Aw, I do feel bad for Narcissa as this story begins and, quite honestly, hadn't really considered shipping Dolohov/Narcissa before (and I love it, I love every single second of it). He's so short with her and she so badly in love, making the very beginning of this so very sad, especially after having been together for such a long time. I also feel badly that she's expected to upkeep this appearance--to not be able to fall to pieces when she needs to--because she is a Black. :/ Poor Narcissa!
Then, of course, the brief interaction between Lucius and Narcissa is sweet, in its own way. Though he based his compliments off of blood-status and societal ranking, he still managed to pull off the kind gesture and comfort Narcissa, which she needed badly right then. It's almost as if it's the first hint of what is to become Lucius/Narcissa ;).
I'm glad that Narcissa was able to pick herself up from her breakup, whichever ways she could. Lucius flirting with Narcissa is absolutely adorable, and I do have to agree that I don't think that her parents could have anything against the Malfoy family heir.
Narcissa's nervousness and anticipation for their date in Hogsmeade is really sweet, too, even going as far as to wake up hours in advance to try to look her best. Lucius is sweet but in a strange way, and I think it has a lot to do with his station as the Malfoy heir and how he was raised. His little gestures--going to the shop Narcissa wanted to visit, avoiding "loathsome" schoolmates, buying the quill she wanted for her, and all of his very prim mannerisms is mildly humorous as sweet as they are.
Awww, and the chapter ended with a kiss! That's absolutely adorable!
OMG HELP I DIDN'T EVEN CONSIDER THAT THIS MIGHT DEVIATE FROM CANON AND I WAS TOTALLY UNPREPARED FOR DRACO BEING DEAD. And I also didn't think I'd care that much about Draco? but I do and OUCH. What a plot twist, though. Once I realized what you'd done my eyes were glued to the page for the rest of the story and I couldn't look away! LAKWJEFLKAJWLK. The ending was really good, though. You complemented the element of surprise with a very powerful conclusion as Narcissa struggles to put her life back together afterwards.
After the first few lines when the chapter begins in 1998 during the second war, I was expecting to see Narcissa's perspective of the war and how it changed her - and welll, it certainly did change her. One thing that the ending really highlights is how much has changed between herself and Lucius - thinking back to the first chapter when she remarks on how easy it is to talk to him, and how light and wonderful everything is for them, to come all the way to this point when they haven't really spoken in months due to the weight of grief. And how in the beginning Narcissa is pleased with how well they adhere to traditions, whereas at the end they are starting over and leaving their Manor (which I think represents tradition and in a way, a lot about who they were before) behind. Honestly it's very impressive how well you tied things together and how all the details line up. You have wonderful attention to detail.
This is a very emotional chapter- first in the beginning when Narcissa begins to fear for Draco's life and switches her allegiance away from Voldemort, and especially in the end when she's trying to put herself together when she truly feels she's lost herself. There is almost no dialogue in this chapter, it's all feelings and thoughts withdrawn into her head; she really internalizes everything, to the point where she blames herself for simply not being there, as if there was anything she could have done. I think her thoughts about bravery are interesting too, like she hates herself for being brave because it was in vain and the outcome wasn't worth it. It also broke my heart when Andromeda showed up to mourn her nephew and be there for he sister, and having lost her own family as well, and Narcissa is still too broken to have anything to do with her.
What is a life well-lived if it ends so soon? -- Wow this line hit super close to home for me. Narcissa's grief in the second half this chapter is so real. And I think this perfectly encapsulates why Narcissa is so dismissive of her own bravery.
Such a sad ending but I think that gave it a lot of emotional power and you did an incredible job writing it. I don't think I'd read anything by you before but I'm glad I fixed that, as you're a wonderful author! I'll need to have a look at your novel! Anyway, very well done on this story, it's great. ♥ Congrats once again on being featured!
Hi again Stella!
Oh my gosh, this review made my night! Thank you so, so much! I'm sorry for pulling the rug out from under you with Draco's death here! When I imagined this story, I think I always knew I'd deviate from canon. In the end, it's Narcissa's story, and Lucius's, and for Narcissa, Draco was the culmination of everything she'd ever wanted. She wanted a pureblood husband and a privileged life and a beautiful heir who would carry on her legacy and fulfill her potential. The part in canon Deathly Hallows during the final battle where it says "Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy running through the crowd, not even attempting to fight, screaming for their son" kills me. I love that so much.
So this final chapter was turning Narcissa's life on its head. I'm sure she did change a lot after the canon war--I think it would've affected her either way--but I really wanted to delve into how bad it could've been for her and how much it would've changed her life if something happened to Draco. I'm so glad the emotions she was feeling came through. This chapter is very internalized, so I was worried that it could fall flat, but I'm glad it doesn't seem to have for you.
Again, thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm so happy that you enjoyed this! You're the sweetest, and I appreciate these reviews more than I can say!
Interesting chapter. I notice a bit of disagreement coming up between Lucius and Narcissa here, and neither one of them is confrontational so it never goes anywhere, but several moments in this chapter end with Narcissa being slightly unhappy for a moment before deciding Lucius is right, or that there's no point arguing. They do still seem deeply in love, but there's these little cracks starting to appear and they're not really communicating about it. Maybe it's just the stress of the war, although it does make me wonder what kind of future yuo've got in store for them.
The way Lucius proposed is entirely the way I'd imagine it - at a quiet, very posh, purebloods-only restaurant with a romantic atmosphere. It's perfectly in character for them.
The last section caught me by surprise though, how Lucius and Narcissa celebrated the fall of Voldemort. But the way you explain it, it makes perfect sense that they would feel that way, that their family was now the most important focus and they disliked the aspect of danger that came along with being a Death Eater, even if they did still support the cause wholeheartedly. They like the cause, but don't want to make the required sacrifices, and I think this ties in really well with how we see both Narcissa and Lucius in DH - particularly Narcissa as she lies to Voldemort in order to find Draco. So anyway I kind of love the image of the three of them celebrating in secret that Voldemort had been brought down. Great chapter!
Hi again, Stella!
Thank you AGAIN for an amazing review! You've really read everything into this chapter that I hoped readers would! The mention you made of the cracks that are appearing is so important. It was absolutely meant to foreshadow Narcissa's moment of lying to Voldemort (which I think is one of my absolute favorite moments in the entire series). I wanted to show that Lucius and Narcissa, despite being of a more wealthy and privileged class, still have the same emotions that other people have. Narcissa still gets annoyed with her husband, despite loving him so unconditionally. But once Draco's born, her priorities shift so much. She wants her son to be safe. She and Lucius support pureblood supremacy, but they also see Draco as their future. They want security. I think one of the main reasons that they supported Voldemort was because of the security he could offer his followers--they would be on top of the world. No one would challenge them. But with his downfall, the Malfoys realize that they can still be privileged and happy and SAFE, as long as they lie about the things they'd done in Voldemort's service. So I think there's this self-serving element to them that I didn't want to shy away from, if that makes sense.
Thank you again for a wonderful review! Off to read your last!
Hi Emily Just wanted to stop by and say congratulations for being November's featured Hufflepuff! I'm here with celebratory reviews for you!
I really like Narcissa and Lucius as characters - depending on the point of view they can be written in such different ways, and this is such a lovely story from Narcissa's POV. It's such a contrast to how we see the Malfoys from Harry's POV as stuck-up and disdainful, and quite honestly it's a delight to see them so happy and loving. Particularly because you've managed to weave in all their prejudices and disdain for Hufflepuffs and Muggle-borns and everything, you're still keeping them who they are and not trying to hide their faults, and create a beautiful love story despite that because here the focus is just on them. I think it takes skill to write about characters who are often disliked, and to not try to redeem them in any way, but just write them from their own perspectives which always casts them in a very different light. In other words what I'm trying to say is that your characterization is flawless.
This is especially noticeable when it comes to Bellatrix, who is portrayed for the most part positively in this as Narcissa looks up to her and goes to her for advice. It gives a lot more well-rounded view of Bellatrix, who I'm sure is still crazy, but here we see she has some redeeming qualities to other people, at least :P It's a lot more sympathetic portrayal than I usually see of her and I really appreciate that.
I think this is also one of very few stories that suggest how much the narrator loves the pureblood tradition of good manners and propriety. There are a lot of stories about characters feeling restrained by these traditions or just doing things because 'that's how it's done', but here Narcissa really enjoys dressing up in her most expensive cloak and having Lucius hold doors for her and pull out her chair and be a gentleman. I didn't realize how rare this was in fics until I read yours! I like the attention you've given to making these characters as real as possible.
On to the next chapter!
Oh my gosh, Stella! Hi!
Thank you SO much for reviewing this for me! I am so, so, so happy that you liked this first chapter! I was really worried back when I wrote this that I wouldn't do Narcissa and Lucius justice as characters--since I almost always just write about Draco and not his parents--so it's wonderful to hear that you like the characterization! I wanted to embrace how they've been raised and really delve into that because I agree that it isn't acknowledged much. We know in canon that they do like their stodgy, pureblood ways, so I didn't want to ignore that. It was actually really tough to incorporate, but I also think it was fun to try to put myself in Narcissa's head for this. I have three sisters, and one of them is very "old-fashioned" in her sensibilities (I swear, she would've done better in Victorian times or earlier!), so I also sort of based Narcissa on her, haha. I think she took that as a compliment when I told her that.
Thank you again for reviewing! I'm off to read your reviews for chapters 2 and 3!