Tagging you again from Review Tag!
Again, you painted a beautiful picture in this chapter. Lovely descriptions rich with detail and nuance.
I really love the back story you've come up with for the Bloody Baron, right down to the name. Plucking out a name that JKR herself has associated with a pureblood family was a great idea. And the attention you've paid to incorporating elements of old English nobility from the proper time period adds a definite air of refinement. It's obvious that you put a lot of thought into these characters.
It was a small part of the chapter overall, but Venn's thoughts as he watches the peasants work in the fields did a really good job of beginning to explain who he is and how he looks at the world. There's a strong air of superiority there; a way of looking at men of lower social standing as being less worthy of life's bounty. His mother certainly seems to feel the same, as her small interactions with the house elf make clear. All in all, Venn and Edeline both seem like they would have made excellent Slytherins.
His mother's insistence on him observing the customs of their family also fit nicely with the bigger picture. It did add an extra dimension to Venn's character that he's so far resisting the pressure to pick a bride solely for the sake of maintaining appearances. He's definitely not just another pretty face.
Again, you set a wonderful tableau for the birthday feast, full of lovely details and explanations. Into the middle of it all walks Salazar Slytherin. He seems like a fairly positive influence on young Venn, at least so far. You haven't made it completely clear up to this point which of the characters are gifted with magic and which are not, but I'm instantly curious as to how Venn and Helena's story is going to weave into the events that led to the founding of Hogwarts.
My first impression of Salazar is that he certainly has a deeper agenda than simply helping his sister to convince his nephew to take a wife. There's something about the way you've presented him that suggests his interest in Venn courting Helena isn't completely selfless. He presents his acquaintance to Rowena Ravenclaw in such a benign, almost passing manner, even though we know that the two of them are partners in a grand endeavor that fundamentally changes the magical world. Is he merely downplaying his familiarity because Edeline is a muggle, or is there something more to it than that?
He certainly found the right button to push with Venn. It seems that Helena's beauty was enough to pique the young man's interest, and Salazar seems confident that her brains will be able to close the deal.
You're doing an awesome job so far of filling in the broad areas of uncertainty left by canon while adhering perfectly to the few things that we do know. All of your details are wonderful compliments to the tragic story of the Bloody Baron and the Grey Lady. And your writing continues to be impeccable. Nicely done!
Author's Response: Hello again!
Hah, thanks! I think choosing names, both first and last, has probably taken up more of my time and effort than it should have for this story. I have carefully researched each one to ensure that it makes sense and that the meaning is there, especially for first names.
I'm glad you think Venn and his mother both fit into Slytherin. They're definitely very traditional and regal and intend to stick with their privileged magical lifestyle. It's like there are two levels of superiority there--on the basis on wealth, and on the basis of magical status. I hope you'll see their positive qualities come through more as the story progresses.
Venn and Helena, as you'll see, have in common this stubbornness about marriage. It's definitely based on different reasons, though. I won't spoil Helena for you, but Venn really has this attitude that he deserves the absolute best, and he hasn't found her yet. Part of it, I think, is this boyish nature. His choosiness is only an excuse, to a point.
Salazar... haha. He's one of my favorite parts of this story, because he's a villain in a not-quite-obvious sense at this point. He's going to be a major player in Venn's relationship with Helena and the Ravenclaws, whether they want him to be or not :p
Yes, well, Venn is only so superior. It would be hard not to be tempted by such a face!
Thanks again for another very kind review! I hope you return to read and review soon! :)