It took me some time to get to read on, but now that I did, chapter four proves to be a very entertaining and especially worthwhile read.
I really enjoyed the scenes with the house-elves and then during the Christmas dinner. You’ve woven Tonks’ clumsiness nicely into it, and the elves’ reactions are just so cute and funny when Tonks asks to help. *chuckles* Wonderful. I could practically imagine Tonks’ enthusiasm at helping them with their dinner preparations, and all the while, I got the picture in my head where the “helping” ends like in OotP when Tonks knocks over a chair.
What was also really interesting is the whispered conversation of Sev and Tonks at the table about Quidditch. I found it to be typical for Severus to give any house other than Gryffindor the favour as long as only his Slytherins are the victorious ones in the end. I also like Tonks’ reaction to when he mentions her festive hair. Besides, the Headmaster practically ordered me to do something festive. is one of my favourite passages of the chapter.
The article of Rita Skeeter shocked me. I can imagine what Tonks went through in that moment, but what I can’t quite understand was why Charlie would do something like that. Then again, when thinking about it, it’s Rita’s “talent” to twist words and meanings so much that such horrible articles come out of it. But with the Gryffindor team minus Charlie having had a hand in this, it clears some questions I got when reading the part with the article.
What I also adore is the broader impressions with the houses. You’ve shown extraordinarily the prejudices that rule the thinking of people’s minds. Gryffindors are brave, but so are Hufflepuffs, and Tonks is a wonderful example. But people don’t want to see that. Also, the Gryffindors are set against Slytherin, but truly, is Slytherin a bad house only because a few people turned out to be dark wizards? I really love that you show all of this here, so open and yet at the same time so subtly interwoven into the plot. Bravo, Carole. Truly magnificent work.
And what is even more magnificent is the game itself. Trying to beat Potter’s record is a really great idea. Tonks is so fired up that she would do anything to show the Gryffindors their place. The characterisation you pulled off in these scenes, not only the one of Tonks but from Charlie as well, is bravissimo. Don’t you dare, Wood. You and my brothers got us into this, I’ll try and get us out by catching the Snitch, but don’t you dare ruin her momentum! is such a great line; it conveys a wonderful message, and I can easily imagine the tone with what Charlie has shouted it. He wants his team to win, of course, but he is still loyal enough to Tonks to give her this victory.
Remus’ appearance at the game surprises me a bit. But it is a nice twist to have him see her play Quidditch. I like it as it gives the chapter a beautiful touch.
The entire second half of the chapter makes it really emotional for me. First the Hufflepuffs cheering for Tonks, then her victory in breaking the record and her words in “Sorry, James,” she yelled, and she lifted her face to the heavens, “but that one’s for Sirius!”, and finally the conversation amongst the adults about Sirius and James and how they would have reacted to Tonks’ new record – it all makes me cry. The chapter is built up to that point fantastically, and the cliffhanger at the end is totally not what I saw coming.
Carole, this is one of the best chapters I’ve ever read, and you have my entire respect for that. It’s a master example of tension, humour and emotional moments mixed together into one single chapter. You told me you like this chapter best, and I completely agree with you. I can’t say with words how much I love this chapter; I can only applaud you. *gives standing ovation*
Author's Response: EEEEEP *gets hit by a Bludger*. WOW! Bine, thatnk you so much for a fantastic review. Honestly this was my favourite chapter to write, but the one I had the most trouble with (it got rejected twice). I am so incredibly pleased you liked it. I think I explain more about Charlie and article in the next chapter but can't rememeber. He wasn't nasty at all - it was all Rita!
I don't know if you've noticed but I'm a bit biased towards Hufflepuff *wonder why*.
Thank you so much for such a fabulous review. I'm grinning like a Cheshire Cat!