Whew, made it to the end!
SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED. A LACK OF CORMAC, AN EXCESS OF BLAISE, A CLASH OF LOYALTIES MY DANG
Anyway, to this chapter in particular. It is rather endearing to see the growing bond with Blaise, but I tiptoe nervously around that because I know Eloise belongs with Cormac even if she is doing all of this to protect him. I'm most intersted in the going ons of Hogwarts, it is ever so fascinating to see what was happening with Harry and his gang were out. I'm interested to see how Blaise things continue to unfold, in the beginning it felt so rushed and sudden but the small things here & there about their agreement and growing friendship have helped immensely!
I WAS GOING TO WAIT TO DO A PROPER REVIEW AFTER I HAD CAUGHT UP
BUT HOW DARE YOU?!?!?!?!
(in the nicest way possible)
okay, she's not pregnant - one less thing to worry about, because i have no idea how she would have dealt with the pregnancy in her current mental state and the circumstances that she is in, especially with the war both in and out of hogwarts.
i completely forgot to comment on eloise joining dumbledore's army but yes! at least something that's not completely weird and something i can definitely see happening.
her reasoning that she married! blaise zabini to protect cormac is completely twisted - i mean, okay, we dont' know what blaise can do about nero and tiberius but still. especially with keeping cormac in the dark (though he would never let her do this if he knew)!
the hanging younger students in chains in the dungeons to make the older ones talk is particularly cruel.
does blaise fancy theodore nott? it seems as if eloise might think so.
it's good that susan might be friends with eloise again but carrow obviously doesn't believe eloise not one bit. hopefully he doesn't hurt her too much.
i admit, i am thoroughly confused about this chapter. eloise and blaise are suddenly married, she is actually using (or trying to use) the cruciatus curse on her fellow students and there is a possibility of her being pregnant.
first of all, her marriage to blaise still doesn't make any kind of sense and i can't wrap my head around it. her break up with cormac didn't make sense but this is on a whole other level. then, the story she decided to tell everyone is so full of holes that i don't get how anyone would believe her. her hufflepuff friends are strangely accepting of this new eloise, well except for susan and honestly, i'm currently team susan in the grand scheme of things.
eloise using the cruciatus curse without any resistance (i don't count her lukewarm protestations to blaise) is so out of character for a person who has been, through the course of this story, so caring about everyone.
and what about cormac? he must be devastated and so very confused.
i'm not sure how to feel about eloise getting tipsy (drunk?) with blaise instead of spending more time with cormac at the ministry christmas party but hopefully cormac doesn't get jealous.
i do think it's great that her parents allowed her to visit the mclaggens (even if they don't exactly know her boyfriend - which makes me wonder why hadn't eloise introduced all of them? i mean, her and cormac's relationship is quite serious and she has met almost his whole family lived with them even!).
cormac cooking is probably the most adorable thing ever - he's just so domestic and caring of his family. it does make sense considering his abusive father. but his siblings are amazing and both him and eloise are amazing with them, i feel like the two of them would be really great parents (it's probably too early to think about that but i just think they're great with the kids). but why is eloise feeling guilty? okay i see. what is wrong with her? why does she want to break up with cormac? is she mental? i don't believe her explanation or maybe i simply don't get it. either way i think it's a stupid decision.
eloise's nightmare is terrifying - it's obvious she feels really guilty about luna's kidnapping and as if it was somehow her fault when there was literally nothing she could have done. i mean, ginny and neville tried to fight and it didn't even make a difference.
i really don't like eloise's mother - she might think well and have good intentions but the comment about eloise's dress being good because it's green and that's a slytherin colour just made me roll my eyes, especially when she mentioned eloise should maybe get friendly with the minister's stepson. susan would call them collaborators probably. i can't actually believe they're even going to the ministry party attended by death eaters.
oh, susan is coming as well? interesting - i just hope nothing bad happens to her.
well, at least eloise has a chance to be and dance with cormac at the party with his evil father and uncle not there. the banter they have going between them is as adorable as ever.
and blaise zabini is the minister's stepson?! and his mother thinks that him and eloise are getting married, what is up with that woman and blaise and basically everyone?
i can't believe eloise and susan had this huge fight over something so stupid. stupid because they are both on the same side. they are both trying to survive a war which is obviously tearing everyone, including the two of them apart. i can understand both points of view, but i think susan is a little extreme in accusing eloise that she is on the side of voldemort and the death eaters, when eloise has been trying to help people since she learned her first healing spell. i get that she's angry and upset, but in times like these, people, friends, need to stay together and keep each other strong, not fall apart because of angry words. i wish they would have made up quicker - it's weird that it's already the christmas holidays and still they're not talking to each other when before they were inseparable.
somehow i had a feeling before that vincent may be involved with potterwatch somehow and i'm glad i was right! i hope eloise might also try and act beyond just keeping the peace in hogwarts and actually join the students trying to fight back. though, to me, she has always seemed more like a peacemaker, but desperate times....
the first part of the chapter when the carrows are interviewing students and eloise is thinking about her muggleborn friends and how they are most likely murdered is disturbing and incredibly sad. i did like the parts where she's thinking about the students who are still at hogwarts and how they are secretly rebelling (or will be rebelling anyhow).
with the current situation at hogwarts, eloise is a perfect choice for head girl - it's great that she managed to get the entire prefect team to take care of and help their fellow students, regardless of their house. blaise zabini honestly surprised me - back when he was in the hospital wing saying all the awful things about muggleborns i thought he was genuine, but now, i think maybe he really was only testing eloise? he definitely seems a lot kinder now. i actually like him as a character and would love to know more about him. susan kinda disappointed me with her reaction at eloise's friendliness towards blaise - i do agree they should fight the enemy (maybe in subversive ways), but i definitely don't agree with her assertion that slytherins are the enemy. they're just children and teenagers like her and most of them don't deserve that kind of treatment.
cormac surprising eloise in hogsmeade was at least one bright thing in an otherwise pretty bleak chapter, it's great that he managed to visit (and, ahem, book them a room!).
i'm really glad that eloise's parents came around and changed their minds. it seems that they would rather have their daughter than to try and control her. which is always nice, though their fear is definitely justified.
and hannah is back! that's wonderful even if it means she had to go out of hiding - i just hope nothing else happens to her. compulsory attendance of hogwarts means that zacharias is back as well, though i don't think he's too happy about it, considering his somewhat cowardly ways.
it's a surprise that eloise was awarded head girl, not being a prefect. i'm not sure what was the reasoning behind that when they were deciding, but she's so caring about everyone (which will make her a great healer some day!) that it makes sense. blaise zabini, on the other hand, i can't wrap my head around him as head boy. lets hope he doesn't abuse the position.
it's going to be a tough year for everyone but i hope that eloise and her friends will actually manage to join the dumbledore's army rebellion and try to make things hard for snape and the carrows from the inside. it's a shame that cormac is older than her and therefore out of hogwarts - i miss their interaction and flirting already!
i don't think i can survive the amount of fluff and love and feelings that happen in this chapter but i want more of it!
touchy-feely cormac is the best cormac and i hope we never ever encounter the not touchy-feely cormac again. eloise purposefully slouching or not doing the proper wandwork just so he could hold her close under the pretense of correcting her is just so silly and adorable. silly because there is obviously no need for her to pretend things like that because i think that cormac doesn't need an excuse to hold her close or to kiss her or hug her, but it is still very cute.
the accidental declaration of love eloise made made me grin like a fool because it so fits them! and then cormac goes and practically proposes (though not really) to her and she says yes even though they're still too young for that and my heart melted. i can understand the need to be closer than ever, to maybe even rush things (but the two of them are already acting like they're married, as susan pointed out so it isn't much of a change) due to the increasingly dangerous times they're living in.
i just hope that the ominous line about the crashing down won't be true (at least not completely) and that in the end, their love will overcome all obstacles that might get thrown their way.
cormac deciding he absolutely needed to seduce eloise by walking around half naked has my ultimate support in his endeavours. i also really love how eloise is painting aoibheann's nails and just kinda ignoring cormac but not really because i bet she's having pretty vivid images floating around her head. aoibheann is really nice to eloise, especially with her teasing questioning - it's so obvious she likes her and thinks that she and her brother would be (are?) perfect together.
the whole drinking glasses shenanigans was literally the most adorable thing i have read in a while. i mean, cormac and eloise are acting as if they've been together for ages, they're so natural with each other. and then they finally kiss and objectively, it's not perfect, but it actually is for them because they're both smiling so much that they can't even kiss properly. i think it sums up their relationship really well.
i thought that finally, cormac and eloise are properly kissing, taking things where they need to go and then cormac has to stop it all. it's good that he told her everything but omg i don't even have words to describe how much i hate nero (and tiberius) mclaggen! that guy needs to disappear of the face of the earth and leave cormac and the mclaggens and eloise alone.
so, i was right in thinking that eloise might ask cormac for help with her situation and it's so awesome that he didn't even blink before letting her move in with his family.
his mother is great - she is just very straightforward and doesn't beat around the bush while she's also not the type to fuss over someone, in this case eloise - she accepted her into the mclaggen home and family so naturally, without any fuss. cormac's siblings also obviously adore eloise - i just can't get enough of the domestic cuteness in this chapter. it's wonderful that eloise fits so well with everyone.
we haven't really seen much of her and cormac's relationship but they are amazing together. i would really love to see more of the two of them interacting together, even if they're just talking. it definitely seems like cormac has a plan to make eloise totally crazy about him (as if she isn't already!).
i wonder if cormac's father is going to show up at some point. he probably will and i'm not looking forward to that. i hope cormac tells eloise about him, i feel like she could help him get through it all.
eloise's parents are being incredibly stupid. i always hated the line 'our house, our rules' and all the possible iterations of it because i can't stand someone trying to control someone else, even if it's done out of genuine concern, like it is with eloise's parents.
cormac staying by her bed for the whole duration of her hospital stay was very sweet, but not as sweet as all the things he said and admitted to her when she woke up. i'm glad he finally managed to get over himself and actually tell her how he feels. if only her parents didn't interrupt them!
if eloise is thinking about running away from home and she can't stay with any of her hufflepuff friends, is it possible that she could stay with cormac?
okay, her and wayne are ending their relationship/hook up which is great since they both seem okay with it, even though i was a little bit worried that wayne might have feelings for her. his line about eloise and cormac watching each other made me laugh as i realised he was quite right - they spent a lot of the school year just watching each other, which is really cute when you think about the sort of guy cormac is known as. it shows how much eloise means to him.
while you've stayed pretty close to canon events up until this point in the timeline, i'm definitely glad that you decided to change things up a little bit and that the hufflepuffs reacted to the dumbledore's army galleons burning and that they also invited the rest of the hufflepuffs who weren't part of the DA to accompany them. i always found it incredibly sad that the only ones who answered during the battle of the astronomy tower were luna and neville out of so many people that used to be a part of dumbledore's army.
from the way you portrayed them throughout the course of the story, i'm not at all surprised that they would decide to answer the call for help - they're so loyal and it would be out of character for them to sit around and do nothing while they know someone might need their help (except zacharias but he has always been a bit of a coward, i think).
i also absolutely love all the spells you've invented in this story, from the one that would transcribe what a person is saying to someone who needs that sort of help, to the one you used in this chapter so they'd all be able to communicate - they're both very original!
poor henry - i feel really sorry for him, i can't even imagine how hard he must have it, with almost his whole family dead and a little sister to take care of. when we first found out about henry and his panic attacks and mental health issues, i thought that the death eaters had attacked his family but now we find out that the attack was by a werewolf and happened two years ago. was the werewolf fenrir greyback or just an unknown werewolf? and why did he attack them and kill them all? so many questions.
it's great that eloise managed to help henry and that he was determined for all of the hufflepuffs to get their apparition licenses. he is obviously struggling but also doing his best to keep himself together and keep positive as much as he can, which is quite admirable.
theodore nott offering eloise a chocolate was adorable - we don't know much about him except that his father is a death eater, but i'd like to think he doesn't approve of that.
blaise zabini has awful opinions and i don't really get why he thinks making his opinions known to someone who he knows thinks them awful because she can't or, at least shouldn't, voice her own, is fun.
so cormac is flying badly and generally trying his best to make people think he isn't great at stuff, especially quidditch, to make his abusive father stop pestering him about it all. i'm not sure how sound that idea is, it doesn't seem like a healthy and normal choice, especially because both his teammates and him could have gotten hurt, and in the end, harry did get hurt. while madame pomfrey is obviously quick enough to fix harry, it was still a very unfortunate accident resulting from cormac's wish to get his father to stop. i'm not sure how he should deal with his father but i think he needs to get some help or some advice from someone neutral who can help him reach a point at which he can confront his father or get away from him completely, without the consequence being cormac in the hospital wing with broken ribs.
his mother sounds cool in the letter, and his siblings are adorable. i wish we could see more of cormac and his home life, at least the good part of his home life.
the hufflepuff victory party was cute, but i also felt like maybe they had too many rules? it seems to be the hufflepuff way, but i guess i'm used to more relaxed parties :P not to say it was a bad party, it just showed us the way they take care of each other.
Hi Val! Here for RvG and Magical Menagerie.
So, I know that I've read this story already, but it's really been far too long and it's time for a reread and to come back with fresh eyes :)
I'm always excited to read about minor characters, and I really love the way you've structured this prologue. We know so little of Eloise Midgeon from canon but what we do know isn't exactly complimentary to her, the poor girl (reading this is making me want to yell at Ron for all the remarks he's made through the years, oops). The way that you've taken those few little details and run with them so that they've grown into a fuller introduction to the protagonist here is brilliant.
I felt so sorry for Eloise at the start of this - although I can totally picture her brother saying that about her. Out of the mouths of babes, hey? And ugh, the pain of being the only girl in the class not invited to someone's birthday party - me and Eloise have things in common already. We can be friends.
The way that you built the chapter up, with the remarks that she constantly overhears about her appearance, was really effective - but also so sad. Nobody should have to grow up that insecure in their own body because of what other people say (though of course it happens so often). It's hardly surprising that she's retreated into herself because of that, and she hides from the people who don't know her and who aren't friends with her.
Hufflepuff is an awesome house, though, and it sounds like the best house for someone like Eloise, in a way - a house where she can become friends with others because they're generally kinder and less superficial than people from other houses tend to be (and yes, I am a Gryffindor saying that); it's reassuring to know that she's got people she can rely on there, going through school. And the ending of this chapter worked really well, with the way that you approached her sixth year, where the story starts; we've got a bit of an introduction to your version of her character already, but I can sense that things are going to start changing for her in her sixth year and it's a great start to the story!
so, cormac has an abusive father. it's not something i expected, especially with the way he doesn't show any of it to anyone, even when we are inside his head, he doesn't think about it, except for now. i admit, the fall off the broom was suspicious to me, but i didn't think much of it while i was reading the previous chapter, though the behaviour he displayed towards eloise makes sense now. i wish he would tell her, though, or at the very least apologise without telling her. from what we've seen of eloise's personality, she wouldn't pry or pester him to tell her anything, she's not that type of person, but i think she would try her best to help him or comfort him.
eloise's desperation about everything - both school related and war related is understandable, though i agree with susan that she shouldn't take it out on her friends and housemates. it's hard, especially with vince getting fired, but it won't actually make her feel better, just guilty for blowing up at people.
i adore the trope or plot device, whatever it's called, of hooking up in order to make the guy (or girl) you actually like jealous. it's not a nice move, but i still love it. and there literally is no relationship between eloise and mclaggen so he deserves a little bit revenge for his rude behaviour (is he ever going to apologise? are we ever going to find out why exactly he was so rude and mean and just generally awful to eloise at the ministry christmas party?).
the fact that eloise is still hooking up with wayne is interesting - i didn't think it would last and honestly, it just seems like even though they're both denying anything of the sort, there might be some feelings developing. eloise is still visibly attracted to mclaggen so maybe not on her part, but wayne. i don't know, i think that if he does develop feelings, eloise might lose him as a friend and from what i understand, he has been a really good friend to her - it would be a shame if that ended up being ruined.
cormac has a weird tendency to appear in the hospital wing with peculiar injuries - how did he fall of his broom and why?
while i am definitely glad and supportive of eloise and wayne in giving it a go together, i think that if they're such good friends, there is a very real possibility of one or both of them developing feelings for the other. which is not necessarily a bad thing but despite mclaggen's rudeness and inexplicable behaviour, i still ship him and eloise when i remember how cute they were together before the christmas holidays.
i still really want to know what happened to mclaggen to make him behave in such a bad way towards eloise. the snippet of his home life that we got doesn't really explain anything, he doesn't even think about eloise. but he is adorable as the caring older brother - dressing keegan and the little twins who hold hands when they are upset are also too cute for words. his sister is a squib which was definitely a surprise but i love that he is so supportive of her (though it's awful, the way her mother treats her).
i'd love to see cormac and eloise having a proper conversation about what is happening (or isn't happening) between the two of them.
what is wrong with mclaggen? does he have a secret evil twin or something? probably not, but i have no idea what's gotten into him, and obviously eloise is understandably surprised. he seemed so into her before christmas and now he's calling her ugly and stupid (and we know he didn't used to think either of those things about her). is he jealous of ernie? i kinda doubt it. maybe something happened and he has to pretend he doesn't like her? but i can't think of a solid reason why.
i liked seeing eloise at home with her parents and brother, it's all so very domestic and fluffy even though they, too, have suffered because of the war.
what i also noticed about your story is that you're including students having mental health issues because of the war (some probably have them unrelated to the war and for them, the war may have just made the issues worse) and i think that's very realistic and something that could be overlooked but it's important that it isn't. war is ugly and hard and terrible, and even if you or your family or friends don't get hurt in the physical sense, you're still suffering and that needs to be both acknowledged and dealt with (in a way that's doable).
i think i could read cormac and eloise talking and subtly (or maybe not so subtly) flirting with each other all day. you've really made them into unique voices - eloise is really cute when she is convincing herself not to like cormac or to just not say anything and then she just goes and does it anyway (like him, say flirty things to him). cormac on the other hand was much more confident before when he only regarded eloise as an attractive girl, not really caring about her personality. but now, i think we can see that he is truly starting to like her in the real sense of the word, not just physically, and yet, he is still cormac mclaggen and says things like the wizard and the hat tidbit (which was a hilarious analogy!). i thought he might try and kiss eloise, but it seems as if he's become a little bit hesitant about it, unsure, which is not usual for mclaggen and i bet even he doesn't quite understand his own feelings.
the presents her friends got her for her seventeenth birthday were cool - it wasn't anything unreasonable, like something really expensive, but they obviously meant a lot to eloise (which just means she has really good friends who know her well).
vince's hearing is gradually improving - that's great, at last some good news in the midst of everything bad that's happening.
well, it seems i was wrong about the reason mclaggen missed his study date with eloise, so i guess i'll have to wait to find out why when he was so into her. and he still seems very interested in her, which is nice to know, but he doesn't really know her.
and oh, i think eloise might like mclaggen as well, at least the physical side of him (also i literally laughed out loud at susan asking her why she isn't climbing him like a tree).
how come susan and zacharias antagonise each other so much? i would definitely love to know more about that (did they have a thing? do they have a thing for each other now?) and about susan's investigations into government conspiracies (i can't blame her for being interested - it sounds fascinating).
the little exchange between cormac and eloise in the courtyard was completely adorable, i honestly can't wait for them to interact more (so cormac better not miss another tutoring session).
i pity aloysius - i can't imagine how he must feel to do that to himself, but i hope that at some point he'll manage to get the help he needs. i also think the way you included draco and blaise bringing him in and being obviously worried for the boy is great in the sense that we are able to see a human side to the two slytherins.
i loved seeing eloise who loses control. up until now she was mostly pretty calm and understanding, even when her brother was a victim of a death eater attack and he ended up in the hospital deaf, but now, with mclaggen, i think that a lot of the things that happened (hannah's mother getting killed, vincent in the hospital, the generally bad situation in the wizarding world) just built up for her and caused her to blow up at him (and her manners obviously didn't kick in). i can just imagine mclaggen with a totally stunned face, jaw dropping, at this beautiful hufflepuff girl who blew up at him and just left him standing there.
poor henry! he must be feeling awful and it's no wonder he needs a calming draught and a sleeping potion, but i think it's a good thing he's trying to stay positive (as much as he can).
the hufflepuff boys are adorable in offering eloise and susan to stay in their dorm so the two of them aren't so lonely. i think wayne is my favourite right now, especially in how he handled them talking about hannah's mother being murdered - he's absolutely right that they should focus on helping hannah if they can, not on something they can't do anything about.
for all his excitement and want to get together with eloise, i find it strange that mclaggen would miss their study date. is it possible that he missed it due to hermione using the confundus charm on him? i can't remember from the books when exactly that was, but i think that the quidditch tryouts are usually at the start of term. or maybe he was doing something more interesting than studying with eloise.
i really like the characterisation of susan bones - it's so cool that she secretly (or not so secretly since eloise thinks amelia bones approved of susan doing it) goes through the ministry papers in the hopes of uncovering what exactly is happening in the ministry and what is being covered up.
eloise's brother is another victim of the death eaters. i feel sad for him and for eloise, but at least he is still alive. the fact that he may be deaf is bad but it can be dealt with. and that's what i really loved about this chapter and eloise's character - when she found out her brother may be deaf forever, she didn't despair, no, she quickly found out how to help him, both temporary with the spell and permanently with suggesting they all learn sign language. i think it just shows how strong she is and more take control type of person than someone who would despair and cry, without doing anything about it.
hannah is obviously extremely sad because of her mother's murder but i hope she'll manage to turn her sadness and probably rage towards voldemort and the death eaters into something useful. will she come back to hogwarts? i hope she does.