First off, allow me to rage at the idea that any teenager who didn't stay to fight in a battle is a coward. So many explatives. Yeah okay, moving on.
I really like that you chose to write about Zacharias. He certainly isn't a well loved character, and it's great to see him getting some attention and compelling characterization.
When I saw anxiety in the tags for this story, I thought you were going to have this version of Zacharias have anxiety, which seemed interesting to me, but I like even more that you gave the anxiety to his sister and having him being the supportive brother.
I love kids reenacting the Dumbledore/Grindelwald fight. hehe, gay thoughts. Anyway.
I really like that you showed Zacharias openly speaking against Umbridge. In OotP, since he is so hostile to Harry, it can be easy to forget that he is on the same side of the fight, and I like how you highlighted this and gave him a bit of a fearless moment. The fact that he did so before he was part of the DA makes it even cooler.
The fact that part of him holds onto the idea that Harry might be wrong, making it less dangerous, makes me want to hug him.
While I think Hannah would forgive Zacharias if she knew the circumstances, it bothers me that she judges him like that. Especially after he refused to torture her. He was only a sixth year! Come on, people!
You don't draw attention to this, but the fact that they stayed in that Ariadne's apartment through the battle instead of running was another level of bravery. It's possible they had no way to leave or Ariadne wasn't up for it, but being so close to the fight and hearing it all night must have been terrifying, and the fact that they stayed together for each other through that gets them many kudos from me.
I think you did a great job with Zacharias here, making him very believable and complex. He is a balance of bravery and fear. He is selfish in order to be selfless.
I definitely have to go read the companion piece now. Nice job with this!
Sam! Thank you so much for this review! ♥
Your rage is definitely understandable. I feel like Zacharias gets such a bad rap for being a generally nosy, obnoxious person, and even more so because he alone of the D.A. ran from Hogwarts and didn't fight in the battle. When I first read DH, I definitely judged him for it too. But later I realized that it's a very normal reaction, and in fact, I don't know if I myself would have fought in a battle. It made me wonder, if the books had been from another POV other than Harry's (who didn't like Zacharias), what kind of a character Zacharias would have seemed like then. But, I digress. :P
Honestly I love writing about unpopular characters, so I'm glad you enjoyed the character choice here and thought his characterisation was compelling, thank you!
Hehehe. Yeah, I thought about that with the Dumbledore/Grindelwald thing too. I laughed and then kept it in the story anyway :P
Yes - exactly! Just because Zacharias didn't like Harry that much doesn't mean he loved Umbridge. And since Zacharias is shown in the books to be a really nosy person, I figured he'd just loathe someone like Umbridge who refuses to tell them any information.
And yeah, his thought about Harry being wrong was more out of fear than any malice against Harry. Poor Zacharias. He's such a maligned character and I was definitely hoping to make him more relatable in this, so the fact that you want to hug him is great to hear.
As for Hannah, yes, I'm sure she would forgive him if she knew. But with that bit I was just going from the books where Zacharias literally knocked some first years over in his haste to reach the door and leave while the rest of the DA stayed, and so that is what Hannah saw too, without knowing any of the background. So she's disappointed, but doesn't really hold it against him.
Thank you so much, for reading this and for your kind review! I'm so glad to hear you thought Zacharias was believable and complex, that's just what I was going for and it's lovely to hear that :)
(And yes, defintely read Chiara's story :D)
Thanks again! ♥♥♥♥♥