Hey, you're going to have to put up with me again.
I love your Draco. I love your Draco. I keep saying that in the grand total of three reviews I've now left for Marked, but you've just characterised him so well, it just makes me happy.
And because I am terrible at this whole reviewing thing, I'm going to skip to the craziest Death Eater of them all. So. She is also all kinds of crazy-wonderful in personality so well done there, but you've written her aesthetically more from film-canon than book-canon, so I've got this image in my head of Helena Bonham Carter hugging Draco Malfoy. It's just... I don't know, I'm being really nit-picky, but it was just weird.
And something else I'm not bright enough to get from earlier on:
>Draco rolled his eyes. The Auror's breach of decorum left him feeling as though he had regained the upper hand.
I found the wording there a bit confusing as to who the pronoun in the second sentence is referring to.
And I know I have spent two paragraphs whining about how I didn't get it, but this is actually another great chapter from you and I want to read the next ones at... some point. So you'll have to put up with me again, I'm sorry to say. :P
Author's Response: Hello, again! Thanks so much for the tag and for, you know, actually doing your review in a timely fashion. More and more, I feel compelled to express my gratitude for that, because the courtesy seems to be going out of fashion again.
My friend, I do not put up with you. I look forward to seeing what you have to say. There are so few people that I can count on to genuinely tell me what they're thinking without a hint of sugar or varnish.
I'm so pleased that you're still loving Draco. As the story progressed, I found him fighting harder and harder against my attempts to keep him from turning back into "older, wiser, war-weary Draco" from Conspiracy of Blood. I had to keep pushing him back in the direction of "arrogant, spoiled, naive, bratty Draco" as I edited. You will definitely see him drifting toward his older, wiser characterization a bit as the story progresses, but I hope that it will sound natural as his eyes are gradually opened to the dangers surrounding him.
Ha! If you think Bella hugging Draco was weird for you, imagine how it felt to Draco. I get that book-canon Bellatrix was crazy in a darker, more menacing way than movie-canon Bellatrix. I see her here as trying to apply what few social skills she has left to building a relationship with her nephew. After all, she's counting on him to undo the damage that Lucius has done to her family's standing in Voldemort's inner circle.
That sentence you picked out wasn't especially well written, now that I look at it again. The idea is that Draco feels like he's regained the upper hand because the Auror temporarily lost his cool. It's a very aristocratic way of looking at things: whoever can maintain their stiff upper lip longest wins the argument. And it naively fails to account for the fact that the Auror would very much enjoy using physical violence to impose a pecking order on their argument.
Again, please don't ever hold back with your criticisms. They're valuable! I love finding out what things didn't quite work right for readers. Until next time...