Finally! Iíve had to delete about half of what I wrote Friday night, so letís put some coherent thoughts back into this review.
The girl talk turned out really well. Having a friend as inappropriate as Isadore is something that could really come in handy in instances like these. And from the way she lectured Astoria about what they read in the articles, Iím fairly convinced youíve flipped through your wifeís cosmo magazine :P
I loved Astoriaís shaky nature with it all. She knows she wants to do something, though probably not everything, but not knowing how is creating a lot of turmoil for her. Though her naive nature is probably something that will astound Draco more than disappoint. He had someone who was knowledgable about all this, as Isadore points out, and that wasnít enough to stick them together. But of course Astoria is a teenage girl, and thatís an impossible age to think rationally :P.
Oh my gosh. The line about her not being able to see Draco. I donít even know what I feel about that, haha! Itís like when you witness an overly private moment and feel like you should look away but donít want too.. thatís how I feel :P Definitely gave me an awesome giggle.
The idea that sheíd start on safer grounds, like a massage, definitely felt like a good solution. She gets the chance to get use to that more intimate setting and to gauge his reactions more, plus she probably wonít be as shaky from nerves that way :P
Dracoís entire section was one of my favorite so far. You know how much I love when magic is described, and creating things with it, so watching him handle the potion was a lot of fun. I was excited to see how careful he was with it, though still seeming completely confident in his abilities
That plant really had me confused at first. I was worried it was just a normal plant, behaving badly as sort of a test for is temper. They know his past and we werenít entirely too sure of what was thought about it, so I was afraid that it was her own way to see if Draco could handle it without losing his temper.
Than when I learned it was the opposite, a test to see if heís able to do anything necessary to preserve his potion and not let interactions ruin what he has going, I was super exciting. I actually really liked Madam Blishwick. She was to the point, didnít play games with Draco, and made it clear that his past did have some to do with her interest in him. Her job and what she can do with the potions she invents seems like the most important thing to her and she wants to put the people who are going to be most helpful in achieving these on her team. I actually can see her and Draco getting along very well in the future, and Iím anxious to see how the boy whoís always tested authority to the max will handle working at the bottom of the food chain, having to take orders and be a nice boy :P.
Awesome chapter, Dan! And it feels like both Draco and Astoria are really headed in a solid direction. Iím excited to see how her plan plays out, and even more exciting to see what she thinks of Dracoís new job! Report Review
Ahh! Whew, that was intense. I'll say, it was a good call with Draco's mudblood name-calling moment. It doesn't make sense for him to completely change just like that. It was realistic :)Author's Response: I agree completely. Some things about Draco changed during the war, some didn't. The worst thing is that he really did regret it as soon as the word left his mouth. Too late then, though.
Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts! Report Review
Girl talk! Aside from the general humor surrounding Astoria's ... predicament, I was actually blown away by how girly the talk was! You captured the spirit of curios, confused and scared teenage girls perfectly. Another thing I loved was the humor of the situation. It's a very thin line between funny and inappropriate in these kinds of situations and you described things in such a way that made us understand what they were referring to, all the while making it hilarious to read!
Now, onto the Draco part. Just when I thought this couldn't get any more interesting you just set the awesome level so much higher! The interview part was a delight to read, just like the parts where JKR herself described the various magical ingredients and such. As a writer I am in serious awe of the level of detail you put into that! I am blown away and can't find enough words of praise for how perfect that was! Even Edgar was such an interesting addition. And I love that you named him Edgar.
Now, this new OC, Madam Blishwick gave me the creeps. It's like in those old thrillers, where you know something's wrong with her but you can't quite put your finger on it! I don't know what bothers me the most. The fact that she wants to study the effects of the Imperius Curse, which to me is the most dangerous out of the bunch (because you can't see it. You can tell when somebody's being tortured, or hear them if you're close enough... and well, you can tell if they've been killed, but you can't tell if somebody is being manipulated into doing something against their will), and her interview is seeing how well Draco waits until blowing up a plant. I understand the subtle motives behind this, but it's creepy. Like, Ollivander style creepy... "The Dark Lord did great things, terrible, yes, but great."
She gives me the impression that Draco is more to her than an employee but an actual test subject. And just like Draco, that idea makes me sick to my stomach.
But in half a chapter you've introduced this new characters that I am dying to know more about and that is awesome to me!
Another brilliant chapter! I am looking forward to seeing what happens next and how the weight of the new job description impacts Draco and Astoria's relationship.Author's Response: Hello, again!
See, I told you there was going to be more girl talk. I have to give an enormous amount of credit to Jami and sophie for that scene. They gave me so many good ideas and suggestions. My hat is off to all of the ladies on HPFF who manage to write good "guy talk" scenes, because it definitely helps to have someone who's been there read it over and there just aren't that many of us in the HPFF community.
I really enjoyed writing the potion-making part of Draco's interview. I'm a complete geek for "technical magic" and really getting into the nitty-gritty of how it all works. I only draw the line when authors start making up total mumbo-jumbo, like wizards having "magical cores" and such. I named Edgar after Edgar Bones, Susan Bones's uncle who died during the first war. Seemed like a good choice.
Madam Blishwick isn't really evil, but evil fascinates her. She is a student of dark curses, and she studies them with the same sort of academic zeal as an historian poring over the pictures and records from World War II concentration camps. The inherent evil of the subject matter isn't *completely* lost on her, just mostly. And it's easy enough to her to convince herself that the "greater good" her research might lead to outweighs any niggling ethical dilemmas. In short, she's Draco's worst nightmare: someone who will constantly remind him of everything he's trying to forget and do it in such a way that he can't even justify getting angry at her. Not that he might not get *unjustifiably angry*. ;)
Poor Draco and Astoria always seem to have something weighing against them, don't they? Tune in next time and see how it all plays out. And thank you so much for all of the kind words and encouragement! Report Review
Dan! I finally crawled out of my books and decided I needed some Draco/Astoria to relax!
There were so many things I loved about this chapter I'm having a bit of a hard time getting my thoughts together. My reviewing skills are getting rusty!
First, I love how McGonagall finally decided to give Draco a break! A small part of me that I'm really trying to ignore most days wants to believe that good things happen to good people and those who chose to turn their lives around deserve to be treated as those who never were given reason to go off track in the first place. I also love how he still has some of his deep rooted prejudice, like making a stand against Muggle Studies just because.
Secondly, I loved the Astoria POV. Her innocence is almost contagious and I found myself reliving the days of puppy love when a date was the biggest event of the century! There is this purity of their connection, mainly due to the fact that Draco has seen so many horrible things and that he wants to shelter her is so heart warming for me that I wanna melt into a happy puddle!
The "girl talk" was hilarious and for me it served to see just how innocent Astoria really was compared to Draco (I see his persona from "Marked" as comparison). I can't wait for her visit.
The end of this chapter really makes me want this epic scene where Draco barges in on some important function and just literally sweeps her off her feet and ... you get my point! Oh the drama and loveliness!
I am itching to read the next chapter so I'll end this one here for now, but not before saying that while reading I realized that this is the best romance I've read on HPFF! I am amazed by every chapter! Great job!Author's Response: Hey, stranger!
You know me. I'm always just pleased to know that people are still reading. The review is gravy!
I think poor Minerva is trying to hold her nose and do the right thing at this point. You can tell that she still has no love for Draco. In her mind, he'll always be the one who was chosen to kill Dumbledore, even if Dumbledore pretty much planned it that way. Draco, for his part, isn't really comfortable with her praise, either. Although you can tell part of him yearns for it, a bigger part can't stand the idea that it makes him happy.
Astoria is my darling! How can you not enjoy writing a character like her? She does sort of take you back to a more innocent time in life, but there's also a lot of determination there. She's no shrinking violet.
If you like the "girl talk" in this chapter, you're gonna love the next one! The visit turned out to be something else...
You're not going to get the exact epic scene you're hoping for, but I promise you that you'll get one that's pretty epic. There's a ways to go, however.
I am really flattered that you'd say that about my story! Because there are some truly amazing romance stories out there. Thanks for all of your support and encouragement! Report Review
I read this yesterday but I couldnít form a coherent review because of all the puns about Dracoís, erm how to make this 12+, thing ;) Iím going to attempt to write one again, but if it makes no sense itís a good thing because all the jokes and puns worked :P
You write girl talk really well! Isadore was fantastic in this by the way, I think all her remarks about what Astoria should do to Draco and what sheís done really made the chapter. I liked her being humorous in this because it made a nice change for it to be a little light-hearted.
I really liked the use of formal language in that section like here ĎThe two teenagers had sequestered themselves in her auntís parlorí. I think the fact that it showed that these two are pureblooded girls and that theyíre meant to be virginal and whatnot but the topic they were discussing was possibly the further thing from it so it really added to the humour of the scene.
I think this line was my favourite of the whole thing ĎYou didnít take any potions beforehand and you spent the next ten days keeping me up half the night, fretting about how you were going to look in maternity robes.í When we first met her I never imagined Isadore to be that type of person but now I think about it itís really fitting.
Poor Astoria in this section! Though she seemed keen to please Draco I couldnít her but notice she seemed a little out of her depth and it was really nice that you showed that as it showed the difference between her and Isadore, and Draco for that matter. I always did wonder what actually went on between Pansy and him and I enjoyed the little backstory here.
I could probably quote that entire section for the use of the brilliant puns and general one liners but that would take up the whole review. However, I could resist pointing out this one ĎSheís been on more little wizards than the Sorting Hatí I am dying. I honestly never knew that you could make so many magical puns about it (Iím not sure if the word is 12+ or not so Iíll be on the safe side), you have a real talent for them :D
I was a little disappointed that we didnít get to see the follow-up of the conversation because judging from the way Astoria reacted to it I can imagine it would be awkward but I did really like the next section despite it. I really liked seeing how much this work with Madam Blishwick meant to him because I never got that impression he cared that much about schoolwork during the books but here itís really nice to see how much care he put into it.
One thing which really impressed me was the way you wrote about how Draco approached the potion making. It seemed really scientific to me and that he was actually making a potion. I deliberately never write potion making scenes as I just donít know what to write so I was really impressed by that. Also the contrast between this and the first section was superb and it impressed me how easily you can switch from one to the other.
Iím not entirely sure whether I like Madam Blishwick or not. I feel as if I canít understand her and I canít predict what sheís going to do. I donít know why, maybe Iím just being paranoid about everyone being secretly evil, but there is something there which I donít like. Iíll keep my eye on her and who knows, she may end up being my favourite character!
The brief flashback Draco had to the war really was an excellent inclusion to the story. I think thatís one of the things which really make post-Hogwarts stories by drawing on the events which happened in the past. I mean, theyíre not going to be constantly affected by them but those little memories really make it great.
Wow this review is turning out to be massive so Iím going to stop it here! That was another excellent chapter :D
-KianaAuthor's Response: Hi, Kiana!
Keeping reviews 12+ can be tricky sometimes. The more fun a chapter is, the trickier it can be. I applaud your ability to keep it clean while getting your point across!
I have to give so much credit to Jami and sophie for the "girl talk" section. They gave me lots of ideas and picked out a number of things that needed to be tweaked, twisted or just plain deleted. When you ladies have to write "guy talk" scenes, I really wonder how you do it, given the dearth of male authors on the site. My hat is off to you!
Isadore is certainly more worldly than Astoria, but she doesn't know nearly as much as she pretends to. I think a lot of her "experience" came in the form of ill-advised teenage experimentation, which explains why she spent ten days costing Astoria sleep. In the beginning, it's killing Astoria to see her friend more or less guessing at the details, but the more she thinks about it, the better she starts to feel in a relative sense.
You liked the Sorting Hat crack, huh? That was my favorite, too. :)
I'm not sure what you had in mind as "follow-up", but you will definitely see the aftermath of this chapter very soon. Suffice it to say, Astoria plan doesn't go quite like she's expecting.
I actually really enjoyed writing Draco's potion-making. I believe a lot of people are able to ponder things better when they're doing something. Especially something quiet that requires concentration. And I love guessing at what sort of things might be involved in brewing different things.
Madam Blishwick is a character I feel kind of sad about because I put a lot of time and effort into building her up in this chapter and we really won't be seeing much more of her. She isn't evil or malicious, she just has an enthusiasm for dark curses that's similar to the way historians get excited when they talk about World War II. It's an academic exercise to her, one that she gets very excited about because it's her life's work.
Poor Draco is really struggling to suppress the bad memories that his conversation with Madam Blishwich evokes. He's so desperate to be successful in his new career that he's putting himself in a very bad position...
Don't worry about the length of your reviews. I write long ones all the time. And I really enjoy reading and responding to them! Thanks so much for all your encouragement and support! Report Review
Back for more just like I promised because its midnight, I'm listening to George Michael for some reason and well, I love this story.
So, Draco has gotten himself into a little pickle and I'm very worried for him. It seems as if his thoughts on the entire thing were proven wrong by just how serious the group was about overthrowing the Ministry. Gamp doesn't seem like the type of fellow who gives up easily once his mind is wrapped around something and think he might be on to Draco more than he realizes. I hope he's going to be careful but I hope he ventures out for help when necessary because I know he's going to need it.
Although, from the way things are going, he may not have as much time as I'D personally like. I'm not sure who I'm angry at the most, the boys for being so stupid or his own father for allowing himself to be fooled once again. I really loved the play of emotion in this too, I think Draco showed so much depth and strength and I just think you write him so wonderfully.
If only I didn't go into a chocolate-induced coma whenever I think of writing mine...T-T
Anyhoo, on to this last portion! This review is short compared to my others, sadly and this George Michael song is depressing. Astoria showed alot more courage towards the end of this and I really do enjoy her thoughts on her sister's wedding. The added bit you wrote about being in competition with her sister really showed how much society matters to her, even in her own home. I think she's going to be a pretty strong woman in her own way once she grows up a bit more, her thought processes are lovely. She seems to venture from innocence to startling maturity and I can't wait to see where you go with that!
My favorite thing of course was the added bonus of seeing Narcissa Malfoy. I think that scene was just wonderfully simple and clean, with no added weight or drama and it was just what the chapter needed to close up after a heavy beginning.
The conversation between them was bitter sweet and I honestly felt some sympathy for Narcissa, you made her seem very relatable. I don't read too many stories with her that way and the added strength you gave her was a vey nice way of showing how she had grown during the War.
I think that was a good thing for Astoria and hopefully in the next few chapters, we see more and more of her growth. And more sparkly things as well...
Excellent as usual!
GabbieAuthor's Response: That is strange. I rarely listen to George Michael at midnight. ;)
Gamp is a nasty piece of work. If you read CoB, you'll see exactly how far the nastiness goes, but suffice it to say that he isn't playing with a full deck. Zabini really wants Malfoy to join their conspiracy, although some of the others aren't completely sold, as you can see.
I'm glad you liked Astoria in this. It was part of my ongoing effort to make her a little more balanced in terms of maturity and her attitudes about various things. She is still a little snotty when it comes to the way she interacts with others, especially Daphne. There's definitely some growing up to do. But she does have an ability to rise above it, like when she talks to Narcissa, for instance. There I go, letting Narcissa steal a scene again. I have a bad tendency to allow her to do that, but she's such an interesting character. I really should write something with her and Andromeda someday.
Ooh, so glad to see you're still enjoying it! Take care and thanks for the awesome reviews! Report Review
Hey there, its been a short spell (See what I did there?) since my last review but I attacked this as soon as my blasted internet connection came back to life. And here is my review! :D Whoo~
So, we're back with Astoria and I was really amused reading how she felt about her sister's very elaborate wedding. I have my slight worries about it though, considering how much champagne Daphne had been drinking, is she not as happy as she's pretending I wonder? Perhaps I'm just looking too into it myself but I did love all the detail you put into Astoria's feelings about the event.
Thoughts of her own wedding and the slight problems she's having with her feelings regarding Draco were a nice touch to me. It made me realize still that she's still got some growing up to do and some of her thought processes showed that just a little. I was really proud of her for trying to stand up for her mother but I think she loves her family so much that she's both afraid and excited to do as SHE wants. My Astoria would be put into a box and buried in the back garden for such a thought but I'm hoping yours isn't going to have such a nasty end. Hehehe. Why do I joke about this?
Anyway, I'm so worried about the wedding, I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my forever hungry stomach. I'm not quite sure what's going to happen but I know that its not going to be what I expect and I hope that things go in a happier direction.
My mind is conjuring rather different things rightnow but please, dear God don't have her snogging that disgusting Montaque! That just...that's just not right.
At all. o_O
Anyhoo, on to Draco! My darling! I'm so happy that he isn't lying in some alley knocked out but this business with Zabini is dangerous. Zabini himself seems very sly so he may want to watch his step, but I do admire his skill at deception.
This plot of Zabini's and his friends has me really curious and a little worried. I can't wait to see what it might turn out to be but hopefully Draco will liberate Astoria (Not in a pervy way of course but who am I kidding?) without getting either of them hurt.
Ah, the questions! >_<
Once again this was really fantastic, I'm completely absorbed in your style and your characters are just amazing. They're so real that I feel like I know them and that's a very good thing, even if they aren't interested romantically in me. D':
So anyway, I'll be back to read the next chapter!
No worries from me!
GabbieAuthor's Response: Hi, Gabbie!
I don't think that Daphne is unhappy, per se, she just doesn't process stress very well. Being a bride is stressful, after all, especially when you're demanding nothing less than THE Perfect Wedding Day. So she drinks to cope.
Astoria still has quite a lot of growing up to do. One thing I started to get worried about after the first few chapters was that she seemed too mature for her age. She is, after all, 16. So I've tried to balance her out a bit with a few unrealistic ideas and the occasional temper tantrum. She does love her parents and she isn't eager to make them upset. At the moment, however, they aren't leaving her with much choice.
I don't think there's any risk of her snogging Emery Montague. At least not in the way that you're thinking...
Zabini and his friends have a few irons in the fire. You'll find out more about them over the next few chapters. They're not the most savory bunch and they're going to do their darnedest to drag Draco into the middle of it all. Hopefully he can keep himself in the clear.
I'm really glad that you're enjoying the story and that the characters speak to you. I haven't quite figured out how to have any of them develop a believable romantic interest in the reader. I'm just not that talented. :p
Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! Report Review
You write beautifully! I just discovered this story and so far, I like it :)Author's Response: I'm really glad that you're enjoying it! Thanks so much for letting me know. Report Review
My goodness, how did I stumble accross something so amazing? Did I just fly face down onto the pavement of Knockturn Alley after binging on magical alc? Phew, I feel dizzy...
Your writing style is wonderful, is what I'm trying to say! It really shows that you take the time to pick the right words and to evoke the right imagery, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant the details might be. I don't even know how to begin to put into words how refreshing that is around here.
I could really feel Draco's state of suspended animation. How do you set goals in life and, say, have breakfast and then spend the afternoon in the library or whatever after finding yourself on the wrong side of a world war? I guess you don't...
I must admit, thought, I enjoyed the story until the appearance of Astoria a lot more than after. First, the ideal, kind, unpredjudiced, slightly funny but not intimidating, pretty angel saviour role is a bit, well - I'll try not to sound like I'm waving the angry feminist axe around - but that's how a character stops being a character and becomes a plot device. I hope you see what I mean - add some more giggliness and maybe some petty theft, and you have the typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl Trope right there. It's only the first chapter and she has already literally dragged Draco out of the gutter and changed his life just by giving him a sandwitch.
The way she fits into the surrounding world is also a bit confusing. Why would she want to help the slobbering, smelly ex-death eater/former classmate that never paid attention to her? And in front of all those people when her family's reputation is probably shaky as it is, being Slytherins and pure-bloods and all? Is she on some sort of rebellious bad-girl streak? And if she is, then why does she seem to genuinely care about Draco? And if she is just a caring person that way, why was she so blatantly flirting? And if she just always found Draco attractive, then.wouldn't there be some sort of bitterness in her tone at the fact that the only way she could get his attention is by being the only one that helps him when he is desperate? These sort of inconsistencies stand out all the more the better the writing, so, uh, try to see it as a compliment!
Ugh, there I go again, rambling away! Where is that firewhiskey? Anyways, as this is review tag, I don't even know if you like CC, but I hope I could give you some new useful perspectives or something. And I'm actually quite convinced that you will take care to develope the Love Interest in the following chapters(which I'm ging to check out now! :)).
cheers!Author's Response: Hi! I'm glad you had a chance to stumble across my story. It has been known to cause a bit of dizziness in the past, but mostly just to me.
I'm glad that you like the writing style. I really do my best to think thought how things are going to sound when read, and it's great to hear that it works for you. When I read other people's work, I often find that the "insignificant" details are the ones that help me connect with a scene.
Draco has found himself on the wrong side of pretty much everything, even his "own people", aka the other purebloods. The Malfoys are trusted by neither side at this point.
One thing to keep in mind about Astoria in this is that you're seeing her through Draco's eyes. And Draco is at rock bottom at the moment he encounters her, depressed, intoxicated and humiliated. So she does come off a bit angelic to him. Don't worry, you'll see more sides of her before it's all said and done. As far as why she's so nice to him, well, she's just a nice person. And she does enjoy the fact that this person who barely noticed her for 5 years is suddenly paying rapt attention.
Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
I told myself I wasn't going to do anything aside from write today, but I read this chapter last night and wanted to post a review while it was still fresh in my head. At least that's the excuse I'm going with...
What is it with bridesmaid dresses? The whole process is torturous for everyone but the bride. Though I suppose that could be said for most wedding preparations. It's nice, though, to see you turn Daphne and Astoria's relationship on its head a bit. I don't read a LOT of stories focused on these two, but when I do, they seem to more often than not portray Daphne as the demure one, with Astoria being the one with a touch more fire and passion. I like the idea of switching that up. Astoria does show some good gusto later on in the chapter, but in his current state, Draco needs someone with a cool head more than anything. Of course, I'm not sure it's totally fair to judge the true character of a woman in the middle of planning her wedding, so I won't be too hard on Daphne here.
Hmmm... I'm disappointed in Astoria's mother. Not it the way you've written her... I was just hoping for more from her for Astoria's sake. I get the sense that she might, in another time and place, be more inclined to encourage her daughter to seek out true love, but perhaps she's just not quite ready to let go of the "old ways," particularly in world that seems to be moving on without them. But I'm not ready to give up on her yet. I'm holding out hope she'll see the light.
Oh, and...As far as his hygiene... well, I'm certain his mother will see to that. My favorite line of the chapter!
I was surprised to see Astoria lay her cards so fully on the table. Up until the letter, it felt a bit more like she and Draco were dancing around the idea of being a couple, but she pretty much comes out and tells him here that if he wants her, he better be prepared to move and move fast. Good for her!
I'll admit, I'm a little disappointed to see Draco as put together as he is. After the end of the last chapter, I was expecting to see him slip back into a much darker place. Clearly he's no longer abstaining, and that alone is a slippery slope. I just thought we'd get to see you kick him around a bit more. But perhaps that says more about me than your story, so I won't press the issue :P
I did like the way you've brought us back to the scheming of Draco's former friends. Obviously, I'm not sure how it will all play out, but I can see how both this element and his relationship with Astoria are heading for a nasty collision... perhaps at the wedding itself? And I loved Draco's line: I wouldn't know. My family tree has fewer grafts. Zing!
Just a couple of typos below. Otherwise another great read. Oh, and what you said in your author's note about knowing what you want to happen but not being able to come up with the words... I feel like that with EVERY chapter, so you're not alone!
-- Once they reached the safety of Astoria's bedroom, the Madame Pinking started the laborious process of extracting her from the cumbersome dress. (no the before Madame...?)
-- Her mother swept back across the room and gently cradled Astora's face between her hands. (Astoria's)
-- I wanted make sure that you found out directly from me, and that you know that none of this was my idea. (wanted to make sure)
-- He admired the deep, amber color and complex aroma before downing the drink in a single gulp. (possible POV change? I suppose admired could be a substitute for looked at/studied, but it reads here a bit like we jumped into Blaise's head for a moment)Author's Response: Hello, again!
First off, thanks so much for the edits. Much appreciated. Amazing the things that you miss even when you stare at a chapter for days before actually posting it.
I've never had the pleasure of being fitted for a bridesmaid dress -- I wore a prom dress to a party once; that's a whole different story -- but I get the impression that around 90% of all bridesmaids secretly loathe the whole process. Daphne, in particular, has chosen some true horrors of late 19th century women's fashion to inflict upon her bridesmaids. I'm not sure I think of Daphne as fiery. More just excitable, moody and pretty self-absorbed. Astoria is definitely the more reserved of the sisters, but she has her own excitable streak as you see later in the chapter.
Astoria's mother is a product of her upbringing. At some level, she wants to break free and allow Astoria the freedom to follow her heart, but she's just not there yet. It's a big leap for her, seeing as how everything she's ever valued in her life is a function of her family and her social status. That doesn't make it right, but at least I hope you can see where she's coming from.
Poor Emery gets picked on a lot in this chapter. He more or less deserves it, though.
I think Astoria is so upset and her mind is being pulled in so many directions by the time she writes to Draco that her emotions are pretty much laid bare. Madame Pinking does have a point. Even if the experience is boring and uncomfortable, being part of a wedding does tend to make a young, single person think. Astoria wants to find for herself what her parents stumbled into through dumb luck. She wants to love and be loved, and she thinks that Draco is The One to make that happen for her.
I don't think of Draco as being "put together" so much as he's holding it together at this point. Rather tenuously, at that. You'll see more of it in the next chapter when he has his chat with Gamp, Flint and Zabini. Aside from his drinking, he's having a lot of problems controlling his anger at this point. Draco's problems, Lucius's scheming and the insidious plans of his old friends are all starting to converge, but I can't exactly tell you where it all ends. That would spoil the surprise.
Thanks so much for the review! You're always so thoughtful and detailed. It really makes my day! Report Review
Hey there, I thought that I would do like I said and stop by but it was naughty of me to read this entire chapter without leaving a review last night but here I am. :D
The things you do to me! I wasn't certain whether to scream along with Draco or not because, honestly, it seems as if everyone is against him at some point.
What I really liked was the beginning with Isadore and Astoria, it really showed the contrast between the two girls and I really do think that's a good thing. For a while we're so caught up in the angst and attraction that its sort of hard to see the rational side of things. Isadore pointed out a very good dose of reality for Astoria, who is still bouncing from thinking she's in love to wondering if he's a passing fancy. Somehow, I think she might have to discover that for herself but I did admire her courage to stand up to her father. It took some steel and it was obviously hard for her but it was more than obvious that her parents find her interest in Draco to be a losing situation. From her father's POV I can understand how he feels but Astoria has so much hope that its hard to really care. I'm not sure if her hope in Draco, by this last bit of the chapter will bite her later or if you're hinting on that but I'm eager for their relationship to grow or crumble. Hopefully, it doesn't! D':
Nice little addition of Snape in this too, I was a tad surprised that he would have anything to say at all but it was great hearing his opinion. Though I'm sure what he said sort of praised and dissed Draco all at once, it was an honest truth that Astoria may have needed to hear.
I thought your Snape was pretty spot on too, just as another thing, I still remember your one-shot about career day. Hahaha.
On to Draco then! I find the way you write him to be simply fantastic and I have no idea how you do it, he feels so real and so tormented that I can't help but feel sorry for him. And at the same time, I'm rooting for him to get better but the confrontation with his father had me worried.
It was wonderfully written and the failing health of his father must have been hard to see after years of admiring him. I think playing on that was really well-done but I'm so thankful that Draco stood up to him as well, which shows a major growth of character.
But I'm worried for what Lucius has planned and what he's been up to. I know that it won't be good of course but its going to be an amazing read and this ending! NOOO!! Draco drink apple juice instead! ARGH! >_<
The poor thing! I have to keep on reading now!
Thanks for the awesome read!
GabbieAuthor's Response: Hi, Gabbie! I'm so happy you're back!
I can see why it seems that everyone is against Draco at some point. In fairness, I suppose, he's tormented nearly all of them at some point in his life, holding his family's wealth and influence over their heads. Payback isn't fun, but he's definitely growing up.
Isadore is good for Astoria. She genuinely cares about Astoria and she's more worldly, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. That's going to be a fairly big deal in chapter 10. ;) But, she's a little shallow and self-absorbed, as well. That's actually helpful to Astoria because she can see some of her own bad traits reflected in Isadore.
Astoria's father has been really difficult for me to write, finding that balance between being too normal and too caricatured, a la Lucius Malfoy. Astoria's parents love her dearly and they want what's best for her, it's just that their definition of "what's best" is rapidly diverging from what Astoria wants for herself.
I'm really pleased that you liked Snape. That was originally going to be Dumbledore's portrait, but I realized that Astoria and Snape probably had a lot more in common.
Aww, that's so nice of you to say about Draco. I get in a certain groove with him sometimes where his character just makes sense. When that happens, I should seriously lock myself in a room and just write until it runs out. Lucius's decline is much harder on him than he's willing to admit.
Draco had a pretty serious relapse. It was bound to happen eventually, I think. The poor guy's putting a ton of pressure on himself. Hopefully he bounces back. ;)
Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! I've missed you! Report Review
Has it really been more than month since I reviewed? That's shameful. Thumbs down for me. Oh, and congratulations on finishing your 5K! Running is one of my least and most favorite things to do... depending on the day :P
I really like Isadore. If Astoria is the heroine from a Jane Austen novel, Isadore is the slightly less insightful but always up for a bit of good gossip best friend. She offers a nice balance for Astoria, and a good character for her to play off of. She's a bit more shallow than Astoria, but in her own way, far less naÔve. She's interested in the drama of it all -- the sneaking around, the scandal, the snogging. It's all very teenage-girl of her. Astoria, on the other hand, is wondering if Draco is her "one true love," and seemingly blind to the fact that while he did what he did under threat of death, there were a lot of people on the side of good who did what they did in SPITE of the fact that they might be killed at any moment. It's very enjoyable to watch as Astoria tries to figure it all out.
Oh, and the line: Bad ideas were so much easier to spot when they came from somebody else's lips. Brilliant... and so incredible true!
Hooray for Snape! I love when he pops up in a story. I can't help myself. He'll always be my favorite. Aside from that, in the context of the story though, he makes a great addition. He really does have good perspective on the issue. He knew what Draco did and why he did it. But he also isn't one to give credit where credit isn't due. I loved his line: To truly be evil requires a courage in one's convictions that neither Draco nor his father will ever possess. A compliment and an insult all tied up in one pretty package. In other words, Draco isn't malicious, just spineless. So Snape!!
Well, I can't say I'm surprised at Lucius, though he's an idiot if he hasn't learned his lesson by now. And poor Draco. All that hard work down the drain. The fall is so much harder the second time around.
And can I just say how much I loved the line: Dark curses had a way of consuming strong emotions, leaving him feeling pleasantly numb. What a cool concept. It's almost as if dark curses take something from the caster without them really realizing it. It's almost like a drug that leaves a high, which is really only the byproduct of it killing off brain cells. There has to be a story in there somewhere!
Okay, I'm going to offer a bit of CC, which you can take or leave as you see fit. I noticed something in this chapter -- a tendency to "announce" the impending dialogue instead of just jumping right in. A few examples:
-- Isadore interrupted her silent contemplation, lowering the tone of her voice and sounding very serious.
-- A tense moment passed before McGonagall's clipped Scottish brogue filled the silence.
-- She heard him snort in response before continuing.
-- As soon as the door closed behind the Headmistress, her father fixed her with a glare and spoke in a low, angry voice.
-- Lucius laced his fingers together and forced a smile onto his face before speaking.
Variety is the spice of life, and of course, a long conversation with no narration is also a problem, but personally, I think it might punch up the scenes of bit to allow a bit more uninterrupted back and forth in the dialogue. I think the breaks are mostly unnecessary, and I'm not sure if you do it intentionally, but you almost never string together more than two pieces of dialogue without a narrative break. Anyway, just some food for thought to do with as you wish. It was just something I noticed and thought I'd pass along.
Just a couple of typos. Otherwise another lovely chapter. I can't wait to see the repercussions of Draco's fall off the wagon.
-- They stone gargoyle regarded her with a disinterested expression and spoke before moving aside (The stone)
-- If it is your wish that she no longer participate our visits to Hogsmeade, that is your prerogative (participate in our)
-- This was one of those times where it was essential to be a a good pure blood daughter (double a)
-- Yes, I want you to make well reasoned decisions (well-reasoned)
-- No longer will be be forced to endure the petty torments of blood traitors and mudbloods (will we be)Author's Response: Hi, there!
First off, thanks for the typos! I went through and corrected them all. And I completely understand what you mean about "announcing" dialog. Writing in this style of separating the dialog is driving me insane. Once I finish this story... never again! Well, unless I feel like it. ;) But even then, I will be careful not to "lead in" to the dialog.
Isadore winds up being a sort of mirror that Astoria can stare into and see some of her own less desirable traits. It helps that Astoria has a friend like Isadore who's a little shallow and self-absorbed and dramatic. Astoria can see those bad traits more easily in somebody else. And you're right, Isadore is more worldly than Astoria, particularly when it comes to the opposite sex. That's about to become a pretty big deal in chapter 10...
Originally, I had Dumbledore offering a bit of advice to Astoria. But it dawned on me that he really had no significance in her life, while Snape was both her Head of House and Draco's "protector". So it made more sense to use him. I thought that line sounded so much like Snape, I fell in love with it right away.
Yes, Lucius is a total idiot. And the problem is that the entire family is already skating on such thin ice that even Lucius's pathetic attempt to regain his "relevance" as a force of evil could land them in big trouble. So Draco is understandably furious.
The bit about dark curses draining away unpleasant emotions was an idea I came up with while I was writing CoB. It clicked really well for me, because it cast characters like Voldemort in an interesting light, I thought. Maybe the reason he had to keep using the Killing Curse again and again was to temporarily ease the pain of his shattered soul? Whether or not it makes total sense, it became my theory and I'm sticking to it!
Thank you for such a thoughtful, thorough review! I love readers who can see the forest and the trees, so to speak. Report Review
I really love the descriptions that you put on this chapter. With a story like this, I think that it really enhances not only the imagery but a sense of what it's like to be in Draco's head.
It's interesting to note that Draco hangs around the old Slytherins that reminisce about how much better it would be if Voldemort had prevailed. He thinks that they are fools but he still hangs around with them. That to me speaks a lot about how much Draco needs a clean break.
The fact that Astoria was there to help Draco out when a barman kicked him out of a bar because he "was" a Death Eater just spoke tons to me. They were HORRIBLE to him, though probably with good reasoning on their part. Draco seeing Astoria was to me the first step to him sobering up. The fact that there was a kind soul that he was connected to without having all of that bad history with probably made him have more faith in his abilities to really go on with life in general.
I do love that he wrote that letter to his mother. Even at the end of the day and everyone might look down on a mama's boy, Draco still is a mama's boy in many ways because he turns to her for guidance no matter how much their nagging might irritate him. I like that final touch you put there by the letter to his mother. "Show, not tell." There, you really showed rather than tell Draco's intentions.
Sorry it took so long to leave a review for you! It's been SO busy this month; the business is quite literally unprecedented.
Overall though, I quite enjoy this story! (:Author's Response: Hi!
I'm really glad you liked the descriptions. Even in a story that's very character-driven, I always think that the small details are what really sells the reader on making the events believable.
You're pretty much spot on. Draco hangs out with his old housemates because they're the only ones who don't shun him other than his parents. He desperately needs a change of scenery.
Astoria wanders into Draco's life at exactly the right moment, when he's literally at rock bottom, and shows him a way forward that he hadn't really allowed himself to imagine. She is young and sheltered and pretty naive at the start of this, which is actually a big part of her appeal to Draco. She's completely untainted by the war.
To me, Narcissa was the only real support system Draco had during and after the war. His father always seemed like a broken man after he came back from Azkaban, and the Dark Lord's residency in their home stamped out whatever spirit he had left. I always thought there were four distinct and very strong mother figures in the books: Lily Potter - the mother who sacrifices her own life to save her child, Molly Weasley - the traditional mother figure who sacrifices material things to raise a family, Minerva McGonagall - the mother figure who sacrifices having a family of her own and Narcissa Malfoy - the mother who sacrifices her own beliefs to try to protect her child. Each is different, but that common thread of sacrifice is there in each case.
I'm glad you were able to find the time. Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
This was very sweet. I especially liked the way you described her 'feelings'... her skin, her excitement, etc... Very well written, as usual.
I liked that they talked and even though she was prying into things he did not want to talk about, it was his way of understanding how much she truly cared. Her words obviously effected him so much that he finally kissed her, even though he still didn't talk about the war. That sounds very much like something he would do. It was a diversion, but at the same time it was still very much heart-felt. And as an author, I think you expertly timed it just right and kept it innocent and sweet and not rushed.
I can also say that I appreciate McGonnegal's comments to him about things she can respect.
Dark WhisperAuthor's Response: Hi, there!
I really went out of my way in this one to capture the things that Astoria is feeling physically because she's at least sure about that part. Emotionally, she's having a somewhat harder time being sure.
Draco's having a bit of difficulty because as much as he likes the fact that Astoria cares for him and wants to help him deal with his memories of the war, he's still has a hard time opening up and letting her do it. That's the Malfoy upbringing coming through. In this case, he kisses his way out of the situation. It was very heartfelt, but also a dodge. He's a complicated character.
McGonagall was being true to her responsibility as the head of the school, but I hope it was apparent that she still feels really ambivalent about Draco. I think she *wants* to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the war is still very fresh and painful in her mind. So she might respect the changes he's made, but she's probably not going to ever feel especially warmly toward him.
Thanks so much for reading and taking a minute to review Report Review
Ohh Draco has made so much progress! Even some of the things in this chapter that are just smaller details, like Draco using the servantís staircase and acquiring Muggle money, show how slowly but surely heís able to morph into a living, breathing human. A few years ago heíd have been appalled at stepping on the same stairs that the servants use. But in this situation, where itís either do that or deal with his father again, heís able to chose the one that best suits him. That part, choosing what best suits him, is very Draco which balanced out using the servants staircase nicely.
And I loved that, even if he wouldnít admit it, there are a few things about the Muggle world he may enjoy. I really want to hear what Lucius would say if he knew that his son was not only using Muggle money, but spending a signifiant amount of time surrounded by them. Mwahha.
His thoughts about the past argument with Lucius reminded me what an unstable life Draco really does come from. Iíll always see Narcissa as a good mother, to the best of her ability. And Iím sure Lucius, despite destroying his son with his own messed up ideas, still spoiled Draco. But from the moment Voldemort regained power and came to life in book four, Dracoís life would never be the same. Now his dad isnít just the feared Lucius Malfoy, heís a possession of the Dark Lord. Making Draco a possession of the Dark Lord. And now, after itís all said and done, heís left with a shell of a father who is too detached and messed up to realize itís time to let go of the past.
Iím so happy youíve made Narcissa the way she is. I think itís nice that Draco has at least one parent a bit more in touch with reality.
Ohh this was such a big step for Draco! Heís gained a lot this evening. Respect from Minerva, which I canít imagine being easy to get, his freedom around the school, and a real, solid reward for all the work heís been doing. He started out to build something of himself. To get rid of the pathetic drunk that parents didnít want their daughters talking to. And this was such an awesome confirmation that, no matter how challenging it may be, what heís doing does mean something and it is working. I think heís even enjoying getting himself back into society more than he thought he would.
And this opportunity could be a huge one for him! I hope he follows through with the Potions job at the Ministry, because it could be a huge step in the right direction.
Oh this last section! Okay, all Iím going to say about Isadore and Astoriaís section is HAHAHA. I donít really love Isadore, but I do think sheís a good balance for Astoria. Sometimes I wonder if sheís more interested in being Astoriaís friend because she cares about her or because she likes to gossip. But I suppose if she was just a normal sweet friend she wouldnít be a Slytherin :P. But still, their conversation absolutely cracked me up. Nice euphemisms ;).
Now I want to move on to my favorite part of this whole chapter - the very end of the last section. I have such a hard time really getting my opinions on Mr. Greengrass accurate. Itís clear he loves Astoria and wants whatís best for her. But he doesnít value how smart and capable she really is. I just wish heíd stop trying to control her and let her make some of her own choices, but he wouldnít be pureblood father of perfect pureblood princess if he did that. Still, it was a very, very good way for Astoria to realize that this wonít stop and sheís going to end up hurting someone. Sheís not going to let herself get hurt, sheís not going to hurt Draco. Sheís going to hurt the people who are trying so desperately to run every aspect of her life.
Iím very, very excited for the next chapter! So much happened in this, and itís easy to see just how these two would have fallen so in love.Author's Response: Yay! Jami's here!
Draco's coming along quite nicely, yes? He's still a work in progress, but the key pieces are in place. Now we just have to see whether they come together properly. He's figured out what in idiot his father is. He's got something to live for. And he's even managed to dial his muggle-hate down a notch.
Draco really does come from a messed up background. I do think that Narcissa really loves him and does her best, but she comes from the terrifyingly dysfunctional House of Black, so I her ideas about how to be a good mother are probably rather skewed. And Lucius is probably the world's wealthiest wannabe (say that 5 times fast...). He fills Draco's head full of nonsense, makes him think that he's royalty, buys his way onto the Quidditch team, constantly interferes with Draco's school... Basically Lucius is the Little League Dad from Hell. It's a miracle Draco didn't turn out any worse than he did.
I feel like McGonagall felt duty-bound to acknowledge Draco's progress, but she felt dirty when the conversation was over. She probably went straight to her quarters and took a long, hot shower. ;)
I don't think of Isadore as lovable, really. She plays a role in Astoria's life, and a fairly important one at that. Isadore is "that friend" who kind of holds up a mirror to Astoria and lets her see an exaggerated version of some of her own less positive traits. Also, I imagine she's a good laugh. I'm glad you liked the euphemisms. Some of my best work, right there. :p
I'm glad that you feel ambivalent toward Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass, because that's exactly how Astoria feels. They're her parents, they've always been good to her, loving and supportive, and she loves them in return. But she's reaching an age where she wants to be in control of her own life and they simply aren't ready to let go. That's not the background they come from and Astoria is their baby.
I have lots of ideas for the next chapter! Let's see how quickly I can knock that sucker out. Thanks for another awesome review! Report Review
Wow I really loved this chapter, and I think itís one of my favourites of the story!
I see why you were asking about N.E.W.T.s now, and I rather liked seeing how conscientious Draco was when it came to his school work. He had that silent pride about himself and that he didnít want to admit to the others that he was good at Potions, and you could tell when McGonagall complimented him about it he felt really proud for himself. Youíve really shown how the war has changed as heís lost that arrogant swagger he had in the earlier books, and it shone through here.
I like him reminiscing about his father too. I think youíve really shown the complexities of their relationship really well and it was a pleasure to read. I could understand why Lucius would feel patronised as he used to be the head of the family and was the one in the know, but that role has been given to Draco know. I really wonder how that conversation with the others in the last chapter is going to affect the Malfoy future.
The conversation Draco had with McGonagall was great. When Draco first came back to Hogwarts I never thought she would say a nice thing about him, but sheís the type of person who honour the people who have done well so I my heart really swelled with pride when she was congratulating him. You really caught her understanding and how she does want to help him by coming up with that deal regarding Muggle Studies and Herbology.
The job sounds great for Draco. Itís interesting that he wants to help the victims of the war, because that suggests that he may become closer to opening up to Astoria and others about what he went through during it, and Iím really eager to hear about his perspective of it. I like the sound of Madam Blishwick she sounds like sheís going to be a really interesting character and I canít wait for the moment when we get to see her.
I really loved the scene in the Trophy Room with Draco and Astoria it was perfect. It was fluffy enough for me to feel satisfied, but then it wasnít overdone either that it felt sickening. I think it was right that it was from Astoriaís perspective as it added a really sweet touch to it and showed her innocence to things like this due to her being a pureblood princess. The flashback to the cafť in Derbyshire was a perfect too. It showed how intimate they were in a physical way as they were kissing in public, yet Draco still closed off his emotional side.
Isadoreís really beginning to grow on me. I think it was her eagerness about wanting to know what happened between Astoria and Draco is what really drew me into her. She just has this lively nature which is a real pleasure to read. I liked the conversation between the two as well as it was nice to have a lighter conversation and a girly one on top of that.
That was another amazing chapter and Iím eagerly awaiting the next :D
-KianaAuthor's Response: Hi, there! And thank you for taking time out of your busy exam schedule to leave such a nice review!
I'm glad you like the changes I've been bringing into Draco's character. I hope I've been able to create a good combination of carrots and sticks to make them all seem believable enough. His father is a key piece of the puzzle. All of the shine is off the apple, so to speak, where Lucius is concerned. Draco finally sees him for what he truly is and he doesn't want to ever turn out the same way.
Whew! I was worried about the conversation with Minerva. She's really intimidating to write. I'm still not completely certain that she ever would have been able to spare a kind word for Draco, but sometimes the plot takes characters into places where you have to feel a bit uncomfortable.
When I started writing this chapter, Draco's interest in this job was all for show. But the more I thought about it while I was editing, the more I realized that he might actually have a legit interest. He's trying to distance himself from his father and make his own way in the world. Whether or not he needs the money, this job could be a way of doing that. I'm rather torn at the moment as to whether you'll actually see Madam Blishwick. My plot outline jumps directly to Daphne's wedding at this point, but I'm sorely tempted to write a short little chapter showing Draco's job interview... and Isadore's explanation of the whole little wizard/big wizard situation. ;) Ah, so deliciously naughty!
I deliberately pulled the reins back on the scene in the Trophy Room and Astoria's memories of the Room of Requirement. I wanted to get across the point that this is all new to Astoria, but she finds it exhilarating. I didn't really see a need to get into an anatomy lesson at this point. Draco and Astoria do some of the things that love-stricken teenagers do when they're all alone. I'll let the reader decide in his or her own mind exactly what those things are.
Even see one of those situations on TV or in a movie where the character has a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other? Isadore is sort of like Astoria's little devil, although she definitely has Astoria's best interests at heart. Her idea of "Astoria's best interests" might just be a little different from other people's. ;)
I'm really glad you enjoyed this chapter. It was a blast to write, once I got going with it. Thanks so much! Report Review
Oh, I do love it when Draco goes to the edge of fury. The entire wand at Flint's throat thing had me squealing with delight. Loved it.
I had to laugh with Gamp about Voldemort though... Draco's "sign of spring" comment and Gamp saying he was wondering if a Death Eater would finally admit that. Hahaha! Somehow it reminds of the "reasons why Voldemort is like a teen-age girl." (You can look that up if you don't know and need a good laugh). xD But I'm glad that you remind us through Draco that Gamp truly has nothing on Voldemort. And all kidding aside, that is what really rings true.
It is apparent that Draco thinks his father is involved, but you have not convinced me that this is the benefactor that the group is speaking of. Hmm. A bit of mystery remains to me.
I do love your details, as usual... the glass on the floor, the backstory of the tiara, her getting ill on her first and last rollercoaster ride at the bank. Very nice.
And finally, in this little exchange with Astoria and Narcissa... I LOVE that she mentions that the little bit of doubt Draco instilled in Bellatrix played a major role as well. Draco never gets enough credit for this, so I do thank you for pointing it out. You do justice to him and true fans of Draco's thank you for it.
Dark WhisperAuthor's Response: Hi, there!
Draco has quite a temper still, and the more stress he's under, the worse it seems to get.
Gamp is one of those completely crazy people who sometimes sees the world in unique ways. Unique for a pure blood sociopath, anyway. I can't remember where I first saw the joke abut Harry beating Voldemort every spring, but it's definitely true.
Draco is pretty convinced by this point that old Lucius is behind this all somehow. It is a mystery, because it's far from certain...
I don't see how *anyone* doesn't get sick on their first trip into the depths of Gringotts. That's a pretty insane ride.
There I go again, letting Narcissa steal a scene. I did it a few times in Marked. It's hard not to, because her story and Draco's are so tightly connected. Draco did play a role in helping defeat Voldemort, whether he wanted to of not.
I'm pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
Hey! So I have a bit of time to spare before my life gets too complicated once again so I figured I should drop by!
As I read this I realized that Daphne is only 18-19 and is already getting ready for marriage. It just goes to show that even though the pure bloods always regard themselves to be better than the other 'lowly' witches and wizards, they still live in what I would see as a backwards way of living. Hermione, same age as Daphne, wants to finish her education and go work for the Ministry. Daphne on the other hand is getting married, be part of the inner circles of society to excel in gossip and be a dutiful wive. Oh and let's not forget about having and raising the pure blooded children she's suppose to have. You just really made me think of how the 'noble' pure bloods are raising their daughters compared to someone like Mrs. Weasley or the Grangers who have strong and independent girls.
Anyway! The scene with the dresses reminded me of those reality shows on TV. Made me giggle and made me feel bad for Astoria. However when her mom told her that she was to be escorted to the wedding by Emery I felt so bad for her and anger towards the mom. One minute she's this person Astoria can open up to, the next she's a demanding mother who forces Astoria to do something she doesn't wish to do. She's quite a character! I'm wondering of how she'll react when Astoria tells her that she wishes to be with Draco. Will she be mad or try to be happy for Astoria?
I absolutely LOVED the conversation between Zabini and Draco. Its like Draco wants to appear like a BAMF in front of Zabini about the wedding but in reality he's doing it for a girl. That, overall, is just funny.
we both know that Emery Montague is playing Chaser for the other squad.
That was brilliant. It had me laughing! Ah, wizarding humor. Zabini, though, he's playing with fire and will always play with fire. He's not evil or anything...just very stupid. The wizarding world just went through a horrible war and thinks that he can rally the losing side and overthrow the current government. Doesn't he stop to think that Harry went face to face with Voldemort and that facing Zabini would be nothing compared to him? Even if they're targeting Shacklebolt it's not like he'll be alone. Ugh, Zabini frustrates me!
Anyway! Now I'm one chapter behind and I already read half of it at work. Just so you know, Gamp is just scary! Haha! Sorry the review is a bit short but today is becoming hectic once more. Real life bites some times.
Until next time, sir! :D
--RosieAuthor's Response: Hi, Rosie!
Daphne is so vested in the old pure blood way of doing things that none of this seems at all strange to her. Her sense of right and wrong is hard-wired at this point and she really isn't the type to spend a lot of time second-guessing things. That's the difference between her and Astoria. Or her and Hermione, for that matter. So yay for strong, independent-minded girls!
I was definitely thinking along the lines of some of those awful reality shows when I wrote that whole section. It's definitely not Astoria's "scene", if you will. I'd say not to pass judgment on Astoria's parents *too soon*. They're products of their upbringing and they really do love both of their daughters and try to do what they think is best. They just have some weird ideas about it, that's all.
Draco does prefer to look hardcore when he can, but he has other reasons not to want Zabini to know why he's so intent on attending Gamp and Daphne's wedding. If word gets back to Mr. Greengrass that Draco and Astoria are still romantically involved, he'll probably send her away to Beauxbatons or something.
I'm glad you liked Draco's little one-liner about Emery Montague. I enjoyed writing that.
Zabini is not being smart at all, but you'll soon see that he's probably the least dangerous of Draco's old friends. He's disenchanted and he has a bad substance abuse problem and he's too dumb to realize what he's getting himself into.
You're going to be all caught up and I still don't have the next chapter done! I'll have to work on that. Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
I really wish I had a time turner because I seriously don't have the time to read and review as often as I did. But considering that I'm already three chapters behind I figured I should narrow the gap by coming to review this chapter. I was guilty of reading and never coming to review until now...oops. :S
One of the things that stuck out to me the most and definitely one of my favorite details is how Astoria behaves. One moment she's a normal teen talking to her friend and the next an obedient daughter who only speaks when she's allowed. You definitely have kept in mind that most of the Slytherins come from a somewhat 'posh' upbringing. Proper behavior from a lady is expected from these girls. Perhaps that's why I always seem to picture Astoria in a large Victorian era gown instead of her uniform. The part where her friend tells her that she's a Slytherin and therefore she has to lie made me giggle; mostly because it's true.
"Not being a parent, perhaps you can't understand how upsetting that is to her mother and me."
That line by her father just annoyed me. I thought, "How dare this man talk to Minerva that way!" And then I felt a little sad because McGonagall has a very tragic past. How rude of a man! Again though! Kudos to you for bringing yourself into a mindset of a Slytherin father. He's concern about his daughter's wellbeing but at the same time, he doesn't think that school is dignified enough for his child and feels the need to let the Headmistress know that. I have to ask, how do you do it? You're able to write bad guys so well but clearly you're a Gryffindor. Hahaha! Astoria's dad is not a bad guy per say but he has a bit of that pure-blood tendencies and that his family is better than everyone else's. And yet...he's a loving father who is concern about her wellbeing and her future. He's a very stubborn man...ugh, I don't know how I feel about the guy yet...
Just so you know I wanted to applaud just like Astoria after Minerva's speech. But I was at work...and that would've looked weird.
I absolutely loved Snape's speech.
Lucius is going absolutely mad!
I can just picture Jason Isaacs rocking back and forth in his chair looking wasted away and disheveled. For a while you had me there, that there were some Death Eaters trying to rise once again and finish what Voldemort had started. But then I felt bad for him...a little bit.
But Draco in the end just made me very upset! He was doing so well with his drinking and now Lucius had to ruin everything. So much angst for Draco! I know that Astoria and Draco get together so I know that there will be a happy ending to this story. Unless you go through the alternate universe route...then I won't be happy! Haha!
Well, I hope to not take forever to read and review the next chapter! But I'll be back nonetheless!
Until next time, sir!
--RosieAuthor's Response: Hi, Rosie! I caught up with my review responses this morning and now I'm endeavoring to keep up a little better. Time will tell whether I succeed.
Astoria's upbringing definitely affects how she behaves, and it's different around adults than people her own age. She is expected to be a proper young lady when her father is addressing her in public, or when he's angry in general I imagine. But she's also a teenage girl and the behavior of her less proper schoolmates has rubbed off on her. And Isadore doesn't just think she should lie because she's a Slytherin, it's also because she's a girl. :p
Mr. Greengrass has been one of those characters that I'm sort of figuring out as I go along. I don't know whether that shows, but I always sort of plunk him into a situation and think, "OK, how is he going to act?" In this case, he is very concerned about Astoria's well-being. And he still has enough misconceptions about the war to make ignorant statements like the one he makes about Dumbledore. In his mind, Dumbledore over-reacted to Voldemort and because of that, he allowed Hogwarts to be dragged into something that a school never should have been part of. He's wrong, of course, but he doesn't know that and McGonagall probably doesn't see any point in trying to set him straight at this particular moment. It isn't as though she would have changed his mind.
When I was first mapping out this chapter, I had Astoria talking to Dumbledore instead of Snape. But then it occurred to me that Snape knows Draco much better and Astoria would be more likely to take his advice to heart. It just sort of rolled from there.
Old Lucius isn't well. His time in Azkaban and the war both took a toll on him, and losing all of his friends and influence inside the Ministry was a pretty cruel blow, as well. I'm glad you can see Jason Isaacs behaving like that, because it was pretty much exactly what I had in mind.
In my mind, I always expected Draco to have some missteps during his recovery. Most addicts do. I wasn't planning on going to AU route, but now that you mention it, I could turn this into a really awesome Dramione! :p
I always love it when you stop by. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! Report Review
Ugh, here I am moping about how good your stories are in comparison to mine again. I wish I'd left a review on every chapter, but I really wanted to get to the end to see what happened, and, well, here I am.
I also wish I could be coherent with this, but I'm tired, so I will just say that Jami is a very lucky person, that this is one of the best takes on post-war Draco that I have ever read, and that I absolutely love your Astoria.
Please update this soon if you can, you've just found yourself a new fangirl!Author's Response: Hi, there! What a pleasant surprise!
I like all reviews, whether they're coherent or not. ;) It's very nice to know that you're enjoying the story and you like the way I've written Draco and Astoria. They're quickly becoming one of my favorite pairs to write.
Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
Ok, I need to start by including something I forgot in the last chapter review because I was in a bit of a rush: I absolutely loved the ending of the last chapter! The fact that he slipped backwards, that he thought she could never love him, that he went back to the alcohol! Oh brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! That simple decision made your character so much more real and I think it was just perfect. Draco wants to change, for himself and Astoria, but change is HARD. So often in fanfic people forget that. So well done you.
Ok, on to this chapter. Hahaha, the scenes with Daphne were great, I loved all the squealing and consumption of way too much champagne and the uncomfortable dresses...it was almost like a caricature, but it really worked well. And the conversation with her mother was fascinating. The whole arranged marriage concept is an interesting one, but I think it works incredibly well with the whole 'pure blood' system. What's amusing is that in another time and place, her parents would be falling over themselves to marry her off to Draco.
I really like the choice to have their relationship develop through letters, it adds to the anticipation and drama of the whole piece. Nothing brings two lovers closer together like being forced apart (Romeo meet Juliet :P). I like the way that Astoria's feelings for Draco seem to give her this added strength too, the fact that she's now almost planning the 'run off and get married' plan B is a big step from where she was at the start. I like that growth in her.
The Draco/Zabini interaction was really good, such a contrast to Astoria's difficult situation and yet so similar at the same time. Rather than making Draco into someone he's not (my main gripe with draco-centric fics), you bring out the qualities that are apparent in canon and build on them, resulting in the character maintaining integrity and being entirely believable as the same person. His shrewdness, sarcasm and intelligence are all things that we saw in Malfoy from the very first book, and you've brought them all out really well. It's really impressive and you should be proud because it's very difficult to do that with someone else's character.
The final paragraph was perfection. It sums up this motivation for Draco to stay out of the firing line and bring about change in his life. Of course there's not just one reason, but here you've touched on a very real issue that Draco would have faced, a very real emotion and anxiety to stay out of the fight. I just thought it was very clever.
As always, your writing is brilliant and beautiful and I loved reading this chapter. Only one left and I've caught up :( Hopefully there will be more up soon :)Author's Response: Hello, again!
Draco had quite a setback at the end of the last chapter. He was having a rough go of it anyway, and his father's antics pushed him over the edge. In my mind, it was bound to happen at some point. He's dealing with a lot of stress in his life, between preparing for his N.E.W.T.s, trying to keep his relationship with Astoria a secret, worrying about what's going on with his father and trying to walk the straight and narrow path. So he slipped a bit. Let's hope it's not the start of something. ;)
In my mind, Daphne is a pretty horrible bride. She's vain, flighty, spoiled and very high-maintenance. Plus, there were aspects of that scene that were just too much fun not to write. Pansy getting physically abused by the dress fitter? Come on, that's gold!
Astoria's mother is one to keep an eye on. Like a lot of characters in the post-war world, you're going to see her struggle a bit to find a balance between the things she was raised to believe and the new realities of life. And you're right: in the absence of the war, Draco would have been one of the most eligible bachelors in the entire wizarding world.
I see the way that their relationship is mostly developing through letters as being somewhat double-edged. By the nature of the letter-writing process, they do get to learn about each other's thoughts, dreams and ambitions. But they're missing out on the chance to get to know the real human being that goes along with all that deep stuff. I'm pretty sure that will become an issue at some point.
I'm really starting to enjoy putting Draco and Blaise together in a room and letting things develop. They're both Slytherin through and through. They're shrewd, cunning, motivated, high-bred and pretty ruthless when it comes to pursuing what they want, but in a refined sort of way. *Big* contrast to that coming up soon...
Draco has a distinct advantage over Zabini, though. He's been through a lot more. He knows what happens to idealistic idiots like Zabini when real conflict breaks out. And he wants no part of it.
I'm starting to work on the next chapter. I have a pretty good outline through to the end of the story at this point, so hopefully the writing will go a bit faster. Thanks for the awesome review! Report Review
I feel left out having not read the Conspiracy of Blood Jeremy Gamp means nothing to me. Well, I suppose once all of my exams are over it will give me an excuse to read it ;) This probably sounds really minor but I liked the addition about wizarding whiskeys, itís so nice to see the author go to the extra effort to include that and it gives you a better sense of the magical society.
I really loved this line Ė ĎIn truth, he wanted nothing more than to stand up and leave.í It just showed how much Draco had changed by no longer wanting to be with them. I think youíve shown his transition from a Death Eater to someone who no longer fully agrees with their views perfectly, and all of his actions throughout the story perfectly correlate with this moment. It kind of makes you wonder what he would have been like without Astoria as she was a big help in him reaching this point.
This may sound weird but Iím really liked this Gamp person. Obviously I donít like his personality, but he seems to be the perfect villain, one that you hate so much you end up loving him for that reason. Iím guessing that heís the main antagonist in CoB? If so these is an even bigger motivating factor to get round to reading it, because what theyíre discussing now is probably foreshadowing for the book.
It was strange to see Draco stick up for his family, yet it seemed sense that he would do so. Even though he probably doesnít agree with what they did then, he isnít the type to sit there and just let Flint offend his family however he wants. I liked this spark in Draco as it was reminiscent of his often quick temper we see in the books.
I found another line I loved Ė ĎZabini was a lover, not a fighter.í I donít what it was about this line but it fitted perfectly with my mental image of Zabini as I always imagined him as a lover. I really liked how you didnít make Zabini perfect and best friends with Draco as Iíve seen that done a lot, so what you did was a refreshing change. I never imagined him to be so revolutionary, but then again, we know so little about Zabini you can really manipulate him to be whatever you want him to be.
After what you said about Zabini being of a higher class to Gamp and Flint I really began to pick that up in every aspect of them. It was subtle enough for it not to be in your face, but it was done subconsciously so you still picked up on it. I think it was their mannerisms and speech which pulled it off and it was most obvious when Gamp called Draco a ponce.
I liked learning about the legend of the tiara, like the whiskey, it was a really nice touch and made a simple object a lot more interesting. I really like the clear difference youíre showing between Daphne and Astoria, as I always wondered why Draco didnít end up with Daphne considering they were in the same year, and we have an explanation here.
I really enjoyed that scene between Narcissa and Astoria, it was perfectly done. Narcissaís understanding of the situation was great, and she just seem to instinctively know how to handle Astoria and how to say the right thing. I liked how she recognised how much Astoria had done for Draco, and it seems as if she was giving her blessing for their relationship.
I really enjoyed that chapter and I canít wait for the next!
-KianaAuthor's Response: Hi, there!
I don't normally respond to reviews out of order, but one thing you said made me do enough of a double-take that I felt like I needed to answer you right away. I really, really doubt that you'll like Jeremy Gamp after reading CoB. I won't spoil anything for you, but suffice it to say that he does some genuinely horrible things. Obviously, there's no way you could know this, but when I read it in your review it leapt off the page at me because I don't think *anyone* who read CoB liked Gamp by the end of the story.
Anyway, you're right about Draco. The war changed him drastically, and his relationship with Astoria has helped him continue to change in a positive way. He no longer has any desire to associate with the likes of Gamp, Flint and Zabini. And it isn't because he doesn't agree with them about muggles and muggle-borns, he's just seen enough war and death to last a lifetime and he doesn't want any part of any new conflict. Moreover, he knows that they are doomed to fail.
Draco is the sort, I think, that will always stick up for his family if he perceives that an "outsider" is insulting them. That's just the way he was raised, and nothing is ever going to change it. He may think that Lucius is the biggest fool in the world at this point, but he'll still defend his father against someone who isn't part of the family.
I don't think that Zabini is as much a revolutionary as he is disenchanted and impressionable. He no longer sees the "golden future" that he was expecting when pure bloods were the "royalty" of the wizarding world and held enormous influence over the Ministry. Combine that with all of the big talk that Gamp, Flint and the others are filling his head with, and he's really started to believe that they are destined to "retake" their world. He is much too naive to realize just what a dumb thing they're doing.
The tiara filled a need I had to draw out the differences between Daphne and Astoria, but also to show that Astoria is still a teenage girl who's still prone to moments of juvenile behavior and silly rivalries. After the first few chapters, I really started to worry that she seemed too old for her years, so I wanted to show some different sides of her.
Ugh. So I'm feeling shades of deja vu as I reread the conversation between Astoria and Narcissa. When I started writing Marked, it was meant to be a "Draco story", but Narcissa stole the show in a few places. It's a hard temptation to resist. For one thing, her story is so tightly intertwined with Draco's. Also, I find her to be one of the most interesting characters JKR created: this very different version of what a mother is supposed to be compared to Lily Potter or Molly Weasley, yet her love for Draco is obviously no less and in the end she plays a very important part in making Voldemort's defeat possible.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed this. I don't think I've ever had quite this much difficulty writing a chapter where I went in knowing exactly what I wanted to do. Hopefully the next one will be a bit easier. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reactions! Report Review
You know, I wish for about the millionth time that I could leave running reviews. There are so many things I thought about wanting to comment on during this chapter and I have no idea how I'm going to remember those. Maybe if someone wouldn't have kept me up until midnight distracting me while I edited, my brain would be working better. Oh... wait. I was the one keeping you up, huh?
Anyway, I think the additions to Gamps scene are awesome. Draco still managed to keep a cool head when the man countered his excuse about the weapon, and I have to say I was really impressed with the turn he chose to take.
Can any of us disagree that Voldemort's biggest downfall was being so obsessed with Harry? I loved Gamps comments, and it's hard to think that people involved in the war wouldn't think something similar. Of course the DE like Bellatrix and the first few who new Voldemort from Hogwarts days wouldn't think twice about their master, but I love that the supporters who'd never seen his cruelty would think something along those lines. Gamp actually said something I sort of agree with. Creepy.
Although he best watch the way he talks about Lily. That's one group he doesn't want going after him ;)
I'm getting pretty nervous about Draco and the way he seems to be letting all of this get to him. He's getting too involved with the trickery and the sneaking, and much too involved with that alcohol he's drinking. I wish he'd just go over to the Greengrass's and talk to her dad, man to man, instead of ever having gotten involved in all this.
Then the scene at Gringotts was really lovely. I adore watching Astoria learn so much more about what's outside of her sheltered world. She sees these things people went through, things she never could imagine with her parents firm stance of not getting involved and the money they had to keep them in them that way. The war was real for her I'm sure. She knew it was happening, but in the way that people across the world know there was a terrorist attack. It's sad and terrible, but she wasn't involved the way that Draco was, or Narcissa. She's learning so much more than I'm sure she bargained for, and I'm so impressed with how understanding she's being. I think the serious conversation that took place between those two was the perfect balance to the spoiled daughter vibe from the first part of that section. Not that there's anything wrong with being a spoiled daughter. I've managed to do it well all my life ;).
I had to remind myself this story was about Draco and Astoria, because I was half tempted to ask you to make the next chapter about Narcissa and Andromeda, haha! Well, maybe that's something Astoria can bear witness to in the future? ;)
I really liked that you added Astoria enjoying shopping for Daphne. Astoria is a girl, enjoys being a girl, enjoys looking pretty... and the fact that Daphne has good taste couldn't hurt. It's funny how different the two of those are. My sisters and I are so much alike, but neither of them are similar to Daphne so that's probably why ;).
This was an awesome chapter, m'dear! I can't wait to see these two lovers reunited!Author's Response: Jami, Jami, Jami. I love how much thought and effort I have to put into responding to your reviews. It's like a really pleasant homework assignment.
One odd thing about Gamp is that he's actually pretty insightful for a lunatic. Voldemort was completely obsessed with Harry because Harry's very survival made his power look less than absolute. As long as Harry lived, there would be proof that there were things beyond Voldemort's control, and I think that thought ate away at him night and day. Gamp saw things about him that all of his most ardent supporters missed. So, yes, great minds like you and Gamp think alike. :p
Draco is putting an awful lot of eggs into one basket with this plan he has to attend Gamp's wedding. It's obviously taking a mental toll on him. You can see it in his drinking and in his reduced ability to control his temper. I can't see him doing that with Mr. Greengrass, however. He's already had his pride injured once by Astoria's father. Being a Malfoy, he will definitely go the route of trying to prove that he's worthy rather than trying to talk his way in.
I loved writing the scene at Gringotts. Here I am letting Narcissa steal a scene again, just like she did several times in Marked. I think the conversation did a lot of good for Astoria. Perhaps a bit too much. You'll see... ;)
I think I'd like to write about Narcissa and Andromeda someday, but I'm not quite sure what I could bring to the story that I haven't read already. It's a surprisingly well-covered topic.
Astoria loves her sister, even though Daphne acts like a shallow idiot sometimes. They have a pretty strong bond in my mind, and Astoria definitely enjoys letting her sister spend their father's money on her. ;)
So glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the awesome review! Report Review
Ok, I'm way behind in my reviewing, but I'm trying to catch up. So here's my next review :)
The conversation with Isadore made me laugh, I loved how she was so determined that Astoria wasn't telling her the whole story. I think it showed a lot about her character too, the fact that she refused to lie to her father and yet she was determined to do whatever she could to defend Draco and stay at Hogwarts where she still had access to him.
Astoria's father is amazing...I just want to reach through my computer screen and throttle him! The conversation between Astoria and her father showed an interesting duality in Astoria I thought. She's this good daughter who wants the approval of her father but at the same time there is this quiet strength in her that gives her the motivation to stand up to her father when she thinks it's necessary. That demonstrates how important her relationship with Draco already is to her.
I thought the conversation between Astoria and Snape was really clever too, that's one thing that's so brilliant about the HP universe, you can bring in conversations with dead people with a little bit of creative thinking :) It was good for Astoria to get a different perspective too.
I really like your characterisation of Lucius Malfoy. He's just sort of wasting away, living in this delusion that everything can carry on the way it did before the war, that they can still overtake the ministry etc. His father's desire to get involved with this movement or revolution or whatever you want to call it is a real complication for Draco and adds a nice challenge to the plot, I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.
I really liked the contrast between the two scenes with the fathers, it was a really clever device and I thought it worked well.
Overall, another brilliantly written chapter that I cannot fault even the slightest bit. Well done, and I'll try to finish off the next two reviews as soon as I can :)Author's Response: Hi, there! Hasn't it been a fun month of April? I'm not sure how next month can possibly top this.
Isadore is another foil that I'm trying -- successfully, I hope -- to draw out some of the things that make Astoria stand out. She's on the mature side for her age, but she is still a teenage girl and therefore prone to a bit of drama, indecision and silliness. Regardless, Astoria is smart enough not to tell Isadore too much at once, lest it be all over the school in a matter of days. Isadore isn't malicious, she's just a hopeless romantic who wants to see Astoria in a relationship so they can gossip about it.
Astoria's father is a little too sure of what he thinks that he knows about a lot of things, including Draco and the war. That said, he is still very concerned for Astoria's well-being, and I hope that came through well enough in this. She will stand up to him to a certain extent, but she knows where to stop pushing her luck.
My first thought was to use Dumbledore's portrait for the conversation Astoria has at the end, but Snape just felt more natural. He's so much more blunt, and I think blunt was what Astoria needed at that moment.
By the time he appears in Deathly Hallows, I already had the impression that old Lucius was a shell of his former self. Azkaban was not kind to him. He isn't a fanatic like Crouch, Jr. or Bellatrix who came out of Azkaban even more hardened than they went in. I always had the impression that Azkaban broke him. By the end of the war, I don't think his mental health is good at all. Now he's sort of trying to recapture the "glory days" when he was a big, important, powerful man and not just a sorry, humbled shell.
I'm glad you liked the two different fathers. One very strong, one on the verge of collapse, both having a lot of difficulty dealing with post-war reality.
I'm so pleased that you're enjoying the story! Thanks for all of your awesome reviews! Report Review
This was such a great chapter I don't really know where to start! I once read a book by an author named Cecelia Ahern that told a love story which stretched over several decades just through the letters the main characters exchanged. They met once at the beginning and once at the end. I'd tell you the title but my bookcase is too far away to check. I'll get back to you on that. My point is, you are building this amazing love story between these two people (if I didn't know the outcome I'd have fainted by now) and they haven't actually seen each other in two chapters. I think that is incredible. It's easy to build romance when your characters go for picnics and shop for rings together but here, it's this struggle of theirs to get together that is so emotional. It gives me that old romance vibe, when the two just saw each other and fell in love and after that point nothing else mattered.
Draco is really playing a dangerous game and the fact that he is willing to do something so stupid as to get in touch with the old crowd just to get Zabini to do him a favor makes me think that either he's really that determined to get Astoria (and the romantic in me clings to that) or the Firewhiskey's fried his brains for good.
I'm currently reviewing all the usual suspects in my head in search of this inner circle member that's planning the revolution but so far I'm coming up with nothing. That's number two on my list of things I should get back to you on. The weapon story is indeed a very good cover up and he was very good at coming up with a lie so quickly. It'll be interesting to see how he's getting out of it, though. This whole dynamic with Draco and Gamp is amazing, because they are two strong male characters that clash on the most fundamental things, like principles and chosen paths in life. Draco is used to being the alpha in his little pack at Hogwarts and Gamp ... well, he's just evil and a wee bit delusional. It's clear none of them want to give in to the other and it's going to be interesting to see how that plays out. From my experience, in a group when two alphas collide, it's not pretty (lucky for me I'm a short girl with a big mouth and I can stand my ground just fine).
And I guess that maybe, somewhere deep down in the black pit where a heart should've been (not that he wouldn't have turned that into a Horcrux, given the chance), Voldemort did care for Harry. Or just his education seeing as he always waited until the end of the year to try and kill him.
The sad thing is, these people don't learn from their mistakes, which is lucky for us since the last thing we need are humble villains who learn from their mistakes. Calling Lily Potter a housewife. Ignorant little punks.
I loved this line " barristers, fines, charitable contributions and outright bribes". It's what all the good families spend money on. There is hope for them still!
As for Astoria, there is that little princess thing still there, with the tiara (which she wants just because her sister wants it) and the shopping for undergarments. I loved that your brought her face to face with Narcissa. In my mind they are so similar and Narcissa's actions in the forest at the final battle are so overlooked in my opinion. Draco lied to Bellatrix, which is an accomplishment on its own, but Narcissa looked the most powerful Occlumence in the eye and told him his arch enemy was dead and nobody bothered to check twice? She was that good. Can you imagine a duel between her and Molly Weasley? I'd be torn!
I liked how her arrogance was toned down. It's clear that having a raging lunatic for a husband and a former Death Eater for a son took its toll on her and she might have realized that not all that glitters is gold. She lost family and friends and all she has left is her dignity and you present that beautifully. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Narcissa in future chapters.
I think I've used up all my words but I will say once again that I loved this chapter and as always, you make me think about so many things regarding Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy in particular (and you make me rant in case you haven't noticed). Brilliant job!
RalAuthor's Response: Hi, Ral!
You know, it's bothered me a little from time to time, this idea of the two of them essentially falling in love by mail. I hadn't really thought of it the way that you do, but I do think that it's going to work well in the end. The fact that the two of them actually don't know one another as well as they like to think that they do will present some difficulties before the story is over.
Draco has become very focused on having his opportunity to be Astoria's date for the wedding. It's partly defensive -- he doesn't *really* think that she might fall for Emery Montague, but he doesn't want her to fall for anyone else -- and partly because this is one of the very few chances he'll get to see her. Pure blood daughters, after all, don't get to just go wandering around the world unescorted, especially those who have already been caught once associating with an "undesirable" young man.
By the end of his section, Draco is convinced that old Lucius is the one that Gamp has been communicating with. The details fit, obviously. There is a lot of friction between Draco and Gamp, but Draco manages it fairly well. During his year as Voldemort's whipping boy, he definitely learned that there are times when it's not worth it to try to be the top dog. That said, he's not going to let Gamp push him around when it matters. You already know how their "relationship" ends. ;)
The bit about barristers and fines is something that I've always suspected about the Malfoys' life immediately after the war. Just because they didn't wind up in Azkaban doesn't mean that it was easy -- or cheap -- to avoid.
There's a *lot* of "daddy's little princess" in Astoria. One thing that I've tried hard to do over the last few chapters is remind everyone that she's still a teenage girl. I was worried after the first few chapters that she came off way too mature. The tiara seemed like a really good device to show that she remains immature in a lot of ways, but it also gives her something to think about once Narcissa reveals just how much she misses her own sisters.
Ah, Narcissa... I'm having a bit of deja vu right now, because something similar happened when I was writing Marked. That was meant to be a "Draco story", but I felt like Narcissa stole the show in some places. It's hard, because her story is so tightly intertwined with Draco's. I also thought she turned out to be one of the more interesting characters by the end of DH. She became this very different version of what a mother is supposed to be: nothing like Lily Potter or Molly Weasley, but her love for Draco was no less important to the final outcome. At any rate, I'm glad that you find her interesting.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed it! For a chapter where I knew going in how I wanted it to turn out, this one ended up being really hard to write. Thanks for all of your awesome reviews! Report Review
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