It's funny because I didn't even realize the story was completed when I started reading these new chapters. It makes me a little sad, but it makes perfect sense, really. I don't even know where to start with this review because this last chapter was truly exquisite. I was glued to the screen and every part of this chapter was flawless. Bellatrix and Narcissa bringing up some childhood issues really chilled me, especially the 'barbaric' way of making someone remember the family trees. Now that's really cruel. The best thing, though, was how Bellatrix mentioned Andromeda. You could just feel the resentment in her words. Strangely, without any specific words, the reader can simply feel the back story. Even in regards to what Narcissa said about Andromeda's departure before, I'm thinking Bellatrix was really hurt by this, what she in her crazy brain saw as total betrayal. And then, I usually hate Bellatrix. Sure, she was fascinatingly dark and all that, but I've got over her after a while. There's only so much you can be interested in an obsessed screeching puppet. But here...I really, really liked the way she was written. She seemed real, you know? Even if she was evil, and she cackled, it made sense and she was portrayed like a real person. And I think that even though Voldy's the best for her, she still cares about her family, like Narcissa. One thing about these stupid evil Purebloods is that they are loyal to their families...like Draco feels loyal to his father despite all the disappointment and danger he's given them. Am I making any sense?
The scene with Voldemort was very well-done. He was scary and dark. I could just imagine the swish of his robes as he waved his wand. Same goes for hearing the silky, terrifying voice of Ralph Fiennes in my head as I was reading the dialogues. Voldemort's difficult to write because it's very easy to go overboard with it, but you nailed it.
Poor Draco! He's just a kid and there he is getting branded with the dark mark. I really felt for him in that part, because even though he's a git, this is not what he should be going through. I liked how he didn't lie to Voldemort, how he didn't fake bravery or anything. Also, when Voldemort said Draco was meant to be his from the moment he was conceived...that there was the most twisted thing and it was the best line of the entire story. Seriously.
Another thing that was truly fantastic was how Draco was reciting in his mind the family tree. Really added another special layer to the whole scene.
Narcissa was wonderful in this story. It breaks my heart how she cares for Draco through it all, how she doesn't even want him become a killer! Their last moment at the end was beautiful and it really was the perfect place to finish the story. You filled this blank perfectly and I really enjoyed reading this. I'm so glad there's still Detox for me to read so I can get more Draco goodness! Amazing story.
Author's Response: Hello, again!
First off, thank you, thank you, Thank You! So many lovely reviews. It really made my weekend.
I gave a lot of thought to whether I should make this story longer. There were definitely some other events from that summer and on into the early part of Draco's sixth year that I could have explored. But there was something very appealing about bringing this to a close after he meets Voldemort for the first time and lives to tell the tale. The entire story was building toward that moment and I think anything I added would have been fairly anticlimactic.
I have to imagine that childhood in the home of Cygnus and Druella Black was not much fun. There's a reason that Bella turned out as fanatical as she did and I think it's the same reason that Andromeda ran off to marry a muggle-born. I'm really glad that all of those thoughts came through clearly. It's always very rewarding when you manage to get an idea across without having to come right out and say it. And I agree that Bella does care about her family, albeit in a very twisted sort of way. She honestly thinks that she's doing what's best for Narcissa and Draco. To me, everything you said made perfect sense, and I'm really happy you felt that way.
Wow. I am absolutely thrilled that you like the portrayal of Voldemort. He's so hard to write. It's very intimidating, trying to find the right words and gestures to make him realistic.
Draco has been in far over his head since the very beginning of this story, but I think it finally really dawns on him just how much danger he's really in. And I do believe Voldemort thinks of Draco exactly that way: he's property. He's something that Voldemort is entitled to possess simply because of who his ancestors are. I'm very glad you liked that line. I was rather proud of it. ;)
The family tree was a strange little idea that popped into my head when I was first laying out a plot outline for this story and it stuck with me the whole way through. I'm glad you liked it.
One of the neat things about writing a story is that sometimes you don't end up with exactly the story that you started out planning to write. I never meant for Narcissa to be so central to this, but that's how it turned out and I can't say that I'm unhappy about it. Her story is intertwined so tightly with the outcome of books. If Voldemort hadn't treated her family so harshly, she wouldn't have become so disenchanted with him. If she hadn't become so disenchanted with him, maybe she doesn't betray him in the forest. One of the most amazing things about JKR as a writer is how she manages to take even the minor characters and create interesting angles for them.
Again, thank you so much for all of the lovely reviews. I'm chugging away on the next chapter of Detox, so hopefully soon!