I thought that the hag might actually be a friend of Abraham's as opposed to being a vagrant. It seems as though Abraham may have been careless about taking her wand especially knowing her propensity for walking into danger.
very suspenseful chapter.
Lots of odds and ends in this chapter that may add up to something important but not so obvious now.
I like Charlies answer to Alex's question of how she can use her witches sense if she hasn't learned it. I have noticed that Charlie is very apropo with his comments.
Can't wait to find out the very interesting news from the Pritchards.
That was a very good description of the effects of jumping into almost freezing water. Alexandra managed to keep her wits about her pretty well - but then she is a witch. I liked the introduction of Brian and Bonnie back into her life.
I noticed that this chapter seems to have a theme about communication as in when it works and when it doesn't.
Mrs. Middle has reason to be suspicious of why Alex wants to help hags. I assume it's because it's the only way she can find any info on John Manuelito. If Alex wanted to get an A in this class, she should have asked Anna or David for a better idea. I can't imagine that any teacher would be that impressed by an apple to up a grade.
Dylan on the bus ride home seems to be taking lessons on how to act like a jerk.
Yet Constance and Forbearance seem to know how to push boundaries and make Alex feel valued while still being respectful to the Rashes.
Peyton seems to want to break up with Alex, but wants to have a reason such as Alex being interested in other boys, but Alex isn't accommodating on that issue.
Brian seems to want to make up with Alex, to the point where he is willing to listen to Alex rant.
The idea of witches sights sounds extremely important and I think it may mean more than just detecting magic. Although I think Ms Shirtliffe had this in mind when she gets after Alex on the way she duels. Witches sight seems analogous to being able to see the deeper meaning of things.
I think her father telling Alex to use witches sight is a better gift than money. But I do question why he took her wand especially if he knows that John Manuelito has tried to kill her.
I was surprised at Constance and Forbearance's bespokeness?. Should have seen that coming as there were enough clues.
The Rash's certainly are clueless on social skills. I got the impression in the last book that the only reason they asked the sisters to the winter dance was because the sisters had to drop heavy hints. If they really and truly want the sisters, they need to do some serious courting.
At times, David reminds me of Hermione especially when ranting about house elves. Other times he is like Ron with the emotional depth of a teaspoon. However when he is protesting the neanderthal treatment of Constance and Forbearance, I think there is more going on than just righting a theoretical wrong. Right now, it looks as though David may not quite have the courage of his convictions. He is not ready to face down the Rashes alone whereas the Rashes were willing to be wandless.
I see Alex channelling her inner Shirliffe when she says to David that he might have to quit Quidditch if he wishes to be a better dueler. I also thought it was amusing when David questioned Alex's own motives when she told him that dueling just to get revenge isn't a good enough reason.
Sonja is similar to David in that at the moment, she doesn't seem to have depth. Everything at this point is a harmless game to her. I admit this is a weird conclusion considering she was under the Imperious Curse and that Alex almost died in front of her. I think she is totally wrong about David's intentions.
It is ironic that it is Forbearance who is suggesting that Alex consult the Stars in much the same way that Alex consulted Death in the last book. I think to most people's way of thinking the Stars seem less dangerous than Death. Yet according to Ben Journey who said Abraham Thorn would protect Alex from the Stars above and Anna who is upset that Alex might consult with any Power, we should wonder what kind of danger is being talked about.
It was a little disappointing that nothing happened. Maybe the Rashes in the background were interference. Still you have to admire Forbearance's convictions.
I think Larry Albo is Gryffindor to Alex's Slytherin.
I have always seen Alex as the 'good Slytherin' mainly because I consider her more ambitious than noble. It's not that she isn't noble- she is but her reasons for being noble have to do with getting what she wants. For instance when she quit the Mors Mordre Society because of the snake, it wasn't just because torturing animals was wrong, but because it wasn't what she wanted to do. All she wanted was to learn magic that wasn't taught in official textbooks.
In the last books she was willing to do anything to bring her brother back. I will reiterate: her goal was to bring her brother back not to do the right thing. When she decided that she did not want to kill anyone to take her brother's place, she still felt guilty enough to apologize to her brother for not bringing him back.
On the other hand, I think that Larry worries about doing the right thing more than he wants to be 'the best.' He saved Alex's life (by turning them both into mice) when the Clockworks tried to throw her into the firepit. In the 2nd book when Larry's friends were teasing her with the Cruciatius Curse, he looked guilty and ashamed.
In the 3rd book he says he hates her because she gets these unfair advantages. She doesn't get punished because of her father. This might imply that Larry does believe in fair play. This is complicated by the fact that Larry does believe that the Elect should have more privileges than other people which makes me wonder if he has a clue about the Deathly Regiment. (It could simply just mean that Larry thinks the Elect should get more privileges because they make more sacrifices but he may not know exactly what these sacrifices are.)
In this book, I noticed that Larry actually goes alone, no Ethan nor Wade, in the woods. This means that it is really important to him that he is stronger than Alex. He does not need his friends to see him defeat Alex. It could also mean that he might be afraid that Alex could defeat him, no holds barred--I personally doubt this. But what is important is that Larry doesn't want to lie and say he won even if Alex would allow it. It is more important for him to truly win this on his own.
It's obvious that Larry did not say anything to get Mary expelled although that was not how he felt the night before. And he is also wondering why Alex is being merciful to Mary when she clearly didn't deserve it. Is Alex making Larry a better person?
It makes me wonder if Larry would seek Mary out to verify what was going on.
Author's Response: Alexandra = Slytherin, Larry = Gryffindor ... interesting! You make a lot of good points. I have always thought of Alexandra as a Gryffindor, but she definitely has Slytherin tendencies - like Harry, she'd have done well in either house. Thanks for all your reviews, I do enjoy reading them.
I was really surprised that Mary was partially behind this at all. John is a low life-scum, creep (there is no word to describe how bad he is) for a, involving her in the first place, b,lying to her about events, and c, making it her fault that Alex is alive. This chapter reminds me of the one where she talked to Tomo in Book 2. I do hope however Mary isn't lying about John going back to the Indian territories and that she no longer believes John.
When Alex says people are different,(in re to AK curse), I suppose we could conclude that if the will isn't strong enough people won't die. I recollect Moody saying in Goblet of Fire everyone in the class could point at him and say the killing curse and he wouldn't get a nose bleed. We could conclude that Darla had significant strenth to hurt Alex but not kill her. Here I would nitpick because when the curse works, there is apparantly no cause of death except fright. (using the deaths of Riddles parents as an example). However as I said before, your story is significantly different from Harry Potter that this tidbit doesn't matter.
Alex wants to get back at John for what he did and although I don't blame her (John is scum after all), I suspect the author might show that John himself is being manipulated by someone else. This doesn't excuse John's behavior, nor the fact that his soul is seriously split.
Finally leaving a review for you. I've been eagerly waiting for this story and then for each new chapter. And it's not been a disappointment. So many questions. Yet I think you won't leave us hanging with tons of loose threads. Or at least that the loose threads will lead into your next book. (Oh please do keep writing these.)
I really like how you have written a more mature Alexandra. Still definitely 14, but starting to work hard at things that will benefit her, rather than just reacting to each new situation. As I said on your Live Journal page...she's a great character. Inspiring affection and extreme frustration. Which makes her much more real. Thanks for writing this.
Author's Response: Thank you for your reviews! I intend to answer many questions in this book... but there will definitely be some left unanswered for the next...
That was a surprizing ending.
This chapter makes me wonder about the pressures that Dean Grimm is facing. Would Alex be expelled or forced to leave the school because other students might be hurt or is there a different pressure going on.
One wonders how the sender of the cursed letter knew to address it from Peyton.
I didn't initially get why Ms Shirtliffe would be angry at Alex. It does however look like someone (who has some political pull) is looking for an excuse to expel or hurt Alex. Having a 9th grader harass a 6th grader might be sufficient excuse. This reminds me somewhat of Harry's 5th year when the MOM was out to get him.
It looks as though Shirtliffe is extremely angry at something and to some extent is taking it out on the dueling students. It may be simplying that dueling is only a game to the students, whereas there is something more serious going on in the adult world.
David hasn't done much in this book, but I think he sometimes functions as Alex's conscience or sounding board. He asks the questions that make Alex think.
It's nice to see the school do something to prevent Alex from getting hurt rather than wait until she is attacked. And to think Alex is more mortified that Mr. Grue is reading her mail than than someone is trying to kill her.
It's nice to see that there is a little difference between Constance and Forbearance. It's also interesting that Sonja is in this chapter as well. I've noticed that Alex doesn't particularly like her, but Sonja never has been openly mean or hurtful to her. I think in the last book she actually reached out to Alex when Alex was able to join the dueling club although Alex could have cared less.
That's a scary situation.
Dean Grimm is actually treating Alex with some respect by telling her that Sonja was most likely under the Imperious Curse and that Alex's quick thinking saved 2 lives. She still has a tendency to blame the victim (counseling Alex not to go so far away from the others as if Alex knew that Sonja was under the Imperious Curse). Alex's response that she was just finding some way to say this is her fault was to me a reasonable accusation.
Although I think Torvald actually wanted to practise dueling, I was wondering if maybe he was interested in dating Alex.
One has to wonder at Larry's motivation in challenging Alex. Certainly not to impress his girfriend who wasn't impressed at harassing Torvald. And really, you're walking with your date or potential date, and you challenge a younger girl to a duel. hmmmmm.
Keep it up
I like the name of the committee.
I suppose we won't know until the end of the book whether we can trust Dean Grimm. Although telling Dean Grimm about this wouldn't do what Anna wants, even if she is fundamentally against the Deathly Regiment. (Assuming she knows of its existance). She would say it's too dangerous (and she's correct) but this isn't what Alex wants to hear and we all know Alex isn't going to wait for adults to help her.
I think Alex was correct in doing what she did. At the very least I don't think Shirtliffe should have yelled at her. I'm glad Dean Grimm is more upfront with Alex at least acknowledging someone is trying to kill her. I am also surprised Alex is telling her friends.