Well, what is a Weasley good at, if not escalating an emotional situation rapidly and exponentially? This is a tense situation, and Ginny is really standing out to me here as the one who’s got issues that really need unpacking.
I was admittedly a little confused at Ron’s reaction to Hermione’s suggestion that he take his shirt off, even in front of Ginny and Harry, because a guy taking his shirt off is not something I think of as terribly exposing, and for all his insecurities I wonder that Ron would feel that way. But that having been the inciting incident, things seemed to progress in a way that has been par for the course for these four throughout the course of this fic so far.
I enjoyed Bill’s reappearance, I like that he is sort of the Weasley family liaison, if you will, to these four, and he feels like a layered character who retains that sort of understatedness I always enjoyed about him in canon.
Bill is probably under a great deal of stress from being one of the family members who has been outwardly holding everything together, but I was disappointed in his condescension towards his youngest siblings. Bill always seemed like a level-headed sort who should realize the value of open communication, at the very least within a family, and after having seen what Ginny and especially Ron have had to go through, for him to be shutting them out of truths about their own mother is very wrong of him. (Percy does have a big mouth, though, no escaping that, really.)
"He's dead," Harry replied. "He tried to kill me during the final battle and the wand he stole wouldn't work for him. The Killing Curse bounced back on him and he died."
Harry's grandparents pondered that bit of information for a few seconds. "Splendid. Couldn't happen to a nicer chap," Fleamont declared.
Oh my. I love Fleamont.
I’m very happy you wrote them into the story, it’s such a nice connection for Harry to make, even if they are just in a portrait. Their personalities seem very well crafted. I liked how you tied in Cheering Charms and likened them to a designer drug making its way around school.
In your review request you asked whether Ron’s plan seems like something he’d want to do. When I first got to the part where he makes his suggestion to leave ASAP, I found myself thinking that it did seem a little too soon, even for Ron, who isn’t always known to think things through -- both because there’s so much still going on in the wake of the battle and because Ron often has a healthy amount of skepticism and reluctance. BUT, once I saw how you played it out and got to the part where his voice sounded weary and sad, it made more sense to me. There’s a lot of awful stuff going on and I can see him just itching to get away from it, and from the immediate memories of everything that has happened over the past year. So all in all, I do see it as plausible for his character under these circumstances.
The final scene with Harry and Ginny was very touching!
Another great chapter, and I look forward to seeing what comes next, especially Ron and Hermione’s adventure.
Taylor!!! :D :D :D
Here for your request, my dear! Sorry if it took me a bit longer than I hoped...
This chapter was wonderful just as always! Poor Lily, being so hurt and confused by James' reaction and by her own feelings and by how they fight with her bet... although I agree with Marlene 100% here, she really should set aside her stupid pride and forget the bet and just be happy with James! What's wrong with you, Lily??? But I know she's not going to listen, so... I only hope whichever her plan is, it isn't going to ruin things with poor James too much... I mean, it probably won't because James is just too invested in her (plus, he has a bet to win himself :P), but... I'm still a little bit worried... I guess we'll see... ;)
Talking about James, he's absolutely adorable! I love him so, so much! I want a James Potter, where do I find one? :P Their banter during breakfast was just adorable and perfect and so funny! And their confrontation afterwards... that was so perfect, too! From the way it started, it could've easily turned into a disaster, so I'm so glad James managed to communicate what was actually botherin him, and Lily's response made my heart melt! I love those two soooo much! <3 <3 <3
I don't really know what else to say except repeating once again that this story is perfect and wonderful, you are wonderful and an absolute genius and I love you!
I'll be eagerly waiting the next chapter! :D <3
Lots of love and snowball hug,
Hi Deni! I’m back for more of your story :D
It’s very understandable why Cassie would not want to be reading about dark magic at this moment in wizarding history—I love your description of how she can feel the darkness seeping into the castle when no one is looking.
I’m so sad about their friend Mary dying though. And you’ve captured how awkward the other girls feel when they consider how they should comfort Sophie, who is particularly grieving over her. It’s so hard to go and sit with people in their darkness.
I am so incredibly angry with Sirius Black right now. I mean, where does he get off talking this way to Cassie? WTF is wrong with him? They are BOTH Gryffindors come out of traditionally Slytherin and heavily Death Eater families!! What’s wrong with him??
Okay, I guess what is wrong with him is that he has cut off all ties with his family, and Cassie hasn’t. Cassie is taking the tactic (very subtle for a Gryffindor!) of biding her time until she can leave the country and be free as an adult. And that’s not the same way that Sirius deals with his own life, and so he can’t understand anyone who does things differently than he does.
Still—what a prat.
The snake scene in the classroom was very tense, as was the ensuing argument. I think it’s pretty brilliant that Cassie is afraid of snakes.
I’m beginning to see why they don’t get along.
Hi Deni! I’m back for more of your story :D
My favorite part of this chapter are the eponymous thestrals. I love how you describe their creepy weirdness, I love how Cassie can see them, but she’s trying to play it off like she can’t see them, I love how they are watching her with their creepy white eyes. It really sets the tone for this school year—I mean, I know that the thestrals are always there, but I feel that the way this chapter dwells on them creates a mood of somberness and anticipation of bad things to come—and with Voldemort actively recruiting Death Eaters from Hogwarts itself—its hard for things to get darker.
It’s nice to see Cassie interacting with the Marauders too. I can see James and Lily taking tentative steps towards each other, and Remus trying (and barely succeeding) to keep Sirius in line.
Cassie’s relationship to Remus seems to be pretty good. I like that she is concerned about his health and she has an ease of relating to him that is missing with the others—James is sort of a prat, and Peter is pretty much a sycophant, but Remus is easy to hug and easy to love.
I’m very curious to know why there is this animosity between Cassie and Sirius though. Is it just personalities clashing? Or is there something more?
Everything's gotten so much more intense and dark. I feel sick about poor Cassie's situation, and I'm so anxious to know what happens next. When the truth does come out about her involvement, what will she have left? Anyway, you've made this story so beautiful and tragic and I'm looking forward to more.
Here I am, veeeeeeeeery late, with my review for you entering my challenge! The complex reviews will happen oh my god. Bear with me. Still catching up! Anyway, review time, so here we go!
Which bakery doesn’t get insanely busy around the holiday season? I just don’t get why Lily doesn’t see it because you need all those cookies for santa and whatnot, I mean, it’s obvious innit?
Truly fair to hate the holiday for more than the colours clashing with your hair.
OH GOD THE FEEL OF PEOPLE BEING ENTITELED AND RUDE AS HELL DURING THOSE SEASONS LIKE I DONT EVEN WORK IN RETAIL BUT IN HEALTHCARE BUT BOY DO I FEEL IT
lol the Karen mention, we all know them
HAHAH OF COURSE LILY WOULD CONSIDER THE MAN BEING GORGEOUS AF A PROBLEM BC OF THAT
Elfs can be damn cute tho
Coworkers like Mary are the best tbh
But I also love the sheer of people like James
HAHA OF COURSE JAMES WINKS
I bet Lily that they are indeed dating
The same eight songs for a month on end isn’t truly to bad… but then I can listen to one song for months on end so
of course he managed to hack the account
Oh please, as if Lily wasn’t attracted to him from the getgo
James has fucking manners and we applaud him for it
oh jesus she goes there already god she has it bad
HAHA THE ANTLERS
HAHAH OF COURSE JAMES CALLS HER MINNIE
Mcgonagall I bloody love you
HAVE A BISCUIT HAHAHA OF COURSE YOU THREW THAT IN HAHAHA
Also the fact that James immediately wanted to go and change the song. God. I love this so much <3 Thank you so so much for having written this for my challenge <3 I’ll get to your prize reviews as soon as I can - even though it might end up taking a while still!
Hi Dan! I’m here from your forum request :D
At first, I felt like the scene in Madam Malkins was a little frivolous—until I remembered that when people are dealing with terrible things, they very naturally try to distract themselves with DOING things—no matter how trivial. When I realized that the reason that they are shopping for dress robes is because they have to BURY FRED—then I about lost it. And of course, that’s why Ron is being so difficult. He doesn’t want the damn dress robes—because they mean that he’s going to have to bury his brother. I bet he’ll never wear them again after the funeral. I hope he burns them.
And Ginny, too, is burying her brother. And she’s got a limited amount of time to be with Harry in whatever way she chooses. And she’s coming off of this Death Eater year at Hogwarts—and so she probably just feels like she’s living on borrowed time as a default.
Watching her shop for lingerie was pretty funny—you described it well from the high price tags, to Ginny (and later Hermione’s) embarrassment. Ron and Hermione’s bickering was also in character—because it takes a long time for Hermione to understand why Ron is being petulant. Once she does—her reaction was so well described (and I wish I didn’t know the feeling, but I do) and she’s barely able to get them back to Grimmauld place before Ron loses it completely.
I did feel bad for Ron and Hermione when Harry goes off with Ginny—his new chosen companion—to the Black and Potter vaults. You captured everyone’s mixed feelings very well. I’m impressed they were all able to articulate those feelings as well as they did.
Dang—Harry’s super rich now. He probably should take up the goblin’s offer of scheduling a meeting to learn how to manage his estates. He could do a lot of good with all that wealth if he wants to.
The revelations of the contents of the Black and Potter vaults were interesting. I was a little concerned about the haphazard way that Harry and Ginny just took whatever they wanted out of the Black’s vault—I feel that perhaps they ought to have questioned whether or not any of it was cursed??
I was very happy when Harry came across his grandparents portraits—it gave some much needed comic relief, and I hope that he will enjoy talking to them. At least they won’t be alone in this vault anymore. I was surprised to see the Elder Wand in the vault—but perhaps you are assuming that Harry hasn’t had time to put the wand in Albus’s tomb yet?
Seeing Hagrid’s note and the items he had carefully saved from the Potter’s ruined house was so sad.
I love tres leches. Sorry, had to start with that. I just love it very much, so thank you for including that and all the yummy food in this. Your descriptions are wonderful, and everything just comes to life.
I love the world-building you're doing in this story. I absolutely love Isabella, and I can't wait to see what she's going to think of a magical school. I can't wait to see the school as well, and I am sure it will be just as wonderful as the rest of this. This chapter was such a perfect look into her life and family and I'm sure that she'll miss them very much when she heads off to school.
I'm curious about the school itself, mostly because I am that person who loves hearing about new settings. I'm excited that we'll explore it with Isabella, and I'm curious how it will be, seeing as it'll be in Mexico City. Hogwarts was a bit isolated from everything, and I have a feeling that this school will be a bit different.
Thank you for writing this lovely story! I read the earlier chapters before, and I was browsing when I saw it had been updated. I'm definitely going to be a regular reader.
Hi Kaitlin! Here for CMDC round 2!
Aha, so it was exactly like Hagrid! You know, even as I typed that in my previous review, I was thinking to myself, But isabella’s family doesn’t seem at all like the Dursleys… but there is a definite parallel, even though her father’s reasons for keeping it from her are infinitely more sympathetic than the Dursleys. What an awful, sad story about her father’s past, and so plausible a reason why he would have kept this from her. I’m curious whether his wife knew about the magic? She doesn’t seem so terribly shocked to learn about the magic; rather, she seems upset at the prospect of Isabella going off to school, like perhaps maybe she knew about the magic but it was their agreement that the kids would never know?
And we see that, as dutiful and content as Isabella seems to be, she must have an adventurous spirit, because she’s eager for this new opportunity. And she certainly is not having any of this, adults arguing over decisions she feels she should make for herself.
I think it’s interesting that up to this point in her life she’s never shown any indications of magic. Maybe over time she’ll think back to odd things that happened and put the pieces together?
I’m really enjoying this and looking forward to seeing where this takes Isabella!
Thank you so much for this lovely review! You're spot on with your comparison to Hagrid. Actually, this whole story will have a parallel timeline to Harry Potter, however, the events will be completely different due to the location. My goal is to sort of mirror the timing of things and use some inspiration from The Sorcerer's Stone.
Ah, but I haven't really confirmed one way or another that Isabella hasn't done magic. I just haven't shown it either. As the chapters about school get written, we'll see a bit more reflection on her life.
Thank you again!
Hi Kaitlin! Here for CMDC round 2!
I’ve heard much about this story and saw you posted an update so here I am!
Isabella strikes me as a conscientious sort of girl. I appreciated the slow, thoughtful start to this story featuring what this day looks like for her, a little glimpse into her daily life and family. Your imagery in this chapter is beautiful. She seems content in her life but also with that bit of trepidation that comes from becoming older, especially with a landmark birthday where you’re told that everything suddenly is supposed to change. From that perspective, her observations of the valley, all the details she notices, feels like she’s trying to hold on to something.
Not knowing yet where exactly this story is going, but having some inkling because we know it’s about the magic world, I have to say that this scene at the end with the old lady breaking in through the doorway is reminiscent of Hagrid busting down the door to inform Harry he’s a wizard! I look forward to seeing what’s going on.
Nice first chapter!
How dare you start with a pleasant breakfast scene. Although I do appreciate Peter winning a thumb war over James. Ooh, Cassie and Sirius arrived holding hands! What does this mean?! Obviously their chat went okay, and they’ve admitted their feelings for each other? Could this have all...gone well?
Omg wait. I might have spoken too soon. Something is up, hmm. There’s definitely some tension between them about this little trip to Hogsmeade.
Ooh, I kind of forgot about Cassie’s sister and what Cassie’s information might mean for her. What a hard situation she’s in! And the Hogsmeade scene really showed us the stakes and the seriousness of the situation. I just want the poor girl to be happy but she’s so terrified. Sirius says Hogwarts is safe but it’s not really for Cassie!
Remember when we met up I said I’d never had a Harry Potter party? Reading about Lily’s birthday just makes me want one even more :P It was a super sweet scene, and I loved how the boys acted out the story! Pretty cool to think James is related to that story as he reads! Oh no, Cassie doesn’t even care about the Quidditch scouts anymore :(
I can officially be mad at you about that cliffhanger because there’s no more chapters! I have to wait,ahh! But Cassie is about to go to Dumbledore and I can’t wait to find out what happens. And I think I remember you talking about a pensieve scene? I need to read that immediately!
I honestly can’t be surprised that Cassie ended up turning to Eddie. He’s been a part of her life for so long, he’s comfortable and familiar. I understand why she would want to be with him, but I still see him as a bad character, which makes this situation quite hard. And it’s sad that while some of their memories are good, there’s also some terrifying ones. OH MY GOD Eddie was there the night Mary died? Ooh, I don’t like this, I think there’s something bigger going on that Cassie doesn’t know about yet. And I think it’s official now, Eddie is a scumbag. Come on, Cassie, we know Sirius is the good guy!
Aw, I really loved the scene with Dumbledore. I love that he knew what Cassie is going through and gently told her it was okay.
I KNEW she would ride a Thestral at some point in this story! I’m so glad it happened, and her reaction was just so amazing. I love how she felt when she rode one, your writing was so magical there. And it’s just such a sad kind of irony that she has such a beautiful connection to these creatures but it’s only because she’s seen death. She’s going to tell Sirius, ah! I can’t wait to read how this goes, and for both Sirius and me to learn the truth!
I can’t believe this is the last chapter written so far!!
The return of Romilda Vane! A character whom I did not miss in the slightest from the Harry Potter novels. :P You absolutely nailed her, though: she is still very incredibly thirsty for Harry, still has no sense of boundaries, and still has no shame hahaha. Ginny was very brave to visit her, in my opinion! I get scared of people who talk too openly about sex lives, whether it be their own, other people’s, or some combination thereof. :P Of course, when two people are close friends, that kind of conversation feels really exciting and interesting (sort of like how Ginny and Hermione were sharing secrets about their private lives with one another!) but…Romilda and Ginny are kind of leagues apart right now. I AM exceedingly thankful to her for taking care of Arnold, the adorable baby pygmy puff! Can he become a recurring character, please, I would do absolutely anything for him to make one adorable cameo per chapter. :P
You know, I have a sneaking suspicion that Romilda Vane’s dad would be a conspiracy theorist (either a flat-earther or someone who propagates that “birds aren’t real” theory), if he was more immersed in the Muggle world. His paranoia is just too strong for him to be anything else. :P
Hahaha the grace with which Ginny ducked out of having Romilda around! Can you imagine just straight up begging someone to let them to go to…the home of that someone’s boyfriend? This is the kind of thing that makes me somewhat skeptical that Romilda is really over the whole Harry thing; I feel like she would have done something creepy and perverted had she actually been allowed to visit. The way that Ginny practically wrangled a “no” out of Harry’s mouth though omg; it reminded me of how sometimes I would ask my mom whether I could go to a friend’s house simply because they’d invited me, hoping the entire time for a “no” as the answer. :P Ginny is giving off strong fourteen-year-old me vibes right now hahaha.
Harry! is becoming an Auror! It’s actually happening!!! I am excited to once again meet my dear idol, the lovely Auror Proudfoot, who has a magnificent sense of humor when it comes to Ginny and less so when it comes to Harry! It’s gonna be so epic!
HE’S GOING TO MEET BABY TEDDY SOON AHH! I have been waiting for this moment for some time, and by now my anticipation has rocketed sky-high. Harry had better be bowled over by the sheer adorableness of the child, or I will come and smack him myself, because there is no such thing as a non-adorable baby who does not deserve all the love and attention in the world. Am I qualified to take care of a child? No, but I feel perfectly alright pseudo-forcing Harry to do so. :P I’m really glad that he’s willing to provide for Andromeda and Teddy, though, because Andromeda must be in a crippling state of grief herself. We haven’t seen much of her, but she lost both a daughter and a son-in-law, and if Molly Weasley put herself into that bad a state, then where is Andromeda right now?
Kingsley and Robards negotiating Harry’s required training time tickled me positively pink, and I think I love Robards more than I ever have before now. :P
I’m so so excited for the next chapter!! This story has been an amazing journey, with such incredible characters and characterizations, and I am now very much addicted. <3
This was such a hopeful chapter!! I feel like every single character who’s been struggling with a mental barrier has broken through in some significant way. I’m really looking forward to more chapters like this. ;D
MOLLY IS DOING BETTER OMG. I’m actually really worried about the fact that they didn’t tell the Healers about Molly’s use of the Cheering Charm, though—I hope there won’t be any negative side effects from the treatments they’re giving her as a result of that. I wonder why they haven’t mentioned it to the Healers? Is it possibly because it’s more addictive, and they’re worried that Molly would be sent to a rehabilitation clinic? Whatever the reason is, I really hope she’ll continue on this upward trajectory! Seeing her speak for the first time in so many chapters made my heart sing, and if only I could hear her speaking to one of her children now! Also, can I just comment on how adorable it is that Arthur still calls her “Mollywobbles”? If I were one of their children, I would be utterly delighted that my father still called my mother by her embarrassing pet name hahaha, it’s seriously some relationship goals right there.
MOLLY AND ARTHUR ELOPED?? I need more of this secondary story ASAP haha. I have never really hardcore shipped Arthur and Molly before, but this chapter has seriously converted me. :P And while they’re discussing their children, they mention Harry, too! If only he could’ve spied on this conversation, he would’ve known exactly how much they fret and care about him like he’s their own son. I think because they love him and understand his naturally sweet, adorkable nature, that’s why Molly and Arthur aren’t so worried about the fact that their teenaged daughter is staying with Harry alone.
Ooooh Ron! Earning some money to help out his dear future wife! In a manner that makes me feel slightly conflicted, but still! See, on its own, I don’t think what he’s doing is particularly bad; though I’m not sure what Australia’s betting laws are, betting on a chess game where neither person is cheating feels rather harmless. As long as the other person knows what they’re getting into, then I think fair’s fair, and it’s a neat way of earning some extra food money. (Now, if Ron had mimicked that Isaac the Cheater’s methodology, then I would have had a bit more of a moral quandary with what he’s doing.) HOWEVER. He’s not being honest with Hermione! And I realize that Hermione likely has stricter morals than me, and most likely frowns upon betting in general, but still, I think it’s worth the wrath if he can explain that he’s not tricking anyone, and that he’s playing a fair game. (She does tend to get somewhat judgy sometimes, though.) The way I see it, Ron needs to do one of two things going forward: either he actually starts giving out chess lessons to random strangers, OR he tells Hermione the truth.
I have a feeling he’s just gonna continue with what he’s doing, though, and then face worse consequences for it later on, the dummy. :(
George actually got up to work!! YES. I can’t express how happy I was to see him up and about, with at least some sort of determination in his eyes. I hope the more time he spends around the shop, he’ll be able to associate it with fond memories of his twin, rather than regretting all the future years they missed out on. Someone else who I think made some sort of breakthrough was Ginny! When Harry looked at her with all his love and warmth after the Dementors drew out her most traumatic memories—"It lasted only a fraction of a second, but for the first time in months, Ginny felt whole”—I wanted to sob. It’s like my room was lit up by this wonderful warm glow, my heart was so full! Even though the memories will still definitely trouble her, I hope that this was a confirmation of sorts that Harry would love her and understand that nothing was her doing, that it was all the nasty Death Eater teenagers’.
Dawlish (though I much prefer Ginny’s hilarious nickname for him :P) can see himself out of this story hmph. Proudfoot is a much preferable Auror to that useless chunk of human.
Harry understood that the Dementor attack wasn’t his fault. And when I read that, my shoulders just completely relaxed, because it feels SO GOOD to hear him admit that! YES. I am so eager for Auror!Harry. <3
Such a heartwarming chapter! <3
Kaitlin! I saw that you've finally been inspired to write again and I was so happy that you've updated Isabella!
I think the aspect of this story that struck me the most is how wonderful your descriptions were again in this chapter. You really play with all the senses, conjuring up wonderful visual images of the surroundings. The snatches of song that you included meant that it felt like I could almost hear the family singing together. And of course, the food. Honestly - I get the feeling that I'm never going to succeed in reading a chapter of this story without wanting to eat (I am now, you'll be pleased to know, snacking, and I think it's entirely your fault). You just manage to paint such vivid and rich pictures of each scene by drawing on all those elements and really showcasing the wonderful culture in this area of Mexico, and it's such a joy to read.
I really felt for Isabella at the beginning of this chapter - the fear when she came home and couldn't hear any noises, so different to what her house is normally like, and then began to panic that her mum had abandoned her. While it's understandable that she'd have those fears, given her mum's reaction to the news (not that it's exactly easy to process, particularly if your husband has hidden it from you), it's really heartbreaking that she would think that.
But I'm so glad that you took us (and Isabella, of course) from that low to a wonderful birthday celebration, with all of her family around and plenty of mouthwatering food. I'm so glad that she got the chance to spend some time with her relatives before she has to go away to school, and I thought you captured that sense of family so brilliantly in that scene. It felt really joyous and loving.
The final scene was one of my favourites so far, I think. It's really mature of Isabella to be able to respect her father's decision not to talk about magic, especially when she's so young, but I'm glad that he brought himself to talk about it. After all, it means so much to her, and she's the one who has to go away to a new city and a new school, all to discover a new life that she had no idea she was going to lead until very recently. It felt like a really special moment between Isabella and her father and I'm so pleased that they had that.
And next chapter, Isabella goes to school! I'm so excited to see how you've imagined the magical school there, and of course (inevitably) to read more descriptions of the incredible food!
HAHAHA Harry being traumatized over Luna and Neville having sex in the bathroom is the funniest thing. The guy has lived through a whole war, and THIS is the kind of thing that sends him quivering back to Ginny in his bedroom? :P Sometimes, the psyche of teenagers is beyond me haha! I wonder if Ginny is now interested in trying out that thong underwear that they were briefly discussing earlier. :P I love how Harry, so far throughout this story, has really spent money on two main things: (1) slightly inappropriate clothing for Ginny, and (2) money for Ron and Hermione to take to Australia. The second one is a very noble, selfless endeavor, while the first is just positively hilarious haha. It’s kind of great that they’re able to be really open about discussing sex with one another, though; I feel like people who get embarrassed about that kind of thing will have more difficulty establishing boundaries when it actually comes to doing the thing.
FLEUR IS SO GREAT. Of all the people, I never expected her to be the one to snap George out of his funk—which is the beauty of it all. I was imagining her French accent coming through more strongly as she got more heated, which likely made her brutally honest words slap George across the face a little more. :P That entire scene was so powerfully written. Her sympathy for him seems to have dipped into a valley, which makes sense if someone refuses to pick themselves back up after something bad happens. I do think that she was rather on the harsh side (if I ever spoke to someone grieving like that only six days after their loved one died, I would probably have run away wailing out of guilt immediately afterwards :P), but that harshness is exactly what George needed, I think. He needed an emotion other than his typical foggy grief to pull him out of the stupor, and perhaps Fleur guilt-tripping him with the idea that Fred would be disappointed in George to see him living this way was the right move.
I wanted to cry at that cemetery scene. It really tugged at the heartstrings, seeing someone who’s been so quietly miserable finally release all their emotions in the most gutwrenching way. It actually made me briefly think about how I would feel if one of my siblings died, which really increased the pain that the scene gave me. <3 I really love the depiction of Fleur you have here; she’s not just a gentle, sweet French woman, but she has a great deal of power behind every word she speaks. And I hope that we can see more of her outside of her helping George to his feet! Oftentimes, Fleur’s kind of discarded in stories, I think partially because of Ginny’s ridiculous disdain for her, so I’m excited to see her finally present here. <3
GO GEORGE. YOU CAN DO IT. TALK TO GINNY AND HARRY AND LET YOURSELF BE HAPPY!
I’m going to be very honest here, I embarrassingly am the actual worst at chess. I know the functions of every piece, and that’s about it. Yet, despite this, I found Ron’s scene in the park to be the most epic takedown of that Isaac fellow—the personal affront he felt to the man cheating at chess was just such a Ron thing. I’m actually really proud that he earned the money fair-and-square, though I understand why he might not want to tell Hermione about it. :P Better not to keep secrets from your future spouse, though! I am slightly curious about what he’s planning on doing with that chess set? Hopefully not bamboozle other people into paying up…
Something that I wondered about Isaac is how he managed to divert everyone’s attention from the board enough to move the black bishop, but then I remembered magicians exist, and pretty much do that for a living. :P
Ugh Ron is so great, I love him! <3
Hahaha that image of Ron trying to figure out how the luggage claim worked was SO adorable, I just wanted to give him a huge hug. It’s funny because it’s a very Muggle thing to question, as well (though perhaps more often it’ll be children who ask how it works :P), so it’s not the most unusual thing to hear as a non-magical person. I’m sure that I myself have questioned the mechanics behind the luggage claim within recent years as well hahaha. I love how fond Hermione is of him! I kind of hope that they’ll spend more time in the Muggle world once she finds her parents, as a way of taking a break from all the politics of the magical world, so that she can show Ron to more cool and beautiful places! Perhaps he’ll even become so familiar with Muggle machines and workings that he’ll want his own. :P
How do all your characters continue to be the most relatable!! Hermione’s testiness and annoyance at everything is so understandable; if I haven’t gotten enough sleep I’m already cranky as can be, and layered on top of Hermione’s VERY stressful goal of finding her parents, she must be going through a spot of hell right now. It was the sweetest thing when she admitted as much, though! Straight up telling Ron that she’s grouchy and finds everything he’s doing annoying despite his aptitude for Muggle-pretending is a lot better than just passive-aggressively insulting him until he feels beyond hurt and upset. Also, I keep forgetting that they’re just seventeen—it’s that strange time when I want to call them children and adults at the same time, but teenagers still have the craziest emotions. I am not even a teenager anymore, but I can barely make it through a day without getting needlessly frustrated and upset about something, while Hermione and Ron are still at the age when hormones and such are messing with their bodies! <3
Oh no, it looks like Mr. Weasley didn’t take into account that they could track wands. The jinx seems awfully risky, though?? If the wands are buzzing in someone’s pockets, wouldn’t Muggles be able to hear that and then be concerned about their safety? Eep I was so stressed that entire time Ron and Hermione were running away! Cannot handle our precious couple being fugitives under the Australian law! I really wish that Australian Magical Law Enforcement was not clever enough to check the Muggle airway routes for wizards hahaha. Under the circumstances, I thought that Ron and Hermione acted brilliantly; I hope that there’s no way for the government to track the wands of the two people that they Stunned, though.
I love the parts about magical theory. To be able to sense the webs of magic surrounding you is incredible stuff, and I loved the detail with which you wrote that! This sentence described it perfectly, in the most ethereal, beautiful way: “A little like walking through a warm summer rainstorm and a little like navigating a room filled with sheer curtains hanging from the ceiling.” That sentence surrounded me with warmth and made me want to bathe in the beauty of it all, it was written so wonderfully. Bill’s instructions were so clever and thoughtful, and I feel like he would make an excellent teacher if he wanted to! What he said about the counter-Fidelius spell being beyond NEWT level astonished me a bit, because where exactly do wizards learn these things if they don’t have university? Do they learn on the job? That actually might be even better, because then they likely have a personal mentor or someone to guide them, right? Speaking of which, I am SO excited to meet Proudfoot again! :D
Everyone is so worried about Ginny. And I just really really want her to speak to someone, to be okay. Therapy, even! Please be well, Ginny darling. <3
You know, I have faith in Ron and Hermione. They’ve disguised themselves enough that I think they won’t be traced—unless the Australian government somehow has a way of telling if unauthorized visitors use magic within their borders. What are magical privacy laws like, I wonder? :P
This was such a good chapter, as always!
These two couples do have a long way to go, don’t they? What I love about your depiction of them, though, is that it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not right for one another. Every single relationship takes a great deal of work, and it’s not often a “meet-cute, happily ever after” type situation unless you’re very very very lucky, I suppose, and the fact that you demonstrate this feels really meaningful to me. Sometimes I do want to read a story that ends with a relationship well-fought and well-earned, you know? One like Harry and Ginny’s difficulty in really breathing out and trusting one another with their whole selves and past, rather than one with only minor bumps and hiccups. :P
Okay, I absolutely need to find a Ginny and befriend her now, because her opinions of Dumbledore, I completely agree with. :P I still have the theory that Harry’s admiration for Dumbledore is bordering on somewhat obsessive and desperate, because Dumbledore was the one true guiding factor he had throughout his years at Hogwarts, and he needs to hold onto those good feelings towards Dumbledore or his entire foundation of thought is going to crumble. He needs to be able to take criticisms towards Dumbledore, because that man did seriously mess up! Ginny’s (and my) feelings towards Dumbledore are very harsh (and perhaps not very charitable, which I admit :P), but honestly, SOMEONE in this Harry Potter universe needs to viscerally hate the man, otherwise his ego may grow too big from the afterlife. As soon as Harry started reading Dumbledore’s preface, I sniffed and thought, “So pretentious,” WHICH GINNY THEN ECHOED. I believe she is my soulmate. Dumbledore’s preface reminded me of those pretentious male literary authors that schools made us read sometimes, you know? :P
Oh, no! I knew that Ginny’s view in the Mirror of Erised was going to be Harry, but the way that you described her fascination, her feelings of warmth, those addictive bursts of dopamine running through her system…it was so convincing that she would want to stay there forever. Something that I think the original books were lacking was the descriptions of desire from Harry, but this fic actually made me genuinely envious of Ginny for a second, even though in the back of my mind I knew that the Mirror of Erised was a dangerous place. The way you described it actually reminded me a little bit of those frightening sci-fi stories when people hook themselves up to virtual reality for the rest of their lives while their physical bodies rot away, just because it’s happier in the fake world. That’s kind of how it felt for me, and Ginny waking up from this dream so brutally actually made me feel really sad.
Hahaha Luna is my absolute favorite. I love how she has no boundaries, and despite the complete and utter embarrassment radiating off Ginny, she continues talking about what she saw. :P I would actually love more scenes between Ginny and Luna, hahaha. I feel like if there would be anyone else that Ginny could possibly love other than Harry, it would be Luna. Like, Luna is so perceptive but in the vaguest way; I have a feeling that she knows about what happened to Ginny, though, and why things are so rough for her right now. I really really hope that Ginny can trust both herself and Harry enough soon to let him know.
Ron and Hermione still have temper difficulties, I see. :P Though I do say it was rather immoral to Confound a Muggle without their knowledge/consent, I personally get very annoyed when there are first-class seats that are empty but airlines refuse to bump people up haha. At the very least, do some sort of raffle with all the single/double economy passengers! Hermione is the kind of person who doesn’t let things go easily, I’ve noticed, which I think can be a boon but oftentimes makes her rather unwilling to forgive people, even for things that are relatively harmless in the long run. I wish that she could’ve accepted Ron’s apology and moved on, because I think he did feel somewhat bad about it already. Sometimes, judging people isn’t the best way to get them to alter their behavior, though, so she might need to work on that.
I REALLY HOPE SHE FINDS HER PARENTS AND CAN CONVINCE THEM. The irreversibility of these Memory Charms is making me extremely sad, like no matter what, they’re never going to remember any memories with her. They might even think the photos have been photoshopped, I don’t know. I’m prepared for some serious heartbreak though.
I like in the first section when it really focus on Isabella's senses. I think she knows her family well enough to know that silence is a surprise. I'm rather happy that they were just in the backyard for the party and nothing else too sinister.
I really love that her family dynamic because they feel so realistic like the line about needing to get a man and that type of thing is really such a true family thing like honestly I don't know how nosy family members say things like that and think that's ok. The social norms go out of the way in a family setting. :P I like that her family seem close so I'm sure it's going to be tough for Isabella to see the changes now that her mother is lying to most of them.
I love the descriptions of food that run throughout this story. I think being an chef is such a advantage in getting those descriptions to be so real and vivid. The whole party scene is really well written, you've totally written this fantastic atmosphere between the family with the food, singing and fun. I think it's a powerful moment when it really hits her that she will be leaving and things will be different for her.
Oh gosh, the bond with her father is adorable. They have such a bond over Isabella being magical. I think they probably had in before they knew too. I think just all the dialogue in that last section was really beautiful written and just what Isabella needed to hear from him. I can't wait to see how Isabella is going to cope going to school now you've set up some really strong family ties for her even if her mother has chosen not to tell her extended family the truth about her ability. I'm sure that'll all come to a head in a while.
I can't wait to see what is going to come next. This story is totally picking up a gear soon in the coming chapters. You'll really teased it! Exciting!
I'm back again because I think Isabella was calling me to learn more about her story and I'm excited! I thought this chapter was really good, I love how much you are revealing more information as you go. It all seems quite natural and not too overwhelming or information dump on the reader. It's a good balance between 'getting meaty' as you put it and smooth.
I'm not familiar with Mexico so I wasn't sure how much of the scenery is from real places/things but what is your imagination/adaption. I love how you put some clarity on that in the authors note. I think you've done a wonderful job at describing those places that you know. It came across as really vivid, I love the descriptions particularly about how Isabella finds herself at wonder again and again. I think it's good when you know about a subject that you can really get behind that and write about so passionately as you do in this story. It's obviously really special for you.
The whole thing about the wands was so awesome. I love how they have carvings on and then they have gems in them, they sound so beautiful. I just loved the story about the tree that she was told at the wand shop. I really makes me so interested to see what is going to be like when Isabella gets to school. If she is special then what does that mean? how is it going to affect her? There are just so many interesting threads that you're weaving in these starting chapters, I'm loving this story so far. Very unique and creative!
An entire chapter dedicated to Harry and Ginny! I feel positively blessed! <3
From what I’ve gathered in the past twenty chapters, it is physically impossible for Harry to pass three hours without something adrenaline-pumpingly exciting happening to him hahaha. As always, I was lulled to a sense of safety with that date; it is such a normal teenager thing to do, you know? And the fact that they were snickering over the actress’s half-nudity is so immature and funny, which makes sense! They have every right to be immature teenagers! (I am so curious about whether their topic of discussion was based on a real movie hahaha.)
I kind of want Harry to visit the Dursleys again, even though I know he has no desire to… I can’t explain it, but I desperately need the closure for that strange look that Aunt Petunia gave Harry right before the Dursleys had to depart. Even Harry thought about that earlier in this story, I believe, and at this point, everything that happened in this story is Canon-with-a-Capital-C to me, so if there is an Aunt Petunia scene where she says something about that, I could cry. But I do hate how flippantly Harry talks about these genuinely horrible and abusive things that the Dursleys did to him—how insane is it that they would punish him for scoring better than Dursley?? That’s just absolutely crazy, and if I had grown up with those people I’m sure I would want nothing to do with them as well. HOWEVER, in a move that is very on-brand for this story, you’ve made Ginny’s point of view perfectly understandable as well—just like her, I’m furious about their treatment and in a way want Harry to be all smug about how happy he is in life now. I highly doubt that they wouldn’t care at all, like Harry claimed—I can easily envision Uncle Vernon turning an ugly purple and swatting Harry out of the house in envy. :P
THAT CHASE HAD MY HEART REALLY PUMPING OMG. All the while, I was frantically considering who would do something like this—if it was a Muggle, why would they want his wand at all? If it was a wizard, why not a more magical method of stealing? But not once did it occur to me that it would be a vampire!! How clever! I gotta admit, as soon as it was revealed that the thieves were vampires, I felt myself relax a little bit—as tense as Ginny was, I felt like vampires were rather on the harmless side.
I particularly loved the bit of mini-worldbuilding about the vampire club! (At least, I assume that this is the purpose of this hidden location.) It makes so much sense that the vampires have their own culture and forms of celebration/partying, and I’m shocked—yet again in this fic :P—that I never thought about that before! That woman that Ginny saw screwing horns into someone else’s head…though it seemed like a frightening scene at first, I feel like it could just be a cosmetic feature. Sort of like putting earrings on someone’s ears, or gluing on fake lashes haha. I would actually love to see more of the vampire world; unlike werewolves, J.K. Rowling made no attempt to humanize them in the novels, and I think they certainly deserve it (at least in your fic!).
Oláh is my new favorite character. :P Partially because it’s apparent he respected Remus to a great degree, and almost implied that he actually treasured Remus as a person, and partially because he is just so freaking cool. Like, can I be friends with him?? He seems like such a fair leader, not resorting to violence at every possible moment, just wanting to protect his people. It actually broke my heart a little bit when he alluded to the fact that wizardkind would immediately turn on vampires once the Dark Lord saga settled, because it’s true.
WELCOME, NEVILLE AND LUNA. I’m glad that they’re here to fill the gap a little bit left by Hermione and Ron! I love Luna with all my heart!
Oh, Ginny. Aw. I’m so conflicted about Harry finding out, because what if he starts treating her very delicately now? But his hug for her was unbelievably sweet. Aw, I just want Ginny to tell him herself at some point. It seems a little strange that he knows without her knowledge at this point…but I know why he did it. Ugh this is the most painful part of this story! *sob* <3
This story gets more and more intriguing and more and more awesome!
There are so many evolving (or hidden, even if if barely) dynamics between characters and now we see the re-introduction of at least one of the mysterious characters from the beginning of the story. And apparently they're watching James (II) Potter and Associates. It's not an altogether surprising development given their...business, but is certainly brought home further by this ending scene.
The interaction between Damon and Charlotte was also interesting to me because she also treats him frosty in private. I suppose isn't completely surprising either as the public, but the intensity of it is a little. Plus the sniper shot about him knowing what he was getting into. Ouch.
I am really interested to see what Fred finds out about Juliette. Was he blinded because of his unrestricted...carnal urges...or is there something more? A fake Squib double-agent? These are the crazy theories your story is giving me so good job. Thanks. In any event, Fred has clearly exposed them to dangers of whatever type they might be - learning too much and getting caught by the other side and turned or just being embedded from the start.
I eagerly await your new chapter!
It appears that development I wondered about is taking place quickly what with the violence escalating rapidly from previous chapter. It's become relatively clear now what the trackers were on - or in more accurately - teeth. That's honestly just about as creepy as it gets, but then a story like this was always about to take that sort of turn.
When they're examining the scene, we see just how cold Charlotte really is toward her husband, stepping over him and having him moved upstairs out of their way. Though it seemed clear last chapter, it's confirmed this chapter that she and James are having an affair - it seems for some time - because it also seems clear that the children are his. I'm going to go ahead and venture that husband thinks the kids are his though. I love the way the pictures seem to show this.
I'm really interested to learn who they've got in the alley and what his connection to all these events are. And why they want to stop the smuggling of an antidote source. Is this disease a plague of their creation? And is it transmitted via...water?
See you in the last (for now) chapter!
KAITLIN IT'S FINALLY HERE! THE FOURTH CHAPTER!
I cannot get over your description in this story. From the hearty aromas to the festive melodies to the flowing movements of dancing, it truly feels like I am experiencing Isabella's 13th birthday celebration with her family. Your writing style enables me to be totally swept up in this world, almost like I am inserted into a really complex but really good dream and I can take time to focus on certain fascintasical elements before advancing the plot.
I can totally see how Isabella has that moment of panic in the beginning. It must be a shock to find out that your partner and father of your children has this hidden secret aspect of his life, which also affects your children. But I am just as relieved as Isabella to find out that her mother is only in the back garden with a bunch of relatives for her birthday party!
The interactions between Isabella's family is amazing to read. Even though we meet a bunch of new characters in this chapter, the way you present them makes it blatantly obvious that these are relationships rich with complexities and years of endearment and love. My favorite interaction is tia Carla's comment about Isabella's skinniness being a turn off to boys. Isabella's retort about her not being in a market for a boy is 10/10 CLAP BACK PERFECTION. You go, Isabella!
And then we get to the closing scene with Isabella and her father. Finally. This is what her departure from home has been building up to. Her father has a lot to account for. Yes, he has his good reasons as to why he gave up magic, but he's also Isabella's father and allowing her, guiding her, to go into this new magical world. It's a terrifying venture for anyone! The small ways the pair of them communicate truly speaks to their depth of their love for each other. And his piece of advice is so encouraging and steadfast. In this new world, I am sure that it will be easy for Isabella to get swept up into its rules and discoveries, and losing her sense of self might cause her great distress. I do hope that she'll remember her father's words throughout her upcoming school year.
Kaitlin, I love this story so much (in case you already didn't know, lol). It's so creative and gorgeously written. I love how you include the translation and cultural notes at the end. It adds so many layers to your well developed world, breathing life into your descriptions and characters. I so look forward to what's coming next!
Some things I'd like to see in the magical world of Mexico: sweets, games (like Quidditch or Exploding Snap), school subjects, school organization (do they have Houses like Hogwarts?), indigenous Mexican magical creatures, any magical traditions.
Is it too broad to say: everything? lol I cannot wait to get lost in this wonderful, wonderful world!
PS Now I really want some tres leches cake!