Reviewer: ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
Date: 09/05/10 1:34
Chapter: Chapter 1 - Encounters on the Platform

Hello there. :D

I'm Jess and the resident lurker. I just saw your story in the Most Recent list and decided, after reading your fantastic summary, that I just had to check it out.

I myself have delved into the realm of Next-Generation quite extensively, so it's interesting to see where others see our favourite characters ending up. Your Draco is case in point. 

I like his voice. The way you have structured and worded his thoughts was very well-done. Traditionally, Draco is a judgmental little jerk, and it's good to see that you didn't leave that out completely. The best example is when he first encounters the Dokes, his first thought was 'Mudbloods' and how much he really wished they wouldn't come too near him. Now, I don't think Draco would really feel this way still after all this time, but it wouild end up being more of  a reflex than anything. I thought that part was very well done.

Inversely, in that opening scene, there were a few things I wasn't too sure about. First off, you have Astoria meeting Draco as a first-year and a fifth-year respectively, but, canonically, Astoria is only two years Draco's junior. It's not a big deal or anything, but you may want to make a note of it in case other canon drum beaters (you know...like me :D ) bring it up. The second part of that very same paragraph is more of what I wanted to bring up. Draco held Astoria's hand and smiled at her. As far as I can tell, Draco at Hogwarts would have never, ever, ever, ever, ever done anything of the sort, especially if the person was younger that him and therefore of no use to him. I know it doesn't sound like much, but attention to this sort of detail is what sets apart a good fic from a great fic. The story you have set up has the makings of greatness, especially with the characters you've crafted in your summary alone. It would be awesome for this story to do well.

Another qualm that I had that isn't so minor is the overall narrative voice. There were times during the opening of the chapter that I truly had no idea whose head we were in. 'Head hopping', more affectionately known as Third Person Omniscient is generally considered a no-no, but in this story, it's actually fitting. The problem lies with clearly defining whose head you're in, who's thinking. Several paragraphs, no matter how many times I read them, I truly had no idea. The most glaring example was this: 

 Dokes smiled. Draco stopped, caught his breath and in a soft voice added, “However, I must warn you that Draco’s grandfather was a criminal who has paid his debt, as they say. Yet some will not easily forgive. If your son were to travel with my son, he might get painted with the same brush.”

I think this is Draco's narrative voice, but I'm not sure. I'm not saying that you should, by any means, go back and rip it all apart and re-write it, but perhaps, in the future, you might want to be wary of confusing the reader. 

I'm also a little bit put off by the use of substitutes for a person's name in writing. For instance, in the second to last paragraph, in reference to Professor Longbottom, he was termed as 'the man', 'the teacher', 'the professor', and 'Longbottom. This is somewhat of a device for us writers to employ in order to avoid repetitiveness, but instead of gaining the desired result, it just looks sort of sloppy. Using this method here and there is fine, but that many usages in one paragraph pushes on the extreme and is offputting to readers. It's like using terms like 'the Slytherin', 'the blonde', and 'Malfoy' instead of Draco. There are a good number of Malfoys, even more Slytherins, and definitely more blondes. It's just makes for better habits to refer to characters by their names. Getting creative to avoid rampant repetitiveness in other ways is a good challenge.

Another thing. In the beginning, Scorpius is wearing black silk robes, yet Draco had only two Galleons to send to school with his son. I know appearances have and always will matter to Draco, but that seems to be slightly on the realm of impractical. I know it's a matter of my own personal preference, but I don't see Draco's need to keep up appearances extending that far. If they were just plain black robes like everyone else's, the thought would have never occurred to me. 

Okay, so, by now, you're probably like, "Who is this person and what is she on about?" I'm just trying to impart some lessons that I had learnt the hard way by receiving some rather unsavory reviews and harsh comments on my work. They've shaped me into a much better writer, and I want to share that experience with everyone, but without the sting that such things can bring along with them. I'm an open book in that regard.

Now, after that bit of crit (rhyming not intentional), I would love to get back to the fun stuff--talking Malfoy!

I really like the way you've portrayed Scorpius. He doesn't seem as judgmental as Draco, which speaks volumes of how much Draco has tried to better himself as a human being and the amount of growing up that he had done before having a child. I also like that he sees his father as his source of everything important. Several times, he had brought up in his personal narrative something that Draco had told him to watch for, and he, the dutiful son, did so. It shows how, no matter how much Draco tried to stray from Lucius's example of fatherhood, that mark of respect for the father figure still remained in the Malfoy family. It really speaks of reality to me, which is something that these wizarding families that people portray in their fan fiction sometimes lack for me as a reader. 

Jimber is also a interesting character. He owns this open, bald honesty that is shocking to Scorpius, like when he was discussing how badly Hagrid's dog stank and about a similarly-smelling dog in his homeland. It's obvious that Jimber is proud of this memory, which leads me to believe that his upbringing is not unlike Scorpius's and that there might be a very good reason why the Dokes are no longer in their native country and are in London instead. I can't wait to find out.

I also am anxious to see more of your Rose. I always had her pegged as much more outspoken, but she seems more like a young Ginny to me--quiet but quick to defend her hero. I'm curious to see which direction you take with her.

All in all, you have a fantastic start to this story, and I will definitely be checking out any further updates you produce, plus possibly visiting your author page to check out your Luna stories. Thank you for reading this far, and have a lovely day!

~Jess



Author's Response: Thanks for you comments. My POV confusion and misuse of commas has driven multiple beta-readers crazy and one into retirement. I did not find the information about Astoria's age until after I'd submitted the story. I've adjusted the paragraph in this chapter and a future reference in an upcoming chapter between Astoria and the Dokes. As for Rose, I've always had trouble with finding Hermione's voice. It wasn't until I wrote a chapter in my unpublished story Gwenog Jones and the Seduction of Ginevra Weasley(my fourth story attempt) did I find my inner Hermione. Granger was an only child. Rose is the older child of her family and is also surrounded a sea by Weasley cousins. She grew up going from reading books recommended by her mother to playing in the rough and tumble games of Quidditch at family get-togethers. I see Rose as a very reflective and more socially attune Hermione with a touch of Weasley sass. If you follow the story, you will find Draco mentally praising Rose's goal keeper skills while at the same time downgrading her father's skill. (Writing Draco can be such fun) Thanks for you comments, my second chapter is under review and my third chapter just got returned by my beta-reader .+.HjMc+.+

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