Well, that was certainly interesting. I must confess I was on the edge of my seat. And, I don't think this was meant to be the exciting chapter. I think I'm sometimes more into words, or arguments, than I am into action. That probably comes from being an academic. In the first place, I didn't think that Remus and Harry were that injured after their encounter with Snape. I was surprised at the level of care they needed. I was heartened by all of the gifts and well wishes the two received from all of the students. I think I was most startled by the thought that Snape was married at least once and possibly twice. How weird is that? I can't wait to find out more about that. And, were you hinting that one of Snape's wives was at the Halloween party? Great chapter. I like your idea of reading Snape's Christmas Carol (I think that's it--written by Sonorous on this site?) I've certainly enjoyed reading it. That is a superb idea. I might even adopt that new tradition myself:D See you again soon.
Author's Response: Like any other medication, Wolfsbane is not without its side effects. More will come out about that later.
The mystery about Snape’s private life is integral to this story; there’s no doubt that he’s a complicated character. I do think that JKR casting him as a hopeless bachelor is somewhat unrealistic for a man still in his thirties when the stories take place. Just because he comes across to Harry as a singularly unpleasant fellow doesn’t mean there aren’t other facets to his personality. Can’t elaborate any more without upsetting a very carefully arranged apple cart, though.
Wow--that was one of your more exciting chapters yet. The unexpected duel between Harry and Remus was interesting enough but it turned really exciting when Snape appeared. He is quite the duelist. I almost had the feeling that he was trying to help Harry. In the first place, Harry's duel with Snape was like a real duel--Snape suddenly appeared and there was nothing planned or arranged about it. Then it almost semed as if he was giving Harry advice. I liked the descriptions of the wands. I like the sound of Remus'. Finally, that hot cider sounded awful good. I should make some when my nephew and I have our Harry Potter marathon. We're watching all of the Harry Potter movies and having special snacks and drinks. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Snape’s motives are always unfathomable, aren’t they? That man gives nothing away.
I don’t have the cider recipe, but I have discovered that if you stir about a teaspoon (no more) of Limoncello to a cup of hot tea along with your sugar, it makes for a much more relaxing brew.
We’re starting a new holiday tradition at my house this year. We’re reading Snape’s Christmas Carol aloud. Too bad we don’t have the original incarnation reading it to compliment my recording of Patrick Stewart doing the traditional Dickens’ version. That’s what I want Santa to bring for my stocking when he visits with his string of thestrals. You have to admit, having draft animals that a large contingent (mostly children) can’t see is a lot more sensible.
I've never thought of Ollivander as a possible Death Eater. I suppose anything's possible though. Even Rosmerta was imperioused. I think my favorite part was the description of the pictures. I could see the students selecting the pictures and putting them on the wall. You described it so perfectly that I could really imagine what it looked like. Again, I really like the muggle touch to Halloween. I think muggles have their own kind of magic. You've let the characters have fun but I have a feeling that danger is lurking around the next corner. Great chapter.
Author's Response: So pleased you didn't find the photograph descriptions boring; sometimes I worry that I have too many flashbacks, but then I don't want to crowd in too many details all at once either.
Danger's always been right around the corner. It just hadn't been ready to show its face yet. That's all I can say for now... (evil grin)
The thought of Neville madly tap dancing threw me into a fit of giggles. I remember that from one of the books I think. Hermione sounds so confident about being at the cyber-cafe. I really like the thought of muggle black and white photos. This sounded like such a fun Halloween party. Did you bring up Snape dancing in your last book or was that someone else? I remember how strange it was that women were lining up to dance with Snape. It was fun to think about again:D Great chapter.
Author's Response: Indeed, the Tarantallegra Hex is from JKR’s fertile imagination. It was introduced in the Dueling Club sequence in CoS. The same curse caused Neville considerable discomfort during the assault of the Department of Ministries (OotP) until he was rescued by one of the Order members.
It’s definitely in my other story where you first read of Snape dancing. He justified himself by saying it was his way of avoiding insipid small talk at parties and other enforced social gatherings. Harry begins to see there’s more to Snape than the one-dimensional image he has from Potions class.
I’ve often felt that in addition to her intelligence, Hermione has a distinct advantage by being a child of both worlds (Muggle and wizarding). Just one more way in which the pure-blood extremists are fundamentally wrong.
Are you kidding? I love Culture Club. I think I spent the evening humming "Karma Chameleon." The Hufflepuff dance group sounded pretty funny. The hilarious part was that the kilts came from Moody:D I can see that. And Yay for Ron and Hermione. I'm sure they were totally enjoying the bewitching hour:) Great chapter.
Author's Response: Something to look forward to: Moody’s reaction to the use of his kilts will appear in an upcoming chapter. Also look for the Hufflepuff Boys to make a return engagement – but that’s much later in the story.
This was a chapter that I read slowly to totally enjoy it. All of the costumes sounded so wonderful. I think I liked Harry's performance and Ron's and Hermione's the best although all of them sounded great. Ginny's costume was very clever--and I love Culture Club:) I really liked the idea of people unveiling their costumes. The snacks sounded great too, Excellent chapter.
Author's Response: Thanks for letting me know you got the reference to Culture Club; I was worried about that one! Somehow I just can’t imagine any of the students lip synching to Celestina Warbeck’s “A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love” – no matter how much it would have annoyed McGonagall.
Too bad we don’t have as much leeway when it comes to magical costumes. An oversized version of that chameleon suit would come in very handy when I needed to double-park my car. (I suppose Harry can use his Invisibility Cloak to hide Christmas presents, too…) More costume madness in the next few chapters as well.
This was just amazing. You put a lot of creativity into this chapter. It was good to see the portable swamp back at the Headmistress' request, no less. Fred's costume sounded pretty cool. Poor Ron--I know he's part of the Golden Trio and he's a powerful wizard but sometimes he just doesn't get stuff:D Excellent chapter.
Author's Response: No doubt about it, Fred & George are truly geniuses. As for Ron, well, I can't help but find his character endearing in a rather unassuming way. He will grow into himself as the story progresses so that he's not just comic relief.
Can you tell Halloween is my favorite holiday as well?
What a wonderful idea--enforcing a nap time before the big party. I'm sure everyone's exhausted and liable to get cranky. The thought of Arthur coming to the party dressed in a muggle costume was too funny. I know he'd love it. You've thrown out so many hints about the party without giving anything away. I can't wait to hear more about the gala. Great chapter.
Author's Response: There’s been a lot of committee activities going on behind the scenes to get ready for the Halloween party. Harry’s been too intent on his studies so he will be suitably awed with the big night arrives.
I discarded the idea of allowing any outside guests to the ball as just too unmanagable, but had to add the conversation about Arthur since he would have approached the whole thing with the endearing child-like innocence he applies to all things Muggle.
I was so pleased to see Remus and Tonks at ease in Hogsmeade. They certainly deserve to be happy. It only goes to show that if we all just keep on with our lives and have hope that things work out. I was extremely impressed with Ginny's patronus. Wow--a fire lizard--who woulda thought!! I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm impressed with big showy patronuses--I know it's not the size of the patronus, etc, but I would hope that mine would take the shape of a Newfoundland dog. I'm hoping that I feel well enough in the spring to buy one. They're quite the dog:P Great chapter.
Author's Response: There’s lots of fun coming up with Patronuses. It’s actually one of the subplots in this tale and will take a serious turn later on.
I, too, love Newfies but don’t think the climate here is very suitable to them for the majority (nine months) of the year. I hear they’re absolutely wonderful and infinitely patient with children.
Magical folk do not fool around when it comes to Halloween do they? I laughed out loud when Ron wanted to buy tickets to the duel between Remus and Harry. It just struck me as funny that their homework inspired duel would become a performance event. I smiled every time Harry became paranoid that Remus would jump out from behind something and start firing hexes. This was a fun chapter and I can't wait to see how everyone dresses up.
Author's Response: As you can see, this story is definitely more light-hearted and playful in tone from the prequel. Remus' marriage is sitting well with him and he reverts to his easy-going manner. I tried to make his teaching style as engaging as it was presented in PoA.
That's not to say that evil will stay away for long though...
Trelawney hasn't been absent this entire time has she? I would think someone would have noticed that she was missing. Once again, Harry's been acting like a space cadet--not really processing what's going on at times--kind of out of it. How hilarious--witches and wizards dressed up in muggle Halloween costumes. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Don’t be too hard on poor Harry; Sybill is still the resident loony bird and space cadet. Even Luna has her insightful moments of brilliance. Trelawney was absent from Dumbledore’s funeral even though it was held on school grounds. She’s been haunting her usual tower room since then, still sharing her teaching duties with Firenze for those deluded enough to enroll in Divination.
Halloween will be great fun – not to mention, very revealing about the characters themselves.
I take it Peeves doesn't like cats? I was struck by how our favorite students almost seem like apprentice professors, completing research projects. Once again, reference is made to Harry having a poor memory--is that planned, a part of the plot, or just a coincidence? What happens when you reduce a magical object to kindling? Can you get rid of a magical object that way? Great chapter.
Author's Response: You’re wondering whether Harry’s just overwhelmed with his new circumstances or whether he just has a lot of things weighing on his mind… I promise that will be explored fully in future chapters. For now, give yourself a gold star for being observant.
I assume that once kindling is burned, the magic dissipates into the atmosphere. Much as in the Ravenclaw riddle: What happens when magical objects are Vanished?
As for Peeves, he doesn’t like anything that had the potential to out-smart him or fight back – both of which Crookshanks is liable to do.
Interesting that they repaired the two-way mirror. What an obvious idea but I didn't think of it. You'd think Harry could've repaired it before. But he still didn't know who had the other mirror did he--until later? The twins are always hysterical. I can't get over that Remus' patronus is a giraffe. That just seems so unusual. He's a very unusual man--he's a werewolf who has a giraffe patronus and a sea turtle animagus form:) Great chapter.
Author's Response: The twins are great fun to write. And as for their magical inventory, well, it’s the stuff of dreams really. Albeit somewhat twisted and mischievous dreams.
As Tonks will teach her classes later, a Patronus always reflects some aspect of its owner’s character; although, sometimes it can be a rather personal aspect, as in the case of hers being a werewolf. I chose the giraffe for Remus because it is a rather dignified animal that often stays in the background yet it can defend itself (and its young) from a lion attack with its mighty hooves. Docile and vegetarian, it is the exact opposite of a ravenous werewolf. As such, it perfectly encapsulated the inherent contradictions that have plagued Remus’ life.
The mirror is an object that has haunted Harry since Sirius’ death. Just one more way in which he might have avoided the fatal outcome, if only he had…. All those doubts which have entwined themselves with the guilt he feels for leading his godfather into a Death Eater trap. The steps which he takes with Remus to repair it are the start of the healing process.
Well, now I'm curious as to other professor and staff relationships--who all is married? I really liked the description of the forest glen. How come Harry is forgetting some stuff--Hermione's not practicing memory charms on him is she:P Although, I guess if you've attended five welcome feasts you'd be likely to forget what happened at some of them. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Who’s married to whom, involved, etc. is one of the subplots of this story. It is part of the maturing process that Harry begins to see his teachers as human beings and not just superiors. Surprises are in store, that’s all I can say.
I thought the forest glen gave rise to all sorts of possibilities, but Harry eventually finds something even more romantic. It’s amusing that not long after I posted this chapter, though, the same classroom figured in another’s fan fiction as the site of a romantic tryst (yes, the type which involves copious nudity).
Tonks' class sounded just amazing. How creative on your part. I'm sure it was hard for Hermione to keep her hand down and her mouth shut since she was only an observer. I thought it was pretty cool for McGonagall to be observing in her animagus form. Tonks' class seemed relaxed and eager to participate--the dream of any professor. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Sounds like a fun class, doesn’t it? Tonks definitely puts her own individual spin on some of the stuffier Hogwarts conventions, but McGonagall is progressive enough to allow it.
I loved reading about all of the luxuries the four students received. Wow--their own quarters. It sounds like Remus and Tonks were very well received. Once again, I felt like a pround mama and I didn't even write this:) OK, I've calmed down since you said you didn't kill off Remus and Tonks. And don't worry, your writing is too fine for me to run ahead and miss a second of it. I admit I do that with paper writing--as I said before, I read really fast sometimes and I can finish a book in a short period of time, That's a little harder when a book's online. Your writing is more elaborate so I have to focus. Great chapter. I'm really enjoying this.
Author's Response: Since lots of parents pulled their students out of the school after Dumbledore’s death at the end of HPB, I figured a lot of them would not feel confident enough to allow them to return while the wizarding war was still heating up. What to do with the extra space, then? The shared common room allows the trio to plot without having to regroup in the Room of Requirement all the time, not to mention that Hermione has a secure spot to test the WWW prototypes without having to worry about too many curious onlookers. Neville’s head boy duties often keep him occupied elsewhere.
Wow--amazing as always. Remus is so good, even at muggle stuff. The idea of a counter offer was great and then for Hermione to include Ron and Harry in on the deal was genius. They are truly good friends. The thought of Hermione trying to use a cell phone from the Hogwarts Express was pretty funny, but very possible. When I think about it, Ron has really led a sheltered life. He may be a pureblood but you need the knowledge from all kinds of cultures to survive. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Since very few wizards can claim pureblood status, it seemed logical to me that they would have embraced certain aspects of the Muggle world in their own homes. Remus has learned to deal with anything – and everything – that’s come his way just as a matter of survival. His competence among Muggles is in sharp contrast to Arthur’s naïve curiosity.
As a Muggle-born, I see Hermione integrating aspects of her past life into her life at Hogwarts – at least when she can get away with it. You will discover that she has a bit of contraband (albeit of a rather innocent sort) stashed away in her dorm room. She, more than anyone, is the bridge between both worlds. What’s more, some of the technological results that she’s able to produce (everyday things to you or I) will seem like magic to the wizarding world. I do love irony.
This chapter was brilliant. I read the actual happenings but thoroughly enjoyed the retelling. In fact, I think it was better the second time around. I'm even a little misty-eyed and feeling like a proud mama-whose mama I'm not sure but proud nonetheless. This is so cool--you've totally engaged me in the alternative version of the 7th book. I got a chuckle out of the "kitchen witch." Excellent chapter.
Author's Response: Believe it or not, I actually wrote this story first and then found I had worked out so much of the back story in my head that I had enough for the prequel. The hardest thing of all was making Remus’ inner voice sound distinctively different from Harry’s. It’s very satisfying that you noticed the change in tone almost immediately.
This is so wonderful. Such a difference from JKR's beginning to the 7th book and Harry's extraction from the Dursley's. Yet, there is still the potential for danger. I must admit I'm a little disappointed though. I read through some reviews, not on purpose but I read really fast sometimes and read stuff inadvertantly--but you're planning to kill off Remus and Tonks??? How can you??? You didn't have to--I thought you were more of a renegade!!! Well, now that I've gotten that off my chest I can read on. I love Tonks' goth look and her invitation to lunch on the train. I can't wait to read about that. I kind of felt lulled into a feeling of peacefulness that I know can change quickly. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Please don't hyperventilate! I don't kill off Remus and Toniks, but I acknowledge the fact that JKR did. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but I manage to integrate a smidgen of canon anyway. When I started, I wanted to be able to call this story the 8th HP book and that was how I made it work. But don't think about that now or you'll be tempted to jump way ahead; and believe me, this is a complicated tale that won't make good sense unless you peel off each layer of the onion in the proper sequence.
I assure you this is a complete retelling of Harry's seventh year -- minus the carnage. I fully confess that I am indeed the renegade you suppose and this story could actually serve as a rebuttal of sorts.
What struck me the most in this chapter was the absurdity of the Dursleys trying to get DudleIy into an institution of higher learning. I was really pleased with how the Golden Trio negotiated their 7th year. Although, I have a feeling that McGonagall got exactly what she wanted too. Great chapter.
Author's Response: Petunia and Vernon have never really acknowledged the true Dudley – they’re too busy looking at him through rose-colored glasses. I imagine Dudley finally realizing this and throwing it in their faces as he storms out with five rooms worth of belongings. I see a lot a psychiatry bills in that boy’s future.
McGonagall is that sweet and crafty grandmotherly type, at least that’s how I always envisioned her. Hogwarts will definitely feel different under her leadership, yet she will have retained Dumbledore’s spirit.