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Review:Roots in Water says:
It's Roots in Water here with your review!

Wow. What an absolutely stunning chapter and, if you choose it to be, what a wonderful ending.

To begin, I found the first section very interesting. In her own way, Bellatrix really seemed to care about Draco- or, perhaps, her family honour. She didn't want Draco to think about anything that would endanger him before Voldemort. A moment I found very intriguing was when Bellatrix said that she used the method as well- it was a very interesting slip of the tongue because she's known for her absolute loyalty to Voldemort. What need would she have for the technique?

The spell she used to force Draco to memorize his family history was definitely in keeping with both her character and what we know of the Black family. They wouldn't hesitate to use a spell with such painful results if it would yield such promising results... As it obviously did with Draco. The fact that his mother had opposed the use of this spell on him was also very in-character and showed yet another example of the softness and protectiveness she had towards her son.

As well, I loved how you used Bellatrix's technique in the second part of the chapter. The way you went through his family history and used it as a way for Draco to focus on something other than his present situation was very well done. In particular, I loved how you matched the moment where his immediate ancestry was introduced with the moment when he made a choice that would define both his immediate and distant future.

I did find it interesting how you mentioned that Arcturus Black was the son of Sirius Black... I assume that you meant a different Sirius than the one we all know? And, out of curiosity, did you create the Black history listed here or did you use the family tapestry?

I think that you did a fantastic job with your characterization of Voldemort. There was a definite darkness about the Death Eater meeting and you did a great job of writing the violence and cruelty he was known for without going into too much detail. Voldemort himself was a scary, scary presence in this chapter and I think that you wrote him very well. He wasn't mad- he knew his power and wielded it.

Draco's answer to his question showed both his essential character (the need to survive) as well as the fear that Voldemort inspired. If Draco had answered anything less than "Anything" he most likely would not have survived the meeting.

Finally, as I mentioned before, I think that this would be a great ending point. You've brought the story successfully to the point where Draco would be entering Hogwarts once again and from there we know the essence of his journey, if not what his thoughts were like.

All in all, you've done a brilliant job of writing the "missing summer" of Draco's life in a way that both fits with his immediate future and the one you created for him in CoB. Thank you so much for requesting a review and I hope that there are future stories for me to review!

Author's Response: Hi, Roots! I promise I haven't been ignoring you. I'm trying very hard to get Pansy to play well in my little gift one-shot and she just won't cooperate. I'm sure you can relate.

I'm very glad that you enjoyed it and this could well be the ending. It's difficult to say at this point. At a minimum, I can't change anything until the Dobby voting is complete, so I think I'll take my time to decide. It's just hard to see what else I could add that would make the story *better*. It feels like anything that happens after he meet Voldemort -- and lives to tell the tale -- would just be anticlimactic.

I do think Bellatrix cares, in a very twisted sort of way. To her, serving the Dark Lord is the highest honor, the most noble of all aspirations in life. So "helping" Draco to be a better servant, even by cruel, brutal means, is certainly doing him a favor in her eyes. She's a sick, sick individual. And I doubt she really ever had any secrets to hide from Voldemort, she just never wanted him to think that she had fears or doubts. Those would be signs of weakness, and I don't think she was willing to be weak in front of her master.

The Blacks are a very twisted bunch. It's not really a mystery how Bella ended up so crazy. She was the elder sister, the guardian of the family legacy. When her cousin Regulus died and Sirius and Andromeda betrayed the family, I think it took a heavy psychological toll on her.

I was so very pleased with how the family history mnemonic turned out. The way that it slowly converges on him wasn't something I started out planning to do, but I started to realize that it made for interesting symbolism as his entire life converged on this single moment where Voldemort would either decide to kill him or let him live.

The Sirius and Acrturus Black I mentioned were much farther up the family tree. Sirius was actually the third son on the tapestry with that given name, and there were also at least two Arcturus's.

Whew! I am so glad you thought Voldemort sounded right. He is very intimidating to write, about as bad as Dumbledore. They're both such looming presences, and every word and action carries such weight.

Yes, Draco really only had one choice. That's been the case throughout the story. It just took Draco the better part of five chapters to realize it.

I will certainly take your opinion into account. If I decide to end this story here, perhaps I will pick up Draco again in a different story. For some reason, I find myself writing him a lot lately.

Thanks so much for all of your wonderful reviews and for sticking with the story through to the end. As always, the pleasure has been all mine!


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