You have wonderfully constructed this story. JKR would be proud! I'll add it to favourites and read anything else your write.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the wonderful reviews! I'm very glad you enjoyed the story, and I must admit that I'm 100% in love with the characters, so I'm glad you appreciate them!
10,000 points to whatever your house is for not creating Mary Sues. You have original and interesting characters. This are the OCs we want in fanfiction, people! I'll keep reading what you've posted now.
Author's Response: Thank you! I accept the points on behalf of Gryffindor. :)
So, wow! I was re-reading this, and man! It's a very exciting story. This task in particular is eventful.... and then the mob of Muggles attacking! Alex was shot! THIS IS QUITE THE CLIFF-HANGER!!!
Will we ever know what happened? Let me know if you still would like me to beta the last chapter or two....
Author's Response: Hey there!!
Good to hear from you. We will indeed find out what happens... I was writing some Challenge fics and got distracted, but now I really want to finish this one. I think I can do it in one more chapter, and if you want to beta, you will be my hero!
How's your story life going? Ever going to write that sequel? Let me know!
Yep, I’m finally back to review the second chapter of your fabulous story. I’ve had it printed and scribbled full of notes for a review for almost two weeks now, but this is my first chance to sit down and actually type it up. So here we go!
The overall feeling of the chapter is just as wonderful as your first one – and it’s so nice to see that you really are keeping up the good work. Some authors, I’ve found, put a lot of work into their first chapter but then it’s like they lose inspiration or think that they don’t have to work as hard, or something. But the quality of your writing is just as excellent here, which proves to me that you’re a writer who has found her style, and who knows what she’s doing.
The first part of this chapter is an excellent blend of Josephine’s personal feelings and her thoughts about the Statute of Secrecy. Through her, you show us so many angles and details, and the consequences that will come with the passing of this Statute. It is such a great and grand thing, and at the same time it affects her. As you write, The International Statute of Wizard Secrecy. It would be the end of her relationship.
Before I continue, there are a couple of things I’d like to quote from the very first part of the chapter.
But he was most anxious for the start of the Triwizard Tournament.
I like your rhythmic repetition of “anxious” in this part of the chapter, but I’m not sure about “most anxious” here. In my mind, it sounds better with, “But most of all, he was anxious for”, etc. But that, I suppose, could be a matter of taste.
She knew she loved Pascal, or at least thought she could, but the fact remained that she was a witch and he not a wizard.
This was a little confusing to me. The word I’ve underlined here, ‘could’ – did you mean to write ‘did’? If you meant to write ‘could’, as in ‘would be able to’, then perhaps it would be a good idea to clarify that a bit, maybe by writing something like, “She knew she loved Pascal, and she thought that she would be able to spend her life with him, despite the fact that she was a witch and he was not a wizard.” If that is what you meant, of course. =)
“They would put you to death and kill Pascal right along with you.”
This is wonderful. The words you’ve chosen – not “they would kill you”, but “put you to death”; I love it. Remy’s frankness on the subject tells us that he’s a sensible man, and also that he cares a great deal about his sister.
I’m skipping right to the next part of your chapter, and your magnificent descriptions of Beauxbatons. Not only are those descriptions rich and colourful throughout the chapter, but you’ve been incredibly clever in telling your readers that Versailles was modelled after it. Now, we can all go search Google images for a perfect picture of what Beauxbatons looks like in your story, and those of us who have been fortunate enough to visit Versailles (me, me!) will have a very special insight to what you’ve made the school look like in your story. Excellent!
Along with the information about Versailles, you give us a good idea of exactly how wealthy and important the de Tuileries family is. Good – I like how you keep adding details about the character, instead of giving us all of the information on them in the first chapter.
Sure enough, the gilded gold doors were slowly pushed apart, no longer charged with the lamentable duty of concealing the glorious interiors of the Palace Beauxbatons.
This is Word Art, and I’m grinning from the pleasure of reading it. The “lamentable duty” – yum. You seem to go with impressive words and sentence structures for impressive sceneries and situations in your story, and that is ever so fitting.
One tiny detail before I throw myself over the next part:
William Warrington-Hughes heard this statement spoke, but it floated around the outer regions of his mind, not quite fully registering.
Here it seems that you meant either ‘spoken’ or ‘being spoken’? Another way of putting it might be, “heard this opinion being stated” – just a suggestion. =)
George! Would it be awful if I let go of just a tiny little fangirl squee and say what a wonderful character you’ve created? Well, I mean, another wonderful character – but, guh, George’s dialogue is wonderful from the first word, and “It is truly an assault on the senses.” – lol, his indignation might be sincere, but you still present it in a humorous way. In a matter of four paragraphs, I’ve totally fallen for this character.
Back to William – the paragraph in which you discuss the House history of his family is particularly well-written. It’s full of gems, like “an errant Ravenclaw here and there”, and “practically bled Green and Silver”. The letter that follows soon after this shows another of your great qualities – all of a sudden, you stick a POTTER into your story, and firmly tie your story tighter to the world that JKR created for us. I almost keel over with excitement at this, but still I don’t make the connection – I expect the Potter in your story to be some random person you haven’t introduced yet. And then, when it turns out that he’s George - well, let’s just say that I gasped out loud at work. Of course, this wouldn’t have been half as overwhelming if you hadn’t just introduced George so brilliantly – and that’s the brilliance of your writing in a nutshell, how you make it all fit together so cleverly.
Though, a question: At the end of the letter, Mr Warrington-Hughes has signed his letter “Yours&c”. Is there a typo in there, or is it just me who doesn’t know the meaning of this?
After you presented the Potter Surprise so well, it’s nice with a relatively calm and “smooth” ending of the chapter. Alexandr is so full of determination, and touches my heart in a special way – you know, when I think of it, there is a certain Harry-like quality about him, which greatly appeals to me. (Harry being my favourite character, and all.) You’re doing an excellent job of keeping your readers on edge for more details about Alexandr’s brother.
I spotted something that I thought was a bit odd:
“Lord knows there will be little to no enforcement of the Statute, at least not in Moscow.”
I wonder which “Lord” Mr Gregorovitch is referring to here? I think that, typically, wizard folk would use “Merlin knows” or something like that instead. JKR never really discussed wizard religion in her books, but I can’t remember ever hearing a pure-blood (or any person who grew up with a magical family) use the words “God” or “Lord”, if not referring to the Dark Lord.
And… sigh. I feel such sympathy for Alexandr. Of course, the Tournament is important for everyone involved, but to him it’s dead serious – about life and death, even. I can’t help it and I don’t know why, though perhaps it’s because he’s the last person you write about in the chapter, but when I finish reading I’m quietly rooting for Alexandr.
As you can hopefully tell from my blabbering, Anna, I’m enjoying your story immensely, and I hope I’ll be able to write down my review for your third chapter soon. In the meantime, though, I would like to thank you for sharing such a lovely story with us!
Author's Response: My, oh my. Once again, your review has made me a very happy girl! I seriously think your comments are better written than the story!! :)
The Statute seemed like a perfect anchor to kind of base the story around, although you might find that it slips to the background as the Tournament intensifies. Rest assured that by the end, all will be tied together. ;) But of the three characters, the Statute will probably affect Josie most--at least in the most tangible way--so it was very important for me to try to convey her thoughts, and I'm thrilled that they came through so well!
I think the changes you suggested are spot-on. I did mean to say something along the lines of "would be able to love" instead of could--that is exactly what I intended. So thanks for the suggestion! I will hopefully make that change--I want to go back and do some edits to the story sometime in the near(ish) future.
You've understood my conception of Remy perfectly, too--or at least Remy as we know him so far. He's not afraid to be frank, and he and Josie are incredibly close.
Versailles. Oh, Versailles. What a magnificent place! I went about two years ago and was just blown away (although the Hall of Mirrors was closed for renovations! I was so upset), and I knew that it was perfect for Beauxbatons. From what we saw of them in GoF, it seems like they are pretty haughty and used to real elegance, so what better model for that than the craziest, most self-indulgent palace of all time?? :)
I'm so pleased you like George. I considered not putting a Potter in the story, and then actually regretted it after I did, but I've since warmed up to the idea. Like you said, it's nice to have some tie-in to JKR's stuff. A Potter keeps the story grounded in canon, and it was fun to imagine how Harry's ancestors might have acted! George is fun to write. :)
"Yours &c." is the way that people used to sign letters--it's another way of saying "yours, et cetera." The first time I read it (probably in "Pride and Prejudice") I was so confused, but apparently it was totally normal, so I thought I should include it!
I never considered that Aleksandr and Harry are similar, but I guess I can see it! They both certainly are determined, and definitely share some demons they have to overcome--haunted pasts, if you will. I wonder if the comparison will hold up as we see more and more of Aleksandr. I'm interested to see what you think!
The "Lord" was actually a conscious insertion. I figured that this (1691) was a much more religious time than today's world, especially in Russia, so I wanted Gregorovitch to be holding on to an older time. Also, I kind of wanted to hint that maybe his faith in God is growing as his faith in the wizarding world is fading. That might be way too much to infer from a single word, and I agree that it might not fit in with the picture she's painted, but it felt natural for Mr. Greg. :)
I'll tell you a secret: Aleksandr is my favorite. If you're rooting for him, it's probably because I am, too! Don't tell the others! hehe
I am very nervous that the quality of the chapters won't be consistent. I had to write this story so fast because of the challenge deadlines, and I think some chapters work a lot better than others. That's just a warning for you, I suppose! But I do sincerely hope that you enjoy the rest of the story, and even if you hate it, I'm sure the quality of your reviews will be enough to keep me going! Seriously, they are amazing. You are doing S.P.E.W. proud!!!
Overall, I thought this chapter (and your story in general) was very eloquent and dramatic. I ecpecially love the cliff hanger at the chapter two! This may be a bit nit-picky, but aren't Alexi and his father conversing in Russian? Since they are, I would omit the line, "his words coated in his thick accent." Aside from that, I think it's great that you're a historical fiction.
Author's Response: Thank you very much! I'm having a lot of fun with this story, so I'm glad you enjoy it.
Your point about the accent has been raised a few times. I guess the way I saw it was this: I speak American English with no real discernible accent, but my grandmother (who is from Tennessee) speaks with what I consider a thick Southern accent. I wanted Gregorovitch to come off as very gruff, like maybe he grew up in a different part of Moscow. But it's probably causing more harm than good! :-) Thanks for pointing it out, regardless, and for the review! I hope you enjoy the rest of the story!
Good job as usual. I think the third task is my favorite.
Author's Response: Thank you (again!) :-)
Good job as usual. I think the third task is my favorite.
Author's Response: Thank you! I also really like the third task--it was fun to picture the boys up on a pillar while various objects fly at their heads!
Hello, Anna. Oh, you should see my face right now. It’s not all too often that I find a piece of fanfiction that is well written, that I like, and that hasn’t already got a ton of reviews so that mine seems unnecessary. I’m simply delighted! ;) Before I begin this review, I want to point out that I have only read the first chapter so far, and that I’m determined to review it before I continue. So if I seem a bit clueless about the upcoming chapters, that’s why.
So, why do I think this story is so great? I had to take a moment to think about it, you know, because there are so many parts that contribute. But let’s start with your language. Firstly, it’s very mature. I have no idea how old you are, and after nearly three years on this site I’ve learned that age don’t matter when it comes to great writing, anyway. But your English is wonderfully varied and you use several words and expressions I don’t know (not being a native speaker/writer myself), and you use them in such a way that they don’t seem pompous (and most certainly not ‘cumbersome’ ;), but instead they add a certain quality to your writing. Lovely. Plus, for very selfish reasons, I’m happy to learn some new words!
Secondly, your spelling and grammar are, as far as I can judge, almost perfect. Not only does this add to the feeling of quality, but it’s easier for a reader to concentrate on your story when they’re not distracted by spelling errors or comma splices. Not much more to say about that, I guess, except keep up the good work. =)
Okay, now I need to look at the actual story before I get too impatient. The fist thing that comes to my mind is the formatting. The text is very comfortable to read with correct formatting and even paragraphs, but I would like to suggest a change at the very beginning of the first chapter. I don’t know if it’s necessary to put the chapter title in the text (between the Author’s Note and the beginning of the chapter text), as it’s already in the scroll menu above and also on the overview page of the full story. But whether you want to keep it there or not, I would suggest putting a few blank lines and perhaps even a black line in between the A/N and the chapter. A small thing to bug you about, perhaps, but I think that a story as good as this one deserves to be perfect in every sense.
Ah, and for the next thing I want to discuss, please let me quote the following:
But it is not for them to decide. It is not for any of them to decide.
What an excellent example of good use of repetition! Unintentional repetition of words happen to be a pet peeve of mine, so seeing it used like this, where it really contributes to the flow and rhythm of a story, makes me so happy! And as we’re on the subject of flow, let me just say that These Three Remain leaves nothing to wish for in that area. Not once during this chapter did your sentences stumble over each other, and each word following another seemed to be the very right one.
Your dialogue flows just as well, and I’m pleased with your decision not to write accents but only include words from other languages. Personally, I always avoid writing characters like Hagrid, Fleur and Krum, because I just keep pulling my hair out while trying to get it right. Some fanfic authors do it though, and pull it off well, but a rather frightening number don’t put enough work into it and, to me, a badly written accent can ruin a whole story.
This story seems very well nestled in the magical world that J.K. Rowling has created, and yet it doesn’t depend on it too much. You set the tone and time of the piece really well already in the very beginning, and you’re very consistent with that feeling throughout the chapter. During the limited time we get to spend with the de Tuileries, you paint a clear and realistic image of the family dynamics. The parents come alive, and so does Remy, but Josephine really stands out. I thought about it, and if I hadn’t already suspected that Josephine would become a Triwizard champion, it could just as well have been Remy. Sure, his appearance is very brief, but his actions speak a great deal of his character.
You also explain Josephine’s situation really well, with the love she feels, the obligations towards her family and the expectations and pressure put upon her. Oh, if she really will be a Triwizard tournament, I’m sure I’m really going to enjoy reading about her fate.
A couple of more thoughts about the first part of the chapter:
“Oui, papa. He is Pascal. He comes from Cabričs.”
- judging by the rest of this chapter, you’ve intended to italicize all non-English words. Here you seemed to have missed the ‘oui’. And:
“Papa, I love him.”
“Well,” he said, hugging her tightly, “fall out of love.”
When I read this, I just had a random thought that if you had written “Papa, I’m in love with him.” instead, you would have gotten a nice little contrast between the “in love” and Jean-Batiste’s “out of love”. Just a thought. =)
Oh, dear, this review is getting so out of hand and I think we’re beyond all hope of some structure. But I just have to mention your lovely descriptions. You don’t overdo it by spending eight paragraphs on describing the pattern of the wallpapers, but you’ve got the details there to give your story a feeling of fullness and completion. There are too many examples of this to point out and praise, so I will pick a couple at random and applause at your description of Remy’s clothing, and her words muffled in the folds of his brocade jacket. Wonderful.
Onto the next part of the chapter. I realise at the very beginning of it how you’ve set up the three parts, and I must say that it really appeals to me. Again, it makes the chapter look thought-through and well-plotted, as if you’ve spent a significant amount of time working on it.
Then, ! Hee, I can’t even begin to describe what an absolute sucker I am for the English countryside. You use the father/son interaction so cleverly, both to describe their individual characters and tell us what kind of background William comes from, and how he’s managed to create his own opinion in spite of (or perhaps thanks to?) it. And would it be horrible of me if I said that I really want to pop into your story, marry William Warrington-Hughes and live happily ever after at some English estate? *cough*
The next thing that really excites me is when you introduce Henry and stir up the discussion about the Statute of Secrecy. I recall that you mentioned it in the story summary, but at this point I’ve been completely distracted by the other parts of your story that it comes as a surprise. Oh, I can’t wait to see how you’re going to weave this into your story and what kind of reactions it’s going to create.
I would like to suggest one change to this part of the chapter:
“Someone needs to put these Muggles in their place, and that someone today is me.”
- the word order there is a little confusing. I think it would sound better if you wrote, “…and today that someone is me.”
The third and last part of your chapter is also the most intriguing one. Not only because of the familiar names you mention (which are hotter than phoenix fire now, after the release of Deathly Hallows), but also because you let us know that Alexandr is “immensely powerful” and hint at the scandal/tragedy surrounding his older brother five years earlier. You don’t tell us if Dragomir is dead, or if he somehow let the school down. Yes, I am VERY intrigued.
Your description of the situation for the wizarding society of Eastern Europe is frightening and definitely puts things into perspective. It’s easy to see how they’re desperate for a bit of glory, for a hero to gather around at such evil times. Which, you know, leads my thoughts to Britain, some three hundred years later…
So, here we are. I’m assuming that you have introduced your three Triwizard champions to us, and I think it’s quite obvious that I like how you’ve done that. ;) I will definitely be reading the following chapters, though I promise that my reviews won’t be quite as annoyingly exhausting as this one. Great work, Anna!
Author's Response: I am stunned. I am speechless. I think this review actually made me dizzy with happiness. It's almost as long as the chapter! :-)
I hardly know where to begin. I guess I should start by saying THANK YOU. A review like this only comes around every once in a while, and I am SO pleased that you have decided to grace my day with it!
Let's start with the bad stuff first. ;-) Formatting: I totally agree that there should be some line breaks. In fact, I'll go add them in right now--I always forget to put in a few extra spaces. Your notes about specific syntax and/or diction were very helpful, and I think once the story is finished, I'd like to dive back in and take a look at your suggestions! It's always good to have another pair of eyes point out things like that.
As for your compliments, I cannot tell you how floored I was by them. I am especially pleased that you like Josephine. I was hoping she didn't come off as too naive or childish or any of those things (though I suppose you could grow to hate her in forthcoming chapters...)
It thrills me to no end to know that I am exposing you to new words. I also love learning new words, trying them out, seeing what they feel like, and this story has expanded my vocabulary a bit, too! Trying to stay true to the time period has been difficult, and I make no claims that I've done it accurately at all, but at least I've tried. ;-)
Oh, dear, I'm getting carried away with my smiley faces! I can't wait for you to keep reading and discovering more and more, though I am infinitely nervous now--I hope the next chapters are up to snuff!
I am just going to be incessantly repetitive if I go on, but know that I am positively beside myself at this review. If I could, I would write a comment about every single thing you mentioned. (Un)fortunately, however, I have to go finish the story!
Please note that this review was anything but "annoyingly exhausting." I very much look forward to your reactions to the next chapters, be they good or bad!
Thanks again, SO much.
P.S: After this review, you are absolutely entitled to pop into the story and claim William for your own. Hurry, before someone else does!!
Hello, Anna! It's been so hard reading other fellow entrants in this Challenge, (we made such tomes!) but your story has its attractions. I love how you made a theme out of the three biblical virtues, and many might have already told you this as well: Those were nice verses, I love it when fics have some metre and rhyme the way the real books do. Now I know you're in another house, but I still say, good luck with the challenge! ^_^
Author's Response: Hello, Joanna! I'm so glad you like my story! I agree, though--I have yet to read anybody else's because I've been spending every waking moment typing away at this one. :-)
The biblical virtues quite literally just popped into my head, so I knew I had to run with them. I'm glad you like them, and the verses as well.
I can't wait to finish this thing and read the other entries! Yours looks so clever--I love the idea of a bunch of Weasleys from different parents taking over the Tournament!
Thanks again for the review, and good luck in the challenge!
Hello there, LuthAn! I've been following your fic quite recently, and I just wanted to drop my feedback in the review bin. I've read all six chapters, and they are all WONDERFULLY written, as well as historically appropriate. Also, the fact that you put down the myth introduced by the HP films that Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are each a girls school and boys school in the European world. You have a wonderful sense of character development, and your plot is very fresh with it's many (often mildly murderous!) twists and turns. Keep up the excellent work!
PS--I do confess to favoritism; I have become very fond of Aleksandr Gregorovitch. *smile*
Author's Response: Autumn, thank you so much for a wonderful review! I am so glad that you are enjoying the story so far, and it's really good to hear that it's historically appropriate--that has been one of the things I'm most worried about!
Yes, it seemed very silly to me that the movie portrayed BB and DS as single-gender schools when the book states otherwise! I was glad to put that notion to rest. :-)
Anyway, I'm working on the last chapters now, so I hope you enjoy them, too! Thanks again--this review really made my day.
P.S: I don't like to play favorites with my characters, but I admit: I have a soft spot for Aleksandr, too!
You had a really creative idea for the second task. I absolutely loved it. This is a great story, keep up the good work.
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I really enjoyed the Second Task, too--those riddles were fun to write!
It's almost over--just two more chapters probably... :-)
This is an excellent story so far. I especially liked how you did the selection of the champions. It made a lot of sense with the plot so far. Keep writing! Great job!
Author's Response: Thanks so much! I'm hoping that I can get it all in before the deadline, but it's so much fun to write anyway. I'm very glad you like it.
Excellent job! I like the changes you made. Thanks for the compliment, as well. ;-)
Author's Response: Thanks! And thanks very much for the beta.
I sent you an email today. Chapter Four's coming along!
Oooh, you were right- it's tenser already! Yet again, I greatly enjoyed this. A few nit-picky things:
You speak of divorce under Josephine's section. I have a hard time seeing that in the time period, especially coming from a girl who is so high-bred and well-trained as Josephine.
These Three Remain by LuthAn
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1. Faith, Hope, and Love2. Everything Changes
Hello again, dear readers. I've been re-reading "Pride and Prejudice" for the umpteenth time, so I think I've got a little better hold on the language (though that story takes place more than a hundred years after mine...) Regardless, this story is becoming an absolute joy to write, and is taking more twists and turns than I originally planned. I certainly hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it! Questions and/or comments are always more than welcome. Enjoy!
CHATPER TWO: Everything Changes
The carriage rattled loudly down the road leading away from Chateau Clerbise, though its two occupants remained silent. Josephine sat with her head down, her hands in her lap. She occasionally moved to fiddle with a loose thread on her traveling cloak, but other than that she sat quite still, braced against the wall of the carriage.
Her brother Remy, on the other hand, was moving constantly, twitching as though possessed by a nervous energy. Josephine knew he was anxious to return to school for his seventh and final year. He was anxious to see again his friends and his fiancée. But he was most anxious for the start of the Triwizard Tournament. Beauxbatons was hosting this year, and it was all but guaranteed that Remy would be chosen as its champion. Josephine smiled at this thought. She was proud of her brother, and knew he would honor the school and the family.
But this was the only happiness that Josephine had been able to feel for quite some days. After her confrontation with her father over Pascal, she had been thrown into a fit of doubt and despair. She knew she loved Pascal, or at least thought she could, but the fact remained that she was a witch and he not a wizard. “One hundred years ago, fine. Twenty years ago, fine. Not today,” her father had said. Not today. The words repeated themselves over and over in her mind.
He was right, of course. The country was aflutter with rumors that the International Confederation of Wizards had almost concluded their negotiations and would be passing the statute any day. The International Statute of Wizard Secrecy. It would be the end of her relationship.
True, Pascal already knew that she was a witch, so staying with him would not be breaking any laws. And true, there were many witches and wizards throughout the world who were already married to Muggle men and women–certainly they would not be made to divorce.
But the passing of the statute signaled the changing times. The entire way that witches and wizards lived their lives would be put to the test, carefully examined, and indubitably altered. Her family’s estate, for instance, currently the centerpiece of the town of Bouc-Bel-Air, would likely have to be made Unplottable. Muggle servants would have to be dismissed, replaced by wizards and witches. No longer would Josephine be able to use her wand to repair a broken toy belonging to a neighbor’s child or to clean the hem of her dress while strolling the streets of the town. The family de Tuileries did not flaunt the fact that they were magical, of course, but neither had they done much to conceal it over the years. Now, they would have to.
She let out a small sigh and turned to rest her head on the glass window of the carriage, watching the countryside pass by. Remy, sitting across from his sister, turned his head toward her. “Sister,” he said, resting a comforting hand on her knee. “Do not trouble. You will surely forget about this matter as soon as we are back at l’Academie.”
“I do not want to forget, Remy,” she said, not meeting his eyes. “I want nothing to change.”
“Everything changes, sister,” he said. “Everything. You knew this was coming, you have seen the signs just as clearly as I have. They are rioting in the East, for Merlin’s sake. Just be thankful that there have not yet been any angry mobs come knocking at our door.”
“We could withstand the mobs,” she said quietly.
This made Remy scoff and draw his hand from her knee. “Don’t be such a fool, Josephine. Don’t be so naďve. They murder wizards. They would put you to death and kill Pascal right along with you.” His normally warm blue eyes had suddenly become cold and steely as he stared at her. She said nothing, for she knew he was right.
The carriage rumbled on, again in silence.
A few hours later they drew up to the front gates of Beauxbatons Academy. Despite her morose mood, Josephine could not help but feel a sense of warmth and pride well up inside her as she gathered the many folds of her skirts and stepped out of the carriage. The palace was truly breathtaking, and it never ceased to amaze her.
Though the building that housed the Academy had always been grand, it had undergone renovations no more than a century ago, and now was a shimmering monument to the Baroque movement that had swept France and the Continent in general. In fact, the Muggle King of France, Le Grand Monarque Louis XIV, had modeled his own Palace of Versailles after the Academy upon the recommendation of Monsieur Geoffroi Autruche, current Headmaster of the school.
Josephine felt another pang in her chest as she thought of this fact. If the statute passed, that would be the end of the great collaborations between Muggles and wizards. No longer could she and her family dine at the King’s table. No longer would they retain their noble titles. Yes, the statute would have many repercussions…
She opened her parasol and clutched her small traveling bag as Remy instructed the footmen where to take their trunks. No doubt the house-elves were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their luggage. Remy offered his arm to Josephine, she accepted, and the two of them moved in tandem up the driveway, stopping to greet fellow students along the way.
There was always a sort of vibrant energy around the Academy when school resumed each year, but in Triwizard years, the energy intensified exponentially. It was only a matter of weeks now before the contingents from Hogwarts and Durmstrang would arrive, and despite the frequent hostilities between the three schools, they would certainly add some excitement to an otherwise routine year. Their arrival would mean stories from abroad, fresh faces, and–of course–balls. Beauxbatons was famous in both wizarding and Muggle societies for the multiple balls they hosted every year, but Triwizard years saw these balls become infinitely grander. Josephine almost had to stop to catch her breath out of excited anticipation.
They paused right before the main doors of the palace and Josephine smiled warmly at the girl to her right, turning to give her a kiss on both cheeks. It was Angeline Laplanche, one of Josephine’s oldest friends, and one of the few who knew about Pascal. “Comment ça va?” Josephine asked in greeting.
“Well, thank you,” Angeline responded, squeezing Josephine’s hand. “How are you?”
“I will be better after the negotiations are completed,” Josephine replied honestly. It was not a woman’s place to discuss politics outside of the home, but she could not resist. Angeline merely nodded and gave her another reassuring squeeze.
There was no time for further conversation, however, for at that moment the students heard a great rumbling. They smiled and exchanged looks of glee, for the rumbling could mean only one thing: the palace doors were opening.
Sure enough, the gilded gold doors were slowly pushed apart, no longer charged with the lamentable duty of concealing the glorious interiors of the Palace Beauxbatons.
Josephine felt her smile widen and she tightened her grip on Remy’s arm. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, her senses eager to welcome back the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of the palace. And indeed, as she crossed the threshold of the palace and beheld the Grand Foyer, all thoughts of Pascal were pushed completely–if only temporarily–from her mind.
“I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that our tournament has to be hosted by Beauxbatons.”
William Warrington-Hughes heard this statement spoke, but it floated around the outer regions of his mind, not quite fully registering. He was too engrossed in his most recent letter from his father to pay much attention to anything else at the moment.
“I say, William, don’t you agree?”
The voice was louder this time, and William became vaguely aware that someone was talking to him. He looked up from his fourth perusal of the letter’s contents, and directly into the face of his friend George, who was busy readying his trunks for the journey to France.
“Oh, yes, George. Couldn’t agree more,” he said off-handedly, no clue as to what he was agreeing.
George seemed to accept the agreement as genuine, however, and thus continued on. “Their palace is just such a ghastly place. Entirely too done-up and ornate–have you seen it recently? It is truly an assault on the senses. I much prefer the understated, austere sincerity of Hogwarts.”
William allowed a nod and a non-committal grunt, and again focused himself completely on the particularly vexing letter in front of him.
“Come, William!” George said, snatching the letter from William’s hands and re-folding it. “You’ve hardly touched your trunk and we’re due to leave within the hour. Whatever your father has to say cannot be that important.”
William slowly felt the panic that had arisen as George grabbed the letter subside as the tall, dark-haired boy handed it back to him with a smile. William took it, perhaps a bit too forcefully, and placed it deep within the folds of his robe. He managed a feeble smile back as he looked around his room. George was right: his trunk was in no state to be loaded into the carriage that would transport them to Beauxbatons. With one flick of his wand, however, he saw robes and coats and stockings and schoolbooks all fly into the trunk and heard it close with a satisfying latch.
George smiled and clapped him on the back. “A nice bit of magic, my friend. Too bad you won’t be able to put your skills to good use when I am selected as Hogwarts Champion!” He winked and gave a jovial chuckle.
William returned the laugh, but said nothing in response. Normally, he would have shot a barb right back at George–that was the nature of their friendship. But today, he could not bring himself to do it. Not after the letter.
William took his seat next to George in the plush carriage parked on the Hogwarts lawn near the lake. He looked around and surveyed the other students that would be making the journey to Beauxbatons for the tournament: it was a larger than usual group. This year’s tournament seemed already to be marked by increased competition, and William had no doubt that victory would only be claimed after some hard-fought battles.
The schools put no age restrictions on the competitors, but the Goblet of Fire had never selected a champion younger than fifth-year level, and even that was a rare occurrence. Thus, William found himself surrounded mainly by students in his year–seventh–and the year below. Hogwarts’ finest. He felt a bit queasy at the thought of disappointing his father by not being selected Hogwarts Champion, but he forced himself to have faith and steel his courage–something he was supposed to be possessed of in abundance as a member of Gryffindor House.
"To say that he had been shocked when the Sorting Hat placed him in Gryffindor six years prior was an understatement. To say that his father had been appalled and disgusted was not." This implies that William was more shocked than his father was appalled, as "understatement" means something that was said with less strength than would be completely accurate. At least from the following explanation, I gather that this idea was not the one you meant to convey.
You mention Aleksandr's father as speaking in a "thick accent." Yet, presumably, they are both speaking in Russian?
All right, enough of that. I loved the description of Beauxbaton. While it is not exactly how I imagined it from Fleur, it makes perfect sense, especially within the time period. I love the political scene you have set up, with Josephine's family intermingling with Muggles while there are mobs in Russia. It's complex and seems to set the stage for an International Statute of Secrecy quite well. We still have that tenuous link from William to faith, but it is strengthening slightly, and the others are becoming clearer still. The story is excellently paced, and I can't wait for the moment the three threads start colliding!
I am enjoying this so much (as may have been gathered from the novel of a review I am writing) and I'm so glad you updated so quickly.
Looking forward to future updates,
Author's Response: Hello there! It seems you have inadvertently copy-pasted the entire chapter in this review box; I hope I catch everything! Please let me know if I missed something buried deep in the text... :)
I definitely had a question about divorce, too, but in the end just decided to throw it in there. I think Josephine is already way too involved in the proceedings for a girl of her status, so I figured why not! Maybe she's not as naive as she seems... But it's a good point that you make!
The understatement thing is tricky. I see what you're saying, and now I see that the sentence definitely could be read that way. How I intended it was this: It was an understatement that Will was shocked, i.e. he was more than shocked. However, saying that his father was appalled and disgusted was NOT an understatement: it was true. Now that I think about it that way, it makes much less sense. Ha! Maybe I'll go back and change it... :)
As for the accent, I imagine the elder Gregorovitch has a very thick Russian accent, yes. For instance, my grandmother speaks with a very thick accent because she is from Tenneessee, so compared to me, her speech is heavily accented. I just imagine him as this very gruff, grim person, so the accent seemed normal. But yeah, I would hate for readers to think that they're just sittin' around talking in English in the middle of Moscow! :)
Thanks so much for these comments. I'm glad you're paying close attention to the story and the characters! That really means a lot.
I had no idea this chapter was going to be validated so quickly, so I'm just a tad behind, but I hope to have the next chapter done soon. Thanks again for the great review!!!
Wow, this is cool! I love the biblical allusion that this story starts on. I have a harder time seeing Jonathan's relation to faith than I can see with the other two. Does he have (lack?) faith in his father, his father's beliefs, himself? All three? Maybe that will become clearer. I have been drawn in by the mystery surrounding Dragomir, and I can't wait to find out what that is about. The mood of this story is great, tense without being overbearing. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for updates!
Author's Response: Hi there! Thanks so much for the review! Yeah, Jonathan's link to "faith" is the most tenuous of all three. I hope to expand his character a lot more in forthcoming chapters (and the other two as well, of course!) And the mood is only going to get tenser, I fear, but I hope that I never get overbearing. :)
Oh, and Dragomir! Yeah, that's a whole mystery I can't wait to unravel myself! Update should be coming pretty soon, I hope... Thanks again!
Author's Response: Ooops! Jonathan is the father--duh. I meant "William's link to faith is the most tenuous of all three." Silly me...