Reading Reviews for Marked
  
90 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Roisin The Price of Living

7th June 2015:
DAN! So I lost my spot in tag but THAT IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE. I need no thread to tell me to read this!

And, but the way, I'm probably gonna have to binge-read Detox now in order to, erm, detox.

I really like the kind of three point contrast you have going on in the first section, Narcissa vs Bellatrix vs Draco, and all of the things that hang between what's said. Draco is as naive as ever and GUH that child. I was sure for a bit that Bellatrix would use Crucio on him, but what you did was so much better. Even for Bellatrix that would be a bit extreme, and the spell you made up fit way better. I also like how this fits in with your Bellatrix story and how eVeRyThInG iS cOnNeCtEd.

AND, the end to that first section was striking and chilling and made my gut drop.

AH SECTION TWO. The device of having Draco run through his lineage was really brilliant. It broke up the action in an interesting way and gave it a kind of frantic suspense that totally freaked me out.

And Voldemort! He's a tough one to get down, because like, HE'S SCARY WE KNOW. Scenes with him often read like a canon-rehash, but you manage fresh and interesting observations of him that I super enjoyed/was terrified by. Again, your almost cinematic timing was lovely with the "they're made to be broken" line.

Draco's unshakable (at least for now) loyalty to his father threads through even here. Time after time mention of Lucius happens in Draco's thoughts, but it's very masterfully nested, and not hit-you-over-the-head-y. Like, he should WELL know that Voldy is furious with his dad right now, but Draco still invokes Lucius in his original pledge to Voldemort.

A part of me wishes the story went on because you did it all SO well and I just wanted to read more, but I think you were right to end it where you did. I still have this tic from before I started doing fanfiction, where I use the word pejoratively for when something gets pushed beyond the appropriate stopping point into self-indulgence, so excuse this ABSURD statement: but to go further would have been to enter the realm of fanfiction.

:P

Yes, quite a stupidly head-spinning thing to say. (I have a lot more respect for fanfiction now OBVIOUSLY).

This was amazing. You are amazing.

xoxo
Roisin

Author's Response: Hi, Roisin! All good things must come to an end, and I guess our dominance of the Review thread was no exception. We shall take over again someday!

Binging on Detox isn't the worst way you could go. It will definitely take "angry, terrified, bitter post-war Draco" and reshape him into something more pleasant in your mind.

Narcissa is doing what she can to try to protect Draco, but the problem is that Bellatrix actually has a point. Draco has to come up with *some way* not to come unglued in front of Voldemort and it's pretty unlikely that Snape would be able to teach him Occlumency in such a short time. If Snape did the same bang-up job teaching Draco that he did with Harry, Draco might not master it by the time he's 30, let alone by the time he has to face the Dark Lord.

Chilling, gut-dropping moments are Bella's specialty. ;)

I've rarely been so pleased with anything in my writing as I was with how the recitation of Draco's family history integrated with that last scene. I'm really pleased that you liked it!

Whew! Voldemort is probably the third most difficult character in canon to write well. (For me, Dumbledore is number 2 and Luna is the hardest, bar none!) It's hard to explain what a relief it is when people think that you wrote him well.

I agree about Draco's loyalty to his father up to a point. Later in the scene, once he's way past the point of no return, Draco finally lets go of his father's coattails, so to speak. It starts when he admits why he's really there. Then comes the moment when he realizes that nobody can save his mother except him. From that point on, I think Draco is very much operating on his own, with no consideration of what his father might have done in the same situation.

Eh, part of me wishes that I had written on, as well. It would have been interesting to see Draco "training" with Bella and interacting with the other Death Eaters. But I still can't think of another scene that wouldn't pale compared to Draco being marked by Voldemort. I hate to see a story peak and then sort of tail off into a less compelling ending.

I'm really, really happy that you enjoyed the story. You're one of my favorite authors on HPFF and your opinion means a great deal to me. Thanks so much!

-Dan


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Review #2, by Roisin That Which Must Be Done

7th June 2015:
It's clear that Draco does have a moral compass, and thinks that cruelty and brutality is wrong--but you do such a great job of showing how this moral compass has failed to be developed, so he falls back on the concept 'uncivilized.' I like the idea that he and his mum (and to a lesser degree, his dad) aren't so much Evil, as people who just have bad priorities (which may, as a result, promote their engaging with acts of evil).

I like that Draco sort of thinks the House Elves are dumb for laying out his father's paper--like, 'why don't they realize he isn't here to read it?' Instead of realizing that House Elves follow the instructions they were given, and are probably terrified of the Malfoys, so if he wants to change their routine he should TELL THEM THAT. So self absorbed.

Trying to imagine the Death Eater perspective is a tough thing, since WE'RE muggles, and as readers, we can tell how misguided and self-defeating it is. Then again, I could say that ISIL is also misguided and self-defeating, that doesn't mean there aren't members. The evidence you offer for Draco's prejudices are convincing--at least enough for me to believe that HE believes them.

Ooh, so this is more for my benefit than yours, because I'm trying to do this in my writing, but: Passive Voice. "His thoughts were interrupted by a piercing cackle..." In future stories, you (and I) may try cutting these 'were's so that the verb acts on the noun: "A piercing cackle interrupted his thoughts..."

*Shudder* You really make Bellatrix so jarring and creepy and terrible in a well-rounded way. The pairing of her (I'm hoping) lack of self-awareness to push her cleavage into her teenage nephew's face, and then say "play with us" is truly terrible.

And then her talking with her mouth full--definitely uncivilized. I do think that she lacks self-awareness (she MUST, right?) and that her time in Azkaban, and the desperate, animalism it invokes, couldn't have helped.

WOAH NICE TWIST BRO. I was so confused and freaked out, and ALSO couldn't remember a plan. I did NOT guess that it was Tonks, and was SO confused about how she just waltzed in, and AH you are brilliant! And sure, kinda a messed up tactic, but a clever one!

More of Draco Not Getting It. Dude, Voldemort will kill purebloods too! YOU ARE NOT SAFE. HE IS NOT A COOL DUDE. You do a wonderful job of showing how Draco's respect for his father influences his assumptions of the the Dark Lord. He thinks he'll be like some bigger, more powerful Lucius, with the same priorities and methods. Sort of how some people imagine god to be like an exaggerated version of their own fathers. The contrast between what Draco imagines, and the evidence laid before him, is really masterfully introduced.

Draco's idea to run faraway and hide is a good one, and an OBVIOUS one. But it makes sense that Narcissa can't imagine not being within some sort of familiar community. For her whole life, she's been taught to network and build webs of alliances--it's all she knows. And, more cleverly, their lack of knowledge about the muggle world is a serious disadvantage to them, considering YEAH, that's the only place they would be safe.

Man, the image of him rubbing soot on his arm is really striking. So effective. Again--priorities, environment. How could anyone expect anything else of Draco, given how he's been raised? It's such an original and brilliant idea, and just fits so, so well.

[TAG!]
-Roisin

Author's Response: Hello, again!

Draco has a very strange moral compass, indeed. His definitions of right and wrong are inseparable from his ideas of what activities are beneath the dignity of a Malfoy. Attacking a hospital -- even one full of muggles -- is simply bad sport. Now that I think of it, I came very close to using the word "unsporting" instead of "uncivilized".

I think that Draco looks at House Elves much the same way that someone with no idea how a computer works looks at a laptop that won't connect to the Internet. He doesn't understand why they do the things they do -- nor would he ever be bothered to try to understand -- he just expects them to do what he wants. If they don't, the problem is with the elf, not because of anything he has or hasn't done.

That's a good point on passive voice, actually. I let myself fade into it far too often.

Ha! I love it when people fall for Tonks's ploy. In the course of writing any story, I usually come up with one or two ideas that I fall head-over-heels in love with, and Tonks pretending to be Bellatrix was one of those ideas. Of course, the quid pro quo is that you love the idea so much that you'd be devastated if it didn't turn out exactly the way you imagined it. It's a risky enterprise. All in all, I'm pretty thrilled with how that turned out.

That's a good point that you picked up on. Since Draco's father is the only male role model he's ever had -- maybe his grandfathers, depending on how well he knew them, but it's always seemed that Lucius was solidly entrenched as head of the family by the time we first meet Draco -- he tends to assume that any man his father would actually bow to must embrace the same values as his father. As you say, he couldn't be more wrong about Voldemort.

The idea of wee Draco rubbing soot on his arm came to me as I was editing this chapter for the Nth time. I don't even remember what I had in there before, but I agree that it makes for a powerful image.

Thanks so much for all the love and good feedback!


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Review #3, by Roisin No Way Out

5th June 2015:
"He could see their resentment and jealousy"--suUuUuUure, Draco, keep telling yourself that.

Oh, the 'petty tournaments and indignities' bit reminds me of something I forgot to say last chapter. Narcissa first holding out her hand but making Moody step forward was really brilliant. Just such a great Narcissa moment, and you know I LOVE how you write Narcissa :)

The way you explain Draco's thought processes that lead to the snobby things he says are so great. It's always so convincing, to the point of almost (ALMOST) justifying his behavior. Or, at least, explaining it. Wealth is pretty much the only thing he has on other people, really, especially now that 'influence and reputation' are gone. It goes a long way to explain why he's always brought up those things. I'd never really thought about it before, but he's always at his most spoilt and bratty when he probably feels backed into a corner.

The moment between Draco and Narcissa, when he both wants to hug her but also feels repulsed, is a really good summary of his character. He's sort of an emotional person and totally affectionate (which I think readers who ship him grasp at), but yeah, also a total prat who's been taught to value the wrong things.

Man, this whole exchange between them is just so stellar. I have to assume that this is EXACTLY what happened. Narcissa being practical, trying to gain favor with the other side (because she was never as zealous as the other Death Eaters--never even a Death Eater herself. I'm sure she's prejudiced, but not nearly enough to justify everything). And then, as a counter-point, you have Draco's manic respect and adoration of his father and state of angst transforming (/being projected) into zeal of his own.

Hah, yeah, no. Voldemort hardly deals in gold. Foolish, naive Draco. Then again, if he weren't so naive it wouldn't make any sense that he would ever ally with Voldemort. He probably imagines he's a pretty cool dude, not a brutal psychopathic monster.

It's amazing to think that Draco actually buys his own bull, like any of the aurors being impressed by his home. Probably, they feel the same way I would ("screw these rich people, look at all the useless stuffy crap they have"). Then again, this ignorance he has almost justifies (ALMOST) some things he does--he /genuinely/ has these priorities, and just doesn't understand that other people don't. It's hard to truly hate someone who's the victim of such a woefully closed mind.

"Attacked by mudbloods seeking revenge"--man, he just DOESN'T get it!

It hadn't occurred to me, but yeah, given the timeline Draco wouldn't have ever met Bellatrix until the breakout. Her chaos is almost palpable. Like, I can feel how discordant she is in Malfoy Manor as this manic energy.

This story is so amazing because I totally know where it's going (obv) and feel like I can guess how you'll play it, but it's just such a delight to see unfold!

Oh yeah, and, TAG.

-Roisin

Author's Response: Hi, Roisin! One by one, I'm getting these answered. But it's such sweet sorrow, seeing them disappear from my unanswered page.

Eh, I'm sure there's at least some small amount of jealousy there. It's hard not to be at least somewhat jealous of someone born with a silver spoon in their mouth. And I'm sure that the Auror resents the fact that Draco isn't in Azkaban with his father.

I agree completely. When every other advantage is taken from him, Draco falls back on his wealth. It's a defense mechanism that I'm sure he learned from Lucius.

I like keeping Draco's feelings conflicted and complex. He really cares about his mother and he hates to see her so upset, but he does not -- cannot -- approve of the way she's managing the family's affairs in his father's absence. It's too much of a stretch for him right at this moment. Give him a chapter or two, though... ;)

Narcissa is, in her own way, more purely Slytherin than her husband or her sister. She wants what's best for the family. She doesn't care much at all for the Dark Lord and his ideals, although her husband has made that bargain on behalf of the family and now she has to manage the situation. So she's attempting, as any good Slytherin would, to redefine the rules of the game to play to what few options she has left.

I really enjoyed writing the sections where Draco is gradually disabused of the idea that his wealth or family name will save him from Voldemort. The dialog was a lot of fun to craft, especially for Narcissa.

Yay! I love the way you interpreted and reacted to Bellatrix. She's more of a presence than a character at this point, at least from Draco's PoV. And she's nothing -- NOTHING at all -- like anything he's dealt with before.

Yeah, one challenge with writing canon stories about canon characters in the canon era is that the endpoint is already defined. But it can be fun figuring out how to get there! :)

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #4, by Roisin Kick Me

5th June 2015:
TAG! (Also, LOVE this Chapter Title)

You do such an amazing job of making Draco sympathetic, but not likable. Like, it's clear how much he's a product of his experiences and that he's just too young and insulated to know better, but yeah, it doesn't make him less of a prat. At the same time, I genuinely feel bad for him in this chapter. While he shouldn't be going around picking fights and all, the depth of his feelings are so well-plumbed here that I totally recognize where he's coming from (and agreeing with them isn't necessary).

Also, you really do a wonderful job of offering evidence for Draco's feelings. His interpretations of Harry, while like, wrong, are not without merit (their returning as conquerors). Of course Harry would never look at it that way (nor should he), but yeah, I totally get how Draco feels. Again with the unreliable narration! I'd never thought, in canon, that Draco was really jealous of Harry (maybe jealous in PS that he could play on a Quidditch team, and he clearly wanted to one-up him with the Nimbus 2001), but I'd always read that as just competitive. Here, even though Draco never says it and doesn't recognize it, he's clearly DEEPLY jealous of Harry and absolutely tormented by it. And again, it's totally supported by and fits in with the canon, yet expanded upon and detailed so wonderfully.

Commendations on how you did Pansy here. You COULD have just made her awful and conniving and 'dropping him once things got bad,' but she DOES seem genuine to a degree, and Strategic comes with the territory. Of COURSE Draco would do the same thing in her position. I feel like I've seen so many versions of this moment in a lot of media, and there's frequently a kind of misogynistic reduction of the female character. Sure, Pansy is a bit of a prop, but I think her lack of dimension is very clearly the result of Draco's limitations as this is his POV.

The whole interaction with the aurors is SO CLEVER. Like, these are exactly the kind of jabs and stuff that, from a canon/Harry/order perspective would be really satisfying (see, Draco the amazing bouncing ferret), but seen through Draco's eyes it's very OUCH. (I felt kind of like "LEAVE DRACO ALONE") And yeah, he just WON'T shut up and stop making a prat of himself, but... you know... he's sixteen and dumb. (Also I realize I'm using the word 'prat' a lot--none of the other words I'd like to use are 12+ :P) Yet still, it seemed kind of low of them to torment a kid, but at the same time, I obv still like Moody and Tonks way more than Draco. CONGRATS ON GIVING ME AMBIVALENT AND CONFLICTING FEELS.

It was surprising to hear that Andromeda still marked BELLATRIX's birthday, but honestly, not unrealistic. Sure, we see Bellatrix as an utter psycho (because she is), but her SISTER probably feels an entirely different world of pain about that. I liked that moment, because it struck me like Andromeda sort of thinks of Bellatrix in a mournful way--like someone who's died or something--which I take as apt. And after reading your Bellatrix story (and I suspect all your stories are in-universe), Bellatrix is clearly mentally ill. It doesn't excuse her, but Andromeda would probably know that (having grown up with her), leaving her with just enough remaining sympathy to remember her birthday. YOU ARE SO GOOD AT BLACK SISTERS! I wonder if you have any other stories featuring Andromeda more prominently? I would love to read one :)

ALSO, I demand that you swap with Infinityx. She has an AMAZING short story collection thing called "Unravel" focusing on different Slytherins in their sixth year. If you haven't already, you must read each others' work!

Author's Response: Responding to Reviews: the Saga Continues...

I enjoy putting a little thought into my chapter titles and I was extra-proud of that one.

"sympathetic, but not likeable". Yesss, yesss indeed! That's a good way to put it. Sometimes when I'm writing him, I get this feeling of... I struggle for the right words. Backhanded empathy? I want to shake my head at him and say, "I feel sorry for you because you are such a stuck-up, inbred, lace-curtain, spoiled-rotten little moron." Unfortunately, studies have shown that my characters can't hear me rant.

I think that Draco can see clearly what's going on around him, he just takes all the wrong lessons away from those events. His ingrained Malfoy Filter(TM) prevents him from interpreting events correctly. "Everybody loves Harry and celebrates his successes? Well, that's obviously because there's something *wrong* with everybody else." Draco is deeply jealous of Harry, I think, because in spite of all the advantages life has lavished upon Draco, Harry gets to be the hero. It's one of a select few things that money can't buy.

Does Pansy feel genuine affection for Draco or is she merely covering her bases in case the Death Eaters succeed and the Malfoys are suddenly prominent again? I think it's some of both, to be honest. For someone like Pansy, I imagine that affection and ambition become so intertwined that she probably can't easily differentiate between the two. And you're right, showing the moment from Draco's point of view does introduce some problems with translation.

If you like Tonks and Moody in this scene, there's a treat coming up for you a bit later on. That's all I should say right now. Yay for ambivalent feels!

The Black family was so tight-knit in its own bizarre, twisted way that I feel like it must have hurt Andromeda a lot to be completely cut off and cast out. Whereas Sirius responded by being angry, I imagine that Andromeda took a somewhat more emotionally healthy approach. While I'm sure she knew that she could never go back to being on good terms with her sisters, I think there was a small part of her that never wanted to give up hope. Marking the calendar was, to me, a small gesture of never completely giving up. I don't have any other stories that feature her prominently, although the idea has crossed my mind.

I've chatted a bit with Theia and I've read Unravel. It's really good stuff. She said that she might have time for a swap soon, but then the House Cup kicked into gear. We shall see...

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #5, by Roisin It All Comes Crashing Down

4th June 2015:
DAN!

I've been wanting to read this story since FOREVER since I absolutely adored Detox. I'm forcibly reminded of what a GREAT job you do of characterizing Draco Malfoy. This is also a super interesting one, because it's set before Detox so the characterization is a bit different.

Different in that he is THE WORST. Like, I actually want to STRANGLE him at various points in this chapter. He is SO disgusting and terrible and selfish and GUH. Like, Pansy is not a very likable person, but STILL. JESUS. (Also, love that there's an almost unreliable narrator situation. Draco is clearly HOPELESS in a bedroom way even if he doesn't realize it).

Thing is, though--it's SO believable. I totally buy this Draco, and I think you manage fantastically to transmit his spoiled selfish prat perspective. He really always was just a squirmy little !*!*!*! in canon, and I really like seeing it done well here. It's so easy to make Draco one thing or another, but in truth, there's kind of a lot more to him (and precious little is charming). Here he might be at his worst (SO TERRIBLE) because he's at the height of his hubris.

Also, Snape. SNAPE! What a great Snape! Your stories always have perfect, almost cinematic timing--exemplified here in how he obliviates Crabbe and Goyle.

Officially hooked on this story.

OH, and I forgot to mention because I was so distracted WANTING TO SMACK DRACO IN HIS STUPID FACE but the summary at the beginning of the chapter was great. Like, summarizing canon events can sometimes be a bit of a drag, but it worked SO well here because of the difference between what Draco interpreted and what Harry interpreted, creating fantastic dramatic irony. Love how Draco hand-waves torture as 'just trying to get the situation under control.' It's obvious that, even in his own mind, there's a lot of self-delusion going on.

xoxo
Roisin

Author's Response: Hi, Roisin! I really need to take a break and answer some reviews. This is getting crazy.

Marked and Detox exist on a continuum in my head. In Marked, we see Draco start to change from the arrogant, mean, clueless little snot in the first five books into the (somewhat) more mature, world-weary young man in HBP and DH. To me, it's a fascinating change. In the first five books, to be honest, I never found his character very interesting. He was rather cartoonish, basically just a punching bag for the Trio who occasionally punched back. Starting near the end of HBP, JKR suddenly took that disposable character and made something more out of him. I think that's one of her great strengths as an author, to be honest. She's able to keep minor characters on the back burner over long stretches of the books and then bring them forward and make them shine.

At the start of this chapter, Draco is just a hair past the zenith of his arc of being an awful human being. He's absorbed a small dose of humility in Umbridge's office, but he's still incredible full of himself. Don't worry, we'll take care of that soon enough. ;)

This chapter was, hands down, the most fun I ever had writing Snape. I had a very strong image in my head of Alan Rickman in full costume and makeup, doing and saying these things. The whole scene took 20 minutes to write, tops, because it was all so clear to me. I an unashamedly in love with how it turned out.

Whew! I hate it when the "setup" for a story drags, so I'm glad it didn't feel that way to you.

Thanks so much for all the kind words and for our running review-swap over the past few days. I enjoyed it thoroughly!


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Review #6, by Yoshi_Kitten The Price of Living

12th July 2014:
So I've pretty much missed this entire event. Which is tragic, really, as the reviewing event has always been my favorite one too. :( However, I did finally find myself with some time to do a few reviews tonight, and I thought, who better to show some love too than Dan? After all, his stories are ALWAYS good, and I could use a good read to get me back into the swing of things, lol! So, without further adieu:

House Cup 2014 Review

OMGosh, DAN!!! So, I was just looking back over everything, and I CANNOT believe that I NEVER came back and reviewed the last chapter of this! Holy cow, I totally fail as a Reader, lol!! I remember reading this THE DAY that is was posted too. I seriously thought that I submitted you a review for this. I'm sorry. Better late than never tho, right? ;)

I ended up re-reading this chapter, that way it would all be fresh in my mind again for the purposes of this review. Ohmygosh, after being away from HPFF for over a YEAR, this was just the thing I needed to get me back into reading/reviewing fanfiction again!! I have missed this place; your stories in particular, and all of my HPFF friends so much! You already know how AMAZING I think that you are, Dan, but I haven't said it in a while, so I'll remind you again, haha!! =P

I just LOVE your characterization of Bella. She is completely mental, lol. And I also like how calm, cool, and collected Narcissa was in the beginning of this here too. Honestly, your characterization of EVERYONE in this is just so superb! And I could easily visualize that entire conversation going on in my head, you wrote it so well. I felt SO BAD for Draco though. I can't even imagine what studying with Bellatrix would be like, but I bet that it would absolutely go something like that. *shudders* The whole thing was just so very realistic. Excellent job, Dan!!

I love your attention to detail in the description of the room. And don't even get me started on your description of Draco's first look at Lord Voldemort, lol!! He was just so chilling in this, and you nailed his character spot-on. I mean, it absolutely felt like I was reading this straight out of one of the HP books! I don't know where or how you came up with ALL those names from the Malfoy Family tree, but I loved that addition to the scene here. I couldn't even imagine being in Draco's shoes, and having to go though something like that. It's just so horrifying!! Which I'm sure is what you were going for, lol, so mission accomplished. =P

While I am sad that this remarkable story is at an end after only 5 chapters, I must say that the ending really was perfect. The moment between Draco and Narcissa was so touching, it almost brought me to tears reading it. The emotion was conveyed perfectly, as always. I wish there was more to read, but you're right; there really isn't much more to add that we don't already know from Cannon. This was an absolutely fantastic missing moment though! “Marked” is probly my most favorite fanfiction story on this whole entire site, haha!! I seen your “Detox” story a while back ago too, and I am super excited to start reading that one next. You know what a sucker I am for Draco Malfoy, lol! I have truly missed reading your stories, Dan. Looks like you've added a lot more over the past year tho, so I know what I'll be reading for the rest of the summer. ;)

~Deana~

Author's Response: Deana!!! What's up?

As far as the event goes, I felt kind of badly about my own numbers. But every little bit counts!

You're so sweet! I really appreciate all of the kind words and I'm really glad that you enjoy reading my writing. Readers like you make me want to keep going. :)

I have a very high standard for Bella, having done so much beta reading for Jami and her unbelievably insane, creepy characterization. I'm never quite sure whether my version stacks up. I was, however, really pleased with how she turned out here.

I felt like the scene in Voldemort's "audience room" was either going to live or die by the small details. When you're scared out of your mind, as Draco was, you tend to fixate on little things.

I am over the moon that you thought I nailed Voldemort's character. He's very intimidating to write, because to me, it doesn't take much of an error to completely screw his character up. Every word, every glance and every movement need to be just so.

I just couldn't see continuing to write past this point. We pretty much know what happened from here on out.

Where this story is set immediately before the war, Detox is set immediately after. Draco obviously does a lot of growing up between the two. I really hope you like it!

Thanks so much for the awesome, inspiring review!


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Review #7, by MissesWeasley123 The Price of Living

11th July 2014:
And so, he is finally marked. Wow. Before I begin, this review will seem rather formal, as my keyboard is being strange and now letting me use punctuation marks that are not exclamation marks and commas, also period. So this has a lack of contractions lol sorry Dan!

First of all, wow wow wow for Bellatrix. You get 10 out of 10 for her. Her anger in the beginning when she tells him it is not funny.. wow. Freaky as hell, and definitely frightening. That moment was so intense.

And I cannot tell you how thrilling the entire scene was with Voldemort. When he says that Lucius true masters (see how hard it is, without apostrophes, aghh) are pride and fear, it is so intelligent and so true in a way. And AGH SUSAN BONES!!! That part with the unbreakable vows are meant to be broken I could not explain to you how intense and genuinely creepy that was!

This story has been so amazing. Truly intense and has captured the story of Draco Malfoy brilliantly. Absolutely blown away, fabulous writing as always you literary and Draco genius!

House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hi, Nadia! Sorry about your keyboard. That would drive me completely bonkers!

Whew! Whenever I write Bellatrix, I always feel a huge amount of pressure to try to live up to Jami's Bellatrix, who is perfectly, marvelously insane. I'm never sure that I'm getting her quite right, so I really appreciate the compliments.

Oddly enough, I felt more comfortable writing Voldemort than Bellatrix. I feel like I understand him better, his motivations and reactions. Minimalist, I think, is the way to go with him. Minimalist, punctuated by outbursts of deranged anger. And I agree, he understands Lucius far better than Lucius understands himself.

Now that I think of it, I haven't written anything with Draco since back around Christmas. Maybe it will be time again soon...

Thanks so much for the lovely review!


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Review #8, by MissesWeasley123 That Which Must Be Done

13th May 2014:
Hi again Dan! Long time no see :D

I must say, I sure have missed this. It's just as thrilling as ever.

I truly loved the bit with Tonks. That was brilliant! You managed to grasp her character so well. Her dialogue always so fun to read as she's so hardcore and "sassy" in a way. Her attitude and recklessness is amazing and reminds me of Sirius, in a way.

And Moody! WOW. I have to say I loved the bit where he told Draco that he should cut his losses or something, can't remember the exact words but still very very cool. It felt so perfect for his character. Loved his interactions with Tonks as well.

You've always shown Narcissa as very strong, but we got to see a different side of her in this chapter. That whole moment where her eyes lit up in hope or pride, but then went back into gloom was very sad. And then that ending line.. wah ♥

And I must say, the whole dark mark pain part was brilliant as well. The little details of Lucius trying to seem all brave for Narcissa and then Bellatrix calling it "exquisite" those little moments were very well developed.

Brilliant writing!

Author's Response: Hello, hello! Truly a long time.

It was almost irrational how much fun I had writing the section with Tonks pretending to be Bellatrix. Aside from continuing to heap abuse on Draco, I really had a chance to use her abilities for something, you know, useful. Unlike pretty much every appearance by her character in the books.

Moody was also very entertaining to me. He makes it sound so simple, doesn't he?

Narcissa is very close to the breaking point in this chapter. It's a turning point of sorts for her, because she finally has to admit to herself that she and Draco are on their own and none of her family or old "friends" can or will help her. It's hard for her, but she ends up being stronger because of it.

I think of Bella as both a sadist and a masochist, so I'm quite sure she would have endured the pain of receiving her mark with relish. Lucius probably came close to crying like a baby. ;)

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #9, by TheHeirOfSlytherin The Price of Living

24th March 2014:
If memorizing things like family history is the best way of keeping your mind focused on things other than lingering doubts about the Dark Lord, I'd be dead. My memory sucks worse than Draco's.

:O Arguing! I was almost expecting one of them to slap or curse the other, the seemed so mad by this. Also, his just pointed out in the last chapter that Bellatrix was mad; why, oh why, did he think a spell she knew would be beneficial? I know he wants to stay alive, but he hasn't lost his mind. Be wary.

That's a horrible spell.

*Whispers* He's here... Dun, dun, dun... I don't know why I like doing that. But he's here and Draco is sat among him and it's all very creepy and I'm just waiting for bad things to happen.

...Torture. There it is. It wouldn't be a Death Eater meeting without it.

Draco's turn! The dread is building and I'm very nervous for him, I hope the family history thing works. It seems to be, a little. I thought something really bad would happen when Draco gave an honest answer, but I know Voldemort has a plan.

...To kill Dumbledore. It's horrible that he used Narcissa to get Draco to say yes, but to be expected I think, since he doesn't seem to want it.

And now we know what happens next. I still wish they'd been able to run.

This was awesome, Dan! I loved every second of it! :D

Sam.

Author's Response: The technique Bellatrix is trying to teach Draco is more or less exactly what Narcissa calls it: a parlor trick. It never would have worked as intended. I really liked creating tension between the two Black sisters because it dovetailed so well with the way we see them at odds over whether to trust Snape at the start of HBP.

I don't think Draco trusts Bellatrix as much as he's just desperate and willing to try anything. Besides, it isn't as though she gives him much of a choice.

I've always imagined Draco's audience with Voldemort as being a truly horrible experience. By the time we see him on the train at the start of HBP, he's a completely different character from the Draco we saw at the end of OotP. I tend to think that his brush with the Dark Lord turned his world upside down.

The fact that Draco gave Voldemort an honest answer -- even one that he didn't really care for -- was probably what kept him alive. Voldemort has no interest in dealing with another Lucius, blustering and brown-nosing and ultimately falling on his face. Draco either succeeds and rids the world of Albus Dumbledore or he fails and dies, showing the other Death Eaters the price Lucius paid for disappointing the Dark Lord. Either way, Voldemort gets something he wants.

Running would have been the smart move, but that ship sailed very shortly after Voldemort fled the Ministry. Once Draco left Hogwarts and returned home, there was nowhere to run to.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun to write and it set the stage for the Draco that we see in Detox. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing it!


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Review #10, by TheHeirOfSlytherin That Which Must Be Done

24th March 2014:
He only wishes it was a dream, or he will if he doesn't already. Attacking a hospital, there is just something about it that doesn't sit right with a person, even a Malfoy. That was low even for Death Eaters, you know? Uncivilized is a word you could use... evil is another, but maybe only a none-Death Eaters might that.

I have to admit, I did worry that it was really Bellatrix and I was almost afraid that Moody had lost his touch when she came in. But then I realized Moody was way too awesome and got suspicious... since I didn't think he was dead. :P

Ah, man, that warmed area of his crotch was an even harsher blow to his ego than Pansy walking away. Not that he doesn't deserve the blows, but you've now made me see that Tonks can be scary when she's angry. I don't want to make her angry.

Cut your losses and run, Draco. It's the smart thing to do. *knows he won't! but kinda hopes anyway*

Was the Dark Lord really so much worse? - I get the feeling you're going to pop that bubble so thoroughly, Draco won't know what hit him.

Aww, her favorite uncle is dead. The evilness of the Death Eaters knows no bounds; Did Voldemort do it or Bella?

Anyone who chose to give their life to the Dark Lord had to be stark, raving mad. - And he's starting to get it... Voldemort is coming and no one is going to stop it, because despite what I hope, running will be insanely stupid. Now. Now it can think poor Draco.

Nervously anticipating the final chapter!

Sam.

Author's Response: Draco is living an unending, waking nightmare at this point. Things keep getting worse and worse, and every time he allows himself to think that they *might* be getting a little better it turns out to be very short-lived.

I'm not sure I could picture Lucius or any of the "respectable" Death Eaters attacking a hospital. Avery? Sure. But not the men of means. That was my thinking, anyway.

No shame in thinking that might have been Bellatrix. That was the idea. Moody hasn't lost his touch, in fact he just gets sneakier the older he gets.

As much as I loved writing Tonks in the second chapter, this was even more fun. She terrorizes her cousin and enjoys every second of it. The only things she doesn't like is when Moody makes her stop.

It would have been smart to cut his losses and run, but he would never do that where family is concerned.

The Dark Lord is much, much worse. Draco just has no frame of reference to imagine how much worse he really is. All in good time...

In my mind, it was Bella who killed Uncle Augustus. It's the sort of thing she would relish doing in order to demonstrate her loyalty to the Dark Lord and her ruthlessness in dealing with those who might even think of opposing him.

Yes, now he finally gets it. Too little, too late, but he gets it. Voldemort is coming, in the very next chapter. I'm excited to see what you think of it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #11, by TheHeirOfSlytherin No Way Out

24th March 2014:
I don't know who this Auror is, he might just be a cameo with no name, but I like him. Just a little bit. Just enough to smile when he goes against Draco; there was even a little shiver when Draco did. Don't mess with an angry Auror.

He should really listen to his mother and stop arguing; you can tell he's not fully aware of his situation just yet. To fight with her about what she's doing and feeling as though he doesn't know her. To feel like he could spit on her if she were someone else, was too mean of him. I've gone from wanting to kick Ron to wanting to kick Draco... as well. :P

You - I bet he is starting to get it now. Making friends with Aurors seems like a pretty good idea now.

*In Gary Oldman's voice in OotP* Bellatrix Lestrange. I was waiting for her to show up and I'm more freaked out than I thought I'd be, which is always cool (that sounds weird, but it's not - you get it). Even when she's acting sweet and familial, it's sinister and scary and weird and I don't like it, I wanted to run away like Draco wanted to and Narcissa practically did. And that is why I loved it. :D

Things are happening!

Sam.

Author's Response: The Auror is just a one-chapter character with no particular back story or future aside from the fact that his mentor was killed by Rodolphus Lestrange during the Death Eaters' escape from Azkaban. I thought about trying to make him something more, but I didn't see where that added enough to make it worth the complexity. He's just a messenger, in a sense, delivering another dose of the message that hasn't made it through Draco's thick skull just yet.

He really should listen to his mother, but the gravity of the situation hasn't quite hit him yet. Don't worry, it will hit him just about... now.

I love writing Bellatrix. Nobody bring the crazy quite like Madam Lestrange. I think she's almost *more* creepy when she's trying to act all caring and familial because you know it's exactly that. An act. Not even an especially good acting job, to be honest. She really doesn't know how to properly relate to other human beings in a caring way and it shows.

Things are happening, alright. And the pace just keeps accelerating. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #12, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Kick Me

24th March 2014:
One wrong thing - admittedly, it is a really bad thing - and they all cut him loose. I'd say poor Draco, but given how full of himself he was in the last chapter, we're not yet at the stage where I like him enough to give him sympathy. Nope, I'll just sit and watch them walk away. Particularly Pansy, since he was sleeping with her; that was just a harsh blow to his ego and his respect.

Does he never learn? Potter has people everywhere and he never loses; if Voldemort can't kill him, how can Draco think he can make the guy pay? :P It wasn't even a nice try, Draco is just having a really bad few days (which will only get worse, I imagine).

Tonks! I love that Tonks is in this; she's just awesome. And apparently knows exactly what to say to get to Narcissa, which is always good because it's sometimes nice to see that you can get a reaction out of her. Moody's, though, that was the best.

Draco definitely needed to hear what she had to say about Andromeda. It made me sad to imagine her marking their birthdays, but not getting to celebrate with them. They're not good, but they're still family, so I can definitely see it hurting her. :(

Loved this!

Sam.

Author's Response: As the old saying goes, "when you're at the top, there's only one way to go." Aside from not wanting to have their names or reputations tainted by Draco's father's disgrace, I imagine that there was a lot of payback involved in the way that his housemate treat him after the battle in the Department of Mysteries. He's spent most of his life looking down his nose at the rest of his peer group. I'm sure their families suffered the occasional slight at the whim of Lucius and Narcissa. Now it's all coming home to roost. Pansy plays her cards exactly the way you'd expect. She offers him sympathy -- some of it may even be genuine -- but in the end she does what's best for herself and her family. In her place, it's exactly what Draco would have done and they both know it.

Draco was too angry and humiliated to think clearly on the train. At least that's how I've always imagined it. And boy, does he pay the price for his lack of forethought.

I enjoyed every second of "page time" for Tonks in this story. Poor thing won't get to enjoy very many moments of victory before her time is up, so I really like giving her these little cameo roles where she gets the choice lines and good things happen.

Even after she was chased out of the House of Black, I imagine that Andromeda had a hard time letting go completely. Family was everything to her for most of her life. She was the middle sibling, not as vain and arrogant as Narcissa or completely crazy like Bellatrix.

Fun stuff! I'm really enjoying all of your reviews!


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Review #13, by TheHeirOfSlytherin It All Comes Crashing Down

24th March 2014:
Secret messages, lies, deceit - the life of a Pureblood. Combined with all the rules they have, the social status they crave and the standing some have with Voldemort, it's an interesting life indeed. I feel like I'm going backwards with Marked; now that I've read Conspiracy of Blood and Detox, it's very interesting to go further back in Draco's life and see how it all started. He's very conceited here, so sure he's going to get what he thinks they all deserve and in agreement with his father; much different to how he will become. It's cool to see him like this, your take on the boy we all grew up with.

If we are very lucky, perhaps your wretched little schoolmate won't be returning at all. - The evil; it's like a bitter taste in my mouth. One little sentence and I can get a real sense of just how bad the Death Eaters are with the rise to power and glory and what they think is right. Now that is epic writing.

Pansy... So easy for Draco to use... Mistress; it'll never cross his mind when he meets Astoria. ;)

Snape to the rescue! Well, sort of, in a 'this is your only warning, do not mess it up' kind of way that is appropriate for the double agent no one knows about at this point. I love that he's in this; I mean, I figured he would be, even just a little, but like I said in Detox, he's just so much fun to read.

And there's Draco's imagined life gone. This is why you don't dream about things; it sucks so much more when you don't get it.

Awesome start. Onwards, I think!

Sam.

Author's Response: Secret messages, lies, deceit... of course! They're Slytherins! What else would you expect? Marked is a step backwards. We start with Draco at the peak of his arrogance and self-importance. He sees himself as royalty among royalty, the son of the greatest of the "true" magical families. For the story to be as compelling as it could be, I felt like I needed to set him up in a very high place from which to fall.

Good old Lucius. Few can turn an evil phrase quite the way that he can.

Pansy is a plaything for Draco, sort of like a broom that requires a little more maintenance. Other people's happiness doesn't factor much into his thinking at this point in his life, except as a means to get what he wants. She'll be long gone by the time he starts courting Astoria.

"Rescue" You know, I really hadn't through of it that way, but it's true in a sense. Snape comes on a mission of mercy but he carries it out with the sort of spiteful condescension that only he can deliver. I'm afraid you'll only see him once more, and briefly at that, but his name will figure prominently in one of the later chapters.

Yep, Draco is watching his entire life spin down the toilet. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, could it? He's such a little jerk at this point in the story.

I'm pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #14, by MissesWeasley123 No Way Out

13th February 2014:
Hey! You've been so awesome giving out reviews, so for this prompt I wanted to make sure you got some too!

And ah, Bellatrix! But before I talk about her, let's talk about Draco.

He's frightened, but it's like how he was back in his first year in the Forbidden Forest. He tries to play it off and stay all arrogant, and mask his fear. I like how he stayed in that pompous character of his in the beginning, when he said he "won't submit to this kind of harassment" That was great. I half expected him to add, "My father will hear about this!" but yeah, that wasn't happening :P

Again, you write Narcissa so well. It's different to see their mother-son relationship so nice and stable. She loves him very much, and I think that showed a lot to what kind of a person she is. We know later that she even defies Bellatrix, her own sister, to seek help from Snape. I never thought that the Black sisters ever got much love from their mother, so it fits perfectly with my head canon that Narcissa would be so loving -- in my head, she's everything to Draco that she herself didn't have. That's what it's like for me, at least :P Everything she does in this chapter really ties in well with her actions in the Deathly Hallows. It's great!

And Bellatrix! You pull off her and Gamp, such twisted characters so well, and especially Blishwick from Detox.. you give your characters a different edge to them, and you write Bellatrix just so well. I felt bad for Draco in that moment because he was related to the most vile witch ever. And, the last paragraph, that was depressing. It summed it up pretty well, he was scared, and at this point it was just him and his mother against all these people. Yeah, really sad.

Anyway, great chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, Nadia!

I adore Bellatrix in a sick sort of way. She's such a brilliant creation. The perfect antithesis of the other strong female characters in the books (Lily, Molly and McGonagall, to name a few). She lets us dabble in a unique sort of darkness. But as you said, let's talk about Draco.

Draco is quite arrogant with the Auror who's keeping an eye on him. He still doesn't understand how much trouble he's really in. Nothing in his sheltered, lace-curtain life has prepared him for something like this. Believe me, his father would **definitely** be hearing about this if only he wasn't locked away in Azkaban.

I think of Narcissa as a character who has a lot of inner strength for exactly the reasons you describe. She was willing to sacrifice anything during the war to keep Draco safe and she still is. I do see her as a very loving mother, but she expresses her love differently from, say, Molly Weasley. Part of what I absolutely adore about JK Rowling is how she's able to present so many different versions of motherly love in the books.

Draco is legitimately terrified by his aunt. I think the thing that scares him most is that she's supposed to be on "his side", yet she's nothing like his father's cronies and sycophants. She doesn't just talk about torturing and murdering, she carries the acts out with relish. It really is just Draco and Narcissa against the world at this point.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #15, by MissesWeasley123 Kick Me

30th January 2014:
Hey, I finally got some more time to stop by and continue reading this!

First of all, it's amazing how you continued it right where you left it off. One of the things I love about your writing is how you manage to write so many words without dialogue, and give background information with such ease. We aren't getting smacked on the face every second with overwhelming amounts of information, which is brilliant!

I found the little things funny, like the love potion under Nott's bed. I laughed when you said it was because he was trying to earn the affection of Millicent! I always imagined her to be such a troll, so it was funny seeing someone trying to go to those extremes.

I'd like to comment on Pansy, though. Last chapter I told you how distrubing it was to read them be that way. Pansy was desperate. But... In those moments, in this chapter, I was almost.. proud(?) of her haha. It was sad, because she knew that if Draco were in her place, he would leave her the second he was ordered to. And when she told him she still loved him, it seemed real, or as real as 15/16 year olds can love. Really though, it was depressing because even Draco didn't really want to anything, he just wanted to be with her and that couldn't happen. Depressing and a bit funny too, because he definitely isn't the most likeable guy in this.

And again, your love for Ginny and Narcissa! Ha, they were amazing. Especially Ginny, she was hilarious. Poor Draco couldn't do anything! It was amazing how you showed that in a couple of days, the tables had completely turned. Now Weasleys were poking fun at Malfoys -- great stuff!

And Narcissa. Again, you show the complex character she truly is. She's over protective, and I almost feel bad for her when Tonks says that Andromeda marks her calendar with all of their birthdays. It was a rather bittersweet moment. Tonks was bang on though, absolutely brilliant. You could see that fiery side of her, and she's easily forgotten but you just wrote her so well.

Moody was amazingly well written, and especially when Narcissa was thoroughly disgusted at the idea of Moody picking her up. I think in their encounter we truly see Draco's life collapse, because he can no longer bully adults or be a brat because of his father.

Anyway, excellent chapter! It's a pleasure to read your work as always :)

Author's Response: Hello, again! Always nice to see you back!

This chapter picks up right after the first one, but there are larger time gaps between some of the later chapters. The pace of the story picks up quite a bit near the end. I try really hard to work background into my stories at a very gradual pace because I agree with you: getting clobbered with a mountain of back story isn't much fun and most readers won't remember much of it.

I don't know why I decided that Theo Nott was wooing Millicent. I guess I never thought of the poor guy as being very lucky at love.

I'm glad that Pansy turned it around for you, or at least seemed less pathetic. This chapter is a prime example of how I imagine pureblood wizarding courtship. It's all about social status. I do think that Pansy truly cared for Draco, but she was raised to see that as only one part of the equation. He really isn't very likeable at this point, is he? Truthfully, I never wanted to make him likeable. I hate stories that white-wash his character and turn him into this very sensitive, misunderstood guy who sweeps leather-pants-Hermione off of her muggle-born feet. He is a deeply flawed person, full of prejudice and spite. But even bad people have some redeeming characteristics.

Ginny doesn't play a very large role in this, so I'll just say that I'm glad you liked her small part. Narcissa, on the other hand, ended up becoming a much larger part of this story than I intended. When I write her, she has a tendency to steal scenes. You'll be seeing a lot more of her.

Ah, Moody! If you liked the grumpy old coot here, I think you're going to love him when he reappears in a couple of chapters.

Thanks so much for the awesome review!


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Review #16, by MissesWeasley123 It All Comes Crashing Down

1st January 2014:
For the 12 Days of Reviewing!
Uhm, whoa, Dan?

So this was an.. awkward chapter to read. Honestly, my mind is blown and I am speechless (I accidentally wrote special instead of speechless and it made me laugh haha). I liked everything about this chapter, the intensity and the fear as well. Draco Malfoy was like a cherry on top. You write him to well.

He could already see himself falling into some of the same habits as his father, especially when it came to letting the women in his life deal with nagging social matters. -- This. This was tough. It was the sign that showed what type of a person he would become in due time.

When he talked about Umbridge, it made me laugh. You used words like, sashayed, and that visual that appeared was really amusing.

Draco and Pansy--forgive me-- were gross. Ew. Like, I do not mind Astoria obviously, she's awesome but Pansy is so creepy, I was cringing way too much during that. Not only was that disgusting, but so was Draco. It broke my heart to see how he treated her. She was enjoying it but... no. He.. he wasn't treating her well. It was bad. And sick. What he was doing was not appropriate. To him, Pansy was something he could use at his disposal. The way he was being arrogant and bragged... it made me sick. I was disgusted and disappointed. He is so twisted and nyah. The way his mind works is scary and he's like animal honestly. An ugly teenager who is so twisted. And stupid Pansy falling for him!

You have the world's most perfect Snape. It's as great as J.K.R's. He was my hero, saving me from that dreadful scene. I was so glad for him entering. His dialogue DAN! HOW? I think you should write a canon Snily just because you get into his head so well. I need to see more things from you about him.

Obliviating Crabbe and Goyle was a nice touch. Avoiding all plot holes, I see ;) Also, I could help but think, "YES, YESS!" when this happened:

Everything he had spent the last few hours imagining, his entire life, was swirling down the drain before his eyes.--LOLOL. YES,ME LIKE.

Anyways, great writing as always. You write Draco so well. Will be back soon!

Author's Response: Hi, there! So based on carefully reading the subtle messages between the lines of this review, I don't think you like Draco very much. ;) I don't blame you. He isn't very likeable at this stage of the story. If you like seeing him get beat up, keep reading. His life isn't going to be much fun at all for the next 4 chapters.

Draco is sort of special here, now that you mention it. He's an arrogant, obnoxious, entitled and self-important pureblood scion who's about to get his first unpleasant dose of that thing that the other 99% call "real life".

I was experimenting with pushing the envelope when I wrote Draco and Pansy, trying to see what I could really do without breaking the rules. While it is a bit gross to imagine, I was actually pleasantly surprised by what's really possible. People complain so much about feeling constrained by the rules against NC-17 material and the rather conservative interpretation of what isn't allowed under an M rating. If anything, I proved to myself that you can write a very ribald scene within the limits of the ToS.

Aww, I really appreciate you saying that about Snape. He's incredibly fun to write. I just let my inner Alan Rickman run free and tried not to let my fingers fall behind. And you will *never* find me writing any sort of Snape-Lily story, canon or otherwise. While Snape may have had a few admirable traits, his twisted, obsessive, possessive love of Lily was not one of them in my mind.

I think of Snape as being very, very thorough. He didn't survive as a spy in the Dark Lord's inner circle without covering all of his bases. Both Crabbe and Goyle have Death Eaters for fathers. Snape wouldn't take any chance of anything he had done getting back to them.

I do like the idea of Draco sitting there, feeling stunned and empty as everything he'd been plotting suddenly fell apart before his eyes. If anyone ever deserved it, it was him.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. This chapter was incredibly fun to write, especially the ending. Thanks for reading and reviewing and good luck in the 12 days challenge!


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Review #17, by academica Kick Me

4th November 2013:
Hey, swinging by from Review Tag :)

I see things have continued to slide downhill for Draco since the unfortunate incident with Snape in the first chapter! I like how he's still struggling with the realization that he's not untouchable; it seems quite realistic that Draco would fight this tooth and nail every step of the way. He wins some small, temporary victories (like not having anything too incriminating confiscated in his room) but suffers his share of losses as well (like the damage inflicted upon him by Harry's allies). It's interesting how his pride complicates his reaction to the unique sort of "protection" foisted upon him by the Order. I particularly loved his confusion upon hearing how his aunt Andromeda still remembered his birthday.

I also really like the way Draco's characterization comes through in contrasts. Everyone in his life seems to treat him like a child -- Pansy, his mother, the Order members -- and I think he fuels it in part by denying everything that's happening to him and whining about every instance of his "rights" being violated. It'll be interesting to see how he grows and changes over the course of the story, if at all, and how he reflects back on this time after his situation has worsened further.

Nice work, as always! I've missed reading your work and I'm still really enjoying this story.

-Amanda

Author's Response: Hi, Amanda!

Yep, Draco's life is in a tailspin at this point. It's starting to dawn on him that he isn't untouchable, but believe me, it will get much worse. Pride is a huge problem for him, but at least he has his mother to try to help guide him. Not that she's perfectly equipped to deal with a situation like this, but at least she's calmer about it.

I think you'll find that he grows up quite a bit over the course of this story. At the very least, he learns that much of what he used to think was important really doesn't matter that much when you're confronted with matters of life and death.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. Hope to see you back again soon.

-Dan


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Review #18, by TheGirlWithTheLaughingFace That Which Must Be Done

13th August 2013:
I absolutely love this chapter. The way Draco carried himself you would never suspect he would suggest running away before joining Voldemort but then you saw the fear he had in HBP and you did a nice job including that in this chapter with the shaking of the hand while thinking about the receiving the dark mark. Guess ol Malfoy isn't as brave as he likes to make himself to be. Nice Job

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I imagine that Draco considered an awful lot of things when he was faced with the possibility of suffering the Dark Lord's wrath. He's gradually come to realize that he's in big trouble thanks to his father's failings. He isn't nearly so brave as he'd like people to believe.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #19, by TheGirlWithTheLaughingFace It All Comes Crashing Down

13th August 2013:
Your fellow gryffie here with your review. All I can say is: OMG! Can I please please please have just a tiny bit of your talent? Your writing is just absolutely wonderful. I can just feel the smugness coming off Malfoy as he bragged to Pansy how he was going to be extremely popular the next day. I'm just in awe of the amazingness of this story. I'm off to read the rest of the chapters and probably fill your reviews up with more gushness. 10/10

Author's Response: Hi, there! Dreadfully sorry to have taken so long to respond. I really appreciate the fact that you went the extra mile with my story!

I'm glad that Draco's attitude and arrogance came through clearly. I really don't like stories that white-wash his character. At this stage of his life, he was definitely an arrogant, self-important, snobby little jerk. But he's about to learn a few things.

So glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #20, by rozen_maiden The Price of Living

7th August 2013:
Perfect! I really loved this story - everything was in canon; from Narcissa to Bella to Snape... And I loved the absolute loyalty Draco had towards Lucius, right to the end. I felt as though I was reading an actual book, and I even got teary at the end. You are an incredible writer. This was truly amazing, well done.

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I'm really, really pleased that you liked the story. To me, this was such an interesting period in Draco's life that was never thoroughly explained in the books. It was fun to take a crack at filling in the gaps.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #21, by rozen_maiden It All Comes Crashing Down

6th August 2013:
Okay, I'm ... speechless at the moment. This was just magnificent. I don't even have words... Just. Wow.

Author's Response: Hi!

I have to admit, I'm a little speechless, too. Thank you for the lovely compliment and thanks for taking the time to review!


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Review #22, by adluvshp The Price of Living

5th June 2013:
Hey! Here for review tag.

I am pleased I got a chance to come for the final chapter of this story.

It was a very intense chapter, and made me feel really sorry for Draco and his mother. You characterised Bellatrix perfectly, and I loved the interaction between her and Narcissa. The whole thing about recalling family history was very effective and added to the narrative. You described Voldemort amazingly too, which is commendable, and the whole scene was written in a very realistic manner. You explored Draco's emotions really well throughout and I just loved it.

All in all, this was a great story, very realistic, and nicely written. You did justice to the characters and the plot.

Good job!
Cheers
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(AditiDraco95)

Author's Response: Hi.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. This was by far the trickiest chapter to write. Voldemort is a very intimidating character to tackle.

Thanks for reading and reviewing.


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Review #23, by adluvshp That Which Must Be Done

2nd May 2013:
Here for review tag!

Ah another powerful chapter. It always amazes me how well you've characterised Draco. His fear, his anxiety, his despair, it's all so real. Narcissa is characterised very well too. Great job on that!

I loved the part where Tonks was disguised as Bellatrix. She did a pretty good job of it. I also liked how Draco's fear of Bellatrix was so prominent. Him seeking out his mother was something normal. I do wish they'd both just run away like Moody suggested though.

So far, I am enjoying the story. You've captured the entire scenario as well as your characters quite well in a realistic manner. The tension in the narrative is apparent. Great work. I hope to be back for the next chapter soon.

Cheers!
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(AditiDraco95)

Author's Response: Ugh! Shamefully slow in responding to this. Bad Dan, bad! I lay the blame solely at the feet of an excellent fic I stumbled upon the other day that's been eating up my free time like a starving hyena on a ham sandwich.

Anyhoo, I'm really glad that you like the way I've built up Draco in this. I'm not trying to make him a hero and I'm not trying to make anyone feel unconditionally sorry for him, either. He's a complex character, with some aspects worthy of pity and others deserving of scorn.

When I look back at this story, I go back and forth on whether I'm happy with the role Narcissa plays. She turned into a real show-stealer at several points, which wasn't my intent. I guess part of the problem -- maybe it's not a problem, actually. Depends on how you look at it -- is that her story is so tightly interwoven with Draco's. Every noble thing she does in the books, she does for him.

I told you Tonks would be back. The idea of having her pose as her aunt and terrorize Draco came to me while I was writing that scene and I fell head-over-heels in love with it. I'm glad you liked it.

I'm really pleased that you're enjoying the story. This was my "rebound" story after the big emotional release of finishing CoB, so it's nice to hear that it wasn't a letdown for anyone. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #24, by adluvshp No Way Out

21st March 2013:
Here for review tag!

Ah, another remarkable chapter. I am enjoying this story more and more.

I love the way you have portrayed Draco. He is really very canon-like. His arrogant attitude, his cheekiness, his stubbornness, his self-centeredness, his pride, and the way he thinks money can buy everything - it is all captured perfectly.

Despite all these traits, you have made me feel sorry for him, so that's commendable. He's of course very confused about everything and doesn't know what to do and what not to do. His anger and fear is only justified. The interaction he had with Narcissa in the first segment was very beautifully done and captured the essence of both his and Narcissa's feelings smoothly.

You wrote Bellatrix wonderfully as well. A lot of people fail to capture her in all her dark and insane glory but you did a fine job. Narcissa's fear of her sister being in the house was also very well done, and so was Bellatrix's response to her pleadings.

Over all, I think you're doing a great job writing this story. You make me sympathise with Draco, and yet keep them him very much in-character, along with all his fear and darkness and arrogance. I can also see Narcissa's love for her son here clearly, and I am pleased with the way you have played around with that aspect of her personality. All in all, good work! I can't wait to see how the story turns out further.

10/10
Cheers!
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(AditiDraco95)

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I'm pretty fanatical about the way I like to read and write Draco. I really dislike stories that portray him as being purely "misunderstood" or purely evil. By the end of the books, he had become a very complex individual. So I try very hard to reflect that in the way that I write him. I'm glad that you like it.

A lot of reviewers have said that they feel sorry for Draco, and I'm never quite sure how to feel about that. I didn't set out to turn him into a sympathetic character, because he isn't really somebody that I think you should feel badly for. For all the years that his family's money, power and connections to the Dark Lord worked in his favor, he flaunted those things shamelessly. If there's any reason that I think people should feel badly for Draco, it's because he was born with such a buffoon for a father.

Bellatrix has become one of my favorite canon characters to read and write. She's just so much fun! She's sweet and naive in a way, but lurking just beneath the surface is a complete sociopath who relishes the pain and death she inflicts on her master's enemies.

Narcissa loved her son every bit as much as Lily Potter or Molly Weasley loved their children, and I think that she is as much a testament to the power of a mother's love as any other character in the books. When I started writing this, I hadn't planned on her playing such a large role, but as the story evolved, I really started to enjoy her character and the role she played in it.

I'm really pleased that you're enjoying the story. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #25, by MissMdsty The Price of Living

21st February 2013:
Now that this is over and we know what happens next (thanks to HPB and DH), you simply have to write more of "Detox"! Draco seems almost human when you write him and I love reading your stories on him.

As for other, almost human stuff, I was terrified by the meeting with Voldemort. You described everything in such detail that I was scared for their lives. Literally. Voldemort is the kind of boss nobody likes to have... He's out of control, rude, agressive, thinks he's better than anybody else, spiteful, holds a grudge and will fire you at any time without any warning, since it's his company. Only in this case, getting fired is pretty permanent. You kinda die.

I loved how you portraied the whole meeting, with the people hiding and not wanting to reveal themselves. A very nice touch was the family tree he kept reciting. I need that spell that Bellatrix performed. I'd take the pain if the correct answer would just pop up on my arm.

Back to the ritual. Very well thought out and beautifuly executed! I'm talking to Dan, not you Voldermort! I think this marks (pardon my pun) the true loss of innocence in Draco. He's just a child and the answer he gave him was a child's answer. Which would've made anybody but Voldemort think twice.

That brings me to the epic conclusion of these reviews (which you should read from bottom to top to make any sense of them, since I sound very random at times) and that is: the reason why Dumbledore died.

Putting aside the fact that he played dress up with the cursed ring, he was killed because he was the only person that was impossible for Draco to kill. Not because Voldemort feared him. He had dozens of lunatics like Bellatrix for that. No, Dumbledore had to die because the quest of Draco Malfoy to kill him amused Voldemort. Sick bastard.

I think you ended the story in the perfect place! I enjoyed reading it very much. Like all of your writting, it was well thought out and even better executed. Well done! :)

Ral

Author's Response: Ha! I've always struggled with a good summary for this story. Maybe that will be my new one: "Draco Malfoy: You'll think he's almost human."

Whew! I'm so glad you liked the meeting with Voldemort. You would not believe how many times I tweaked that scene to try to get the atmosphere just right. Now I feel like I have a tiny appreciation for what movie directors go through when they try to set the scene for some Big Moment in a film and I don't envy them that task at all. It's nerve-racking.

Reciting his family history was meant to keep the Dark Lord from reading Draco's thoughts, but in the end it became mostly a defense mechanism against panicking. It worked out alright for him, although Voldemort obviously had no trouble reading him.

Interesting theory on why Dumbledore had to die. You're right, that he probably could have held on a little longer and helped Harry out a bit more. But it was important to Dumbledore to choose the manner of his own death and to make it as meaningful as possible. So he chose to help Draco out. I think he got a good return on his investment when Draco refused to identify Harry and Narcissa lied to Voldemort later on.

I'm glad you liked where I chose to end it. I could have gone on a bit longer, but I think it would have felt anticlimactic to go any further after he survives his encounter with the Dark Lord.

Wow! So I was definitely not expecting this when I posted in your review thread. Thank you *so much* for reading the whole thing and leaving such amazing reviews!


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