All I can say at the moment is WOW!! I think this is one of your best stories yet and very different from what you usually write. I can see that ol' Roddy is still an idiot. Delphini must've been a beautiful child, taking after Bellatrix and the Dark Lord when he was young and handsome. I wonder if Delphini will go to Hogwarts eventually. And, is she going to join Cassie and Jack? Is that what you meant by "home?" It looks like you left this open so another chapter or story could be written. I really have no criticism. I loved the story.
Author's Response: Thank you so much! It's a different kind of love story than I usually write, friend/sister love. LOL at "ol' Roddy." Rodolphus was an idiot, wasn't he? Or maybe his relationship with Bellatrix was like the old joke "take my wife--please!" Yes, when she rubbed the bar closure at the end and showed it to the conductor, she was showing him Cassie's current address, but wherever Cassie and Jack go will be home. I can see her going to Hogwarts and having to do independent studies on the side of the curriculum she's already mastered to keep from being bored. I can also see her being home-schooled as she travels through Europe and eventually the world with Cassie and Jack. The future is wide open, but it won't end in Azkaban. ;)
Every time I start a review on you, and I used to do this with another writer, I forget that I’m going to dissect this thing and want to talk. I’ve spent my day in the law library, so I’m going to treat this as a case history. Read, write, pause, read and write again. Get to the justice’s say in the opinion and redo it. Okay.
This first passage? Delphini is terrifying, blissfully terrifying. Like this child would give me nightmares. This child? No, this infant, who processes why beyond her neurological development, is beautiful. My first thought? This child is Rosemary’s Baby. She’s a danger. She is not in danger; the child is the danger. Nice. Not a bedtime story, this one.
I think I’ve mentioned that I can’t wrap my head round “Cursed Child” because of this character. First off, can I tell you that I so disappointed that Voldemort, or Madame Voldemort is the same, the same antagonist in eight books? I can’t wrap my head round Delphini character. First off, Madam Lestrange was old. Two. Lord Voldemort was older and he didn't love anyone to begin with. Third. Gross? First, two, third? God, Jenn. Do better. But I thought this “antagonist” … I haven’t reading this play because of that character. It’s fan fiction. Sorry, Mr. Tiffany. Not only fan fiction. Bad, you ruined the fourth book, Mr. Playwright, fan fiction. Okay. I’m stepping off the soap box.
And she wants a toy pony? The brilliance. The whatever to Catholicism was funny, even to a sometimes Catholic, as the Catholics are not catholic, so, thank you, but the pony? That is dark. She's poised, playing the game, and I’ve no idea if I’m reading her right, but I see her as a woman, not a child. And the fact that she wouldn’t be perceived as a good-looking child? Her caretaker … don’t know where I stand with that woman. Wasn’t Tom Riddle, and you’re going to correct me here if I’m wrong, wasn't Tom Riddle attractive? And did his son not mirror him? I don't like the Bonham Carter interpretation of Bellatrix, honestly, but that woman while frightening as a Lestrange, could not, I believe, have been, ugly. Granted, old girl spent years in prison, but you see what I’m sayin’? Too bad that child was taught to perceive something that wasn't there. Delphini’s inner beauty? That’s something.
I read something somewhere that said that the important characters in Rowling’s world have books. A nod towards literacy and the escape. But Dumbledore and Voldemort researching Horcruxes and (when I saw it) Professor Snape in Spinner’s End. I’m glad that Delphini carries that through. And that she learns and she crafts, and she lives as she learns. I think I’m going to go off book here again. Forgive me.
There are rare leaders who can make a difference. Eric in “Phantom of the Opera” comes to mind when I think of your Delphini. He grew in the darkness, but Eric, while he was Eric, was beautiful in his own special way. I’ve read that book by Gaston Leroux, not the French, obviously, and I can’t remember if the name “Eric” is mentioned. Maybe Andrew Lloyd added that. The Phantom, to me, is a symbol of Gothic literature and French Romanticism. Delphini, while different, reminds me of Eric.
Mr. Churchill. That’s where I was going with the leader comment. Winston Churchill came from nothing, nothing, and that man was a Godsend as a leader. Even after they retired him and sent him away, Elizabeth had that man as her first PM. Now, I know the Sovereign does not choose her man (or woman (as there is a new Thatcher), but Churchill was brilliant. Truly brilliant. He reached out to FDR not once, but multiple times … because he knew. Churchill knew! I believe, I truly believe that there are people who come along, maybe not even each generation, but once in a while, and they bother to open the door. They open the mind. Churchill, like Hawking, although that’s another extreme, belonged not to Her Majesty but to Britain.
Roosevelt, by the way, did this right bedside this Englishman. His friend, his Englishman. Oddly enough, thanks to his mother Sara, Roosevelt was sheltered in the Delano family like your Delphini here. Then he found Eleanor, and he got Polio, and then he … he became Roosevelt.
Why else do I explain this? Turn to meet the power. Let the light in.
Delphini (and I’m trying not to write “Delphi”) brings these two men to mind. And, oh, look, Paige mentions Churchill in the footnotes. Yes!
So, yes, there is light in the darkness. Apparently the character I wanted erased as a villain sees that. I like her here. Not in the damn book. Well done, Paige
It’s always interesting to read your take on stories! I did purposely show how horrifying it would be to be a nursemaid to a natural Legilimens who has no idea how to control her abilities, but after showing what a deprived childhood Delphini had:
She'd never meant to frighten anyone with her "peeping" as Nanny McNary--her last and favourite nursemaid--called it. The women who tended her just had such open minds, Delphini from birth was able to catch stray memories and thoughts that made her want to see more. When she did, it was almost like she was the one who had been hugged, who had laughed, and who had been kissed on the cheek. The nursemaids taught her about families. They taught her about emotions that didn't hurt, and showed her glimpses of the world outside the dim, musty corridors of Rowle House. As the years passed, she learned through sad experience to peek at thoughts without being detected.
I don’t know why you thought I portrayed Delphini as “not good-looking.” I showed why Delphini had never heard someone call her pretty before: her old nanny didn’t believe in puffing up a child’s vanity (and Euphemia sure wasn’t going to be handing out compliments):
All the chairs on the lower deck were taken. Delphini eagerly met the gaze of passengers as she walked by. Most had distracted, need to pick up this or that item while shopping sorts of thoughts. A stern-faced old woman looked at her and was reminded of a favourite granddaughter who had similar long dark hair. What a darling child. So pretty.
Delphini stopped beside the woman's chair.
Stern features softened. "First time on the bus?" Receiving a nod, the old woman smiled. "The best view's at the top."
"Thank you." No one had called her darling or pretty before. Nanny McNary used to say things like, "you look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning" and "our walk's put roses in those pale cheeks," but Nanny was a lapsed Catholic, whatever that was, who believed that puffing up a child's vanity was not training her in the way she should go.
When Delphini asks Euphemia, “Do you know my birthdate?” she sees this memory:
The paediatric Healer who made house calls examined baby Delphini on the nursery room window seat. "Date of birth?" he asked.
Euphemia, who stood with a wide-eyed nursemaid who seemed on the verge of a panic attack, said, "How would I know? She was left on my doorstep like a foundling. You're the Healer. You tell me."
"I can't be exact, but the last week of April, I'd say." He gazed down at baby Delphini. "Monday's child is fair of face."
"Monday, then," Euphemia snapped. "Are we done?"
The Healer is calling her fair of face, and even Rodolphus remarks on her resemblance to her father:
Rodolphus's eyes gleamed. "You can charm with your looks, like your father did when he was young and used such things to advantage, but you've got Bellatrix's stubborn chin." Softness left his tone. "But you're not your mother, girl. You'll do as you're told."
You also perceived Delphini “as a woman, not a child” and thought her wanting a toy pony to play with “Dark.” But it wasn’t. It was the natural desire of a six-year-old girl (even a preternaturally gifted one with magical abilities far beyond her years) to have a friend.
If you remember the genie in Disney’s Aladdin explaining, “Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space,” that’s my vision of Delphini. She has incredible natural talent and a mind that loves to read and learn, but at the same time she’s still a little girl who wants a friend and a family more than anything.
Thank you for liking that she turns to the light instead of the darkness, and for liking her in the story. I didn’t care for her in the play either. She deserved better than to be a discount Voldemort. :D.
A very interesting read.
Author's Response: Thank you! :)