I finally have a break in my exams, which means that I have a chance to read this for the first time since I saw it was updated a few days ago. As always, this was another fantastic chapter!
Somehow, and I'm still trying to work out how you managed it, the process of cleaning and preparation for the engagement celebrations was actually interesting. I loved seeing the process from the perspective of the servants, who do all of the work and get little reward from it. The effort that they put into everything emphasises how much the rich liked to show off their wealth; the two families were already famous, but their engagement had to be celebrated with a sumptuous feast.
One aspect that I love about this story is that you're not afraid to gloss over the flaws in Helena's character. It would be easy to portray her as a perfect person who was driven away by the faults of others, but here she isn't. The way that she runs away from the party rather than facing up to her problems illustrates that fact, as does the growing rift between her and her mother (though of course Rowena should take some blame there too). She's quite headstrong and obstinate when she believes she's in the right, and it's rather sad that she doesn't believe that her mother is actually quite ill. I wonder if the outcome of this story would be any different if she actually knew that Rowena was sick.
I do like the fact that Rowena's absence gives us a chance to see more of Witter. I don't envy him for his position between his wife and daughter!
You wove the locket and the diadem into this chapter very cleverly. I remember realising the locket-Selwyn connection to Umbridge when I first realised that Venn was Salazar's nephew, but I enjoyed seeing it here again. And of course the diadem - I think the suggestion that Rowena lent it to Helena for her wedding is a very plausible way about how she would have obtained it. I also enjoyed the way in which Rowena and Salazar's attitudes towards their prized possessions mirrored the other's.
I get the impression that the honeymoon period is over for Venn and Helena, and they're both starting to notice aspects of the other's personality that they turned a blind eye to before. Salazar has definitely had an influence on Venn and his beliefs, and is probably manipulating him to some extent as far as the ideas of pureblood supremacy are concerned. Venn also has a clear view of women being inferior, which is difficult for Helena to accept since she's grown up with equal status to men in her household. The cracks are beginning to show in their relationship, and I can see why they're incompatible and the ending will be so tragic.
Another element I really enjoyed was the argument between Godric and Salazar. I loved seeing Godric have a much stronger role in this chapter and I love the idea that the rifts between the Founders were happening alongside the downfall of Helena and Venn's relationship.
I can definitely understand the servant's reasons for thinking that Helena was acting like a spoiled princess, but I think the main reasons behind her actions were because she can't face up to the reality. In a way, I think that Helena's education has made it even more difficult for her to cope with following the social conventions; she's bound to feel more trapped than someone who hasn't been taught to think for herself. It's so interesting to see this not only as a story about Helena and Venn, but as a reflection of the traditions of the time as well.
I'm so sad to know that this story is coming to an end, partly because I know that things are going to get a lot worse for the amazing characters you've created, but also because I'm enjoying reading this so much that I kind of don't want the story to end at all. And I'm extremely flattered that you mentioned me in your Author's Note!
Sian :D Report Review
Hey Amanda! As my exams are now over, I thought I'd pop by - I've actually kinda missed this story, you know. It's so easy to remember that I notice when I haven't read it in a while :)
Anyway I loved this! I loved how there's this whole sort of theme of this chapter of tension and sort of rapidly dissolving relationships between the characters: between Venn and Helena, between Helena and her mother, between Gryffindor and Slytherin. I liked that - it was very neat and kept the chapter fast-paced.
Ah, poor Helena! I totally understand where the serving girl who thinks she's being spoilt coming from - after all, most girls wouldn't ever dream of being in a similar position at the time - but I do feel sorry for her. In her mind, nothing's right, everything's falling apart. Venn is revealing himself to be different to what she thought at the beginning, and they're starting to argue... and then there's her mother, who she's argued with and doesn't realise is really actually ill. I love, though, how she has all the snippy-ness and sass of a modern girl, even though she's from such a different time. It's nice - because she is clever and strong in her own right, you know? She's just such a beautiful, real character and I always love it when I come back to this.
Venn! Nooo, he can't be corrupted! I love him! He was so lovely at the beginning of the story... so sweet and handsome and not a genius but not stupid either and nice mannered... I love how you've made him change, though, and how Salazar is manipulating him and making him believe that mudbloods are bad and peasants shouldn't mix with nobles and everything. It's so subtle and so clever of both you and Salazar and it really embodies the 'cunning' trait of Slytherin house :)
Also, the way you've included the growing rift between Salazar and the other three founders is so clever - I never thought about the two events being linked, or even close together in time, so kudos to you for that! It makes so much sense now you've written it like that, lol, and it just adds to the tension so much. I kinda feel sorry for Rowena, as well, because she's going through so much and knowing what will happen... ah, poor her!
Haha, Witter, though... stuck in the middle of an argument between his wife and his daughter... poor bloke :D Not an enviable position!
Can I just say (and I know this review is turning into a long, gushing thing, sorry!) that I like how you're including the locket and the tiara? I mean, obviously the tiara would need to be included, but the locket was a brilliant inclusion as well. I also liked how you had Rowena and Salazar unconsciously imitate each other by wanting their heirlooms back after their nephew/daughter had used them for a while - it just shows how precious they were, and that sort of mystery which might well be around things like that, you know? Kinda like the Hallows, I guess...
As always, your detail was fabulous - the party decorations, the jobs of the servants, the pitcher of water, the idea of rumours, the wedding dress. It's always so so good and part of why I love reading your work.
So yeah, I loved it :)
Aph xx Report Review
Another fabulous chapter! I'm running of out things to say, my dear - I've got no CC, no suggestions, nothing but praise and admiration and giddy fangirlish screaming.
You know, I don't know how I'm going to like Venn. He seems like a nice enough young man, but there's something about him - something possessive and controlling. Perhaps I'm imagining things and you've actually characterized him as sweet which means I've missed the entire point. We all want to be adored and be the center of attention, but he seems rather self-absorbed. And what he thinks of women? Rather like they're showpieces, but then I forget what era we're in (ahh, the feminist in me comes out!). Well, despite my sort-of, maybe, kind of dislike of him, I still think you are doing a fabulous job on his characterization. Everything is consistent and you slowly reveal more and more, as any wonderful novel should.
I can't wait until we see them together - I want Helena to show him that she's not just a pretty face, but is intelligent and has had an education and is somewhat independent.
Don't be alarmed by my dislike of Venn - it's just me trying to figure him out and what's going to come from all of this. Your story is impeccable. I can tell you're really getting into the groove with this story the further I read - you're becoming more comfortable, I think, and it is starting show.
As always, so wonderful. I should be writing, but this is a much better way to spend half an hour! :)
ShelbyAuthor's Response: Well, thank you! :D
Please, no need to apologize! You're not really supposed to like Venn at this point. He'll hit his stride a little later in the story. He's still really stubborn and selfish and juvenile, with these little hints that there could be a real human under there (such as the idea of his father's jacket being too burdensome for him). He clearly has a lot to learn yet about how to treat others and what is really important in life, and only time will tell if he really does learn those things. To make a long story short, if you find yourself sort of repulsed by him at this point, that means that I characterized him exactly as I meant to :)
You'll get to see Helena and Venn interact in the next chapter, and I can't wait to see what you think. Let's just say that he's met his match in many ways.
Thanks for this fantastic review, Shelby!
-Amanda Report Review
Good gracious, such a good read, Amanda. You really have a talent for this genre and era. I think it's the way the dialogue and description compliment each other. I've always admired you for your wonderful style and voice as a writer - I'm really starting to adore your dialogue. I don't know if I told you in one of the other reviews, but I LOVE anything historical with good dialogue. I love that noble air, sentence structure, and vocabulary that accompanies pieces like this. It is making me fall in love with this story so fast, soon my reviews are just going to be fangirl squees over how wonderful everything is (but wait, that's what they are already!).
And your mention of "The Canterbury Tales" - to die for! I took a class specifically dedicated to Chaucer and he's one of my favorites. Speaking of Chaucer, I love that she reads but that she's also this closet girly-girl who draws and wishes for a perfect wedding and perfect dress. God, that is so me, it's crazy. She's so refined and so unlike my headcanon. I guess I always pictured her as bitter and haughty - I love your take on Helena though. She's so realistic. And how you're tying in Salazar! It's so genius!
I really don't have more for you other than I love coming to this story. It's going to be an HPFF classic - it already is, in my opinion. Can't wait until next time, Amanda!
ShelbyAuthor's Response: Hi Shelby :)
The dialogue can be challenging at points. When I started, I struggled between making it too high-sounding and letting it be too casual. Now and then I slip and accidentally use a contraction and then go back and spell it out. But yeah, I'm glad the final product works! It's nice to be able to return to this story after writing, say, a next-gen piece, because I really get to play with the elegance of the period.
I wanted my Helena to be normal, a girl to whom I could actually relate. She's clearly got a rebellious streak--and who wouldn't, when her mother is one of the Founders of a wizarding school in a time when most women weren't really allowed to do much at all--but she's still girly and curious and hard to pin down. The world is her oyster and she has a lot of interests. I guess you could say that I'm trying to normalize both Venn and Helena, and in doing so, I want to expose the good and bad parts of each of their characters.
Oh, and I'm pleased that you like Salazar :) He's definitely going to continue being a big part of the story, as will Rowena. Helga and Godric will also make appearances later on.
Thank you so much for this loveliness!!
-Amanda Report Review
I saw that youíd just posted any new chapter and I metaphorically ran over here!
Seriously how do you make things which are generally classed as boring things such as cleaning and preparing the castle for the wedding sound interesting? I was drawn in by the first paragraph and I donít think itís ever been like that before. Itís a talent you should be proud of, Amanda :)
So thereís still a certain level of animosity between Helena and Rowena then? Even though Iím sad for them to be like that, I did like the fact that Witter got to make a bigger appearance because of it, and I always enjoy it when he appears. One thing I did notice in this chapter is that Helenaís stubborn nature was becoming more apparent due to her insistence that her mother came, and then with her mother being ill it can only mean one thing. The big scene which Iím sort of eagerly anticipating and dreading is getting even closer.
I see what you did with the locket! As Venn is a Selwyn, Umbridge was partially right, as she mentioned it being a Selwyn locket and how she was related to them. That was very sneaky, Amanda, as I wasnít even guessing one it was going to appear. Perhaps Gryffindorís sword and Hufflepuffís cup will also make an appearance, as the Diadem made a brief cameo just then, too. I liked how you weaved the reasoning for it being there into the story, and I can guess what happens to it after the wedding.
I was beginning to wonder when the cracks would emerge even more between Helena and Venn and they just did. There were two divisions you brought up there and they were both really effective. The first being the more obvious one of how they both view the importance very differently. Then the second one being how Venn views women as inferior to men, with that remark about how the land would be his and she neednít interfere with his affairs. Iím really enjoying the subtle hints, because theyíre gradually showing me how Venn and Helena seriously misjudged the other.
Everything really is beginning to escalate now, with Salazar being asked to step down. That scene was really well done, and both Godric and Salazar were perfectly in character. Iím not sure if Iíve said this before, but Iíll say it now, Iím really impressed with the balance youíve managed to maintain between the younger generation and the Founders, as itís made the story really interesting on the whole yet kept it focused on Helena and Venn.
I think Helenaís beginning to realise her doubts about the marriage with the last-minute dress change. Either way, it shows what a good nature Helena has deep down with the way she does want the less well-off people to feel envious of her. Then the ending scene with Rowena was wonderful, even though there was a little bit of bitterness lurking the background I think it was more disappointment in how she couldnít save her daughter.
That was another fantastic chapter Amanda! I really donít want this story to come to an end, as I really have grown to love it and itís one of, or if not, the best Founders story Iíve come across. I have a little more free time at the moment so I should be heading over to Post Scriptum more often :D
-KianaAuthor's Response: Yay, first review on a brand new chapter -does the dance of joy-
I thought it would be cool to open this chapter from the servants' point of view and show how much work went into planning the engagement party. Too bad it didn't go well...
Yeah, Helena is really self-absorbed in this chapter, which I hope you can see replicated in what we know about how she ends up. First she decides that her mother is just faking being sick to be difficult, and then she delays the wedding on purpose to teach her groom a lesson and avoid having to face up to her commitment (which Rowena tried to warn her about). She won't just get to carry on this way forever, as you'll see in the near future.
The necklace and diadem are both symbols of the fact that Venn and Helena have heavy burdens to bear in their life as husband and wife, not only in terms of the problems between them but also the responsibilities that come with being rulers and close relatives of the Founders. Both of them suddenly seem turned off by the objects they previously desired, but they can't quite explain why.
I think the honeymoon is wearing off for Venn and Helena, so to speak. They're actually getting to know one another and their love isn't enough to outweigh the nasty little secrets each of them is starting to uncover. You brought up some great points about Venn, and I think Helena, too, has some faults--for instance, she ran out on her own party, humiliating her hosts and father, instead of trying to resolve the argument or put it aside for a more private discussion. It shows that they are both selfish and juvenile and not really ready for such a commitment.
Thanks for your comment on the balance! Several reviewers had pointed out previously that Godric had not had much of a say in things so far, and I agreed that he deserved more of a strong personality, so I tried to give him some of the spotlight in this chapter (if only briefly). I hope it's clear that he has been paying attention to the strange way Salazar's been acting and that he does feel the need to take a stand for the good of the school.
Well, Helena does seem to care a lot for the people in her kingdom, but I really think her motivation with changing the dress is more selfish than that. She just needed a legitimate-sounding reason to do it, you know? As for Rowena, her pneumonia here is related to her time spent out in foul weather back in chapter twelve. If only she hadn't shut herself away, Helena might have realized she was actually ill.
Thank you for another fantastic review :)
-Amanda Report Review
What's this? I'm all caught up? That makes me happy but a little sad as well, because there isn't any more of this story waiting for me to read!
Witter's character is a very interesting one to me. Naturally Rowena has a much more important role in this story, but I would always have expected Witter to me more authoritative in his house than he is. I thought that his gesture at the beginning of this chapter was a really lovely thing to do. Although he wants to support his wife, he also wants to make his daughter happy and help to prepare her for future life as Venn's wife. This was a really nice way of doing that; giving her the pick of already familiar servants to take with her. I also loved the way that you chose the servants names appropriately for the time.
I feel so sorry for Helena at this point. Planning a wedding should be a happy time, and it is certainly one she has dreamed about for years, but nothing is living up to her expectations. She must feel so alone. Her mother - the one person who should be able to understand and support her - appears to have deserted her, and Edeline doesn't really care about her wishes. The families, while both magical and pureblood, are very different, with different ways of thinking, and that to me makes them seem more incompatible. I think that Helena's only friend from now on might be Helga, who seems to take her feelings into consideration, although she doesn't always offer the best advice.
Venn's gift to Helena was really sweet and thoughtful, and I can understand why it she felt so happy and touched by it. But I think that while it shows that he has study her behaviours so far, he still doesn't truly know her. Neither of them, though they profess to love the other, truly know their personality. Venn's condescending dismissal of Helena's request was proof enough of that.
I'd definitely be interested in reading something else in this era that you'd written! Perhaps something focusing on the other founders, or the inception of Hogwarts? I hope you update this soon, because I'm quite sad there's nothing left here for me to read!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: I think Witter provides more of a supportive role for Rowena. Their household is somewhat non-traditional because Rowena does occupy a role of extreme prominence and power in the wizarding world, and this structure probably influenced Helena's non-traditional upbringing and her parents' unusual patience in allowing her to get this far in life without getting a husband and starting a family of her own. I'm pleased that you liked my little father-daughter moment and felt that Helena was getting help from at least one parent.
I do feel a lot for Helena. As you mentioned, most of the female figures in her life are currently failing her, and the one other person she should be able to depend on--her groom--is more interested in just about everything else than the wedding. Naturally, you can see how this situation might make her turn to more desperate measures to ensure that she has a happier future.
I don't currently have any bunnies for other Founders' stories, although I never rule anything out because you never know when the perfect idea will come to you. You will be pleased to know that I'm a little less than halfway through chapter fifteen and am hoping to post it soon. Keep your eyes peeled!
Thanks for another wonderful review :)
-Amanda Report Review
I loved getting more of a back story on Helga at the beginning of this chapter and it's really nice to imagine her being friends with Rowena for years before the creation of Hogwarts. It made me laugh that it's not only a Hufflepuff, it's the Hufflepuff, who is playing peacemaker between mother and daughter here. It's nice that she cares so much about them, and the portrayal of her as something of a free spirit is quite intriguing, but I would say that her advice leaves something to be desired. It's not very wise to put the idea of running away into your best friend's daughter's head without even speaking to your best friend about her side of the story!
Salazar is frightening in this chapter. To think that he has been planning the Chamber and the basilisk so meticulously for two years is horrible, and it's easy to see where Voldemort got those sorts of genes from (even if there was a thousand years separating the two). What makes it even scarier is that Salazar is so intent on protecting blood purity in the magical community that he is prepared to kill - in fact he seems excited at the prospect of murdering students in the school he founded. I've always thought that the blood purity line was something of an excuse for Voldemort to get what he wanted and the following that he needed, but here Salazar has taken his values to extremes.
Venn seemed absolutely terrified of the basilisk, and I don't really blame him. It's unfair for Salazar to place such a weight on his shoulders by telling him about it, although I'm interested to know why (far into the future) the Bloody Baron does nothing to help the school when he knows what the creature is. But I do like his humility here, and despite the many Slytherin traits he possesses, he is a much more human character than his uncle. He also appears to be maturing, though I don't know whether that is because of the prospect of his marriage or taking control of his kingdom.
And it seems that the couple both love each other now - or think they do at least. It was quite chilling to see what Helena's role as a wife was expected to be; provide an heir for the family and the 'noble bloodline' and manage the servants. There is nothing mentioned about love, and that emphasises how strange it was for a match to be made on it. That sort of attitude clearly remained for centuries afterwards, because it reminds me of what Sirius' family was like; everything was about duty and family honour.
In one way I'm glad that Venn refused to run away with Helena, but I think that could possibly cause more conflict in their relationship in the future. I'm a bit confused as to where Edeline came from at the very end of the chapter, though, because as far as I can see you haven't mentioned at any earlier point.
nott theodore :)Author's Response: Hi NT! Sorry these last couple of responses are coming a little late; I've been a bit overwhelmed at work lately and just haven't had a lot of free time.
It's great that you liked getting to know Helga a little better here. I find her very entertaining to write and view her as a sort of model for Helena in encouraging her to be headstrong and not be afraid to buck tradition. Unfortunately, as you pointed out, she can appear as a little too much of a contrast to Rowena's more traditional wisdom at times, and it was definitely not the wisest thing to counsel Helena without consulting Rowena. Helga definitely means well, but I'm sure it would break Rowena's heart if she knew what her closest friend had done.
I sort of view Voldemort as having used the blood purity argument to build the foundations of his power, especially given that he wasn't even a pure-blooded wizard. Salazar, though, believes in it with all his heart, because he's terrified of a world in which magic is 'diluted' and spread out and shared with everyone. It's great that you're beginning to see the contrasts emerge between Venn and his uncle--if only Rowena was able to see them so easily. Several reviewers have brought up the question of why Venn didn't tell anyone at Hogwarts about the Basilisk, and I intend to answer that question toward the story's end, so thank you for bringing it up :)
Love is definitely optional for marriage at this time, but I've tried to show that it can grow even in other than ideal circumstances. As Venn and Helena have gotten to know each other, they can identify things within each other's spirits that forge a connection between them. They both see a slight hint of rebellion, which would be intriguing to most people, I think. Only time will tell if that intrigue could turn into a lasting, loving relationship...
Are you saying you don't know how Edeline is or why she appears in this scene? If the former, she's Venn's mother, and she first made an entrance in chapter two. If the latter, she appears because Helena rode to Venn's estate to try to convince him to come away with her, and Venn met her in the orchard on his family's property. Edeline was just watching them from the castle in the distance.
Thanks for your lovely review!
-Amanda Report Review
I think that this is it! This is where Rowena and Helena's relationship goes downhill and becomes completely unsalvageable, right?
I enjoyed the meeting between the founders as they began planning the optional lessons for their students. One of my favourite things about this story is the way you conceptualised the beginning of Hogwarts; I've always wondered what classes they originally began teaching and for how long the founders would actually have taught at the school before recruiting other people to teach and help them run it.
To some extent, I can understand Rowena's desperation to put an end to the engagement, as she sees it as completely the wrong thing for her daughter. But the way she expresses it is sure to cause more problems than it solves; if she had explained her motives to Helena first then perhaps she would be more likely to understand. At the same time, I think she is (or I want her to be) underestimating Venn. I think that he does have some of the family traits, but that he has more humility and kindness to compensate for this.
I thought this line was just perfect: "As the miles between them expanded, the two mothers cried identical sets of tears."
The conversation between Venn and Cepheus was really intriguing. They seem to accept that marriage does not necessarily mean love - a concept which is alien to most of us today. It really highlights the traditions and conventions of the period, and I think that would make Venn even more scared to fall in love. Although I don't really like the pureblood values that were trumpeted at Cepheus' wedding, I think his advice was valuable for Venn.
My only criticism for this chapter would be your characterisation of Godric Gryffindor. I realise that this story focuses much more on the Slytherins and Ravenclaws, but personally I feel that he would oppose Salazar's views just as vehemently, if not more vehemently, than Rowena does. After all, Gryffindor is renowned for being the champion of muggle-borns.
nott theodore :)Author's Response: I kind of love this chapter. It's interesting to watch Rowena unravel and try to take everyone else down with her--and realize that she's losing.
It's awesome that you like my ideas about Hogwarts' origins! I pictured it being like a Plato's school of sorts, starting out small with friends and family and slowly expanding to become the institution we know and love. It was fun to think about how the elective classes could have come into being.
Rowena doesn't have all the pieces to the puzzle, but she thinks her intelligence means that she knows the right thing to do here. Unfortunately, her concern for Helena has clouded her judgment. She wanted so badly for Helena to grow up, but now that she has, she can't relinquish the reins and allow her little girl to make her own decisions. It's sort of a sad perspective on how little trust Rowena actually has in her own daughter.
Yeah, it's not all about love here. I think Cepheus has some sound advice, and I love the little bromance between him and Venn. It seems like Venn feels more comfortable proceeding with the wedding now that he knows it is possible to be happy as a husband, and that growing up doesn't have to change someone totally.
I've gotten that critique before, and you'll be happy to know that Godric plays a larger role in the chapter I'm currently writing. I agree that he would have more to say about Salazar's radical ideas than he did in this chapter. I hope you like what I do with him in the next chapter--please tell me what you think!
Thanks for your fantastic review :)
-Amanda Report Review
I'm going to confess...I was hoping you would tell us what orange blossoms mean in your author's note, and when you didn't, I looked it up myself. And yes, now I understand! :P
As usual, I adore all the intricate details that you include in this story; something as simple as the flowers that Venn gives to Helena has a symbolic meaning, and that is something I really love in stories, and something that a lot of my favourite authors do.
Your portrayal and characterisation of Venn and Helena in particular was really interesting in this chapter. Both of them seem to feel constrained by the conventions of the time they live in, and in that way it would seem that they're a good match and can understand each other. Helena's rebellious streak was especially enjoyable to see, and this desire to annoy her mother seems to signal further deterioration in their relationship.
One thing that really strikes me here is the fact that, although on the surface of things Venn and Helena seem a perfect couple, they barely know each other. I wonder if in a different time the two would have been able to have a successful relationship. It was lovely to see the two of them making an effort with each other, and having some unsupervised time together.
Venn was especially sweet in this chapter. Even though he shares some of the family traits with his uncle, he also seems to have much nicer characteristics that I don't believe Salazar has.
This was a really lovely chapter to read. It's just a pity that even though there was an 'abundance of fluff' (as you put it in your author's note), the signs foreshadowing the tragic ending are already here.
nott theodore :)Author's Response: I'm happy you like the details! Sometimes I worry that they'll be too overwhelming, but so far everyone seems to really enjoy them. I like trying to find new ways to fold symbolism and canon information into the story where I can.
Venn is starting to develop real feelings for Helena, which scares him to death because it's not his modus operandi. As for Helena, she is moving from seeing Venn as just another way to get under Rowena's skin to seeing a real future with him, which is exciting but also quite frightening in that it brings constraints.
Yeah, I don't really see an arrangement like this working in a modern day setting. Venn and Helena basically have to keep seeing each other at some frequency due to the family and societal pressure, and if they didn't do that, they may not have time to get to know each other. As you pointed out, though, they're now starting to see each other because they want to rather than being forced to do so.
Venn... haha. I feel like I need to play up his not-so-villainous side, because many people start this story and immediately take Helena's side. I take any chance I get to introduce murkiness into a character, so that by the end, you don't quite know who to root for. But yeah, I want him to have a charming streak (perhaps influenced by his face claim) and to not just be a carbon copy of his uncle.
Thank you for another fabulous review :)
-Amanda Report Review
The conflicts that we have seen simmering below the surface so far in this story are becoming more prominent in this chapter. Despite the fact that I know this story can't really have a happy ending, I still want to see Venn and Helena avoid the tragedy that is inevitable for them.
I thought you portrayed the feelings of both of the mothers brilliantly. Edeline and Rowena have both spent so long trying to encourage their children to conform to social convention and get married, and yet now that their wishes have been granted they are both sorrowful. I guess that these are natural feelings for any mother who is preparing to watch their child 'fly the nest'. I think I'm beginning to sense something darker in Rowena's character, as well. So far in this story (and in most others) Rowena is conveyed as perfect sort of character, and I'm really enjoying seeing that she has flaws just like everyone does.
I think perhaps my favourite part of this chapter was Venn's visit to Hogwarts. I'd never thought that Salazar might have shown or told other people about the Chamber, but he must have done for the legend to continue throughout the years. It's quite sickening to think that Salazar put so much planning and preparation into building the Chamber of Secrets, even to the extent of putting a monster in it that he knew had the power to kill future students. Of course we've all read about the Chamber being opened again, but this really brought its creation to life.
I feel quite a lot of empathy with Helena at the moment, as everything is quite overwhelming for her. This has been a time of her life that she has dreamed of for years, but I suspect that she fill find it a disappointment, and that might contribute to how this novel develops.
Anyway, enough useless waffling from me...onto the next chapter!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: It's great that you've become attached to the characters. I'm quite fond of them myself, and it's going to break my heart to write the ending to this novel.
I really wanted to play up the normalcy of both mothers here. It makes perfect sense to not quite want your only child to grow up, even if it's what needs to happen and you've been pestering them to leave the nest for some time. As for Rowena, it's interesting to hear that she comes across as perfect to you. I tried to paint her as being somewhat reserved, but she's definitely got her moments of judgment and elitism like the rest. She will grow darker in the future.
You should be really disgusted with Salazar at this point, and even more so in the future. I intended for both he and Rowena to become more human and more easily despised in their many flaws. On the other hand, the argument could be made that they only meant to do what was right for their respective families. It'll be interesting to see what you think of them when all is said and done.
I do a lot of cruel things to poor Helena, but I feel for her. It hurts to not feel the support and trust of those you love most, especially during the very pivotal transition to adulthood.
Thanks for another awesome review!
-Amanda Report Review
*Crawls out from the rock I've been hiding under* Sorry it's taking me so long to review all these chapters!
The first thing that struck me with this chapter was Rowena's departure from her normally cool and logical character. It really highlights her desperation for her daughter marry and to fit in with the conventions of the time. I think it's even more pronounced because Rowena is generally a calm and intelligent person, but where her daughter is concerned she loses the objectivity.
A wedding isn't really the place that either Venn or Helena wanted to be after they'd just broken off their engagement! But I enjoyed seeing a glimpse of some humility in Venn here, and watch him stand up to his uncle. He definitely possesses some of the family and (dare I say it) Slytherin traits, which are going to continue causing definite problems for the couple in the future.
It's interesting to see the ideas of pureblood supremacy becoming more prevalent in certain circles of the wizarding society, to the point that it was mentioned at the wedding. I imagine that there would have been more pureblood families at this point, but it is intriguing that the topic caused rifts not only between the founders, but also magical people as a whole.
I feel quite sorry for Helena at the end of this chapter. She's stuck in a bit of a catch-22 situation; her better judgement is telling her not to forgive or marry Venn, but the attraction to him still remains and if she called off this marriage, she would have to begin again searching for a suitable partner that her mother would approve of. It's definitely not easy for her, and I'd hate to be in a similar situation.
nott theodore :)Author's Response: Hi! And seriously, it's just fine :)
I'm happy to hear you picked up on that, because it's just what I wanted to show. Rowena can't seem to think logically all the time when it comes to her own flesh and blood. Helena is her only child and her entire legacy and a lot rides on her making the right choices.
You're right that Venn has that selfish, reckless Slytherin disposition, and it's great that you saw him making small strides away from that here. He and Salazar are going to continue to come to blows, now that his uncle realizes that he's more than just a pawn to be bred into the replacement for his father.
I meant for the mention of blood supremacy at the wedding to be disturbing. The elite of the wizarding world are slowly starting to stake a firmer claim on their territory, and no doubt Salazar and like-minded others have begun to spread some paranoia through the ranks. That poison will keep growing, especially in Salazar's own heart.
Yeah, Helena is in a tough position. She doesn't want to go back on all the hard work she's already done with Venn, but she gets the sense that he could definitely let her down, having seen it in action at the joust. As you mentioned, she's also having to fight the beginnings of really falling in love with him.
Thanks for this lovely review! I love hearing your thoughts and engaging in commentary with you.
-Amanda Report Review
What another wonderful chapter! Your dialogue is impeccable. I love that old world feel of the dialogue and the description. Their speech is formal and thus fitting for their stations. I like that Salazar seems to be a wealthy, nobleman. It seems very appropriate for what little information we get in canon about him.
I only have one small suggestion. The line of dialogue, "I have received adequate rest," while formal, seemed very stilted to me. The rest of the dialogue is wonderful, but there's something about this line that just didn't sit right with the other dialogue and description.
Other than that little piece, I thought everything else was sublime. I am supremely jealous of your writing abilities! I can't wait to continue with the story!
ShelbyAuthor's Response: The dialogue was tough, but I've gotten a lot of compliments on it and I'm pleased to hear that you like it as well. As for that line you mentioned, I seem to recall not exactly liking the way it came out when I wrote it. I'll have to go back and see if I can find a smoother way to say that and still keep the same tone.
Keep your eye on Salazar--he's going to be a major part of the story, even if the plot doesn't focus directly on the Founders themselves in many places.
Thanks for another fabulous review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Amanda! I just couldn't resist stopping by, I really couldn't. I have this special love for the Founders era. It's so difficult to find a good Founders story and I'm positive you've got an award-winning one right here!
You mentioned on your MTA page that you like that the parameters of this era allow you to be more formal in your language and gestures - I would have to say that I can already tell that's going to be a strong point for you in this story. This chapter was short and elegant, there's no other way to put it. You also mentioned that you love to explore the human condition. Maybe I've taken way too many English courses, but I feel the same way. There's something about reading, even more so writing, about the human condition that I absolutely love. I love to read about those like me and those different from me - our experiences are so diverse and unique, and our interpretations and the results of our experiences are likewise unique - it's wonderful. I think that this chapter really highlights your special ability to write about the human condition.
I don't know what to say to you, Amanda. I just want to fangirl all over the place and wave little flags and throw confetti in the air. This chapter was so phenomenal. I could reign praises on you all day long. I'm definitely going to struggle not to finish this today.
You are a wonderful writer with so much talent and ability. I cannot wait until the day that I can buy your original fiction! Amanda, I've got no constructive criticisms. It was fabulous - there aren't enough adjectives in the English language to describe you, your writing, and this story.
ShelbyAuthor's Response: You're so lovely for coming by, Shelby, thanks!
I really love characterization because people can take the same character in so many different ways. It's fascinating to explore the archive and just see how many Severus Snapes and Rose Weasleys there are to meet. It's awesome to run into an author who sees a character the same way you do, but I also love finding a totally different (but genius) portrayal. It's so lovely to hear that you feel like I have a certain talent in that arena.
Thank you so much for this fantastic review. I wish I could leave a better response, but you've left me a little lost for words. Suffice it to say that I hope you enjoy the rest as well!
-Amanda Report Review
Wow. This was not at all what I expected to happen in this chapter. It was even better! I really love your writing style and as soon as I've finished reading this story I'm already planning on reading everything else you've written.
I love your portrayal of Helga in this chapter because it's really original. I haven't read any stories in which Helga is a 'trendsetter' sort of character who breaks with tradition. I like the relationship between Rowena and Helena as well, and the way that the two are really quite similar in some aspects. I'm interested as to how the relationship between the two of them is going to deteriorate like I know it will (which I really don't want to happen - I need to stop becoming so invested in fictional characters!).
I kind of hate Venn in this chapter. His Slytherin personality really comes through and his contemptuous treatment of the peasant was really horrible. I hate the fact that he's cheating to try and win the tournament as well. I really want to know how it ended!
Not that this is relevant, but I was actually wondering if apparition had begun yet since so far they've been travelling in carriages.
I can completely understand why Helena feels so wretched at the end of this chapter. I feel really sorry for her here. It must be horrible for her to see this side of Venn which she probably didn't believe existed.
I'm going to stop writing this now (I'm not even sure it was coherent!) so that I can carry on reading!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: Hey, thanks for popping by again :)
And WOW, that is a huge compliment! Thanks!
Yep, the deterioration of Helena's relationship with her mother will begin to figure more and more prominently in the plot from here on out. They are alike in many ways, like how strong they are, but they also diverge, and the difference in years shows between them.
Haha, you're supposed to! He's not a nice person here, at the height of competition. It's great that you felt like he embodied true Slytherin values, though, because that's exactly what I was going for there.
Actually, apparition wasn't invented until much later--at least, I seem to recall researching it and finding that to be so. Regardless, that's how it is in this story :)
Yeah, Helena got a nasty shock. Her prince isn't so charming all the time after all. Unfortunately, she's too headstrong to listen to her better judgment at times, as you'll see if you continue on...
Thanks for this lovely review, NT!
I am amazed by your ability to subtly teach me something new about this period of history with every chapter I read, but the historic details you include really enhance the story rather than become it. The effort that you must put into researching it all is definitely worth it, as it all makes this novel seem more original and authentic.
The idea of religion in relation to the wizarding world has always interested me, especially because JKR doesn't touch on it much in the books. I like the idea of some wizards joining in with the religious celebrations of their muggle neighbours.
I'm really interested to see the contrasts between Helena and Venn's personalities in this chapter. One thing that struck me particularly were the different attitudes towards muggles that are already emerging here. Helena seems much more tolerant and much more at ease interacting with muggles, whilst Venn is more aloof and distant from them. As Salazar's nephew, it makes sense that Venn would be more suspicious of muggles and think about guarding his property from them, rather than helping them or joining in with their celebrations. Salazar also became conspicuous by his absence in this chapter. I think that differences in attitude towards muggles could become a source of conflict in their relationship and I can imagine them playing quite an important role in this novel.
I have to say, Venn's reaction to Nentres talking to his mother made me laugh. He seemed like a little boy having a bit of a tantrum!
I was quite surprised that the pair got engaged so early on, but it does work very well. I'm looking forward to seeing the tournament, because it is one of those things that really suggest the medieval era to me. I love the detail you included about the gloves, as well.
The attraction between Helena and Venn intrigues me. I think that there is something more than physical attraction between the two of them, but at the same time I don't believe they truly understand each other's character. From a modern perspective, it is completely absurd that someone like Helena would agree to marry Venn at this stage, but when you place yourself in the time it does make sense.
nott theodore :)Author's Response: Hello NT!
It's wonderful to hear that you like the way I mixed religion and magic in this chapter. I figured that certain open-minded wizards, like the Ravenclaw family, would be interested in Muggle traditions and want to understand the people they ruled over, both magical and not.
The influence of Salazar's distaste for Muggles is a major theme, you're absolutely right. It's going to create tension not only for Venn in determining his own set of beliefs, but also in the relationship between Venn and Helena and the Ravenclaws' view of Salazar and his family. Keep an eye on Salazar despite his absence here--he's definitely up to something.
Venn is still a little boy in a lot of ways. He's not ready to grow up and take responsibility, but he still hungers after power like a true Slytherin. You haven't seen the last of Nentres.
Well, bear in mind that this age would be quite late for engagement for both parties. There's a certain pressure to "get on with it." It's great that you're excited for the tournament and feel intrigued by the (very complex) relationship between Venn and Helena.
Thanks for another fantastic review!
-Amanda Report Review
First of all, I'm really sorry that it's taken me so long to get back and review this chapter!
Once again, I really enjoyed this chapter. I really love all of your description and some of your sentences are just so beautifully crafted that I have to read them a few times over. This line "Atop the magnificent black courser, another heart beat out an evenly spaced tune." in your opening paragraph was really perfect!
The beginning of this chapter gripped me instantly; I felt carried along with all the movement of the horse and you pulled me straight into the chapter.
One of my favourite parts of this story is the fact that you include all the little details which make it seem very authentic for the time. I really enjoy reading how you came up with the first and second names as well; it's really interesting! It was really good to see some of the old pureblood families in this chapter, and it's quite strange and quite a nice change to think of them in a pleasanter context than the one we've seen them in the books.
Another thing I enjoyed was the way that Venn was thinking about Helena, although I'm really glad that he hasn't suddenly started believing himself in love with her - I think that would be a really easy thing to do. I really love the fact that both Venn and Helena seem to be strong characters, especially for the time they lived in.
It was interesting to see the beginnings of the conflict that changed Hogwarts forever here. I'm really intrigued to see how you develop everything and I love the little details and intricacies that you're including in the plot. This is such a brilliant chapter and story!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: Hey, no worries! I'm flattered that you even think highly enough of the story to come back and leave me so many beautiful random reviews. My only regret is that I can't provide you with thoughtful responses more quickly :)
I'm glad you liked the beginning with the hunt scene! I feel like it's too description-heavy, but it was fun to follow Venn along as he enjoyed one of his favorite pastimes. I love just dropping readers right into the action.
It's great to hear that you like hearing all my little details, too. I really did think hard about every bit of these opening chapters, and though I have less time for fic research now, I still try to make things as authentic as I can. Part of the fun for me is also tying in a lot of canon with some original ideas and historical allusions, like with the pure-blood families.
Venn and Helena are definitely both tough in their own ways, and part of their journey will be letting themselves fall for one another and discovering that it's okay to be really, truly in love. Naturally, this won't be easy for either of them. I've really loved writing their story, trying to bring it out and flesh it out more so that it's not just a quick canon anecdote.
Thank you for yet another lovely review :)
-Amanda Report Review
So, I've been reading and reviewing this story (albeit quite slowly, but I've been quite busy) and I really am enjoying it. It's different to most of the other stories I've read before on here and seems really original.
I'd been wondering whether Hogwarts had been founded yet or not, because it hadn't really been mentioned in the previous chapters, so it's good to know that it has. And I really like the way you describe the origins of Hogwarts and the fact that it began as quite a small establishment. Before now, I've always thought of Hogwarts as just springing into being, and this chapter gave a much more realistic take on how it happened.
I really love the changes in point of view in each chapter (I know they remain in third person but I can't think of any other way to describe it) and the way they give us a better insight into what each character is thinking. I really enjoyed this first encounter between them and the fact that although both of them found the other physically attractive, they didn't instantly fall for the other's personality. It makes the story seem much more believable, since we know that ultimately they didn't have a happy ending.
And I really just love this line: "A warm spring breeze guided the fading sun down toward its grave, the horizon that would grant it slumber." It's such a perfect sentence, I genuinely had to read it a few times because of how brilliant it is!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: I'm happy to hear you like the way I conceptualized the beginning of Hogwarts. It was fun to imagine the school in its first days. I sort of thought it would be like Plato's school in Ancient Greece, with small classes and informal sharing of knowledge, and then it would grow as more people heard of it and wanted to try to educate their children there. I also thought the admission policies might grow to be more welcoming over time, which turns out to be a big theme in this story.
Thanks. That's kind of become part of my style, trying to take things from different characters' point of view but still sticking to the same overall narrative. It's good to hear that you find it realistic for Venn and Helena to find some qualms with each other and to feel uncertain about the prospect of marrying.
Oh, and it's great that you liked the imagery! That last scene with Helena standing hopefully on her doorstep in the evening light was one of my favorite parts of writing this chapter.
Thanks for yet another wonderful review :)
-Amanda Report Review
Review 200, I think!
I was really excited for this chapter, when Helena and Venn finally get the chance to meet. The two of them have been told so little about each other but the expectation has built up in their minds. All the two know of each other really is their outward appearance, and of course they are already expecting things because of that.
I love the descriptions of the scenes in this chapter. You paint the picture so well that I can imagine it really clearly in my mind, and it seems really beautiful.
I don't know if I've mentioned it before but I really like all of the names that your characters have. They sound really authentic and I like the fact that you've researched them and their meanings.
I'm excited to see how the relationship between Venn and Helena develops!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: It is indeed! Thanks once again for that :)
I think both Helena and Venn are awkward in their own ways. You'll have to read on to see if that feeling ebbs away, of course, but I'm happy that you like watching them get to know each other as they test what they've come to expect based on what they've been told about one another.
Thank you for your compliments on the imagery and the name selection as well. I appreciate your very sweet review!
-Amanda Report Review
This chapter was brilliant again. Everything you wrote seemed to fit in with what I've read about Helena Ravenclaw and I really like the relationship between her and her mother. They're both highly intelligent women and have been lucky to have an education that women at the time never dreamed of. I can understand why she feels so isolated from everyone around her.
I really enjoy all the details that you've written in this chapter, especially the titles of the books that I know came from this time. The little references are very clever. I enjoy the way that you've already established a relationship between Salazar and Rowena, as we don't find out much about Slytherin except that he's 'the bad guy', and I know he must have had good qualities for the four Founders to be friends.
I like the way that you've established the connection between Venn and Helena already; both are young and frustrated with their lives, and both are constantly having matches made for them. I'll be really interested to read about their meeting and see how their relationship develops.
nott theodore :)Author's Response: I think Rowena and Helena do provide an interesting look into what things would have been like for women, magical or otherwise, during this period. Helena has definitely been very lucky in that she has an education and an inheritance; however, like any noblewoman, she is still constrained by societal expectations, and she doesn't get to make a lot of her own decisions, which frustrates her a lot.
Thanks! Again, I did a bit of research to try to find things that were published around this time.
At this point, the four Founders still get along quite well. Rowena and Salazar have nothing but positive feelings about the idea of uniting their houses through the marriage of Venn and Helena, if the children will consent to it.
Glad you're intrigued to read on. The ride is just beginning. Thanks for another kind review!
-Amanda Report Review
I found this chapter so compelling and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen as I was reading it. You set the scene perfectly, and it did seem to me really believable. I'm no expert on this era of history, but it came to life as I read it here. The little details such as references to court, and the importance of the class system, really helped to make it seem more realistic.
I thought your characters were brilliant. It took me a while to realise that Venn Selwyn is the Bloody Baron (I'm having a very slow day today!) but I thought the characterisation was excellent even in the first real chapter when we encounter all of these characters. The name Selwyn reminds me of what Umbridge says about the locket in the final book, as well, and I'm not sure if you did that intentionally but I thought it was very clever.
There is a lot more that I could write in this review now, but I really want to read on, so I hope you don't mind that this is so short. I love this story already!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: Thanks! I have worked hard to try to incorporate as much real history as possible into this story, and it seems to have helped readers get into it. Half the fun of writing in this era has been looking up information about quirky little customs and trying to fit them into my plot.
You're not the only one, no worries :) I did use the name Selwyn intentionally. I was trying to think of what would cause the Baron to be chosen as the ghost of Slytherin House, and I came back to the connection between the Selwyns and the locket, so I decided that the Baron would be related to Salazar somehow--thus, I ended up with nephew.
I don't mind at all! Thanks for the kind review!
-Amanda Report Review
I saw you mention this story over on the forums because you wanted to reach 200 reviews, so I thought I should pay it a visit!
I love this opening to your story! I don't normally read Founders era stories but I've realised recently that I've been missing out on some really good stories, so I'm glad that I tried reading this!
Although you don't actually mention who the character is in this chapter, you describe him well enough for us to know that it's the Baron. I really like the way you write and I like the reflective (no pun intended) tone of this chapter. I'm going to carry on reading!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: I need to catch up on my review responses, but I wanted to go ahead and shower you with thanks for getting me to the magical 2-0-0 for the first time in the history of my author's page. I shall dedicate the next chapter of this to you!
Anyway, I'm glad you liked this opening chapter and that you could use the context clues to figure out the identity of the mysterious man in front of the mirror. I'm glad you've decided to keep reading as well!
Thanks again :)
-Amanda Report Review
I really liked how you informed us on how Helena was facing her situation with Venn. I thought it was just some typical Medieval feast at first, but it was those secret little details which revealed that everything wasnít fine with Helena. You couldnít help but feel sorry for her, because itís only in dire situations (while in my case anyway ;) ) when someone tends to lose their appetite.
It was sweet seeing Helena and Witter together. We havenít had much interaction between them, because itís mainly focused on Helena and Rowena so I rather enjoyed this change. It was just a small touch what he did, but it just seemed to brighten her spirits so much, and you could notice the change in her.
I thought it was really sweet to see how attached Helena was to her servants. You wouldnít have expected it from people of that era, but then again, you wouldnít really expect for someone like Helena to exist. It was also nice to see how though she wasnít particularly keen on the house elves, she still didnít seem that bitter towards them, and that was a nice change.
I thought the letter from Edeline was very touching, and though she hadnít always appeared to be overly welcoming, this just proves that she had a good heart. It made me have fuzzy feelings when reading it, because it showed how much she cared. Iím guessing that due to the note being found in Tristan and Iseult it may be a nod towards Helena and Vennís own relationship?
The scene with Helena and Edeline was well done. I liked how you drew upon the fact that wedding dresses werenít always white, it made me smile that I knew the meaning behind it for once! It seemed fitting that the wedding would be held at Hogwarts, and I canít wait to see it again, thatís if the wedding does take place.
I thought it was interesting how Edeline wasnít afraid to admit that the pair of them were unorthodox. I can obviously see why others would want to see their first dance, as itís one of the most romantic parts of the whole day, but them being them would want it to be more private, and I think thatís understandable.
Then the way Venn swept Helena off to that field, it was just so romantic, and it made me a little jealous! It was rather touching to see that he knew her so well, and that he wasnít afraid to show it, by buying that field for her. The romantic mood was slightly tinged at the end with the minor argument between them. I guess back then, and even now the men werenít that bothered about the wedding preparations. I couldnít help but feel bad for Helena though, as she did seem crushed by it. This was just more of the little cracks in their relationship I suppose!
I didnít like the sound of that ominous author note! It almost sounded as if Diamonds into Coal was going to end soon! In answer to your question though, obviously I want more, who wouldnít? If Iím feeling sad about having to say goodbye to them one day, I dread to think what youíre feeling like! Thank you for the mention by the way, and Iím glad that my reviews helped your motivation!
P.S. I agree this was one of my favourite chapters too ;DAuthor's Response: Hi Kiana! Thanks for the lovely review :)
I'm happy you liked watching Helena interact with members of her household. I figured she wouldn't have been but so stuck-up with the servants. I mean, she's got to be a little prissy, having grown up as a noblewoman, but I do see her as being more down-to-earth than many of her peers at this time. She likes to learn from people (like the Muggles) rather than immediately judge them. As for Witter, you're right, it was about time for a daddy-daughter scene. I think Witter is important to his family in this really soft, quiet kind of way.
The book was sort of a reference to the rocky path of Helena's relationship with her fiance, but more than that, it's meant to show that she's slightly obsessed with unrealistic, maudlin fairy tales. She doesn't have a good grip on what makes a real relationship work.
It's funny to see you say that Hogwarts is the perfect wedding location, because Val was like, "No way, go Helena, get married wherever you want!" Haha. I love it when people read my work and come up with drastically different opinions. Anyway, I'm trying to picture Venn and Helena getting married in this huge, traditional ceremony, and I just have trouble doing that. Like you said, they're sort of private and subdued and I think they would both just feel so awkward, even if Helena claims to want the spotlight.
I'm pleased to hear that you found Venn's gesture romantic. A field is kind of a weird wedding gift, but Helena could see the beauty in having a place for herself and Eostre. Then, of course, Venn had to go and ruin it all. Ah, well. Never a dull moment with these kids.
That's great that you'd like to read more in this vein! I'd love to know more specifically what you're curious about, if there's anything. I'm definitely going to miss this when it's done.
Thanks again for your amazing review!
-Amanda Report Review
Oh, poor Helena. I'm already wondering where Venn is and what's going to happen and we're just three lines into the storyÖ I love the detail you sprinkle into your description as well, and the reference to social class and okay. On with the rest of the chapter.
Yay, Helena and Witter moments! I've been waiting for a father/daughter scene since forever. And Rowena, hmm, I wonder if guilt is the reason why she's keeping to herself?
Aww... I'm sorry to tell you this, but I think a piece of my heart melted just there: But she sensed that Witter's demonstration meant more than this - the servants would be a reminder of home, familiar faces in a strange new place. It stinks of foreshadowing and negative times ahead, but I will pretend I don't know that and simply enjoy how lovely this scene was.
HELENA TSK TSK. If Venn finds out that you're bringing a good-looking young man along with you, things will not go well. Plot bunnies and strange theories have just popped up now, leaving me to wonder if Kendrick might end up being responsible for Helena and Venn's downfall...
Uh oh, Edeline's letter, though offering something kind, worries me. Rowena isn't going to take it well, and I imagine she'll refuse to cooperate with Edeline, right? (Rhetorical question, don't answer!)
Orange blossoms again -- had to point it out, sorry. I love the time you spend to insist on all aspects of a medieval wedding, and the fact that Helena goes against tradition by wearing white, which is traditional for us. Also, adding this now that I've gotten to the bottom of your author's note, the fact that even the flowers are significant to the story -- you spoke about my French, but this dedication to an entire new level.
Aha, so Helena is planning on going against her mother's will in terms of location. I like that she doesn't want to get married at Hogwarts, for some reason it doesn't seem for an appropriate venue for such an event. Plus Salazar has his basilisk there, which is definitely not a good idea. Though of course, no one knows that, and Edeline's arguments make sense. I wonder what Venn will think though, because he knows about Salazar's new pet.
I've been liking your characters so much that I'd forgotten that Helena was, in fact, quite vain, so thank you for the reminder. Your characters' flaws are what make them so believable.
Helena suddenly felt very claustrophobic. Edeline acted as if planning the wedding was a chore, when in reality Helena had dreamed of the day for years and years. Now that she finally had a face for her perfect groom, she was more excited than ever, even with the misery of her relationship with her mother clouding it slightly.
With this, you have Helena entirely. I adore her reaction and slight rejection of conventions so much. It makes her entirely different from the average wealthy noble, which is a wonderfully refreshing take, and right now, I could lean through the screen and give her a hug. For some reason, I feel like there's something slightly off with Edeline. Is she offering to help Helena in order to undermine Rowena? Possibly?
ANOTHER SQUEE-WORTHY MOMENT. Venn's gift to Helena is so original and yet so perfect and fitting for the relationship you've been building since the beginning. I think I'll hug you as well. &hearts
Venn stays dreadfully prosaic though, I wish he could step out of the boundaries a little too... His verdict is a little sad, I've got to say, and I regret the fact that he puts all his trust in his mother when she's precisely the one advocating the wrong way around.
I smell more foreshadowing there. Will Helena's marriage truly be boring though? I've got a nagging feeling that she won't have a chance to live until the boredom she's predicted herself. Her last thoughts, in today's post 1968 society, with women's independence, made my hair stand on edge. IN principle, I agree with it, but I wish believes in didn't sound as much like blindly obeys and follows.
This was a brilliant chapter, and I can't wait for the next one! &heartsAuthor's Response: Hi Val! I'm sorry this response took a little longer than normal. I was very happy to see you christen this brand new chapter with its first review :D
I know people had been wanting a Witter/Helena scene, and I just love Witter, so I couldn't resist. He's like the warm little center of the Ravenclaw family, keeping Rowena and her daughter from constantly being at each other's throats. I feel like it would be a tough time for him as a father, preparing to lose his only daughter (and only child), so I think he would want to try to give her something to remind her of home and ensure she's well taken care of in her new life. But yes, will she even get to experience it?
As for Rowena--keep an eye on her.
The bit about Kendrick being handsome is just another way of showing that Helena isn't really mature enough to be anyone's wife. She's so interested in the fairytale and the perfect wedding that I don't think she really thought about what marriage would be like--until this chapter, at least.
Fun fact--I didn't look up the flower meanings until I finished the chapter. I literally chose them based on color alone. Freaky, right?
I think Venn thinks that he can somehow convince Salazar to get rid of his new pet before the wedding, so that all will be well and normal and Hogwarts will be the idyllic Founders' offspring wedding location it was meant to be. Between the details of his inheritance and events we'll return to in the next chapter, he has a lot on his plate, a little too much to be bothered by Helena's whining about the wedding. On the one hand, I totally think he should just become Prince Charming and stand up for her. On the other hand, I can kind of see his point--it's just a wedding. For Helena, though, it's yet another chance to go against the grain and act like her own person.
I chose the word 'claustrophobic' to describe Helena here on purpose. I picture her as having rushed into this fantastical romance against her better judgment, and now she's scared that she might have gotten in over her head. She just wants it all to work out okay.
Aww! -hugs- I'm glad you like the gift. I wanted to show that he has been listening to her, and more than that, he's been falling in love with her more than she really realized. But yes, he can only possess so much reckless abandon. He's not *quite* her perfect match.
Helena is forcing herself to settle quite uncomfortably into this role of a wife, someone who respects her husband's wishes. She's trying to be content with what she has. Wonder how long that will last... ?
Thanks for your fabulous review, as always :)
-Amanda Report Review
I decided that I would carry on reading, while I have the time, and I couldnít wait to find out what happened next!
Ooh I enjoyed learning more about Helga! I always love having a backstory to each of the characters as they feel more real to me that way, so I definitely loved learning more about her family, and how she met Rowena. It seemed to fit Helga perfectly, and it was cool to see where her hardworking traits came from.
It was interesting to see that she the peace maker between Helena and Rowena, but she just seemed the like the natural choice the more I thought about it, with her naturally calm demeanour, and the fact that she was so close to both of them. If Helga felt a little frightened by Rowenaís temper, I dread to think what it could have been like as she always seemed like the type of person who wouldnít get scared that easily.
I thought this line from Helena perfectly demonstrated the dynamic of her and Vennís relationship Ė ĎHe romances me as if I were a princess in one of my beloved books.Ēí It did sort of feel like a fairy-tale romance with the kissing scene, and the competition over Helenaís hand in marriage. I guess she felt indulged, and thatís how I feel when reading scenes between them, as theyíre so well written, and balance the levels of romance, fluff and believability perfectly.
I enjoyed the scene between Venn and Salazar, as it meant that we could learn more about what was expected of a marriage at the time. I found it interesting how sure Venn was of Helenaís fertility. It was rather touching to see, as it showed how much he cared about her, because even though it was partly arranged match, it looks as if it really is blossoming into a one of love.
Salazar is scaring and worrying me more and more. The way he had so carefully planned the basilisk being at Hogwarts, with him injecting the potion, and having the locket, itís just so dark and horrible. It was nice to see that Venn was still firmly opposed to the plan, and his reaction of shock and outrage perfectly mirrored mine. I think the scariest thing about Salazar is the lack of remorse he is showing, and the way he killed the doe at the end was just awful. It almost seemed to be foreshadowing future events; of Voldemort killing Lily as her patronus was a doe.
The endings was simply wonderful, and it contrasted perfectly with the rest of the chapter. Helena and Venn seemed to be so affectionate for one another now, and itís great to see the change from them being recluse at the beginning, and now seeing how close theyíve become.
I canít wait for the next chapter to be up now, as this one was excellent. Iíve caught up with all your stories now, so I will have to hunt your author page for some more :D
-Kiana!Author's Response: Look at you, all caught up! Next chapter will be up on Tuesday :)
It's great that you liked Helga's back story. I really love her as a character and I wanted to show that the roots of her friendship with Rowena run deep. You can imagine that it would be hard to be stuck in the middle of a feud between Rowena and her daughter. Rowena would probably have a fearsome temper, but I think part of Helga's hesitation was knowing that her suggestion to Helena would probably break her best friend's heart.
I have been trying to paint Venn and Helena's courtship as a fairytale romance. It's been a crazy whirlwind and both of them are really swept up in it right now. As illustrated by Venn's confidence in his future bride, neither of them wants to believe that their impending union will be anything but perfect. Unfortunately, they're about to fall back into reality, and I can tell you that it's not going to be an easy landing.
It's good that Salazar is frightening--he's meant to be. He's so far gone into this plan that he can't understand how anyone would object to it, let alone his own flesh and blood. I'm pleased that you picked up on the parallel with the doe and that the ending really solidified your opinion of him as dark and evil. We'll have to see where he goes from here.
I'm glad you've enjoyed watching Venn and Helena fall in love, and I hope their changes of heart seem believable given this pace.
Thanks so much for another lovely review! I'd be happy to get your feedback anywhere, but if you'd like a suggestion, I'm looking for more feedback on Post Scriptum, my other WIP novel. So feel free to look at that if you like :)
-Amanda Report Review
Ooh Iíve nearly caught up with this story, yay!
I liked that there was a focus on Rowena and the four founders in this chapter. Though I have loved all of the Helena/Venn action, itís nice to know more about the running of the school, and how they interacted with one another, as they did cause Hogwarts to come into being, and made this series happen, so they are more important than people think they are.
I thought it was really interesting to see how the optional subjects came about. This may just be me being a history nerd, but it seems to give so much more to the story if we know these little facts about the school. Trust Helga to come up with Care of Magical Creatures though, it suited her perfectly! Then of course the subjects that Rowena and Godric suited them perfectly as well, and it was nice to see how it all tied into canon.
I can see how there were cracks in the four founders friendship. First of all, there was a mention about Salazarís lack of interest, and though itís probably minor, it does suggest that the others perhaps viewed him as less committed. Then there was obviously the part about the muggleborn students, and it was interesting to see that there was an immediate schism, and that Salazar was rational enough to wait and see how it would play out. I just have a quick question, I was wondering whether Salazarís hate of muggles was just due to his upbringing, or whether it had another reason behind it?
I liked the altercation between Edeline and Rowena. It showed how they both viewed their offspring rather differently, yet you could tell how powerful they loved their children, and that was rather touching to see. Then ending it with them both crying over their children, again showed how they loved them so much, and were similar in some aspects.
I thought it was nice that you chose to reveal that Venn loved Helena to Cepheus, rather in his thoughts. It seemed more effective this way, and it reminded me of how similar their friendship was to modern day ones, with the friend mocking the other about falling in love. It was also nice to see Venn in a more relaxed situation.
I loved the ending, it was just so powerful. It was rather sad to see that Helena had started to become more frivolous, and seemed to crave attention, by asking for compliments, and talking about how Venn loved her. I thought Rowenaís actions were completely understandable. I guess Helena doesnít view it like that as sheís confused by love, but Rowena can see that Venn will most likely end up like Salazar, and that would not be a good thing.
Another excellent chapter Amanda!
-Kiana :DAuthor's Response: I'm really glad you've enjoyed getting to know the Founders little by little. I don't usually like stories directly about them, which is why I chose to focus this more on Venn and Helena, but I do think it's important for them to be a part of the plot. It's also great that you liked the meeting and the Founders working out elective classes. I was trying to figure out how they had chosen the electives that Harry and his friends would eventually take, given that there are so many different branches and areas of magic that could have been made into classes. I tried to make the choices make sense based on who came up with them here.
I actually haven't thought too much about why Salazar hates Muggles. I know a lot of people tie it up in romantic rejection or something of that sort, but I haven't explored it too much for myself. Maybe that's something I can try to incorporate into future chapters, since you're probably not the only one who's wondered about it. It's good that you can see the fallout between the Founders beginning to happen little by little already.
I think Edeline can come across sometimes as sort of soft and nurturing, but she's got a strong foundation and will definitely defend her son if needed. Rowena obviously comes across as strong on the surface, and that doesn't change when it comes to how she feels about her daughter. The tension must have been really thick between them in that scene.
I'm happy you thought Venn seemed relaxed in his scene with Cepheus. They're the best of friends and if Venn was going to confess his true feelings to anyone, he would pick Cepheus. Admitting that is a big step for him.
It's so funny that you're taking Rowena's side in that scene! Most people immediately jump to the idea that Venn isn't the same person as Salazar and Rowena shouldn't lump them together. But I'm glad you can see her side of things and understand why an alliance with Salazar's relatives would make her nervous.
Thanks for your wonderful review :)
-Amanda Report Review
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