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Re: [DelendaEst] Review of Chap 36: Steals and Deals

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  • Lord Silvere
    *I always enjoy reading your comments. :) My replies are in bold. LS* ... *It certainly will strike Leo and perhaps eventually Rose as odd. But I think they d
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 2, 2012
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      I always enjoy reading your comments. :)

      My replies are in bold.

      LS


      On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 7:27 PM, bekkajane93 <bec_shaw_93@...> wrote:
       

      Hello.

      Just read the latest chapter. One of the things that stuck out the most for me was Harry's "I consider everyone here family" slip up. I wonder if Leo (and probably Rose too, since he'll surely tell her if he deems it important enough) will be able to take a few more steps in the general direction of the truth with that.

      It certainly will strike Leo and perhaps eventually Rose as odd. But I think they'd have to first know that H/B are time travelers before they can make good use of that clue. Even then, how could Harry be related to the Blacks, Potters, and Weasleys? I think that it will mostly serve to help develop a friendship between Harry and Leo.


      I really enjoyed Ron and Hermione's involvement in this chapter. Sidra seems to be such a domineering character within their little triangle, but at this point in the story, she's also a fairly unlikeable character. It'll be interesting to see if you continue to have them feature more and maybe grow beyond taking orders from Sidra.

      I felt bad that Sidra didn't get a chance to be in the spotlight this chapter. Hermione and Leo kind of dominated the time I allotted to the students. There should be some opportunities coming up in a couple of chapters. We'll see if the nature of her character allows me to throw her in. :)
       

      Bella's treatment of Hermione is a little surprising, but maybe not quite shocking since they are almost two sides of the same coin. They are both highly intelligent and logical witches with something to prove, although Hermione is still a bit of a stickler for rules and Bella prides herself on her ability to break them without getting caught. Maybe that common ground helps Bella feel just a little bit of respect for Hermione. I'm sure Bella still feels distinctively superior to the other students, but maybe she can appreciate that Hermione (as well and Leo and Ginny) tend to put themselves apart from the others when the petty childish rivalries come into play.


      This chapter marks the beginning of a fascinating dynamic between Bellatrix and Hermione, though I don't know that there's going to be all that many scenes featuring the two of them together. You have two witches of similar, substantial intellect, but with drastically different personalities and ambitions. Dumbledore has placed Hermione on the path to one day be the DADA professor at Hogwarts, and perhaps even Headmistress. Dumbledore isn't quite a master of DADA in the strictest sense, but he anticipates that Hermione will learn a lot from Bellatrix. As you will see soon, Bellatrix will undertake to teach Hermione a few things. This will give rise to another dynamic that both draws them together yet drives them apart. In the subject of the Dark Arts and DADA, Bellatrix will always consider herself the master, and Hermione the student. That won't sit well with Hermione, because she is about to take her NEWTS and go for a "Mastery." Bellatrix didn't even finish her sixth year. Hermione could dismiss this dynamic easily, but unfortunately for her, as the decades pass, no matter how high Hermione rises, she will occasionally have to return to her mentor to solve some of the more difficult problems. Bellatrix will always be the master. This is partly because she was born and raised in a Dark family, partly because she has more resources than the Hogwarts library will ever have, and partly because she just thinks like a Slytherin. Hermione's balm in this situation is that Bellatrix will also rise in power and prominence, and thus, when Hermione seeks advice from Bellatrix, she will hardly be approaching an inferior. Rather, Hermione and Bellatrix will be peers with an amicable, yet slightly competitive relationship.

      With the research Dumbledore has her doing on Horcruxes, I can even see Hermione perhaps being more involved with Bella and Harry's strategies when it comes to using them against Voldemort. It will be good to see how that plays out in future chapters, though I imagine if she starts spying for Dumbledore it will be a short lived acquaintance.

      Once Hermione figures out Bellatrix's plans and passes them onto Dd, the spy job will be over. It will be too late to stop Bellatrix. I'll refrain describing precisely why because it would be a spoiler for a future chapter. (The stuff about Hermione and Bellatrix probably won't quite make it into chapters.)
       

      I'm still hoping to see at least the tentative tendrils of a friendship between Harry, Hermione and Ron by the end of the story. They were such a huge part of Harry's life in the lost war and it's kind of tragic to think that even though they're alive and well in this new universe, what they had as friends is completely lost. They may not have the memories of defeating mountain trolls and saving innocent men from the dementors kiss, but Voldemort's still around so they still have plenty of opportunities to (for lack of better word) bond.

      It's sad. Tendrils might be all that you see, though. Rest assured, they will eventually be very good friends, but perhaps not in bounds of the story itself.


      Staying on the subject of the children, was it just me, or was Leo poking his head out of his shell just a little bit in this chapter? It just seemed to me that he was a tad more comfortable in his own shoes. Perhaps taking an active role in the war is/will start slowly helping the kids grow up. I enjoyed the conversation between him and Harry. They both seem to be open to some kind of family relationship that so far is impossible for Harry to have with the other Potters. It'll be great to see if that is expanded on, especially if the two groups of students are going to be helping Harry and Bella out in the war more often.

      Leo is indeed developing. :)


      I like that Amelia is also starting to play a bigger part. She and Bella seem like they have some entertaining plans up their sleeves. I look forward to reading them. I do have one question though. Was Bella the one who conjured Harry's `ghost' just for effect or was Harry there listening in and using the `ghost' as a kind of confirmation that he's still around, be it alive or dead?

      Harry was listening in and gave Bellatrix his approval for Amelia's plan. They were playing around with Amelia a bit. Now, she gets to go home and wonder if Bellatrix was playing with her, whether there actually is a bona fide ghost, or whether Harry might be alive.


      Barty Crouch Jr was an interesting appearance. I hadn't thought about how he would have never been outed as a death eater if he didn't torture the Longbottoms. I wonder if he'll have any substantial role to play in upcoming chapters or if he'll just be another death eater/ministry lackey who gets pwned by the good guys in the end.

      Crouch will have a substantial role. I don't think he'll score a POV. I think you'll be seeing him next chapter, as well. 


      Draco's scene at the end was quite amusing. I love how he thinks he's so clever. He reminds me of a little kid who was told to clean his room, but he thew everything in the cupboard instead and thinks he got away with it. I'm guessing Bella's not going to be happy when she finds out. Someone's in trouble!

      Everybody seemed to really like this part. I might have to include short Draco snippets regularly. Bellatrix won't mind what he's done so long as he doesn't cause her trouble. She might even hope that he continues progressing.


      By the way, what's the significance of the Marauder's Map changing hands last chapter? I think I'm missing something.

      John Potter came down to the Common Room and demanded to know who had been in his stuff. The Marauders Map was stolen from him. Coincidentally, somebody was prowling the castle that night who later stated that if anybody followed the students down the secret passage, he would know it.


      Thanks for the update. I loved it. Can't wait to read more.


    • Thomas Pulk
      Always love an update. I just got my internet back and the new chapters were a great surprise. I wanted to say that I had understood that the Marauder s map
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 9, 2012
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        Always love an update. I just got my internet back and the new chapters were a great surprise.

        I wanted to say that I had understood that the Marauder's map had changed hands or at least I thought I did. [According to your response it seems Harry and Bella have the map is that right; when reading I had thought Sidra had taken it. If she did will there be a confrontation between John and her at all?]

        However I will say that I do wonder why John Potter had the map in the first place. Did James only want to pass it onto a son instead of either Sidra or Rose? And if so were any other students aware of the map? Had it been confiscated like in the old timeline or did it leave Hogwarts with the changed Marauders?

        I was surprised that there wasn't a little more sibling rivalry between Sidra and Rose. I understand why they didn't fight in front of Bella and Harry but I kind of expected some comments and banter. I liked how you handled the cave and the inferi. I will admit to saying I didn't understand in HBP or now how Voldemort could enchant such an object and then not put in a poison that would be instantly fatal. After all at least in canon this one seemed like the most heavily guarded piece which makes it seem particularly important.

        I have two or three ideas on that score. [1] the potion is something that would make the drinker into another inferi gaurdian [2] the potion leaves them somehow vulnerable to manipulation or subjugation to Voldemort [3] I'm assuming that only wizards would be able to reach the horocrux and if they do it p roves them to be a threat to Voldie, so maybe the potion destroys their ability to do magic and pose a threat to him.

        Speaking of the Horocruxes it sounds as if Bella told Dumbledoor that Tom Riddle would not be able to create any more. It sounds as if 7 were the limit he could make. I do wonder if we will be gifted with your reasoning for this. I don't really like the whole Horocrux idea even in canon it wasn't really explained all that well and would accept anything you gave us. [My biggest problem is how a piece of soul from the diary could contain the memories and knowledge of a young Riddle, and with the death of a young girl manifest. But somehow the shade couldn't do this in over 15 years without a ritual. Logic JKR logic]

        I was wondering why you seemed to be making Harry so willing to not understand and be a part of Bella's plans. It seems like as soon as he was hurt he stopped trying to be in charge of their hunt against Voldemort. Bella now is the one with the plan for the Horocruxes (and young Riddle) and is taking the lead with the Order. She is trying to be in control so much that she has seemed to stop talk to Harry about what is going on and its just shocking to me that Harry hasn't tried to push her to at least learn about the wards and spells shes employed lately.

        Personally I think Bella needs to receive a little egg on her face and learn to start trusting in Harry again. Her feelings seem to be stronger but she isn't willing to be the subordinate or even equal in any of their interactions.

        I like that Leo seems to be the one stepping up the most in the last few chapters. I do find it odd though that Hermione at the least didn't overindulge and come to the lesson. I also am kind of shocked that Neville wasn't included again in the excursion. Will Frank and Alice bring up that fact in their coordinated effort?

        I will ask if Harry is listening in and will be a part of the lessons about the Dark Arts? I have the feeling he knows more than he lets on that he learned a lot of questionable magics in the darker war times. Will he maybe contribute towards Hermione's lessons. He seems to find that one phrase to either comfort or silence the doubts she has and I have a feeling Bella might need that backup once or twice. I will admit to being surprised

        I notice in your replies that we won't be seeing a lot of the little insights you've gained into your characters and their relationships which is fine I understand that the story can't give us everything. I do think that sooner or later we need to have a discussion about what the Order's stand on Harry and Bella is as well as Harry and Bella talking about their own plans and how far ahead they are.

        gallandro
      • Lord Silvere
        *Replies in bold. LS * ... *I don t think I ll stretch the story coverage to a confrontation between John and Sidra. Harry will return the map in good time,
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 9, 2012
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          Replies in bold.

          LS

          On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 10:24 PM, Thomas Pulk <gallandro_83@...> wrote:
           

          Always love an update. I just got my internet back and the new chapters were a great surprise.

          I wanted to say that I had understood that the Marauder's map had changed hands or at least I thought I did. [According to your response it seems Harry and Bella have the map is that right; when reading I had thought Sidra had taken it. If she did will there be a confrontation between John and her at all?]

          I don't think I'll stretch the story coverage to a confrontation between John and Sidra. Harry will return the map in good time, though I don't know whether that's worth including in the story, either.


          However I will say that I do wonder why John Potter had the map in the first place. Did James only want to pass it onto a son instead of either Sidra or Rose? And if so were any other students aware of the map? Had it been confiscated like in the old timeline or did it leave Hogwarts with the changed Marauders?

          James held onto the Map. Before Sidra made it to Hogwarts, James concluded that John would appreciate it the most, so he saved it for him.


          I was surprised that there wasn't a little more sibling rivalry between Sidra and Rose. I understand why they didn't fight in front of Bella and Harry but I kind of expected some comments and banter. I liked how you handled the cave and the inferi. I will admit to saying I didn't understand in HBP or now how Voldemort could enchant such an object and then not put in a poison that would be instantly fatal. After all at least in canon this one seemed like the most heavily guarded piece which makes it seem particularly important.

          I have two or three ideas on that score. [1] the potion is something that would make the drinker into another inferi gaurdian [2] the potion leaves them somehow vulnerable to manipulation or subjugation to Voldemort [3] I'm assuming that only wizards would be able to reach the horocrux and if they do it p roves them to be a threat to Voldie, so maybe the potion destroys their ability to do magic and pose a threat to him.

          I don't know. I haven't given it much thought. In this instance, Tom survived the potion, though he was miserable for quite a while. Bellatrix gave him plenty of food and drink, but has largely ignored him other than that.


          Speaking of the Horocruxes it sounds as if Bella told Dumbledoor that Tom Riddle would not be able to create any more. It sounds as if 7 were the limit he could make. I do wonder if we will be gifted with your reasoning for this. I don't really like the whole Horocrux idea even in canon it wasn't really explained all that well and would accept anything you gave us. [My biggest problem is how a piece of soul from the diary could contain the memories and knowledge of a young Riddle, and with the death of a young girl manifest. But somehow the shade couldn't do this in over 15 years without a ritual. Logic JKR logic]

          Well, I don't think it should be possible for somebody to make infinite horcruxes. Seven is what Voldemort made in the canon. It is a magically significant number. And, as we will see, have too many horcruxes can lead to complications.


          I was wondering why you seemed to be making Harry so willing to not understand and be a part of Bella's plans. It seems like as soon as he was hurt he stopped trying to be in charge of their hunt against Voldemort. Bella now is the one with the plan for the Horocruxes (and young Riddle) and is taking the lead with the Order. She is trying to be in control so much that she has seemed to stop talk to Harry about what is going on and its just shocking to me that Harry hasn't tried to push her to at least learn about the wards and spells shes employed lately.

          I probably have been neglectful in shedding light on this aspect of Harry's behavior. But first, before I explain, let me note that Harry has actively pursued a campaign of counterattacks against Death Eaters. He spent a goodly chunk of time hunting Pettigrew. He attended an Order meeting and intends to attend more. He's about to dramatically escalate his counterattack campaign. He's taken to training some of the teens. And, he's been putting himself through an extensive training regime. Visits to the hangar for dueling practice are not infrequent.
          So really, Harry hasn't been doing nothing.

          In the Lost War, Harry became the de facto leader of the Order. He wasn't a great scholar or schemer like Dumbledore had been. Harry was trained to be a soldier and to help raise morale. Thus, as leader of the Order, he did lead in battles and found ways to inspire people. He delegated scheming to more mature members of the order, and relied heavily on Hermione for brilliant ideas.

          A leader does not have to personally do every single task. They have to delegate.

          Ever since this story has started, Harry has drifted toward his natural tendencies. He gets in the face of Voldemort and Death Eaters, and tries to influence those around him. He held dinner parties with students, was kind to Lily, gave his father a detention for being a jerk, cussed out Snape. He made miserable attempts toward scheming. They were good starts, but in the end, he just felt it was better to give Orion as much information as possible and let him pursue the political angles. When the horcrux situation popped up, Bellatrix was able to prove that she could handle it on her own. He sees no reason why he needs to get involved. To him, it would be a waste of effort. Part of the reason he has encouraged Bellatrix to teach Hermione is an attempt to give Bellatrix some useful help. Of course, by the time Hermione knows enough, it will probably be too late for her to make a significant contribution.

          Soon, the division of labor will be more clear. When Harry is in the open, he will interact with the Order exclusively. He will disburse money from the Black and Malfoy fortunes. He will lead in battles. He will help train the younger generation when he has spare time. He will face Voldemort. He will make decisions for the couple as to how much they reveal to the Order. Bellatrix will continue her horcrux research and will propose plans to find/destroy horcruxes. With Harry's help, she will execute them. Bellatrix will further manage the affairs of the Black family--namely the relatives and ensuring that the Black estates are profitable. She will also be pursuing personal political ambitions. Harry will get dragged into the political arena by Bellatrix, too.



          Personally I think Bella needs to receive a little egg on her face and learn to start trusting in Harry again. Her feelings seem to be stronger but she isn't willing to be the subordinate or even equal in any of their interactions.

          Let's just say that there is at least one instance coming up pretty quickly where Bella is going to find herself sitting in bed for a few days while under the influence of medical potions. There will also be some instances where Harry's wisdom will trump in a situation. Even in this most recent chapter . . . . Bellatrix realized that she had neatly been handled by Amelia Bones. Perhaps I was too subtle with the politics, but Amelia outwitted and used Bellatrix--or at least set Bellatrix up to be used. Bellatrix has realized the situation, though, and will be taking steps to ensure that she comes out on top.


          I like that Leo seems to be the one stepping up the most in the last few chapters. I do find it odd though that Hermione at the least didn't overindulge and come to the lesson. I also am kind of shocked that Neville wasn't included again in the excursion. Will Frank and Alice bring up that fact in their coordinated effort?

          Yes, Leo is beginning to see Harry as a friend and mentor. Hermione would have come, but she has exams and is being taught by Bellatrix. With Neville, he only gets involved if Ginny puts the screws on him. As it is, Ginny herself only comes along to play if Rose and Leo convince her that it is important or if somehow she feels dutybound. With the whole visit to the cave, Ginny's main incentive for being there was helping to repay Harry for expending as much effort as he did to defend the Burrow. If you go back to where you she agrees to come along, I think you'll find her very subtly implying that she's only doing it because of what Harry did.


          I will ask if Harry is listening in and will be a part of the lessons about the Dark Arts? I have the feeling he knows more than he lets on that he learned a lot of questionable magics in the darker war times.

          Harry only really knows as much about the Dark Arts as he needs to bust through enchantments and curses--particularly in dueling. In one practice duel, you see Bellatrix whack him with the nasty purple bubble curse and he overcomes it with some powerful magic. When it comes to the Dark Arts, Harry doesn't fight fire with fire. He douses it with magic that is decidedly not dark. Bellatrix's style is to hyperanalyze whatever it is and then undermine it. With the horcruxes, Bellatrix has analyzed everything she could find about them, has theorized extensively, and will begin using inherent weaknesses and tendencies to cause trouble.
           

          Will he maybe contribute towards Hermione's lessons. He seems to find that one phrase to either comfort or silence the doubts she has and I have a feeling Bella might need that backup once or twice. I will admit to being surprised

          I reckon that Harry will sometimes have to be the mediator between Hermione and Bellatrix. He might even give Hermione some insight on how to interact with Bella. However, I don't really see Hermione being compelled to do anything against her conscience in the near future.


          I notice in your replies that we won't be seeing a lot of the little insights you've gained into your characters and their relationships which is fine I understand that the story can't give us everything. I do think that sooner or later we need to have a discussion about what the Order's stand on Harry and Bella is as well as Harry and Bella talking about their own plans and how far ahead they are.


          Oh, don't worry, The Order is going to have plenty to think about soon. Harry and Bella are also scheduled in my little plot outline to have quite the discussion about where they are now, about the Lost War, and how things are.


          gallandro


        • bekkajane93
          Hey there. Sorry for taking so long to post this. I made the mistake of taking a Shakespeare course this semester and it s kicking my ass! In answer to
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 16, 2012
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            Hey there.  Sorry for taking so long to post this.  I made the mistake of taking a Shakespeare course this semester and it's kicking my ass!

            In answer to Gallandro's comment about the inferi, I always assumed in cannon that the potion wasn't directly fatal because when the drinker became intensely thirsty they would try to drink the surrounding water, causing the inferi to climb out, over power the person, and drag them into the water, thus, turning that person into yet another inferi.  I've never thought of Voldemort as the sharpest tool in the shed (he always seemed to rely on power more than brains) but I've got to give him props for that one.  It's quite a creative way of using his enemies to protect the very thing they were trying to steal or destroy.

            I love how Harry acknowledges his own weaknesses and sticks to his strengths, leaving the rest for Bella and the Order and I certainly wouldn't say you've been neglectful in explaining Harry's behavior.  Perhaps this aspect has been a little more subtle since Harry and Bella came to the future since I'm sure it's difficult to depict exactly how much time Harry spends doing what he does without waffling on for chapters and chapters.  It was a bit more obvious when they were in the past and Harry relied heavily on Orion and Abraxas for their political finesse.  In fact, I really like how you make it clear that Harry, while completely kick-ass and awesome, is only human - he's not a superhero.  While he's not ultra-intelligent like in other fics, I think this makes him far more believable and much wiser than someone who takes on every responsibility themselves. It takes more than one person to win a war.

            Amelia Bones seems to get more and more interesting with each chapter.  I like that she's starting to shake things up at the ministry.  It'll be entertaining to see how Bella plans to get the upper hand on her after their dinner talk. I'm curious as to whether or not Amelia knows Crouch Jr is bad news.  She didn't seem all that fond of him and she didn't exactly ask him for any vital information that she couldn't have gotten from anyone else. Is she up to something concerning him or is she just looking to ally herself with people as equally disdainful towards Crouch Sr?  Hmmm... Politics have never been my strong point, but I find them really interesting when done well - you never quite know who's up to what until the very end.  

            Speaking of politics, I wonder if we will be seeing much more of Prewitt.  You mentioned a few chapters ago, when Amelia asked Frank if Harry was dead or alive, that Prewitt wanted him both dead and alive.  I remember being somewhat intrigued by that, but it wasn't expanded on.  Will it be explained later, maybe when it comes out that Harry is indeed alive, or is it just one of those things that the reader gets to think on?

            Another thing I'm curious about is the prophecy.  Surely Rose, who knows of it, has figured out that Harry is "the equal of the dark lord" and Bella "the daughter of the stars", but so far she hasn't been inclined to tell them that the prophecy exists.  I can't help but think that Bella won't take kindly to Dumbledore keeping that from them, especially since he mentioned the "daughter of the stars" thing a while ago and still hasn't let them in on it.  There's also the "has altered her path in the heavens" line that sheds a bit more light on the truth.  It will be interesting to see which character picks up on it first, if any do.

            From the sound of some of your comments, it seems like Harry might be announcing his presence soon so maybe some of my questions will be answered in upcoming chapters anyway.  I assume once Harry comes out in the open the war will start getting more intense, so I'm really looking forward to that.  Voldemort hasn't had much screen time lately so it will be awesome to see his reaction to that.  I imagine he'll be furious, but maybe also see it as confirmation that immortality can exist, and try to look into how Harry and Bella managed to supposedly come back to life.  So far, he thinks he's the only one who's taken the most steps possible towards immortality, but then along comes an enemy (albeit in ghost form) whom he thought he had killed twenty years prior.  When he figures out Harry's no ghost, I can see him being quite angry that someone seemingly knows more than he does about defeating death.  It's always interesting to see how nut-cases like Tom react to things that shake up their perception of life.

            Anyway, I have to stop procrastinating and get onto my Macbeth essay.  Shakespeare, thou art a villain!  Thanks for reading my ramblings.  Can't wait for another update.

            BekkaJane

          • Lord Silvere
            *I always love reading your comments. My replies are in bold, but are not so many, seeing as many of your comments are already replies to things I ve said. LS
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 16, 2012
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              I always love reading your comments. My replies are in bold, but are not so many, seeing as many of your comments are already replies to things I've said.

              LS

              On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 6:07 AM, bekkajane93 <bec_shaw_93@...> wrote:
               

              Hey there.  Sorry for taking so long to post this.  I made the mistake of taking a Shakespeare course this semester and it's kicking my ass!


              In answer to Gallandro's comment about the inferi, I always assumed in cannon that the potion wasn't directly fatal because when the drinker became intensely thirsty they would try to drink the surrounding water, causing the inferi to climb out, over power the person, and drag them into the water, thus, turning that person into yet another inferi.  I've never thought of Voldemort as the sharpest tool in the shed (he always seemed to rely on power more than brains) but I've got to give him props for that one.  It's quite a creative way of using his enemies to protect the very thing they were trying to steal or destroy.


              I love how Harry acknowledges his own weaknesses and sticks to his strengths, leaving the rest for Bella and the Order and I certainly wouldn't say you've been neglectful in explaining Harry's behavior.  Perhaps this aspect has been a little more subtle since Harry and Bella came to the future since I'm sure it's difficult to depict exactly how much time Harry spends doing what he does without waffling on for chapters and chapters.  It was a bit more obvious when they were in the past and Harry relied heavily on Orion and Abraxas for their political finesse.  In fact, I really like how you make it clear that Harry, while completely kick-ass and awesome, is only human - he's not a superhero.  While he's not ultra-intelligent like in other fics, I think this makes him far more believable and much wiser than someone who takes on every responsibility themselves. It takes more than one person to win a war.


              Amelia Bones seems to get more and more interesting with each chapter.  I like that she's starting to shake things up at the ministry.  It'll be entertaining to see how Bella plans to get the upper hand on her after their dinner talk. I'm curious as to whether or not Amelia knows Crouch Jr is bad news.  She didn't seem all that fond of him and she didn't exactly ask him for any vital information that she couldn't have gotten from anyone else. Is she up to something concerning him or is she just looking to ally herself with people as equally disdainful towards Crouch Sr?  Hmmm... Politics have never been my strong point, but I find them really interesting when done well - you never quite know who's up to what until the very end.  


              Crouch Jr. is not well liked. People don't feel comfortable around him. However, nobody suspects that he's a Death Eater.

              Speaking of politics, I wonder if we will be seeing much more of Prewitt.  You mentioned a few chapters ago, when Amelia asked Frank if Harry was dead or alive, that Prewitt wanted him both dead and alive.  I remember being somewhat intrigued by that, but it wasn't expanded on.  Will it be explained later, maybe when it comes out that Harry is indeed alive, or is it just one of those things that the reader gets to think on?


              There will be some Prewitt action in future chapters. Prewitt is quite territorial and convinced that he has things under control. He wants to be the one calling the shots and knowing everything. He's the rooster in the hen house. To that extent, he harbors disdain for those that went before him. He views Cygnus Black as having been a fool for allowing himself to be assassinated, yet he simultaneously recognizes that Cygnus Black (and Orion) knew things he did not and were able to achieve important things. After all, they did seize power and put the Ministry onto a very good path. Prewitt could not have asked for a more better prepared Ministry. If only Cygnus and Orion Black were alive, but under his command, he is convinced that he could bring Voldemort down. So, how does Harry relate? Prewitt is smart enough to see that Harry Ashworth was the catalyst that moved Orion and Cygnus. He was their spy and confidante. He was their soldier on the ground. When Orion died, to Prewitt's view, Harry became Cygnus's primary advisor. Harry was like the Tsarina's Rasputin in a twisted way. If it turns out that Harry is alive, Prewitt is convinced that he would be an extremely valuable asset to the Ministry. But, if Harry is alive, Prewitt also fears that Harry might displace him. For twenty years, Prewitt has fought this war. His political enemies could very well argue that Minister Black and his confidante, Ashworth, made more progress against Voldemort in 1 month than Prewitt has made in 20 years.
               

              Another thing I'm curious about is the prophecy.  Surely Rose, who knows of it, has figured out that Harry is "the equal of the dark lord" and Bella "the daughter of the stars", but so far she hasn't been inclined to tell them that the prophecy exists.  I can't help but think that Bella won't take kindly to Dumbledore keeping that from them, especially since he mentioned the "daughter of the stars" thing a while ago and still hasn't let them in on it.  There's also the "has altered her path in the heavens" line that sheds a bit more light on the truth.  It will be interesting to see which character picks up on it first, if any do.


              The prophecy is another thing I have neglected. Rose doesn't give a whole lot of credence to it, or at least has not extensively thought of it. Dumbledore used to obsess over it, but I think he's set it aside until he can get more information. He's smart enough to see that Bellatrix is Daughter of the Stars, but the Lord Black portion remains in dispute. He strongly suspects that Harry is involved, but he needs to know more about Harry. So, he's been trying to cooperate with Bellatrix to hopefully get her to open up and give him enough information so he can make a new hypothesis about the prophecy. In the alternative, he's also encouraging Bellatrix to train Leo . . . just in case he actually is Lord Black.
               

              From the sound of some of your comments, it seems like Harry might be announcing his presence soon so maybe some of my questions will be answered in upcoming chapters anyway.  I assume once Harry comes out in the open the war will start getting more intense, so I'm really looking forward to that.  Voldemort hasn't had much screen time lately so it will be awesome to see his reaction to that.  I imagine he'll be furious, but maybe also see it as confirmation that immortality can exist, and try to look into how Harry and Bella managed to supposedly come back to life.  So far, he thinks he's the only one who's taken the most steps possible towards immortality, but then along comes an enemy (albeit in ghost form) whom he thought he had killed twenty years prior.  When he figures out Harry's no ghost, I can see him being quite angry that someone seemingly knows more than he does about defeating death.  It's always interesting to see how nut-cases like Tom react to things that shake up their perception of life.


              I think the elements you mention will be there. But, Harry's coming out party probably won't be much like you've imagined. :)
               

              Anyway, I have to stop procrastinating and get onto my Macbeth essay.  Shakespeare, thou art a villain!  Thanks for reading my ramblings.  Can't wait for another update.


              BekkaJane


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