So I waited for my little gem to bear fruit, to become one of those climactic surprises we should have seen coming, but somehow overlooked. Only it never came to pass. The death count mounted to a staggering high, the epic moments came and went, Snape’s back story was finally revealed, and still nothing.
So it has lain, bereft and unwanted, among the detritus of a Diagon Alley the Death Eaters had turned into a bully’s playground. But in the intervening years, this rough diamond has become the inspiration for this story, spreading its tentacles into new and intriguing territories.
Although Harry mentions Chocolate Frog as the title of Mad-Eye Moody’s autobiography at the end of my previous tale, The Dark Phoenix, this version of the story goes beyond that. Nonetheless, the sections representing Moody’s memoirs are clearly labeled.
This story begins with events recounted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and continues beyond the end of the series. I have attempted to conform to canon as much as possible, elaborating only where the circumstances are vague or passed over. It is an interpretation of the events that happened behind the scenes, so to speak.
Wonderful!!!! Thank you for the quick-paced dialogue and interwoven references to Muggle and Magical life. This chapter was certainly worth the wait. Keep up the good work! I hope we see a resolution to Harry and Ginny's relationship one way or another.
Author's Response: Glad you enjoyed. The contrasts between us and them and back again have always been fascinating to me.
I promise that we will get back to Harry/Ginny soon. With as many balls as I’ve got in the air right now, I hope you’ll understand that I have to keep the story in chronological order as much as I can.
Sorry...too much text and not enough dialogue. The reading gets heavy and frustrating.
I've waited to share my observations, so here goes: You are crafting a lovely story, intertwining the Wizard and Muggle worlds almost seamlessly. The action does not lag, nor do the character interactions. A Potterphile can easily follow your thoughts when Muggle parallels are necessary; thank you for not "talking down" to your readership by using parenthetic asides to explain the situation. Cryptic, yet forthright, text is working for you! I don't know how long you plan to continue this work; however, I do hope you resolve the mystery of the killings AND Jacqui's blood-status. Could we possibly see Henry at Hogwarts in the future????
Fantastic job!!! Keep it up.
Thank you.This story is a balancing act. As I’ve said before, if Jacqui discovers too much, she gets Obliviated, and I lose my narrator. She has to be able to report, but not fully understand. I wondered about the job descriptions I used during the party, but everyone seems to understand the Muggle translations. All readers are intelligent, and if they cant figure stuff out, that's my fault, not theirs.
I estimate that I’m about halfway through this story. It will end on Bonfire Night (November 5th - which is also Henry's birthday). Harry has to get past two full moons first. The killings will be resolved, but Jacqui’s blood status may not be (at least, not completely).Several people would like to see Henry at Hogwarts. I’m not one of them, I think it would make life too easy for the Potters (and me).
I may have said this before and I deem the comment worth repeating: this is a lovely story that blends the wizard and Muggle worlds beautifully. You've put a great amount of thought into the juxtapositions and double-entendres throughout. Keep up the good work.
Thank you. The balance between what Jaqcui sees and understands and what is actually happening is always a delicate one. Things begin to change in the next chapter, as Jacqui again visits Drakeshaugh.-N-
I have been an avid reader of your work for several years. The saga of Strangers at Drakeshaugh is captivating; a wonderful story melding the complexities of the Wizarding and Muggle worlds through friendship. The action is crisp, the descriptive text stimulating, and the suspense exquisitely balanced. Great job!!!
It was the worst news a father could receive: his son was marrying his worst enemy's daughter.
But for Draco Malfoy, being in the role of the reasonable parent was in itself a debacle as he tried to make the best of a bad situation. But when circumstances forced him to spend more time than he ever cared to with the most irritating Mudblood on the planet, he constantly questioned his sanity, as well as that of his son.
However, Draco might have come to realise that things change, as well as people. Is Hermione Granger Weasley the mad bint he remembered, or were they both a little different this time around?
This story has been nominated for a 2011 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Non-Canon Romance.
This story has also been nominated for a 2014 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Humour Story.
Well, you've set your story up for a memorable ending...I hope you can deliver, and soon. Poor Draco...seems to be in something of a fix, isn't he???
Gah, I don't know. I have most of the last chapter written, but I hate this story so very, very much that I almost can't bring myself to open up the word doc anymore. :/ I will eventually, if only for it to die and go away, but it will take an iron will and probably a giant cocktail to make myself get into it again.
I do appreciate your feedback and am happy that you derive some enjoyment from this story.
Applause, applause!!!! This was very much worth waiting for...full of tension, revelation, and intrigue. The heightened emotions are captured well and expressed crisply. The myriad of responses are spot-on per character. I especially appreciate Draco's brokenness, humility, and repentant confession, aided by Dumbledore. You correctly place our Headmaster in the position of counselor/guide and you do not disappoint in the interchange between him and Draco. Draco's self-doubt is so very real...not foreign at all to the reader who is truthful with himself.
Thank you for focusing on the Order's concerns and interactions with Draco. You have nicely set up the next big hurdle (his peers) with Ron's outrage, hurt, and anger. I kept waiting for him to show up from his run...but the fact that he is away from Grimmauld Place and no one has noticed is quite intriquing.
Great chapter...I await the next one with great anticipation!
Author's Response: I wait on pins and needles for your review after each chapter! I am so humbled and grateful for your words of encouragement. This was one of my favorite chapters to write- I love getting into the characters' heads!
As an amateur writer, I take your critiques to heart every time (though now I'm putting pressure on myself for the coming chapters to live up to the former ones!!!! ). The next chapter should be up within the week, and we will indeed see a showdown between Ron and Draco. Can't wait to hear what you think! Thank you for everything!! Luv, Stef :)
We've been waiting over 2 months for chapter 17; I hope you are near to posting it!!! Good storyline with much emotion that should not be handled tritely. I don't see a resolve between Ron and Draco, nor do I see a nicely wrapped package in a Ginny/Harry relationship unless Harry can come to terms with Hermione's choice in Draco. Please handle carefully!!!
Author's Response: You've officially scared the crap out of me- believe me, I know how carefully I must tread with these relationships! I agree- there is no resolution between Ron and Draco, nor is there between Harry and Ginny (at this point). Here's the reason for the delay. I have tried for 6 WEEKS to get Chapter 17 posted. It has inexplicably been kicked out of the queue no less than four times. At first, I thought it might be the language- I have a few drunk characters whose words I wrote very slurred- I thought perhaps the Beta program recognized it as incorrect spelling/grammar. I fixed that, and then I would try to format the chapter and some technical difficulty would only print half the chapter. I am BEYOND frustrated! It takes nearly 45 minutes to upload a chapter, because you have to insert encoding symbols throughout the body of the chapter to denote new paragraphs, italics, and the like. Then you have to wait at least a week to see if the chapter posts. Then you can check your account to see if the chapter still exists or if it's been kicked out. The most frustrating part is that you are never given a reason as to why your chapter has been removed. I am hoping to God that my most recent attempt will succeed. I appreciate so very much your willingness to stick with my story and offer such sound advice- advice I always take to heart. Pray with me that Chapter 17 finally sees the light of day!!!! Luv, Stef :)
This is a tremendously powerful chapter; well-written with the right amount of intensity. You unfold Hermione's injuries in such a way as to allow the reader to feel as much reaction as the people present in the room. I did expect some sort of charm or spell cast upon the doorway when Dumbledore left the kitchen to hinder any attempts to follow him from the kitchen!
As for Draco's tentative transformation...he is becoming a more credible example of change, though his interactions/confrontations with his age peers will demonstrate this more thoroughly, yes? The kitchen conversation between the Weasley sibs, Harry, and AD exceled in dialogue, but lacked in descriptives re: physical activity. I could easily imagine Ginny leaning forward or gripping the table edge in frustration, but I wanted to read the action cooresponding with her speech. LOVED the confrontation between Tom and Draco...there is nothing quite like a father's stand in defense of his daughter and you captured the right tone in the hallway encounter. Keep up the good work. I look forward to the next chapter.
Author's Response: I look forward to your comments and critiques for all of my remaining chapters! Thank you so much for your encouraging and honest words. You are obviously a writer, or professor, or someone with a thorough background in writing.
As for a spell from Dumbledore: I suppose I thought him telling them not to leave the room was enough, since who would disobey Dumbledore?! ;) Regarding Draco's transformation- you are correct, interacting with his peers will prove a bit more difficult! I see what you mean by my sparse physical descriptions in the kitchen; more thought to the activity would have resulted in a more well-rounded scene. Point taken! I am so very glad that the Tom/Draco conversation rang as true as I meant it to. :D
Once again, thank you for your critiques, and keep 'em coming! Luv, Stef :)
Just finished my second read of the first fourteen chapters to refresh my memory. Yes, the issue of the Fidaelius Charm did occur to me. However, Hermione did not have to give him the original address, did she? Could she not have said "near #11 or #13 Grimmauld Place?" Just wondering. Also...we won't see Snape at #12 any time soon, will we? Complications with Draco in the house. Be careful with Draco's physicality with Hermione. Some of the caresses and kisses were too contrived, as much as I do believe where you are headed with his newfound understanding of his humanity and feelings for Hermione. The consistant kindness in his voice, yes. The lip and cheek kisses...not so much. Good job.
Author's Response: Thanks for investing a second read-through of my fic! I really appreciate it.
I really needed to spend more time researching the boundaries of the Fidaelius Charm; I kind of rushed through it to finish the chapter. Oh, and Snape? He MIGHT be showing up sooner or later...;)
I appreciate your guidance on Draco's physicality. I admit it's been difficult for me to pinpoint what his interactions should entail. But you're right- it's too soon. He wouldn't be that comfortable yet. Thanks a lot, as usual! Luv, Stef :)
Great use of dialogue. I think you captured Mad-Eye's character exceptionally well. The repartee between the gawking teens, followed by the hurried interactions with the adults kept the tension high and provided a good balance of anticipation/satisfaction for the reader.
I found Draco's "Broken" reply to Mad-Eye multi-layered: Draco's wizarding tool, his family dynamics, and his self-preservationist will can each be described as such. How you reconstruct Draco's persona in light of his new-found "heart" (and surrounded by a whole house full of distrust) will be challenging. Good luck!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I greatly appreciate your review, especially because of its honest literary critique. As this is my first fanfic ever, I'm always concerned about how my writing comes across to the reader- whether it is believable and being understood as I intended. Your insight into Draco's "Broken" comment was delightful; I agree that it describes his life at many levels. Thank you for sharing it with me! As to the reconstruction of Draco's character: most of it will occur in the sequal to this fic, as Draco learns many life lessons from different members of the Order. There are only a few more chapters left in this story. If you would be so kind, PLEASE review my upcoming chapters. I'm very interested in your thoughts. Thank you,again, for your encouragement! Luv, Stef :)
Very nice! Good dialogue, plenty of plot-setting, and a quite pleasing stopping-off place at the end.
Gray eyes, hmmm? Are we talking Lucius or Draco?
Oooooh, good suspense and good plotting.
Good action, humor, and suspense. Love the way you've interwoven magical and Muggle worlds. I trust there is an apparition to occur and another hunt for Hermione? Just thinking...
Also inconceivable to have Draco in Alberforth's pub. Yep...a bit of a stretch. As for the ensuing drama about to break forth at Harry's house...still too many pieces missing to make sense!!!! At least for this reader. Otherwise, keep the chapters coming fast!!
Very nice. I can see a sequel if you have the inclination: something centered on Dudley and Parvati's life and her introduction to his parents. Perhaps some revelations, courtesy of Parvati, about the wizarding war and life at Hogwarts.
Excellent use of Dumbledor's speech so many years before!!! NOW they make sense to me!!!
A captivating story with just enough detail to be enjoyable without being over-the-top. You present Hermione and Draco's relational challenges realistically. I especially appreciated the interaction between mother and daughter at the chalet; Mrs. Granger's observations on Draco's behalf were spot-on. Needless to say, I am curious as to how you will conclude this storyline. Perhaps an heroic event? a great loss? a resolve of conflict?
Author's Response: Excitement is coming in the spring semester with some heroism and some conflict, but no great loss. There's enough sad stuff in the real world, I don't want to write about super sad things in fan fiction. :-) Thank you for your thoughtful review. I appreciate the favorable feedback, Jenny
I am so pleased you chose to resolve Hermione and Draco's disagreement as quickly as you did. I wasn't suspecting the overheard conversation...good job! You have managed to reinforce Hermione's faith in Draco via his responses to Goyle; however, the cheeky retort at chapter's end did not ring true for me. Perhaps a one-armed hug around Draco's waist would have been more reassuring; I don't see Hermione willingly providing Draco with "comfort alternatives" in the person of Pansy Parkinson! Even in jest. If Draco is serious about "talking tomorrow," please follow through with this storyline. I also hope Draco comes to the conclusion that he cannot take care of Goyle's situation without help in order to keep himself above suspicion!! Who knows....maybe Draco is working undercover to expose another faction trying to reinvigorate the DEs in France!! (Just a thought)
Author's Response: I'm sorry you didn't like Hermione's cheeky response. You may be right. Sometimes I have too much fun with one liners. I'll try to be more sensitive to the mood at the moment going forward. The next five or so chapters are already written, so I do follow through with this story line, but there will be some bumps in the road, I'm afraid. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. Thank you for your thoughtful review, Jenny