It took a while for my brain to reboot, but as soon as I started reading, all the memories of the first ten chapters that I had read a while ago came flooding back. As I alluded in my last review, I adore this story and everything about it.
I love the way you spin this tale that is tense and gripping, yet you still manage to infuse small bits of humour to keep it fresh and loveable. One example of that is this:
“You nearly gave all of us heart attacks, sneaking up on front doors these days!”
Augusta just sounds every inch the forbidding woman here. Though Dean was by no means sneaking, and he was approaching the FRONT door, she still managed to make it sound like his fault, which to me is amusing.
I’m surprised that Dean is so civil toward Dudley, but you managed to make that make sense when you told how Dean’s own family had been afraid of him a bit after his first year, and they actually liked him. So, it was only natural for animosity to stem from the Dursleys, especially since they didn’t like Harry in the first place.
“I don’t imagine he would have mentioned us. We sort of treated him like dirt for his entire life. It wasn’t until he saved my life last year that I stopped hating him.” Dudley’s face turned red from embarrassment.
This is the part when I really started to believe that Dudley had truly changed. He not only acts like a civilised human being, but he shows remorse about how badly his family had treated Harry. This is leagues ahead of his ‘I don’t think you’re a waste of space’ from DH. This characterisation was made possible by your excellent work in the previous chapters, and it’s really nice to see this non-git side of Dudley.
Two this year, thought Dudley, plus Dean makes three, plus Harry makes four. “Was Ron the fifth?” asked Dudley, hoping he had done his math right.
Haha, I love this tiny detail of yours. It’s very reminiscent of Dudley counting his presents in I believe SS/PS, and he could barely deduce that he had two less presents than the year before. It just goes to show that, no matter how much he’s changed for the better, Dudley is still the same fat, stupid lump that he was before.
“You can take the bed,” Dudley offered. “You probably need it more than I do.”
Ooh, this shows a generous side of Dudley that I don’t think even he knew he had. It’s yet another sparkling example of how well you’ve managed to both develop Dudley’s conscience, sense of sharing, friendliness, and tolerance, but all entirely within the realm of believability. Very well done. ^.^
“But the pieces moved for Dudley, too?” she asked.
When I read this, I put the pieces together from earlier in the fic when the door or Augusta’s house closed after the ‘second wizard’ entered the front door. I had my suspicions then, and this all but confirmed them… you’re going to give Dudley powers. That is truly awesome, and I can’t wait!
“I will. When that Owl comes, I’m going with them.”
This is one of those times when you sit back in your chair and do the plummeting-off-a-cliff “Nooooooooooooooo!” If my calculations of the timeline are right, Dean is going to heartily wish that he’d never gone that day… poor bloke. I do, however, respect him to no end for his unwillingness to back down in the face of danger. You held true to his characterisation from the books, and a lot of humour fics tend to lose that.
Vernon droned on about his usual complaints. Somewhere between, “You’re brainwashing my family,” and “You-Know-Who probably doesn’t exist…”
See, this is why I totally love this piece! Even in the face of deadly danger and intrigue, Vernon still manages to be the same egotistical gas bag that he always was. Even Petunia has come around to the wizards, but not Vernon. Never Vernon. Last time I reviewed, I praised your Vernon to a pretty good extent, and that holds true now. I hold that you know Vernon Dursley as well as JKR herself, and that really shows in your writing.
But Dudley suddenly felt his body being pulled, contorted, and compressed; he gripped tightly onto Dean’s shoulder, for it was the only sense of direction he had. His lungs tightened and he was out of breath. Finally, his lungs opened up and he gasped a warm breath of air.
This bit of description is just so lovely. There aren’t a lot of instances in the books that showcase the feeling of Apparition, but this one holds true to those benchmarks. I really love how Dudley knew what was happening, but it didn’t make it any less pleasant. Also, though, this made me shut my eyes and just say to myself, “Oh, boy. Here we go.” This tells me that the next chapter shall be filled with shenanigans galore.
With one last exasperated look, Dean agreed and started towards the deserted department store, Purge and Dowse, Ltd., with Dudley, who was armed with nothing but a Skiving Snackbox, at his heels.
Oh, poor Dudders. He has no freaking idea what he’s getting himself into by going with Dean. The danger will be more real and harrowing than anything he’s ever faced, and that should scare him a lot more than it does, but here he is, trotting along into the den of vipers… idiot. I guess no matter how much he’s changed or how much nicer he is, Dudley will always be an idiot. If he had a speck of sense, he would have taken Dean up on his offer to take him back.
Characterisation continues to be the strongest part of this fic, almost to the point that it’s the driving force. Even if nothing was happening in this fic but them all sitting around in that little flat in France, doing nothing but eating and bickering, it would still be an excellent read. Your ability to take these characters and make them transcend their original selves – to become more than the sum of their parts, so to speak – is absolutely phenomenal. This is the reason that this story is so popular. Everyone wants to see the Dursleys in their full glory and wants to see him change into someone that we don’t have to hate.
Also, the way you’ve taken two flat characters with nearly no face time in the series like Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle is spectacular. Here are two people that I don’t know, but through the magic of your writing, they are like real people to me as a reader. They have identity, personality, individuality, as well as strengths and faults. It’s just really cool to see characters come to life like this, which is why I read a lot of Next-Gen.
I do have one small nit pick. Very small, but it did bother me just a tiny bit.
“Oh, of course, you don’t know! Alecto and Amycus Carrow, death eaters and Hogwart’s two newest professors!” Her voice was dripping with hatred and disapproval.
‘Death Eaters’ should be capitalised always. There were also a couple other instances where a Potterword was not correctly capitalised, but ‘Death Eater’ was the most frequent of all of these. As a writer myself, I know it’s difficult to know exactly what is and is not capitalised in the Potterverse, but there are great resources available. For instance, there is a LiveJournal community that actually specialises in cataloguing which words are capitalised, which are not, how they’re hyphenated, etc. I use it all the time, and the mods actually use this as sort of a submission bible, so whatever in here is what MNFF considers correct. I hope it helps.
Overall, I still adore this story, and any update you provide will be met with high praise from me. Not many people are brave enough to tackle a character nightmare like the Dursleys and make us – gasp – almost like them. It’s like you’ve taken a small amount of ownership into their characterisations, and though they do belong to JKR, I just feel, as I read this, that there’s a secret little chunk of them that is solely yours. When I read the books and come across the Dursleys, this fic always comes to mind and how you portray them.
I look forward to your next update, and I really appreciate the amount of effort that it takes to do such a great job with knowing the characters and fitting all of this into the timeline. So, until next time…
Take care and happy writing!
please can u update soon i love this one
What I want to know is if Dudley will have a chance to go to Hogwarts! That would be so cool!!! Please make it happen? And good job!
Oh dear...I am so anxious to find out what happens. When will it be "revealed" for certain who the second Wizard was that made it through the wards? I already have my suspicions...
oohh this is so good!! :O
Now this might sound stupid I suppose since 'Dudders' didnt see the dementor's in Harry's 5th year but is there a possibility that he's magical??
2 reasons -
The door would close after 2 magical people went through the door??
And the chess moved for Dudley..
Now,, also if he is magic he will be able to get through to st.mungos ;)
It'k be a really interesting turn if he turns out to be magic!! And please updare soon now because I love this story,, and also because this is a big cliffhanger for me im just dying to find out what happens next!! =D
Oooh now that was a fantastic chapter,, don't ask why but I really enjoyed reading this 1 =]
“I had to catch up with them,” Dead said exasperatedly.
*sniffle* how heart warming!
Oh dear, it sounds like this next chapter is going to be very exciting!! I am really excited for the next chapter :-)
Correct it was Dean. After finding out that the chess pieces are listening to Dudley, I believe Mrs. L is getting the idea that he may indeed be a wizard. I'd venture to guess because his parents hate magic so vehemently and taught him to do the same it took being exposed to witches and wizards and an idea that it wouldn't be such a bad thing to be one that finally allowed his magic to show up. I can't even begin to imagine what's going to happen at St, Mungo's. But I'm guessing Dean and Dudley are going to be the deciding factors that the good guys win.
loved it!! i'm so happy you finally updated, hopefully you'll be able to do it more often now. i love how dudley has changed so much. keep up the great story
If it turns out Dudders is a Wizard, I'm having a cow. And loving your story!!! ^_^
Hey, just wanted to point out that Mrs L says VOLDEMORT but nothing happens...a small slip for this great story...
Author's Response: don't worry, it's not a slip. ;)
This is so awsome. I absolutely love your story and I was so happy when I saw you updated. Maybe you can do another update before you head back to school? Thanks always for writing!
wow! I love it! I'm certain we're going to find out Dudley is a Wizard, and I anticipate a riotous scene at the hospital.
Author's Response: Thanks, I'm glad you like it!
I think it's going to be Dudley and dean run in there then an angry guard has ms. Longbottom, hestida, and Dedalus in ropes with a smug look on his face says something like even more huh. I'm getting a HUGE paycheck for this! And before he could fire the curse, Dudley crashes into him with the speed and weight of a football player, causeing the guard to pass out. That's what I think! Thanks
Author's Response: haha We'll see how close you are! Thanks for the review!
Oh, no! A death eater! Whatever shall we do?!
Dudley side-along Apparating!? It's hillarious, though you're threading dangerous OC territory here.
He surely matured, though. I wonder where they are.
Dudley wasn't intentionally Apparating, so I think it's believable. And this is somewhere Jo has taken us in the books before, try thinking of Order of the Phoenix! :)
I'm looking forward to seeing the attack on St Mungo's, but what Dudley thinks he's going to do I've no idea...
I've really enjoyed reading this story, but it is American and it would be easier to enjoy more if you didn't. In Britain, cots are for babies: I think you mean a camp bed for Dudley and Dean. Augusta would probably be addressed as Mrs Longbottom, given her age and because Neville's grandfather is definitely mentioned so chances are she's married. Also, don't use the word candy, apart from for candy floss which is the pink sticky stuff sold at funfairs. Dudley and the Weasleys would say sweets. And while it is possible the wizarding world is different, for Muggles hospitals are paid for by the NHS and most people don't have or need medical insurance.
Author's Response: I'm glad that you're enjoying it. I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say after that. It would be easier to enjoy more if I didn't what? Be an American? I try to catch whatever I can, but it's not going to be perfect and where I was raised isn't something I can change now.