Chapter 1 - The Birthday Girl
Hello, Horace. This is Vicki of Slytherin House, letting you know how much I enjoyed this story. There are probably many stories with versions of how Hermione was first invited to attend Hogwarts, but yours is one of the best.
All of the writing is smooth and graceful, as is your custom, and the scene in the dentists’ office waiting room is remarkably imaginative in all its details. The long build-up in this section before the arrival of the owl works well to give the feeling of the passage of time as Hermione waits and waits for her parents to be finished with their work. The background information about her magical ability is woven effortlessly into this part of the narrative, so that it does not seem to be just stuck in there out of necessity, and the inclusion of Alice in Wonderland puts her and the reader in the mindset to accept the owl’s behavior. I love her multi-method conversation with the owl, and it is genius to place Professor Dumbledore in the dentist’s chair. He is perfectly characterized, jollier than we sometimes see him in the seven books (rather like Father Christmas), but inviting students to attend Hogwarts must have been one of his most enjoyable tasks.
Questions for this part of the story: What is the significance of the triangle with a tail? I have studied that image and can’t connect it with anything. And Hermione’s parents seem mighty quick to go along with the idea that their daughter is a witch and will attend a special school; they question nothing. The situation is usually written thus, but I always wonder if that is reasonable or logical for Muggle parents.
I liked your description of Hermione’s system for tracking her parents’ whereabouts in Australia, with all the details thought out ahead of time; that is so like her. But even though Mrs Granger sent an envelope once a month, am I correct that Hermione did not go monthly to Hogsmeade to collect it, but rather let all the letters accumulate in a bundle to be picked up on this day? And I wondered why she was irritated by Ron’s failure to come to the Post Office with her, if she did not want him to know how the letters were addressed.
The ending section of the story, Hermione and Ron in the Department of Magical Transportation, was necessary for the story, but less magical for me that the scene in the dentists’ office. Hermione being angry and Ron being apologetic has been written often, and making it seem fresh would be quite a challenge. I liked the detail of the office’s being jammed with people trying to get their exiled loved ones back home again; that would be very reasonable. And the portkey being an Alice in Wonderland white rabbit doll was a very neat way to tie all the ends together.
A very sweet story. What I will remember most is Hermione’s conversation with the owl, and Dumbledore in the dentist’s chair.
Chapter 1 - The Birthday Girl
Good for Ron.