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Review:Roots in Water says:
It's Roots in Water here with your review!

This certainly was an interesting chapter! I knew that there was something off about Bellatrix the moment she came into the dining room; the fact that there wasn't a sound before she arrived was clue, since I couldn't believe that Moody would be easy to take down, and her eating with her mouth open sealed it. That specific instance was definitely out of joint with her characterization, since she's so proud of being a "proper pureblood" and probably views eating with your mouth open as distasteful. I found it very strange, considering your great success with her in the last chapter.

And then I read on and learned that it was actually Tonks in disguise and everything made sense. Her idea, which Moody obviously was not a part of, was very clever, especially since Draco hadn't been around Bellatrix enough to know the details of how she acts. Since Tonks played the public opinion of Bellatrix, Draco bought it.

And soiled himself. I really like how you continue to show Draco's naivety in the world. As I said before, he was truly unaware of the realities of Voldemort and the prejudices he's supported and he's getting a rather rude awakening now. It was very interesting to see Draco try to seize the opportunity to escape. You're opening the paths for his future refusal to identify Harry in the manor and, it can be argued, his half-hearted attempts to murder Dumbledore. He doesn't truly want to join Voldemort now but he sees no other choice.

As much as I loved this other side of Narcissa that you're showing us - the weaknesses that she allows only those she loves to see - it was interesting (and different) to see just how much you allowed her to fall apart in this chapter. I would have thought that you'd have her seize the opportunity to see her son safe and far away from the dangers of the war, but I can also see why you had her react the way she did. She just had a horrible shock and she can see no way out. She's depressed and likely to see any plan as a failure now.

As well, having her agree to the plan to run away would have only made the plot more difficult, since we know that Draco did end up joining the ranks of the Death Eaters. :)

The ending definitely brought us back to the Narcissa that we know from the books (the little we know of her, I should say). She still cares about the survival of her son above all else and we can clearly see the roots of her decision to seek Snape's help.

All in all, this was a great chapter that continued to move the story along Draco's unfortunate path. You've done a great job with Draco's characterization as well as with the events that push him to take the Dark Mark. I look forward to reading more about his sad, inevitable journey and thanks for requesting a review!

Author's Response: Hello, again!

You know, I wasn't really thinking about giving Tonks away when she takes a bite of Draco's breakfast and chews with her mouth open. I was more just imagining her as being stark, raving mad. But, now that you mention it, it probably isn't the sort of thing that Bella's obsessive devotion to her upbringing would allow. Better to be lucky than good, I suppose?

Moody was actually a part of Tonks's plan. They devised it to confirm what they already suspected -- that some of the escaped Death Eaters had paid Malfoy Manor a visit while the Aurors were otherwise engaged. Tonks merely took it a lot farther than Moody had intended because she can't resist tormenting her arrogant, pure blood cousin.

And she does scare him quite badly, doesn't she? It was just another step in Draco's harsh and abrupt growing-up process.

I've been trying to foreshadow or hint at a number of future events as I take Draco and Narcissa through this story. Bella, as well, to a lesser extent. It's one of the fun things about writing this. Since we all know how the story turns out -- more or less, anyway -- there are so many opportunities to water-drop in ideas and details and off-hand comments that connect with future events. Much different from writing a post-canon story.

I did give some thought to having the two of them try to run. It certainly could have been entertaining to put the two of them out there together in the big, hostile world. In the end, though, it sort of seemed... beneath them, I guess is the best way to put it. There's nothing about either character anywhere in canon or elsewhere that suggests that they would ever just run away from everything they've ever known and strike out on their own. Draco retreats into his family's money and power, not away from it. And you're right, bringing the story full circle would have been much less tidy if they'd tried to run.

In spite of the terrible circumstances she finds herself in, Narcissa really does care more about Draco than anything else. More on this in the next (possibly the final) chapter.

Thanks so much for all of your detailed, thoughtful observations. They're always very helpful!

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