Heeey! It's Whiskey from the Holiday Review Swap!
I couldn't not click on the link and read this, there is no way I can pass by a gushing, over-the-top satire, especially one that reads like the screenplay to 'Top Secret!' if it had been written by Terry Pratchett! :D
So much here was absolute win!
Let's begin: First, I loved how the chapter started off with meta-commentary about the text itself. And I was thrilled to find that you came back to that style several times later in the text.
Next, your exaggeration of romance-novel ingredients (everybody with everybody drama, the Superfluous Mask Ball) were spot on and made for an actually coherent spoof of a genre instead of a random collection of random randomnesses that seem so popular (for the life of me I can't say why this is so...).
And, three's the charm, the way you tried to bring in actual Harry Potter moments was hillarious. I loved the spats between Godrick and Salazar and also: Merlin's beard! Thank you for the explanation, I had always wondered about why we grant such significance to his facial hair ;)
Bringing in the competition between Morgana Lefay and Merlin was also a nice pop-culture reference. It's not in the books, but many retellings of the King Arthur legends like to portray Morgana as an ambitious witch that wishes to outdo Merlin.
So much goodness in this story!
But, if you don't mind, I would like to offer my own two cents on possible improvement...
I mentioned above how I liked the coherency of themes and how this created for a satiric feel instead of inconsequential randomness. For me, that is a sign of quality and depth. Which is why I thought I would point out that, at times, you seemed to insert details just for the sake of them seeming unlikely without any other point. Examples would be the Whitness Protection, gangster Salazar (!!!), the, uh, Wizard Feud thing...these things seemed to come out of nowhere and remained thematically and visually unfitting and awkward,not contributing to poking fun at anything in a constructive way (excpet something one-dimentional like the thing they were referencing).Some character inconsistencies in Helga and Rowena were also irritating and faced the same problem. Basically, piling on references can get tedious if they don't follow some sort of pattern.
I realize that this fic is supposed to be just absurd, for the fun of it and nothing more, but even the most absurd works try to point out something. The idea is to take what we know and put it out of context. A story can break all the rules, but it must still be done consistently in order to be a story and not just a body of text. Almost all of the moments where you tried to bring in modern elements (except the Remus/Sirius fangirl,that was a complete win!) fell into the trap of being inconsequential randomness, which can be irritating instead of funny, because these things are never random and, ironically, serve to make the story more transparent and predictable...
I hope I could make myself clear and did not come off as critical! I enjoyed reading this very much and, as far as humour goes, it's one of the best things i've come accross on hpff for some time ;) I actually bothered to point out such subtle thing in the first place only becasue your story is basically killing it already and needs only a few tweaks to be amazing!
I hope you will look into my advice and find something helpful there!
Author's Response: Ah well, this isn't the usual satire. This is sort of one big in-joke for the validator squad. Everything in here, no matter how random and pointless it may seem, is mocking things we see in the queue. Inconsequential randomness is sort of the point. This chapter and the next got into a bit more of what I thought was getting mean-spirited rather than affectionate ribbing, so that's why I left it as is. I don't want to be mean-spirited in my mockery, kwim? Once it started going that way, it was time to stop.
Character inconsistencies are actually one of the things I'm mocking by having it with the Founders. Characters love to switch personalities in the queue, for some reason.
Well, I'm very glad you enjoyed it, even if you felt it lacked quality and depth. I think it's pointless silliness and wasn't actually aiming at depth, so I suppose that's all right. The purpose here was mostly to make the other staffers laugh, and hopefully others as well. :) Thank you for reviewing, and merry Christmas!