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Review:Athene Goodstrength says:
Ho ho ho! Itís a merry Christmas elf returning her half of the swap! You know, I read this chapter ages ago and planned to read the whole thing, as I loved it... but in this first chapter there were too many similarities to what Iíve written and have planned for ĎWhen You Goí, so I didnít want to confuse myself. But Iíve decided that ĎMarkedí seems just too good to resist!

I found it quite refreshing to see a Hogwarts era fic where Draco is actually a pretty nasty piece of work, and furthermore is not just gratuitously nasty. I feel that youíve got into his over-indulged, entitled head very well! And yes, heís a bit of a sexual being here (I mean, heís a teenage boy, so...) but it doesnít come across as a clichť or gratuitous, which is also very refreshing and enjoyable to read. The way he was actually quite detached whilst watching Pansy undress was both disturbing and brilliant; does the kid have issues, or is he really intelligent and unable to stop analysing? And then thereís that line about her being able to handle her drink, and her struggling to undress as he just watches and Iím not sure again! Young master Malfoy is pretty messed up, for all he thinks heís the catís whiskers!

To me, the fact that heís really pretty nasty comes across in what I perceived to be his nascent misogyny. Well, maybe itís not exactly nascent, as heís pretty definite in his ways of thinking about women. The word Ďslagí, his thoughts on marriage, his plans for Pansy and the way he tells her what to do with barely a second thought, and even in the way he dismisses his motherís letter so completely... it all adds up to a young man who has very little use for women other than the pleasure, comfort or security they can give him. That said, I found the line about Narcissa and Luciusís kisses really interesting; it implies that sheís actually the one in control of the relationship, and maybe Dracoís fixation with a girl who *will* smudge her lipstick for him is a bit of masculine one-upmanship on his father. Or... maybe Iím overanalysing Draco. Heh. I actually really loved the Narcissa/Pansy comparison. Thatís exactly the sort of disturbing thought a young mind might need to push away, mid-passion, haha!

The flow of this chapter was excellent, as you introduce us to a character that we already think we know gradually and subtly. As the chapter continues, you reveal more and more of Dracoís character (and body!), and itís intriguing to follow. At first, heís just this louche, arrogant, bored kid. Then he thinks about the incident in Umbridgeís office, and you place us squarely in a place and time we recognise, and also remind us that this kid is involved in some pretty nasty stuff at school. And then! He reveals the secret side of the letter, and we see that heís involved in some *grown up* nasty business (also, I love Luciusís relationship with his son - it really is no wonder that Draco has turned out the way he is). Then when he takes Pansy to his dorm, itís clear that all the strutting and smirking isnít just for the benefit of Ron and Harry - he really does think heís king of the hill, and he allows others to believe it too. I feel sorry for Crabbe and Goyle.

Considering all of the above, I vindictively relished the moment when the adult world - a world of vulnerability and consequences - intrudes on his bubble of self-satisfaction and high expectations in the form of Severus Snape. Ah, Snape. Dan, you did *such*a great job with him. Itís like you conjured J.K. Rowlingís Snape; Alan Rickman burst into my head and scared the hooha out of Pansy. Iím looking forward to seeing more of him.

There were a few moments of overt humour in this that I really enjoyed, particularly Draco sharing my surprise at a love interest for Millicent Bulstrode, and a reference to Ginnyís ability with a Bat Bogey Hex.

I noticed one typo - ď he changed girlfriends more often thenĒ - 'then' should be Ďthaní, I believe.

I really enjoyed losing myself in this first chapter, and I can only apologise for my somewhat incoherent review. Itís been a long day! But Iím absolutely looking forward to reading on in the near future. Happy Hoggy Warty Holidays!

Author's Response: Hello, dear! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. For at least the duration of this event, I'm trying hard to focus on being prolific reviewer more than punctual responder. It feels weird and unnatural. :-/

When I was first thinking about how I wanted this story to work, starting Draco off very tight to his characterization in the first five books was high on the list of Very Important Things. I really don't like fics that turn him into either a misunderstood, emo puppy or some sort of adolescent arch-villain. He's neither of these things. He's just an arrogant, mean-spirited, selfish and somewhat delusional teenage boy. One who has no idea what sort of terrible things await him beyond the sphere of privilege he's enjoyed for his entire life.

I really like your analysis of Draco. Like you said, he has all sorts of issues going on. I think of him as one of these boys who's very misogynistic *except* where his mother is concerned. He places her on a pedestal, as you'll see later in the story. In his own mind, he's already decided that he deserves both: a proper pureblood lady like his mother who will look beautiful and dignified at social events and bear his children and a "fun" girl on the side like Pansy, who will smear her lipstick wherever he wants her to. Like you said, he's a piece of work.

Your breakdown of Draco's progression through the chapter makes me smile. It's more or less exactly the way I was thinking of things, although I believe you thought it through in more detail. ;) I tried hard not to feel badly for Crabbe and Goyle when I wrote that, but yeah, I do feel a little badly for them.

I loved every moment of writing Snape's part of this chapter. Honestly, it was one of the easiest things I've ever written. I tuned my brain into the Alan Rickman channel from watching the movies and the words just tumbled out in bunches. Unfortunately, you won't really see any more of Snape in this. He makes one more brief appearance, but it's really of no consequence.

Thanks for pointing out that typo. I'll be happy to patch that up, because I haven't edited anything up update the read count in a while.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed this. Thanks so much for such a detailed, positive review, and Happy Holidays!


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