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Jesus Christ, Ari, I think that last chapter nearly gave me a heart attack. I’m not quite sure how I feel about either Draco or Astoria at this point. I do want to start off with the fact that I have never read a chapter of any story that has left me as torn and tied up in the characters’ troubles as this one. You’ve done a brilliant job with their struggle; it’s so poignant and real that I wonder if you have known someone who’s gone through something like this or if you’ve gone through this yourself (I know you haven’t…but the writing is that good, believe me.).
Ahhhh. *painful sigh* I understand Draco’s disbelief over Astoria’s selfishness, but I’m not sure that Astoria is the villain he thinks she is. I can understand where she’s coming from as well—she wants to be loved and treasured alongside her baby. I think you’ve balanced both sides of the argument very well; you’ve shown a vulnerable wife…but you’ve also shown an indignant, protective father. Even an hour after reading this, I’m not sure whether to pity or love or hate Astoria.
Brilliant characterization on your part—I do hope you continue to keep it gray, because struggles in relationships rarely have a good guy or a bad guy, a right side or a wrong side. Usually, relationships are messy and beautiful and heartbreaking—you’ve captured that perfectly. The line where Astoria says “I wouldn’t have had to f*** another man if you…” demonstrates exactly how vicious brokenhearted, desperate people can become. It nearly brought tears to my eyes.
But while the relationship dynamic between Draco and Astoria is beautifully depicted, Draco’s characterization is altogether too soft and absent of prejudices. You were veering a bit close to this overly soft persona in the first chapter, but since the main times we see Draco in Chapter 1 were paternal scenes with Scorpius, I thought perhaps the softness was a side effect of his love for his son. Now that I’m seeing him in scenes without Scorpius, I see that this is not true.
The moment where Draco seems altogether OOC is with the Muggle-clothes wearing parents of Armani. Just because of the war, I can’t see Draco’s old prejudices fading to the point that he can chat—completely free of reservations—with these Muggleborn people. Yes, I could see him chatting with them for his son’s sake, but only after a great deal of mental preparation, reflection and consideration. (For example, They may be Muggleborn and naturally inferior to us, but Scorpius has found a true friend in Armani—I wished for a friend as trustworthy as that boy when I was my son’s age. His happiness is worth indulging in a five minute conversation with these people—it’s not as though their heritage is contagious. Or something along those lines.)
In addition, Draco’s emotions regarding Astoria are a bit...moody. In Draco’s reaction to Astoria’s affair, he seems to jump from resignation in Chapter 1 to fury in Chapter 2. You need a better transition from the “I’ll protect my son from her” theme of Chapter 1 to the “You’re a whore!” of Chapter 2. In addition, I think Draco would not spend so much energy and emotion reacting to Astoria’s suspected infidelity unless he knew for sure that Astoria was cheating on him. His furious reaction—while, yes, it would work if she really is cheating on him because Malfoys are very territorial creatures—seems out of place in the current circumstances…I think he’d lurk around and wait for more proof. He’s a Slytherin at heart; he’ll wait and see where the chips have fallen before he makes a move.
Anyway, overall, you've done a great job with this chapter! It was completely riveting and poignantly written. I can’t wait to read more; this is definitely one of the best Draco/Astoria relationship dynamics I’ve ever read. :)
this is a very good story so far but i was just wondering umm in chap 1 wasnt the house elf's name Fanny and then in chap 2 it magically changed to Franny lol just something i noticed :)) great job tho!!!!!
wow loved this chapter, i've never really like draco but he really showed her. well done
You can't just end it like that :O. I'm like literally on the edge of my seat. Uuuupdaaaaaaate sooooooooooooon!
I like the detail you give on the day to day existance of Draco's life.
I am not sure yet if I find the break-up of Draco and his wife believable yet. For this to work we have to accept that Draco was totally clueless that Astoria resented him for all the time he spent with his son.
This could be possible if she were the type of person who kept it all in and never said anything and the resentment built up and then she chose to see someone else.
But right now, she isn't portrayed very sympathetically. If it is your intention that they divorce, an explanation of why they fell in love (or why Draco thought he did) is needed. Why for instance did he not want to marry Daphne? What was so good about Astoria in the beginning.
If it is your intention that they reconcile, you've got your work cut out as it isn't easy to portray a woman who resents her kid in a way that makes her likeable.
Hello, Ari! First, I'd like to applaud you on tackling such a difficult pairing. I always want to read more about their relationship and I'm excited to see this story on MNFF!
Okay, let me get right into the story. I absolutely loved your depiction of Scorpius. He's absolutely perfect--he's more openminded than his father but has all the characteristics of Draco that I love! The only thing that I would be careful of with him is that you can't make him into a Gary Stu; make sure to incorporate some faults of his into the plot of future chapters. One big fault that I could see happening with Scorpius is that he could be a bit spoiled, just a bit of a brat about certain things. ;)
I also loved your depiction of Draco as a father! He's just a tad too overprotective, but he truly loves his son. I think that this characterization is just perfect. I could see Draco keeping the news of his failing marriage from his son in an effort to protect him. The one issue that I found with Draco's characterization is that he is completely willing to cook and clean. Knowing from canon that Draco was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, I have an extremely hard time believing that Draco would dust or cook--I think he'd depend on house elves to do this for his family. If you're going to include this characterization, you have to explain how Draco went from an aristocratic brat to this domesticated husband.
You also make the Draco/Astoria relationship seem completely cold and very real. Particularly heartbreaking were Draco's memories of how his wife had been as a newlywed. I love that you explain what made Draco fall in love with this seemingly unlovable, frigid female...but that you also leave blanks. You say that "something" had stolen away the old Astoria and replaced it with this woman. I wonder what that 'something' is, and I think that leaves the perfect opening for you to explore in following chapters. Nice job!
The plot is quite perfect. I loved the presentation of the failing marriage contrasted with the thriving father-son relationship. The inclusion of minor characters such as Scorpius' maternal grandmother and friend Aramanias bring a spice to the story that is quite pleasant. I loved the variety of settings, from the Hogwarts Express station to the kitchen and gardens of Malfoy Manor.
Overall, you have a quite interesting start to what looks to be a dynamic Draco/Astoria story! I can't wait to see how their story, along with Draco's relationship with his son, evolves.
Hmmm, interesting, I listened to Hallelujah while I read this, and you were right. I'm looking forward to an update.
Interested and wanting to read more. Thank you for starting this and here is to more on the way. With any hope soon.
Author's Response: Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it! -Ari-
That is one of the most enjoyable stories I have read in a while! :D It was so sweet and the whole time *grins crazy* I was picturing Felton as Draco, and sweet Merlin didn't it create some pretty scenary there. /Spam :D And one more thing: the way this is written - the absolutely wonderful narration - how would you like a nomination for Audio fics? This is brilliant, Ari. I love it!
Okay. I seriously have no critique. But these are the part I loved:
He knew that Scorpius wouldn’t keep the room clean, but for several years Draco had attempted to implement a little organization in the chaos. Aw moment, number 1. ;)
Draco scowled at the students who had laughed at this and they quickly turned away and back to their friends. That was so really sweet. I immediately appreciated a little contrast that must been there b/w Lucius and Draco as dad. But I'm a little surprised because well Astoria seemed really minimal in this initial greeting scene. Scorpious does not make an attempt towards her, and her flat out stranger mum response is yeah well surprising.
I love the name 'Armanias' and Scorpious' bond with this young boy.
"No," Draco cut him off, holding his hand out. "Wand." Very nice balance of authority and friendship. Its the sort where Draco is shown being lenient with Scorpious most of time but his rare reprimand will be the kind of thing to look out for. How I am looking forward to such a scene. Ah.
Astoria was at her vanity again, messing with her hairpins. Despite having a long, beautiful mane of bright blond hair, she hadn't worn it down in ages, and insisted on keeping it in tight, complicated buns atop her head.
"Will you be joining us for breakfast? I cooked it all myself."
"I'm meeting mother for breakfast."
"Oh." Draco fought to keep the scowl off his face. "When will you be returning?"
"Later in the evening."
"Well alright then. Enjoy yourself. Tell her Scorpius and I send our well wishes."
"Yes, of course."
I can't help but quoting all this. The word 'messing' creates such a nice description, you know. It relays so perfectly Draco's feelings about his wife, half-annoyed at her daily rituals. It sort of made me smile. The dialogue that follows made me smile explicitly, because somehow I was picturing Ari being forced down to write sophisticated conversation and being so wonderful at that!
Just near the end however, I'm no so sure about Draco cleaning up the stuff in his son's room. It just doesnt seem right, this part. He's friendly but not a house-elf. This makes him too matronly in my opinion.
Thank you for the wonderful read. And update soon, please!
Author's Response: AWW! *squishes!* Thank you so much for the wonderful review, Akay! *beams* Reviews like this make me so happy. :) I would be absolutely honored for an Audio Fiction nomination! *squishes again* -Ari-