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6/1 c51 girlonthem00n
A few weeks ago I binged your updated version of this story up to the last chapter. I've read your original version (each story in the series) several times and the series is hands down my favorite but I am loving this rewrite. You have become a better and better writer over the years and it's been so great seeing the story progress along with your own skill. The rewrite is SO good. You've really done an excellent job reworking parts and removing elements and fine-tuning everything. I am looking forward to the next chapter as it was always one of my favorite parts. I also love that you are still working on this series after all of these years.

PS. if you ever get another rewriting itch, Discomfort and Joy is another top fav of mine. I always hoped you would expand that story as I really enjoyed the camaraderie between Kingsley and Draco.
5/26 c1 9TheFreedomSock
hey! I'm aware that this story is pretty old at this point, but I've really loved this whole story and several other of your stories for years now, and I've heard that it's very likely that will be shutting down soon, do you have another platform where I can find your work in future? have you considered backing up your fics on AO3? I'd really love it if your stories weren't lost
5/13 c50 2Madame Mermaid
Hello there,

apologies for the delay - I really must start reviewing right after the first read, when it's all still fresh on my mind and I'm immersed in the story, but I usually read your updates late at night or in between classes, and that timing is rather adverse to extensive reviews. Plus, the Frühjahrsmüdigkeit has really hit me this year. Is there a word for that phenomenon in English? It's what we call the tiredness a lot of people feel at the beginning of spring due to changing weather and temperatures, and spending more time out of doors, and the godforsaken pollen getting everywhere. Makes me really sleepy. -.-

Since it's been so long since you posted this (two weeks! - Sorry again...), I'll just jump around in the chapter to the points I really enjoyed, and the ones I'm wondering about:

1. Mirabelle - obviously. (I always want to write Miravel, since I once created an OC for a Star Wars FF by that name (never posted the story, alas...), so it's really confusing to be typing the French version of the name - just so you know, in case I misspell her at some point, which is bound to happen...) I admit, I should have seen that one coming, since the original scene included the virgin sacrifice, and for all that we don't know anything about her in that regard, Mirabelle fits the bill of young, beautiful (presumably) and female. (Btw, I absolutely agree with your comment on not making virginity a point of importance here - no changing the fact that Mirabelle is young and female (plus, young somewhat goes with morally innocent (aka no Avadas etc.), which I guess is a requirement?), but if an opportunity presents itself to break with those stereotypes as well, I'm all for it.) I had, however, assumed you would like to keep her until later in the story (or stories), since she presented something of a rival for Lucius' affections to Draco (if not in reality, then at least in his mind). Plus, she would have made an excellent spy or double agent, someone we could never be sure of - working for Lucius, for the Dark Lord, or for someone else entirely? Which is not meant to criticise the way you used her here, which sets up a different venue of possibilities, but only meant to explain why I did not think of this outcome - and since I like to be surprised, it's just as well. :-)

So, Miravel sacrifices herself voluntarily in a deal with the Dark Lord, who really just wants to prove his superiority to Lucius - it's tragic, as you say, that she is so deeply inundated by doctrine, and by her experiences so far, that she cannot see how she is being used as a mere pawn in a powerplay by two cold-hearted strategists here. For all that I regret losing her character in this story, you definitely used her death to maximum effect, namely to show us both the Dark Lord's and Lucius' different brands of ruthlessness, and how the ruthless decision to let a young woman sacrifice herself affects Bill emotionally, both contributing to his general feelings of anxiety and depression, and making him feel wary of not just Lucius, but Draco by proxy. The construction of the scene between Voldemort, Lucius and Mirabelle was a thing of art, very believable and all the more sad for watching the girl being shuffled across the board by two men who, for all that Lucius wants to help her, couldn't care less in the end - she is not important enough for Lucius to risk his position. Very well played, indeed.

The aftermath leaves me wondering at the consequences for Lucius' relationship with Draco, for he must see the risk in introducing Draco to the Death Eaters - in doing so, he will be giving Voldemort another hostage, so to speak, to threaten when Lucius seems to become too independent again. I also wonder whether Lucius really wants Draco to be indoctrinated in that way, or rather, whether he won't think more favourably of Draco's idea of a neutral party now. At the same time, of course, he's still Lucius - for all that his notions are perhaps less extreme than Voldemorts, he's still a believer in pureblood superiority (if only to preserve his position of power in society), and has tied his fortune to Voldemort for now. Thus, he'll expect his son to follow his lead - and he obviously knows, objectively speaking, that there is no way for him to disentangle Draco from Death Eater society and still keep the Dark Lord's favor. I also think that Lucius, even were he to know that Draco is a genius, is still enough of a traditional patriarch to expect obedience of his son - he's too used to soft power and pulling strings to give that up, even to give Draco his freedom of decision.

Thus, while I think Lucius might actually understand Draco's decision at the end of this story all the better now, I also believe he'll feel the betrayal more deeply, for I expect that Lucius will have come up with a scheme of his own to keep Draco somewhat safe, and expected Draco to follow his lead. At the same time, Draco hearing about Mirabelle's fate also sets up a few possibilities, depending on who tells him about it and how. On the one hand, Lucius trying to save Miravel might re-enforce the jealously Draco felt upon hearing about Lucius teaching her the Cruciatus, something the Dark Lord would try to do to drive a wedge between the two. On the other hand, Lucius stepping back, rather than making the effort to rescue Miravel, might underline what Draco himself says (and believes) at a later point in the stories, to the effect that Lucius values himself first, then his money and status and traditions, then nothing for a long time, and then his son (can't remember exactly how and where you wrote this, but I'm sure you remember the line...), thus estranging the two even more and giving Draco another reason to escape.

Thus, for all that I would have enjoyed a longer engagement, I applaud the way you made use of Mirabelle here, and am looking forward to the effects this will have on the rest of the story. :-)

2. The Quidditch scene, or rather, Ginny. Simply put, the changes you made to the scene have been an amazing improvement. :-) This is, of course, partly due simply to the fact that you know where you're going, storywise. Still, there's so many details in it, compared to the rather short attack in the first version - you've really made use of the event here, instead of just setting up another attack because really, there has to be one, in the first version. While the changes to the dialogue between Harry, Draco and Warrington aren't huge, they make the play-by-play more realistic - and it's really wonderful to watch Draco set up the thrashing of Warrington's reputation here without insulting him to his face. Ginny recognising the strategy is just the icing on the cake - it also tells us more about her character, namely her ability to read between the lines and be amused by it, an awareness which she wouldn't have if not for her brush-in with Tom Riddle. It's rather ironic that this ability to appreciate not just subtlety, but manipulation, is what makes Draco notice here - and it's nice to see you setting up the beginning of their interest in each other early on.

What's also very telling is Draco trying to contain the flames without even thinking about it - it goes a long way to show that for all his egoistical and calculating ways, he's not nearly as far gone into darkness as everyone (himself included) seems to think. At the same time, the fact that he's unable to do so helps to counter the impression of omnipotence he gave in the first installment of the stories - for all his genius and power, Draco is still a student, and has a ways to go before he'll be the next Dumbledore. You've also made the fire more dangerous and dramatic - mostly to up the ante on Bill's anxiety due to Ginny's injuries, I guess. But Draco's detective analysis of what kind of fire this is, and what this means regarding the caster and their intent, is a useful secondary effect, storywise, in telling us more about the Dark Lord's agent in the school, their powers and their mission. I also wonder how Lucius will react to the news of this unexpected attack, and that his son was almost killed in the process - will this deepen the rift between him and the Dark Lord, or lead to Lucius regaining some power by making the Dark Lord punish someone else for risking Draco's life? And since I'm guessing that someone would be Claire, would that then make her resend Draco more?

On a side note, it was rather nice how Madame Pomfrey treated Draco somewhat affectionately, as she probably would most other students, though at the same time sad that it's only due to the impressions she gained while he was drugged out of his mind. At the same time, I both understand and feel sorry for Draco, who has grown up so unused to friendliness that it makes him distrustful of any show of kindness.

3. The meeting of the neutral party. Nothing much to say here, except that I love the direction you've taken - it turns the token debate of the first installment into a new and useful way of looking at the different sides students (and adults) might (not) want to take in this war, adding a layer between extremes that we don't see in the books. Plus, it's always fun to watch Draco play a crowd - and I still like Goldstein, who is intelligent enough to recognise Draco does things for his own gain and come up with one explanation for why Draco wants a neutral party at school, if not the correct one.

So much for chapter 19, revised. As for the revision of chapter 20 - ohhh, we have that confrontation coming up. :-D I really wonder how that will play out, given all the added information you've included this second time around. I also wonder wether it'll go deeper, last longer this time, so to speak - they managed to hurt each other pretty badly the first time around, and for some reason, I expect the hits to be even more surgically precise this time, which is ridiculous, since it can't get much worse without being irredeemable, can it? Plus, I still love the idea of Draco's temper tantrums, and I recognise that he uses them as power plays, as well - but in hindsight, the way you described Draco's fight with Harry and Ron, and his reaction as a whole, feels somewhat childish. Then again, as I so often say, he is still a teenager, for all he's a genius.

Thus, as you can see, great expectations, but I'm really not all that clear on what I expect. ;-) You'll figure out a way to surprise us, I'm sure. The only thing I did wonder at, for all that I get where you're coming from and why Bill has to be the one to feel remorse regarding their argument, is Bill begin his self-reflection on the argument and why it hurt Draco so badly so fast. For all that he's the adult, I'd have expected his feelings of resentment to last longer, or at least for him to keep feeling a bit wary of Draco. But perhaps that's just me.

Anyway, have fun writing, and I'll get to the PM soon. All the best,
Madame Mermaid
5/12 c47 6planesinthesky
I rather enjoyed this chapter and didn't find anything to critique about Bill's arguments. But I did find something odd in those numbers: the lack of any mention of the overwhelming number of Muggles who would definitely be killed or enslaved if Voldemort won. Shouldn't that be a factor too in their debate? It's natural that Draco wouldn't consider it important enough, wouldn't even think of them, probably, but Bill should.
Anyway, not a criticism, just another angle that I'd thought of, because the numbers had really startled me too before I remembered this.
5/9 c1 Jolina Darcy
Dear Aduro!

Please check your inbox. My name is
4/27 c50 2Vaccinatedk
I hadn’t read this story when it came out initially, but wow, I enjoyed it very much! I read all four in a week - do you have any plans to finish #4 as well?
4/27 c50 brianaangel
As always top notch chapter. I am a DG fan so I was glad to see Ginny more in this chapter even if brief. Thank you for another stellar update. Can’t wait to read more.
4/20 c50 DuchessOfSpud
So I’m sort of writing this review as I read. I’m really just jotting things down as I notice them, so don’t be surprised if this review seems all over the place!
First of all, I am living for the extra interactions between Draco and Ginny! That was one thing from the previous version that I wish there had been more of!
I also love how you’ve delved more deeply into how the attack really affected Bill! There’s a lot more detail this time that helps really drive the point that not only could his siblings have died and he’s scared for them, but a huge part of him blames himself.
I’m also seeing more of that wedge being built between Draco and Bill that’s just waiting for the hammer to drive it in! Which reminds me that I really like how much deeper you’re delving into the Death Eater meetings and how Bill’s spy work is affecting him as well! You can really feel the stress, anger, and horror this time that Bill is having to work through with every meeting he attends!
Speaking of horror, I LOVE the change in sacrifices this go around! You know more about the victim herself, which leads to us feeling more sorrow and anger about the loss of life than a complete stranger! I also thought that the first version wasn’t quite as believable since the ritual called for a willing sacrifice and the girl used was clearly under the Imperius curse. It just didn’t seem like that would really work.
Her sacrifice also shows the increasing power struggle that eventually leads to Lucius being betrayed! You’ve done a great job at showing the increasing rift between those two as well! And really that’s all her sacrifice is to Voldemort. A power play. To attempt to put Lucius in his place. Last time, Lucius’ capture seemed a bit out of the blue and like there wasn’t as much reason to it. This version is a fantastic improvement in that sense! It also shows how far gone Voldemort is that he’s not even using logic and cunning in his decisions anymore.
I’ve noticed that you’ve taken a lot more time to bring attention to Bill’s own bias even if he does his best to ignore it. In the scene where Lucius attempted to talk Mirabelle out of sacrificing herself and argued a bit with Voldemort, Lucius stays behind for just a moment and takes a quick breath, Bill is trying to find some emotion in Lucius’ face. I kinda just wanted to yell at Bill that that quick breath sort of WAS a show of emotion for someone like Lucius! People that grew up in the world Lucius grew up in clearly don’t react to things the same way Bill or someone from the light side would! Draco, who has obviously been interacting quite a bit with Bill, is a CLEAR example of that! Draco rarely shows emotion that won’t help him in some way! I understand why Bill sees all of them in a certain light and that he’s already dealing with a lot, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to smack him upside the head! Especially with what I know this is all leading up to! Not it would’ve changed anything but still!
I’m currently reading you note at the end now and seeing that you pointed out a lot of the same things I did, but that’s fine! Great job as always! I know you said this chapter was hard, but you did such a fantastic job! Keep up the good work!
4/20 c50 30LoraRawr
it may not have been fun to write, but it gives so much more depth to the situation, the environment, and the circumstances of war. I really appreciate the work and detail you are putting into this. thank you for writing!
4/20 c50 deestar12
Another amazing chapter rewrite! I never once thought that the series would need a rewrite, as I thought it was amazing on it’s own and it still is, but each new chapter provides so much more depth, insight and reasoning and I honestly can’t get enough of it, every time I get an email for a new chapter I drop everything I’m doing to see how you’ve further improved such an amazing story.

I’m most excited for the next chapter, you’ve set the emotions and tone for what’s coming next so well and it’s going to be interesting to see how you can improve on one of my favourite chapters of the story!

Thank you for today’s chapter and pushing yourself to tackles topics and scenes you wouldn’t have previously 3
4/19 c50 8KuroitsukiNoMai
Love love LOVE the changes in this chapter. You've really fleshed out the side plots and character dynamics that make this story unique and complex. The ritual has so much more impact on me now, as a reader, and it really demonstrates Lucius' mindset and how he operates. It shows, rather than Draco just telling us, how calculating and callous he can be, that he can and will sacrifice even someone he cares about to further his own goals. I'm really interested to see where this whole debate thing goes too, how it will affect Draco's relationship with key classmates, and when word gets back to his father, how Lucius will react. In the original version of this story, Draco's "betrayal" of Voldemort at the end is a surprise to Lucius (iirc), but I wonder if he'll hear about this debate and develop any doubts, act on any of them...? WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS? XD lol
As always, awesome chapter. Loved it, and can't wait for the next one!
4/19 c50 Starkid
Your rewrites have made this story so much stronger than it was originally
4/19 c50 9mknote
That last part... I couldn't bring myself to read it. I just skimmed over it when I realized what was about to happen. Which is... good, because I'm not usually squeamish. The way you wrote it was the exact right level of haunting to make me skip over it, though, so well done.

It's incredible how much your writing has improved since the original iteration. Your plotting has improved similarly. Very well done.
4/14 c49 2Madame Mermaid
Good Evening,

I've finally got around to reviewing one of my favourite chapters - sorry it's taken me so long, but after I read it for the first time, I kept putting off the review-writing, due to work and uni obligations. Which only proves I should sit down and write the analysis right away, as is true for so many endeavors on my to-do lists...

As the chapter's been sitting around for a while, I'll just highlight on the details I enjoyed most while reading, and leave you to writing the next chapter as quickly as possible. ;-) I really like how you've changed and lengthened the introduction here: Rather than simply stating the occasion and leaving us to expect the usual for a Valentine's Day themed chapter, it's become a great example of how group dynamics in a school context work, in both fun and problematic ways. While the spectacle of watching outrageous Valentine's proposals is enjoyable to watch, especially for the younger children who, one would hope, do not hold any cards in this game, it also sparks a competition of sorts, leaving some students vulnerable by either being left on the outside or being 'forced' to accept a date to fit in, which is really not an example to be set in terms of healthy reasons for dating and relationships. I really like the way you've drawn attention to this dichotomy - and I do wonder whether Valentine's Day is really such a big occasion in the US, both in schools and in general? (In Germany, we call it a 'commercial holiday', and it's more of a joke, except for couples who actually make an occasion of it...) What's also great is how you use the occasion to introduce the Ginny-Terry-topic, rather than producing that old hat out of the blue in the second installment! It's nice to see Ginny behaving the way you describe her in 'Code Breaker' when discussing this topic with Draco, as a young woman older than her years, at least in terms of understanding human psychology and emotions, and behaving like an adult here by letting Terry save face. So, well done! :-)

As you can probably guess, I very much enjoyed Pansy's portrayal and her interaction with Draco here - both of them guarded and non-committal, speaking in carefully worded statements dancing along the lines of what would be considered treason by their families and friends. And, of course, both of them still so obviously part of Pureblood society, too used to money and status (or perhaps too aware of the power of these things to save their necks...) to consider life without them, and instead trying to find ways to build a nest egg. But at the same time, they're both teenagers, and not opposed to snogging when the occasion presents itself. ;-) I somewhat feel like they both think of themselves as older than their years (which they are in a number of ways, for sure), but they don't realise that there are still some blinders left, some kind of inexperience and newness to life that even growing up in a society where everything is for sale hasn't robbed them of, fortunately. And I do still hold that Draco has more naivete left than Pansy, despite his intellect, simply due to being male and growing up in a more socially and financially secure household. Pansy seems more disillusioned, somehow, at least regarding her own personal 'worth', as if she's been taught that she must earn her position by any means necessary, while Draco has been allowed to take his freedom for granted so far.

Regarding Draco's upbringing, and taking things for granted, I was reminded of him on one or two occasions whilst rereading a few of my favourite novels. Allow me to quote: "She knew him to be intelligent, clean, courteous, wealthy, well-read, amusing and enamoured, but he had not so far produced in her that crushing sense of utter inferiority which leads to prostration and hero-worship. But she now realised that there was, after all, something godlike about him: He could control a horse..." ("Have His Carcase", Chapter XVI) Written by Dorothy Sayers about Lord Peter Wimsey, amateur detective and man-about-town. Rather fitting for Draco as well, especially in this chapter. ;-) Though I have to say, Peter Wimsey in the later novels (i.e. after 'Strong Poison') is a vision of what Draco might be, twenty years hence - and only if we find him an appropriate manservant/sidekick (might want to re-cast Goldstein for that...;-P). His relationship with Ginny definitely has the potential to live up to Wimsey's rather complicated courtship of Harriet Vane, with a little tweaking as you go on - seriously, if you haven't read the novels, start with either Bellona or Poison, pay especial attention to the ones featuring Harriet Vane, and do read Jill Paton Walsh's efforts - she's done a marvellous job of continuing the series. The Wimsey/Vane-relationship is one of the more interesting literary relationships I've ever read about, which is really saying something, since the original series was written in the 1920s and 30s, and the idea of a romantic relationship of equals, and indeed of friends, must have been even more unusual then. I think you'd find the dynamics rather fun, psychologically speaking. :-D

But I digress... Draco does give the impression of the well-mannered, affluent son of the house in this chapter, which is both fitting and sad. As you demonstrate on various occasions throughout the chapter, he and Pansy are putting on a show for their fellow students, leading the dance, but without the genuine feeling the occasion actually demands, as contrasted by Bill and Fleur. (Btw, for all that I do not want to be Pansy, when reading your rather stunning, femme-fatale description of her, I found myself wishing I could pull of that kind of charisma, just once; alas...) It would be fun, if not for the sad fact that they're both so cynical about it, doing so for ulterior motives, not even for their own enjoyment of a fun, no-strings fling.

Thus, you've given ample demonstration of the chapter's motto, 'Love is a weakness', and made it a very enjoyable read indeed. :-) Definitely much improved compared to the first version. It'll be interesting to see how you continue both Draco's scheming and Bill's slow mental spiral. Let's hope the muse won't keep you (and us) waiting for too long!
All the best, and hopefully a healthy start of spring,

Madame Mermaid
3/27 c49 Cheepir
ooooooo I really liked the part about the kids getting dates! And the horrible mortification of an unrequited public declaration, ahahaha. Loved the detail about Pansy collecting too, it's nice to see you fleshing her out so early especially given her future in this series. I have no imagination to speak of so I'm not sure what the new debate club stuff is leading to... it's funny that I'm antsy about that given I've read this series a million times aha but I can't help but get anxious about stuff backfiring on Draco! If your goal was to create anxiety for readers with this plot point you've succeeded :P
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