This is amazing! You're sure you don't ship Dramione? :P It would have been my guess from reading this Report Review
Hello there! teh tarik here from the forums with your requested review :) Sorry it's taken me quite a few days!
Right, can I say that this is a lovely start to a Dramione fic? Your opening paragraph was a lot thicker than any other parts of the chapter, but it was light in tone and easy to read and at the same time it has this edge of darkness, what with the revelation that Lucius has been given the Dementor's Kiss. The setting of the Muggle cafe was very well-established through close attention to detail e.g. "Nervous couples on first dates, a mother reading a romance novel while absentmindedly pushing her buggy back and forth with her foot, and a few people pecking away on what Draco had learned were laptop computers." Also, you skilfully provided just the right amount of backstory within this paragraph - not too much, or it would've come off as a bit of an info dump.
As for your characterisation, I love your depiction of Draco as a disillusioned and resigned character, changed by the war; he's a lot easier to sympathise with now that he's free of the pureblood fanaticism which he claims was "forced upon him". It's interesting to see that Draco has actually been a victim of his father's rigid beliefs. However, with this part:
Hermione was taken aback. "That's a bit surprising coming from the first man to ever call me 'mudblood."
Draco avoided her eyes. "I learned that from him."
"But it sounds like now, you've learned differently?"
"What, Hermione, did you think that being a bigot was a pure blood genetic trait? No, prejudice is something you've got to be carefully taught."
It does sound as though Draco is putting a lot of blame on his father's ways, i.e. he doesn't sound like he's accepting a lot of personal responsibility for his own actions. This does sort of fit the canon Malfoy, I suppose...and it's possibly a character flaw in your Draco? It would be interesting to develop this!
I do like Hermione a lot in this story as well, and I really like the information you reveal about the changing Ministry's programme about Muggle-born witches and wizards. It's an interesting idea, and of course Hermione, dedicated to the equality of all beings, would be working on it.
However, I do feel that Draco and Hermione's conversation started off a little too...easy. I mean, the two haven't seen each other for ages, and they weren't exactly the best of friends in the past. And having Hermione refer to Draco as Monsieur pure blood (which comes off more as friendly teasing rather than an insult) sort of sounds as though she's got a bit too comfortable around him rather too quickly. It might have been a little more realistic if they'd started off awkward at first before allowing their conversation to progress more easily. Anyway, this is just my opinion, and I don't really offer the best critique of romance, sorry!
That being said, I especially liked this moment after Hermione's scar is revealed:
But along with that rush of shame, Draco also felt strangely like he wouldn't mind kissing that scar... a thought that intruiged, confused, and to a certain degree, repulsed him.
I like that Draco is mildly repulsed by this new strange feeling; you've done well to bring up the ambivalence and inner conflict of Draco - it sort of reflects on the clashing values of his pureblood prejudiced upbringing and possibly the inherent good in his character as well as his attraction to Hermione.
Hermione asking him to dinner was well-written (it might have been rather sudden even though it's not meant to be a romantic thing but a formal event) and Draco mistaking it as her asking him on a date or something was nicely done and funny :) Your story does end poignantly; it's like Draco has finally managed to completely let go of his pureblood values and it is a great way to end the story.
I do think you could build on the ending a little so it will come off stronger and have a better sense of resolution. (I didn't know it was a one-shot until I saw the COMPLETED status)
Anyway, this is a great story; it's warm and it ends on a note of hope and it portrays a different softer side to Malfoy, which I do like very much. A great thing about it is it doesn't really end with the characters' romantic desires being fulfilled, but rather it ends on the possibility of their fulfillment (or non-fulfillment.)
I do hope you keep writing and that this review's been of some use. Feel free to re-request at my thread :D
-tehAuthor's Response: Thank you so much! The feedback is greatly appreciated, you're a wonderfully detail oriented reviewer!
Good point about ramping up the "awkwardness"/distaste at the start of their conversation. I think I need to make Hermione more shocked to see Draco there, in a setting so incongruous with everything she knows about him, or knew about his "pre-War" self.
I also like your point about fleshing out Draco's sense of responsibility. I think there's probably some rich ground in pushing Draco to reflect on his entree into the Death Eaters 6th year.
Thank you again! I'm going to put some thought into some edits, and will re-request! Report Review
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