The weird thing is Ron is almost more right than Hermione. The sure way of getting through a (two-dimensional) maze is to put one hand on a wall when you enter and always have that hand touching a wall. If you put your right hand on the (right-side) wall, you will turn right at any branch or door. I suppose you would be turning 'left' when you reach a dead end, coming back out with your right hand on the opposite wall. This may be slow, but it keeps you from re-entering a branch you already explored.
Are you sure the vows are from a Neil Diamond song? I'm sure he (among many others) has recorded it.
I think the song came from the musical "West Side Story". I assumed that meant Leonard Bernstein. Searching Google, I found references to Bernstein (as composer), Stephen Sondheim (lyricist), and Arthur Laurent (librettist) connected with the song and show.
Author's Response: This is the song I took the lyrics from. It was the song that was performed at my Mum\'s wedding. Which one, you ask? The second one, I think. :) Neil Diamond lyrics \"Neil Diamond One Hand, One Heart lyrics\" Written by: neil diamond, tom hensley, alan lindgren Make of our hands, one hand And make of our hearts, one heart Make of our vows, one last vow Only death will part us now Make of our lives, one life Day after day, one life Now it begins, now we start One hand, one heart Even death won’t part us now
Author's Response: Just as a side note... I did some research and it seems that, athough the record album credits Neil Diamond, Tom Hensley and Alan Lindgren as the writers, it also credits Bernstein and Sondheim as authors. Very confusing. Having never seen West Side Story, I assumed, that since Neil Diamond was the writer on the album cover that he was also the author of the song lyrics. At any rate, I did take the lyrics of that song from the album Lovescape by Neil Diamond. Thanks for pointing out the West Side Story connection.
Nice insight on Neville in your commnents! It's supported by the thought that the only other course in which he did well in O.W.L.s and went on to study N.E.W.T. level (that we know of) was Charms. Flitwick knows his subject but is polite and not intimidating.
One more thought on unanswered questions and direction of suspicion for the identity of the Master. If the Master is indeed a necromancer, who is the vampire he used to commit one of the murders? It certainly keeps suspicion of Ras in the mix.
Still trying to puzzle out if Rathius has any more role to play. He's not as involved or heroic as Ron and the others might like, but Ginny's experience with him suggests he's trustworthy in what he bothers to say. I know the early chapters were all Ron's p.o.v., but in retrospect I'm surprised Harry didn't seem to have much of an opinion on him. They were both teachers the same year! Yeah, I know, they didn't really overlap, but still...
Yeah, I read the other reviews after I had posted mine - saw that you had explained Ron closing his eyes was the concession to goriness rating.
Author's Response: I forgot that about Neville. As for the identity of the Master, I\'m not answering any questions on that as the answer will soon avail itself. Hopefully real soon as I just finished writing chapter 20, and I\'m going through it now with a fine tooth comb. I hope to have it in queue and unassailable by moderators within the next couple of hours. For this reason, I can also not talk about Rathius either as he\'s still a suspect, after all, we don\'t know what exactly it is that has dropped Ron\'s jaw. As for Harry and Rathius, I do touch on this a little in the next chapter, but it\'s quite simple, though they were teachers, they never really interracted. For Harry, the impression was back then that if Rathius wanted nothing to do with him, he already had plenty of things going on that he had no use spending extra efforts trying to figure him out. For the most part he simply heard what Ginny had to say about him and as long as Rathius wasn\'t a big baddie, Harry was fine with that. Also keep in mind that this was happening directly in the aftermath of Voldemort, and the last thing Harry really wanted to do was find himself in the middle of another good vs. evil gig. But really, if you want to know who established the lack of relationship with Harry, it was Rathius, and while I can say little more about it at this point, the simple answer is that Rathius just wasn\'t all that interested in Harry. There was nothing about Harry that particularly intrigued him. Rathius being who he is, if you don\'t intrigue him, or stand in his way, then he pretty much doesn\'t care about you. But, as with other loose ends I intend to leave untied at the end of this story, I will explain everything afterward. Alright, that\'s enough out of me, if I want to get this next chapter in the queue, I need to get back to work. I only stopped by because I had to double check to make sure of something or else there\'s going to be some serious rewriting or retconning going on.
Hindsight says they would have done better to stage some spectacular display in the middle of town that would draw her attention (anything short of sending up the Dark Mark) rather than run around screaming her name, but that's just hindsight. I think you gave Ron and Harry actions and reactions that that ring true to the desperation they must have been feeling.
1. I'll have to look back at earlier chapters to see if you described Tonks' status. Was she retired as an auror (and only came in to help out with Avada Kerfluffle)? Otherwise wouldn't she have been carrying a communication mirror like Ron, Harry and Kingsley?
2. Can we take this chapter to mean that the NIghtshades didn't want to kill Ron or Harry (yet) at the Cathedral? The clue naming Tonks as the next victim was placed before R&H went to the Cathedral.
3. Who was being watched? It looks like the Nightshades only blew up Tonks when it was clear Ron & Harry were about to warn her. Did the Nightshades trail Tonks ever since they named her as the next target? Or was someone watching R&H and knew they had figured out the pattern?
Author's Response: Wow! Questions, and rather good ones too which are going to result in a very long response on my part. Now I have to say your comments on hindsight and your first question are very much tied together, at least in my way of thinking. Yes, Tonks was an active auror, yes Tonks did have a mirror, and yes, I\'m sure Harry and Ron could have come up with some kind of diversion that could have gotten Tonks\' attention quicker. But, here\'s the thing, in the heat of the moment, things are often times forgot, and in a slight way, this is kind of an allusion to Sirius\' death, and the end when Harry finds the broken mirror among his things. You get so caught up in what you are doing you forget these things sometime. And I remember thinking of these things as I was writing, and at first I thought to myself, oh no, I\'ll have to rewrite, and then I calmed down because of course they forget about the mirror, of course, they forget about a million things because right now the only thing that matters is get to Tonks! 2)Now, the answer to this question is implied earlier on in the story in two parts. If you take the scene where we see the pupil and the master, and you take the beginning of the scene with the beast more specifically where he drops two nightshade flowers, what you begin to see is that, the Beast goes to the cathedral with the full intent of killing Harry and Ron, but the Master and the Pupil have bigger plans for the duo. but as we also learn from that scene, or more specifically as the Pupil tells us, the duo must be tested first. So essentially the Beast goes after them to test them, but he himself is not told this so that he doesn\'t hold back. Ron and Harry have passed that particularly lethal test. and finally 3) This is a very... very... very good question, and unfortunately, one that I cannot answer in the slightest, but trust me, you will learn later on in the story. Thank you so much for reviewing, and I hope I\'ll see ya for the next chapter!
I started rereading the earlier chapters of part III this week. Now I have to go back to part II! Oh, well. Jingle Bells, huh? Yeah, it was Christmas when Ginny sat down to chat with Remus about Rathius, wasn't it?
Ron won't be any madder at Harry or Ginny than he will be at himself for failing to ask the right question.
I'd be interested in seeing if Rogan did or would have turned up in the criteria screening that didn't seem to be mentioned after Adam was revealed to be a NIghtshade. Actually, only 'would have', not 'did'. If he had, Ron & Harry would have paid another visit to the brothers and asked the right question.
Now, Ginny said Rogan was supposed to have disappeared. Did Rathius assume he was actually dead, think he couldn't (or wouldn't) be behind it, or think Ron & Harry couldn't find him without being killed if he did tell them Rogan was qualified to be a suspect (and was starting a search for Rogan himself)? Rathius was surprised (to a greater or lesser degree) more that once in the course of this story.
What personality twist does Rogan have? Rathius is intellectual but doesn't seem able to feel happiness (he does "grumpy" quite well, though). Ras seems much more emotional and easy-going than analytical, possibly to the extent that he didn't consider all the consequences of his actions.
Flip side of Voldy & Lily - did Rogan, too, 'misunderestimate' a mother's devotion?
Still left with the question - if we have the necromancer, who was the vampire?
Gotta go for now. More later. Looking forward to the rest.
Author's Response: Well, you do challenge me with this review and another and I welcome that. Ron may be madder at himself, but in a way, I think in this instance, the revelations that if Harry and Ginny had just talked about it, I think that over rode whatever self doubt Ron may have felt. At least that\'s where i went with this. Did Rogan turn up? He most certainly should have, but one thing, and I\'ll divulge this because I don\'t think it will come up in the next chapter, is that he specifically ordered Adam to destroy the evidence of a whole section of those requirements. He didn\'t give Adam his name, of course, but he gave him a narrow band to get rid of so that Adam would destroy evidence that linked Rogan to the criteria, as well as enough names to keep Adam from being able to figure out who it was. As for Rathius and your questions there... yes. MWUHAHAHAH. It is actually a very complex situation, one that goes beyond this story, but you are at least sniffing around a lot of the right places. As for Rogan and how he fits into the three brothers, you are very much on the right track when it comes to his younger brothers, but that answer, too, is complex and one that I intend to explore in great detail when the story is done. For your final questions. Did rogan \"misunderestimate\" a mother\'s devotion like Voldy? Maybe. As for Who was the vampire... much more interesting question, who IS the vampire (hint: you wouldn\'t guess in a million years). Thanks for the review very much.
Had some time to do a little more thinking...
The more I think, the more I agree with Ron. Rogan's story and 'plan' don't quite stand up - and it's not just the flaw Harry pointed out about no witnesses.
Even with a grief-stricken witness to support his tale (hmm, a bit of a twist on what Lockhart tried to do Harry & Ron all those years ago), and even if we presume Rogan is correct that Rathius can be convince to keep his silence - the story (his sudden re-emergence into society) at the time and place of the downfall of society's heroes is bound to raise suspicion!
So, what else about his plan smells a bit off? Parts of it are plausible. Create the menace, eliminating the heroes who are most likely and most able to stand in his way at the same time creating a void which he will fill with his own 'heroics'.
A couple of points to ponder:
1. He wants power, not the job. He waited decades to create a need for himself in a structure he intends to subjigate anyway?
2. He fills the heroic void. Who fills the villain void? He'll give the authorities the bodies of the servant Nightshades, and then what? No body for the Master, diminishing his 'accomplishment'? Or a fake body for the Master, diminishing the need for his hero? He knows how fickle society is.
So, what else is there? He taunts them with the cliche of the criminal mastermind prattling on while the heroes stall for time to devise a scheme to save the day, etc... He was always working to his own timetable, not theirs. Why would that change? He's the one stalling for time. What could he be waiting for?
I think this is all a decoy, or at least secondary. Decoy from what? Secondary to what? Why would he wait?
Perhaps he wants to get rid of Rathius, and this is his means of luring him in.
It's probably a good thing that Fiona was left out of the raiding party. If she were present, I'd suspect it was Rathius, using polyjuice potion, waiting to spring his trap. I'm fairly sure the other five are who they appear to be.
Author's Response: Man I man, I want to discuss this in so much depth, and I mean just because I think these are very interesting theories and such, but considering that you will have another blast of information in the next chapter, I just can\'t can\'t can\'t. Even your questions, I know how Rogan would answer them, and... grrrr... frustrating part is I can\'t address this stuff. Though I will take it as a kindness that you were sure of who the characters were, I guess I\'ll take that as a compliment on characterization. Never fear, though... You shouldn\'t have very long to wait for the answers to many of your questions soon. Of course, those answers come with some very very big questions... God, I suck.
Pretty good! Great to see the next chapter.
Glad to see Ron working out the 'gifts' part - family.
I figured on the Darkness Powder to take out the Illusion (after all, what power does a mirror or illusion have over you if you can't see it?) but the disillusion spell is just as good.
That freed up the Powder to take out Adam. Same principle - eliminates the visual impersonation of Ginny. Trust Harry to know his own wife in the dark!
Protege's assessment was on the mark about (was it Reaper?) not being able to cope with an unconventional tactic. I thought it would be some innocuous and/or sinister WWW creation that would do the trick - distract with a gobstone so she stumbles into a Portable Quicksand Pit (patent pending).
Not surprised to see Neville with some useful and dangerous potions. I always figured an herbologist produces so many potion ingredients he's become good at Potions, especially if Fiona helps him (and especially when Snape isn't browbeating him).
I need to read back a bit, can't remember right now - was the living steel potion Chekhov's gun on the wall? Did you establish it earlier - maybe as something Neville uses to strengthen the plants around the Grove?
What was the spell Neville bounced back at the wall?
Wendigo! Are you using generic legend, Marvel Comics version, or crossing him with Warner Bros. Tasmanian Devil!?
I find myself wishing that they sent Fiona under Harry's old cloak to scout for the kids while they kept the Nightshades occupied, but it doesn't look like it.
I like how you made the dancing magic a little more explicit this time. Is that the Native American influence?
Thinking about the scroll magic and Darkness Powder - do the scroll spells have power if the caster can't see the writing on them?
Yeah, the Severatum is gross. I suppose Ron may have closed his eyes to it. I think it more likely that he would have cautioned Hermione not to watch, and that he would have been keeping his own eyes on the Master the whole time.
I'm also a little disappointed that neither he nor Harry (who was thinking along the lines of preserving even their enemies' lives) made even a pro forma attempt at finite incantatem (or something else to stop the Severatum spell).
Okay, so Ron is shocked to see who the Master is (or isn't). Didn't need Trelawney to see that cliffie coming! So, let's think. He acted like he expected Rathius, and was shocked! If that means it's not Rathius (and I'm not ruling out some twist on your part), who else do we have? Rasmussen? Kingsley? Fiona? Dennis? Auntie Muriel? Most of the rest of your cast has been murder victims.
I suppose Ras might be the next most obvious suspect ('obvious' in the sense of 'expected literary device').
Personally, I'm suspicious of one of the victims. The late partner of Ron's late mentor (I forget his name) seemed to me to have conflicting characterizations in two appearances before his apparent murder: one as perpetual second fiddle, not a hero, happy to get his time in and retire and the other that showed a tiny glimpse of some concealed pride, ambition or resentment. Of course, I could be imagining it.
Can't wait for the next!
Author's Response: Well thank you kindly, and lots of questions too, hmmm... I\'ll answer what I can. You know, on the WWW to take out the Reaper, and even on Neville\'s potions, I didn\'t want to get too wild with things. I\'ve already dipped heavily into deus ex machina in my stories, and I think if I just came up with WWW devices to stop the Nightshades in every setting, then that would kind of just be a little ridiculous. What I did with the Reaper was just, you know, create this solution that was a little more organic, a little more natural and plausible, and yet it would still fit into what the Pupil was talking about her being not all that bright. As for Neville and potions, you and I are thinking definitely on the exact same wavelength. We\'ve seen Neville\'s character as being one of strength, but also one prone to intimidation. We know he\'s smart, but the only class he was able to actually succeed in was the one class that didn\'t have a completely overbearing teacher. While much is made of Neville\'s relationship with Snape, one must also remember that Neville didn\'t do well under McGonogall\'s tutelage either, and I think that might be because that she can be just as imposing as Snape at times. However, when we see him take Dark Arts Defense under Harry, while he starts out rough, he does eventually get to be pretty good. So that is kind of what I did with him in this adult version, basically imagined that okay, let\'s take his character, and see how it does in an environment where he is allowed to grow naturally without these imposing forces impeding him. As for the Steel Skin potion, that was not established earlier on in the story. I did that specifically because I wanted there to be a kind of surprise factor. The establishment comes in the form of knowing that Neville brought a lot of potions to the fight, but we don\'t necessarily know what all of them do. We do know that at least one type of potion makes a very big boom, though, and I wouldn\'t forget that. Anyway, no, that was purely for surprise, and I guess that was a cheaper than normal trick on my part for just wanting something that kind of takes one by surprise when watching the fight. The spell that Neville bounced back at the Wall was called, \"Albedus\" which is dirived from the Latin, \"Albedo\" which means to reflect. I\'ve used it a couple of times thus far, and it is essentially a kind of beefed up version of \"Protego\" that not only shields the caster from an incoming spell, but reflects it back at the caster. The Wendigo... I\'m glad you asked about that and we\'re going to talk about the Native American Influence and perhaps my extension of Rowling\'s magical rules all at the same time. In, From Here There Be Monsters, I had Rathius kind of outline the basic thesis to my approach to magic here. One of my intents with this story and with Part II is to delve deeper into magical theory because in canon there is talk in general about magical theory, but not much actual detailed mention of it, and so what I did was added that depth, and key to that was that magic in general works the same, but cultural differences that have developed through the world resulted in peoples from different parts of the world learning to harness magic in different ways. At the time of the Harry Potter books, the wand had become the standard conductor of magic world wide, as often the world will assimilate itself to a single standard, but we see that things were not always done this way. With many indigenous cultures, for instance, the wearing of masks was used to harness magical powers, and this is where the Nightshades masks came from. In the Asian countries, as Rathius explains, the written word was used to harness magic. For the Europeans, the moder wand evolved from the staff because it was generally light, smaller, easier, and safer to use. But for the Native Americans, and other indegenous peoples throughout the world, magic is achieved by song and dance. Hence the creation of the spell to summon the WENDIGO! Now, initially I was going to have the Beast summon a different creature, but there were some reasons why I chose not to. Some of those reasons I shouldn\'t divulge, but one of them was because I wanted to continue to expand on this magical theory to practice idea I had already started. I realized that I had not touched upon this song and dance routine that I had wanted to from the very beginning. So I needed a Native American monster to do the job. In thinking about this, I recalled a scary story I read as a youth about a windigo. I don\'t remember much about it, I just remember there being much to do with wind. Before I did some research into it, that was going to be the about the end of things, just a wind monster, and I really didn\'t change much from that point, but I did do some research and found that my conceptualization of the Wendigo was off a bit. Unfortunately there wasn\'t much in the real legend of the Wendigo that I could incorporate and still keep in tracking with my story, but I did add one thing that I read where the Wendigo was also associated with incredible cold. As for Tazmanian Devil influence, I suppose there might have been some, but none that was overtly intentional. Moving on. Scroll magic does still have power if either the caster or the target can\'t see what is written. Now, this requires some qualification though. As Rathius points out, beginners who use scroll magic must write the scrolls out ahead of time, so this is actually a very limiting form of magic because you have to be able to predict what spells you need and then be able to write them out. But as mastery in the art increases, the scrolls are capable of being conjured at a moment\'s notice. In either case, the scroll itself is still a conduit for the spell. For beginners, this must be written, and I would equate that to beginning witches and wizards having to verbalize incantations. This because their magical aptitude is not at a point where they can maintain the focus and discipline necessary to harness magic with mere thought alone. But as we get to the more mastered use of scroll casting, what is happening is that the conjured scroll becomes a physical representation of the spell caster\'s thought, and thus it will channel the magic regardless of whether the scroll is seen or not. On to Severatum. First, you should know, the change I had to make was closing Ron\'s eyes. The original version had Ron watching the entire thing and therefore the reader watching it as well. That was deemed a little too gory for this site, so as a compromise I had Ron close his eyes. I wanted to publish a directors cut of the original version on my website, but I forgot to save it seperately so I\'m sorry about that. As for Pro Forma attempts to stop the spell, the reason why is because there were two things at work here. First, confusion. Neither Harry nor Ron knew what was going on initially as it took some time to understand for them what the Severatum spell was doing. The second was sheer shock. I mean, you\'re watching five people being magically decapitated? That\'s a new one and likely to freeze someone in their tracks. Which brings us to predictions as to who the Master might be. For this, all I can say is that I can\'t say, you will find out early on in the next chapter, and I intend to put at least one clue in the Author\'s Note so those willing to make a last minute dash to figure it out will have their chance. Anyway, thank you so much, I truly appreciate the review! See ya next time.
After time to reflect, a few more thoughts:
The Master seemed to be cycling through things that were used earlier in the story, or at least the specialties he taught his different followers (operating at a higher level himself, of course). He revisited his necromancer powers, Severatum, the Reaper's dueling, conjured a chimera (Beast and the dragons), the column to heaven bit was more the Illusion (when it started, it could have been the Wall). Is he just putting Ron and the others through their paces? What's left before he does something original? Ginny chased him ahead of the group - will he do the Imposter bit again?
Ron's been a little bit erratic here. Glad to see he made use of what he had seen before (Rathius' spell from the library). Much better than his reaction to the chimera. I'd expect his disbelief that the Master was able to conjure one, not ignorance of what one was - he's not 12 anymore.
You said you wanted to avoid deus ex machina with WWW tricks - glad to see you follow up on it with the bricks and the gobstones being ineffective. All the same, Neville is pulling some impressive potions out of his bag of tricks. Explosives, steel skin, and now a potion that can travel against the flow of a stream of flame and be detonated to blow up a chimera?
How much is the Master toying with them? He's excellent at so many known things and he's invented terribly efficient things to suit needs. Where does a presumed AK variant that moves so slowly everyone on the battlefield can hop over it fit in?
Bye for now.
Author's Response: First, I wanted to address the Chimera. I struggled with that one a bit because, to be honest, I don\'t think that they\'ve been even mentioned in the core books. There might be mention of them, and in fact, in the course of writing this response, there is exactly one reference to them in Order of the Phoenix. So, it was definitely not a creature Ron had studied before in school, and so it was left up to me to decide, okay, how well known are these creatures. I chose to make them incredibly rare, rare enough for Ron\'s reaction to be \"What the hell is that?\" And in the confusion of battle, he may not necessarily immediately be able to recall the Chimera as naturally and as quickly as, say, a dragon. As for the potions, you got me. I traded up WWW tricks for potions as far as deus ex machina goes, and I did it completely for dramatic effect. I could explain my thoughts on the potion used to blow up the Chimera, though. That potion was the same that took out the wall in the Weasley\'s shop. The only reason it managed to go through the fire stream was that, maybe, Neville\'s steel skin gave him enough strength to throw that hard. Indeed, it was enough for him to knock a huge rock monters a good ways. I suppose realistically it would have been better for the potion to have just taken out one of the heads as opposed to the whole thing, but I did it all at once mainly for time considerations... I think it would have dragged things out a bit much to have to kill each head on its own. So there you go. As for the Master, your observations remain quite astute, and I can\'t answer most of them because to do so would give too much away. But the AK variant, I can answer your question. While it may not necessarily have worked on this battlefield, which wasn\'t terribly crowded, imagine something like that in an incredibly crowded place, especially a panicked and crowded place. Slow, thorough, and cutting down just about everything in its path. But again, I agree with you, it wasn\'t the wisest of spells to use in this situation, so why bother? Ah that\'s the question, why bother with all of this?
Oh, yeah - I hope Neville remembered to pack the Essence of Dittany! Looks like he's going to need it.
Author's Response: Way ahead of you.
Okay. Pretty good. Ummm.... I'll need time to process it.
I'm waiting to see who cast that AK at the end, and at whom.
Glad to see you did pack the Dittany.
Getting some insight into Rogan's character. Intellect, of course. Ambition unrestrained by intellect or conscience.
If Dennis is on the right track, has Rogan built in a fail-safe - kill me and the cube (and the boys) die? Or is he actually suicidal and he's manipulating them to kill the cube (to free the boys) thereby killing himself (suicide by cop)?
More, perhaps, when I've had more time to cogitate.
Author's Response: heh, totally understood. I go from blasting you guys with action to blasting you guys with information, so I can imagine that a little whiplash may just be in order. As for the Dittany, why on Earth WOULDN\'T a potion maker not pack Dittany before going to battle (he says as he thinks... whew, glad someone brought that point up before the chapter was written). And yes, you are sort of understanding Rogan a bit more, as for the nature of the cube, and the final gambit... well... all of that will have to wait for now, though I promise you those questions will be answered in the next chapter.
Author writes chapter. Readers post reviews, frustrated at having to wait for next chapter. Repeat 20+ times. Dog bites man.
Now - Author writes chapter. Reader posts review. Author frustrated at constraints placed on responding to review by need to wait for next chapter. Man bites dog!
Yay for me!
Author's Response: I\'m very glad you\'re enjoying your schadenfreude. I am to please.
Great to see you back!
Yes, the chapter really is up!
Loved the chapter. Would have loved to dive right into the battle, but I must agree this was an excellent choice.
By the way, will Ron ever consciously, specifically answer Rathius' question (from many chapters back)? What do they (Ron & Harry) have that others don't?
They've got fantastic wives who are critical sources of intelligence, friends like Neville who cut to the chase in their research, the rep (public confidence) of having taken down Voldemort, family and friends willing to stand by their side doing so, understanding and experience of having taken down the epitome of evil (they don't (most of the time) let themselves be intimidated before they begin, Fred & George's creativity as a resource...
They've exploited all of these to one degree or another. But they've never articulated an answer to the question.
Author's Response: That\'s an interesting question you bring up about what was originally one of my character\'s questions. It\'s funny because I wrote that so long ago that I kind of forgotten that I even wrote it, but I think once I got my mind into it a little, I came up with an interesting answer. There were two answers to Rathius\' question, maybe even a third. Definitely a third, now that I think about it. But they are stratified as far as on what level do they work. The immediate answer, the one that was intended to move the basic plot along, was their relationship to Longbottom, which was what got them bringing the crime scene nightshade to Neville in the first place. You see, while Aurors do have herbologists and forensic wizards, none of them would be able to match Longbottom\'s ability to analyze the blossom. This is what led to the analysis of Infinitialus Locusio, and ultimately the encounter with the Beast. That was the immediate answer. The next answer is a little more thematic and I\'m not going to give it because I think it is buried in chapter 19 which is currently awaiting approval. And if I\'m not giving you that answer, there\'s definitely no way I\'m giving you the final answer which ultimately is the cause for this whole thing... Ah, cryptic, I like. So there you go. I\'m glad you loved the chapter, and of course there was no way we were going to go straight into the battle, in fact, to give you an idea of the scope of what\'s to come, the next three chapters are going to be spread over a very short period of time. Indeed, from chapter 17 to chapter 21 all takes place in one night, and a hell of a night I intend it to be. Thank you so much again, and I hope to hear from you again when the next one gets posted.
Pretty good place to leave things off.
It looks like the boys will be in for a shock if they end up in three different houses.
Glad to see Ron didn't take it for granted, realized they didn't really win anything.
I really think Ron & Harry would have had to visit Rath & Ras much sooner to wrap up the procedural end of the case (days or weeks after Rogan's 'death', not three years. It wouldn't stop Ron from needing to go back.
By the way, when you originally intended to have Epilogues, Part IV, was it to have been Hermione's story, or on to the boys?
Author's Response: Yeah, I used a little bit of license to elongate how long it took for Ron to go back to see Rathius. I really don\'t have an explanation for it, I suppose I could say that out of deference to Rathius\' wishes for solitude, they decided to repay him for his assistance by leaving him alone. Yeah... that\'s the ticket! As for Part IV... I\'m going to obviously go into this, but I\'m not sure I would have ever written a part IV. I had, for a time, thought about making a story for Hermione where I chronicled how she got to where I intended to put her, but a lot of things stood in the way, not the least of which being that it just wouldn\'t have made for a very interesting story. A one shot at the least, and not even a good one at that. So the stories that were to come after were always intended to take up a new title and a new arc, really. Anyway, thanks so much for the review, I truly appreciate it.
Don't have time for a full analysis, but here's a few thoughts after my first read-through...
Glad to see Ron has some misgivings and suspicions about their victory.
Thanks for some of the answers to the vampire question.
I'm a little skeptical of Ron officially claiming the killing stroke, given his frustration with all the lives this case cost and his failure to close it earlier. You make an interesting point, though. The killing curse was introduced in canon as an Unforgiveable Curse - use on another human earns an automatic sentence to Azkaban. While in our world an action analogous to Ginny's would likely be determined to be self-defense or justifiable homicide, wizarding law might not allow that distinction.
What's so special about the Cyprax cube, anyway? Total control over size, light, sound, environment... That could have been done in a more mundane cage or cell. Might it be that total control of environment and perception, even sensory deprivation, would allow Rogan to control or program the boys? Was he linking his life to theirs? Or was he simply upping the ante with a mysterious doomsday device to provoke one of them into killing him? Suicide by cop (with a twist) clearly remains on the table.
It did allow him to observe the boys, though. Hmmm....
Three years for Rogan to find the last part of the key. Sounds like just about the point in time that the boys will be sorted at Hogwarts (they are 8 years old at the beginning of Nightshades, right?)
The scene near the end with the Regulars - sealed room, no observer, dead or alive, place "almost ceased to exist"... Makes me think of Schrodinger's Cat. Mutually exclusive conditions exist simultaneously until the box is opened.
Riddle didn't want to die. Some of the other villians we've seen along the way could probably be classified as nihilists. Is Rogan trying to transcend the boundaries of life and death?
Author's Response: Before I get to answering some of your points, please come join me on my blog as I shift from focusing on this website to that one. Okay, let\'s see what you got. Your skepticism with Ron, and this is I think something about his character I have slowly and subtly wrote in over the course of this series is that Ron is a person who would very much be prone to a crime of passion, someone that may not ever think that killing is right, but in the heat of the moment may forget those morals and principles and react in such a manner. And you\'re pretty much thinking along the lines that I was thinking. Unforgiveable curse is unforgiveable curse; I left enough room, I believe, in the Auror\'s explanations that Ginny might not go to Azkaban, but it was a risk that none of them meant to take. As for the Cyprax Cube. Much of it was flourish. He could have kept them in a regular cage, but what fun would that be? And no, it didn\'t allow him to actually affect the boys beyond the physical, but Rogan was symbiotically fused to the cube, which is what is hinted at, and thus, under any condition, Rogan was allowed to observe the boys which was one of the purposes of kidnapping them in the first place. Yes, he wanted to catch them to achieve the final result, as we saw it played out. But also, he wanted to confirm through first hand observation what his calcultions were telling him, and the Cyprax Cube allowed him that opportunity. So, at the same time, there was some machination to it, but it was also, as you suggested, a means to provoke the suicide by cop angle. yes, they are eight years old, and yes, three years is very intentional at this point, which should give you a hint at least to where this is all going. And yes, Schrodinger\'s Cat did provide something of an inspiration as how I chose to paint that portion of the scene. At that point I was angling for maximum effect for Rogan\'s resurrection, but would I say Rogan is trying to transcend life and death? No. The curious thing about the Ratbones, all of them, is that they realize that immortality is a fool\'s errand, an interesting proposition given that both surviving brothers are necromancers, and the youngest is actually immortal. Neither Rathius, nor Rogan, nor even Rasmussen have any interest in living forever, but they do desire to fill their lives with what they would deem something uniquely purposeful. for Rathius, that is knowledge, for Rogan that is power. And with that, I think I covered everything up to this point. Don\'t forget to stop by the blog frequently, and thanks for the review.
Well, that was romantic.
Did Ron actually read that book the twins gave him? I don't think there was a chapter on cursing witches.
Seriously, though... I think it's a bit of a stretch to have Ron throw in with the Death Eaters, even in a world where Harry died.
The only way it would ring true (to me) is if Ron thought doing it (joining up)would save those he loved. Then he gets in too deep and finds out the test for his loyalty - kill Hermione or Ginny himself, or watch the other Death Eaters kill both of them.
Even in a world where Ron could be driven to the extreme of killing Hermione, I don't think he says "I love you" to the corpse and walks out. More likely, he takes her wand and uses it to kill himself or obliviate himself.
Author's Response: I know, you\'re right, I\'m sorry? I\'ve said it before and I\'ll say it again: I WROTE THIS PRE-DH. That means that any of those extremely far-fetched evil things Ron did in this story could have possibly happened when this was written. I cannot control what my mind comes up with, and this is what it pictured. Thank you for the insight, though, it\'s always appreciated. And thanks for the review!