk? But unlike Narcissa, Astoria has managed to grow up a much more whole person who can stick up for herself... something it doesn't seem Narcissa learns until her later years.

I really felt bad for Lucius in this chapter, and that's something that doesn't happen often. Draco has been so angry at his father lately, and we understand why. But it's kept him from seeing how unhealthy Lucius really is. Ugh, why do you have to give me sad Malfoy family feels?!

OH now I really want to know who the bad boys have been meeting with if it's obviously not Lucius!!! And that ending! You better get to writing Mister, and I mean soon!

Author's Response: Last unanswered review! Yay!

I'm really glad you liked the changes sophie suggested. Before, I think I was sort of rushing Draco toward a certain point where I needed him to be, not really being completely mindful of how he was getting there. To me, it feels a lot more natural now. Draco is running on fumes emotionally in this chapter. Everything he's been working to build was taken from him when Astoria stormed off at the end of Daphne's wedding reception and now he's tolerating Madam Blishwick and her bizarre fascination with dark magic solely because "Malfoys don't give up" or something like that. All in all, it was a recipe for a meltdown.

Astoria definitely saddled up the Drama Llama in this chapter and went for a ride. I keep reminding myself that she's only 16, so she's going to have her moments of "woe is me, the world is coming to an end!!!" This was one of them. But her mother shows her a dim light somewhere farther up the tunnel. I always had in the back of my mind that Astoria's mother was stronger than she first seemed. And I've developed a strange fascination with trying to figure out the social dynamics of pureblood marriages.

Narcissa is fun to write! I just wish she'd stop stealing every scene she ends up in. Astoria does have a lot in common with her. As much as he tries to act like his father, Draco is a total mama's boy.

I was trying to hint earlier in the story that old Lucius wasn't doing well. In this chapter, I finally put all the cards on the table. I didn't really mean for people to feel bad for him. He's certainly done plenty to earn his lot in life. But I guess it doesn't really bother me, either.

I'm writing, I'm writing! Just had to take a little break to get that Puzzle story out of my system. 1,300 words down, lots more to go...

Thanks for all your support and encouragement! ::Hugs:: √ʬô¬° √ʬô¬• √ʬô¬° √ʬô¬• √ʬô¬° √ʬô¬•


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Review #11, by Solana 

25th August 2013:
I'm one of your new reviewers although I've reviewed other stories. I'm finding I'm really getting into this one so I now can't wait til you update. You're really getting Draco! This is all so very believable writing for this character. He's no angel, has no intention of being, but he does seem to want to start anew and definitely not get involved in anything dark again.

I thought the way you handled the conversation between Astoria's parents brilliantly. And you've got the whole pureblood aristocratic thing down pat. Her mother couldn't possibly really talk back to her husband, right? But she most definitely got her opinions across. I'm feeling at least a little better about Astoria being stuck there at the moment ... for now.

And I definitely feel far better about Draco's handling of his father's situation. At least he knows now his father isn't involved in the latest craziness. Now he has to use his head to keep himself out of it. Obviously, we all want to see how he and Astoria manage to get together. Can't wait! Great job!

Author's Response: Hi, there! Always happy to have a new reviewer!

I'm glad that you like my rendition of Draco. Over the course of three stories, I've put a lot of thought into what makes him tick and the inherent contradictions between the things he was taught to believe and the harsh reality that the war introduced him to. You're right that he's no angel, nor will he ever be. There are certain things that he believes so strongly that his mind will likely never change -- some of those things are good and some are not so good. He's very complicated.

I didn't really go into this with the idea that I'd spend so much time dwelling on the social dynamics that govern a pureblood family. One of the fun things about starting a longer story is that it sometimes winds up involving things that you never thought about when you started. Astoria's mother definitely finds ways to get her point across without violating the things she was brought up to believe. She's a pretty strong woman, in her own way.

Draco and Lucius have been so estranged for the duration of this story that Draco doesn't really learn the true extent of his father's mental problems until his mother gets involved. Old Lucius is struggling, and he's certainly not the mysterious Death Eater who's been in contact with Gamp. So who is it? ;)

I'm really glad that you're enjoying the story. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #12, by patronus_charm 

21st August 2013:
Dan, how did I let this update slip past me? Oh well, I'm here now :D

The aftermath of the wedding was really great! I loved seeing the contrast between Astoria and her parents because it made for a really great read. I know it should have been a serious moment, but I couldn't help but laugh at how they both viewed it so differently.

There was Astoria almost breaking down, unable to rationalise the complexity of the situation, and then there were her parents who thought they could have solved it easily. There was some really nice writing in those parts because even though the situation was different to most teenagers and the parents it was nice to see the problem of mis-communication tackled.

The scene with Draco and Madam Bilshwick was really interesting. It was strange to see Draco react in such an averse way. I mean, I knew that he wouldn't want to cast it after all that he had gone through in the war but I just hadn't expected it to be like that really. I really loved your characterisation of him in that scene.

Madam Bilshwick is still confusing me. I'm not really sure whether you're meaning for me to like her or not. I'm aiming for the latter with her small fascination with Bellatrix and how she almost said it was a good thing Draco could have seen her in action. I guess the only thing I can do is keep my eye on her.

I almost thought that Draco was going to resort to throwing up in gutters like he was doing in the first chapter with him drinking again, then that standoff with Lucius did actually bring some good about. I really loved seeing him stand up for himself and that he was now brave. I have to admit, I was squealing away like a five year old in front of Justin Bieber, but it was a needed action!

I'm really glad we got to see Lucius as he's so intriguing and I hope he gets to pop more in the story. Learning more about the effects of Azkaban was great too, because writers rarely seem to dwell on that. I can't wait to see how Lucius' memory effects the story.

A great chapter!

-Kiana

Author's Response: Hi, Kiana! With your busy travel schedule, I'm surprised you find the time to read anything. I feel like of honored that you made time for this. :)

The differences in how Astoria's parents think about her and her life started to surface a bit in this chapter. Her mother is, of course, too proper to openly challenge her father, but she still has subtle ways of getting her point across. One of the things I've really enjoyed about this story is trying to get my head around all of these subtle little games that purebloods play in order to get what they want without having to compromise their principles or dignity. It's not easy being wealthy and aristocratic. ;)

Draco had no intention of putting on a show for Madam Blishwick and Penhallow. His temper once again got the best of him, and the results were mixed, I guess. In Madam Blishwick's mind, he's even more of a rock star now, but for all the wrong reasons. I actually don't really have a bias on how I want people to feel about Madam Blishwick. I'm interested to see what people make of her. Draco is exactly right about her: she's one of these very pure academics who struggles to think of her research in a broader social context. She isn't dangerous in the sense that she's likely to turn dark and use all of the things she's discovered to try and take over the world, she's dangerous in the sense that she can't understand why some things are better left undiscovered.

Ah, Lucius. He's been one of the more difficult characters for me to figure out, so I'm glad you like where his character seems to be heading. Narcissa is propping him up so that he can maintain appearances, but he's a shell of his former self. Between the Dementors and Voldemort's harsh treatment during the war, his mind was nearly broken. You'll see him again just a bit before the story ends.

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


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Review #13, by Courtney Dark 

19th August 2013:
Oooh, another great chapter! I seem to be having difficulties writing understandable reviews at the moment, so I'll make this one quick.

Poor Astoria:( Poor Draco:( Things really don't seem to be going their way, do they? I actually found the conversation/argument between Astoria's parents really interesting. This is probably the first fanfic I've read where the whole pure-blood/coming of age/marriage/obedience sort of thing has been a big factor of the plot, and I really like it! It's such a different world to the one that other characters like Harry and Ron grew up in - and Astoria's mother seems quite similar to her, from what I can see - they both seem to be very intelligent witches.

Draco's POV was great, as usual - you write him so, so well! And that ending! Just when everything seemed like it was going to get better...although perhaps (I hope!) it still will!

Great chapter!
Courtney:)

Author's Response: Hello, again! I understand you just fine, actually. And I really enjoy hearing from you.

Things are definitely not going Draco or Astoria's way at the start of this chapter. But I think they each find a small cause for hope. Astoria's mother isn't quite ready to accede to her husband's demands, although she wouldn't be happy to see Astoria run off with Draco, either. I'm glad my thoughts on the whole practice and ritual of pureblood courtship seem interesting. A lot is obviously modeled after the customs of European aristocracy before the industrial revolution.

Things have taken another weird turn for Draco, but at least he has his head on straight at this point. We shall soon see how he handles it.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #14, by Sharvi 

11th August 2013:
Like I said before, what is up with this lady? I mean crazy academics! We've seen it all to often in films that people try to analyze everything often ignoring the human they're analyzing. And now that I actually have to wait until your next update, I honestly cannot wait to see what this plan of theirs is. Great update =)

Author's Response: Hola!

Sadly, you've come to the end until I manage to get the next chapter done. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all of the awesome reviews as you made your way through the story. It really means a lot and I enjoyed reading them all.

Draco is caught up in quite a mess. But I promise it will all work itself out soon. ;)

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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