Hello, there! First off, congratulations on surpassing the 150,000 word mark! Way back when I first started reading this story, I really hoped that you were in it for the long haul, because there's so much story to tell. I'm really, really happy that you've taken it so far with no signs of slowing down yet!
Poor Lily! She's hurt so bad, but she can't let herself rest until she knows that James is alright. I love the strength you've given her character in this story. Surviving an encounter with Bellatrix is a big enough accomplishment, but even then she's concerned with his heath and safety. So easy to see her as the woman who refused to step aside so that Voldemort could kill Harry.
"Yes, darling. He'll be okay. Trust me, I didn't raise my boy to give up without a fight. He's strong." - I love these two! I seriously wish they could adopt me. So what if I'm married and have kids?
And she wakes up and the gang's all here! In your world, I really wouldn't expect anything less, but it's still awesome to see all of their friends rallying around them at a time like this.
"Zat 'ardly seems necessary. She’s been zrough enough without 'aving to discuss it," Belle interjected cooly. - Ooh! So protective, too! I love the concern that comes from all of their friends, but also the unconditional support and the intense curiosity about exactly what happened. This isn't just about James and Lily anymore, it's become an attack on the entire group. And I can't imagine James and Lily would have it any other way!
The way you fearlessly mix magical and muggle elements in your explanations of biological phenomena is something that I wish more authors would take to heart. It's so easy to lose sight of the fact that witches and wizards are still human beings, with the same physiology as muggles. Not every injury caused by magic is inherently "magical". Blunt force trauma is blunt force trauma, whether it's caused by magic or a car accident. It's going to cause broken bones and internal bleeding, and those need to be treated.
Ha! They just pelt Dumbledore with questions! I love the gradual transition you can see in the relationship between these characters and their headmaster. They're not a bunch of impressionable First Years any more, and Dumbledore affords them the dignity of treating them more or less like adults. But at the same time, he still values the small amount of childhood they have left, probably more than they value it, themselves. This line sort of said it all:
Lily watched as the professor's eyes searched over them, and part of her was certain he was trying to decide on whether or not the truth was necessary."
The parting conversation between Dumbledore and the Potters only served to reinforce how deeply all three of them care about James, Lily and their friends, if in subtly different ways. I loved Olivia's thoughts on how she'd like to watch Bellatrix rot in Azkaban. It's sad that she never got the chance. The way that William refers to "our boys," as though Sirius -- and possibly Peter and Remus -- are no different from his own son in their eyes was touching. And it was a really nice touch when Olivia manages to get a blush out of Dumbledore at the end!
Regulus was an interesting choice for the narrative voice in the final section. It's definitely consistent with the principle of "pick the character who knows the least or has the most to lose." The other character whose point of view we're familiar with, Bellatrix, already knows everything that's happened and she's already lost. It was chilling to see her reaction through Regulus's eyes. Her unflinching commitment to control and the way that she steels herself with her desire for vengeance just added a bit more to the incredible mystique you've built up around her. At the same time, I think I can already see the seeds of Regulus's ultimate betrayal germinating in his thoughts. He really doesn't like all the torture and killing that he sees going on around him. It's rather obvious that he was marked because of who his parents are, not because of his single-minded devotion to the cause. He likes his creature comforts -- a hot meal and a warm bed -- a little too much. Quite the contrast to his cousin Bellatrix and her relentless subjugation of her own physical wants and needs.
Let's see, what else? I loved the concept of the First Five. It goes perfectly with Voldemort's infatuation with ranking and positioning his minions. You even got the tricky little subtlety of Nott's suffix! He's the only one aside from Dolohov who didn't have a son in Regulus's generation.
OK, so I do take back the part where I called you a monster after the last chapter. You brought all of our favorites back strong in this one. Great job!
Author's Response: Finally here to respond to your always amazing reviews &heats;
I can't believe how long this story is getting. It's actually kind of hard to believe. I remember wondering the same thing when I first started. Like. am I really going to do this? Sure, I wrote a few chapters, but will I actually keep writing? I think what's really gotten me motivated is how much into the story we're getting. I'm not setting things up anymore like I was for those first five or so chapters, I'm just letting them play out. And I became so determined not to let the TA status slow me down like it seems to do... setting a weekly updated schedule was really the most productive thing I think I could've done for this story. Oh, you don't like getting chapters on Friday and having less then a day to edit them?? ooops. Have I told you that I wub you lately? :P
I know this makes no sense so far. It's Ben's family's fault. Sorry, back on track.
Hahah Dan, the Potters can not adopt you! They have their hands full, you know.
I always get so annoyed when it seems like a wizard never hurts themselves a normal way. It's not always weird spell burns or animal bites. Like you said, blunt force trauma is just that. No matter what. I try and keep it magical enough by mainly using their remedies to cure things, but I do love getting to play with the medical side.
The 'pick a character who knows the least or has the most to lose' is exactly what I thought of in this. Bellatrix has the most to lose, but like you said she's already seen everything and doing another 'Bellatrix getting in trouble' section would just feel too repetitive. And Regulus has been wanting to play ever since his face time in the shrieking shack.
Yay I'm not monster anymore! Don't worry, as you know there will be plenty of other times to call me that :P
Thank you so much for all your amazing reviews, Dan ♥ and all your help making these chapters get to the point they are ♥