I love the imagery in this piece! I loved the images of the castle, it felt very real. Her relationship with Albus was also very well written. Great job with Tom Riddle's character, too. It seemed that you did take some artistic liberties with the timeline but it worked. Great story! :)
I liked this. I really enjoyed how you shaped McGonagall's character as well as your writing style. I enjoyed the idea of her relationship with Albus as well, though I suspect there will be others who do not. And I thought you did a great job with Tom Riddle in particular - his character was well written and his return to Hogwarts was fantastic.
The way you tied the story of the selfish giant to Riddle was great. I would have liked it to be a bit clearer when Dumbledore was telling the story, though - just a bit more distinction between Minerva's thoughts and the tale. But that's minor, as it was a really unique way to tie Riddle and the castle to the story.
One thing is really jumping out at me, however:
In 1956, Tom Riddle killed my brother. The Aurors were unable to retrieve his body, but addressed to me came an owl bearing an urn of ash in which was buried a handful of Galleons. I joined the Order of the Phoenix, pledged my alliance to Dumbledore and returned to Hogwarts as a teacher.
The Order of the Phoenix was not created until the 1970s after Voldemort returned to England and began his rise to power. So Minerva could not have joined the Order as a gut reaction to her brother's death. I also wonder about Riddle killing someone so early and so obviously--and getting away with it. I have little doubt that he did, but in the context of your story, if Minerva knew it was Riddle, how was Riddle not caught and punished? I think addressing that would satisfy any other picky readers like me, as well as tweaking the timeline in regards to Minerva joining the Order.
I hope you don't find this review bothersome! I really enjoyed your story and wish you luck with your writing as I think it's quite good. It was nice to read something so original. :)
Author's Response: Thank you, Gina! I'm very sorry for the delayed reply. Yes, you are right about the year the Order was started. I'd had concerns regarding that liberty taken when I decided to go ahead with 1957. It's great to hear you liked the references to the Wilde short story :) I'm very happy that you wrote to me about the story and highlighted the elements you liked as well as those you found unconvincing! Thanks again :)