Hello Vicki! Here to review this for EvS!
You know that I love this school year already, but I’m not sure if you’re aware of the fact that I also have a large soft spot for Ernie Macmillan himself. I was so excited to see a story in which he was a main character that I rushed right over here to review.
His friendship with Hannah is really well depicted in the beginning here, even though there is a bit of awkwardness here and there because of the circumstances. I thought it masterful to have Hannah spend her time away from the Prophet because it gives a very good opening to fit in some pointed exposition and get the takes of these two on the events happening around them.
It’s all too real how Ernie put off sending that owl. Every bit of his reasoning - first that he couldn’t word it and couldn’t write without saying something about her mum, and then that it felt it’d been so long it’d be worse to send it than not to, and suddenly it’s been a year - I could feel myself nodding along.
The apprehensive evident in their discussions is so well done. ‘Are we fools to still be here?’ is a question that I think a lot of students would be asking themselves in these times. I’m excited to see that they will still be prefects!
This year is a tragic one and I’m not shocked to hear that courses have slackened quite a bit. Everyone’s got a lot else on their minds, I’m sure. Ernie’s idea that the concept of ‘top student’ had shifted in and of itself is so astute. You’ve put that into words so deftly.
Ooooh, Wayne Hopkins! So excited to check in on him. I see he’s got a bit of a militant streak. Hannah is entirely correct in her disagreement with Ernie, I must say. He is far too worried about marks in a year where the school is falling apart around him.
The vanishing of the door is genius! I wish I had thought of that one.
There is something of this last section - the search for Miranda, finding her and convincing her to act sick, running into Snape - something of it made me incredibly emotional. I’ve come to expect you to end chapters on a high note, and this was incredible. There was such a palpable tenseness to their mission and seeing Ernie finally start to get why they do all of these things to keep these children safe was so cathartic. Just moving work, as always. Such a great read, thank you for writing!
I had no idea that you had a soft spot in your heart for Ernie Macmillan, so I'm glad that you found a story you particularly liked. Ernie is such an interesting character. How did he change from the fifth-year student who was bragging about how many hours he spent studying for his O.W.L.S. to the young man in May of 1998 who shouted, "And what if we want to stay and fight?" A lot of maturation in two short years. On the train with Hannah in September, he said, concerning healthful food, that it was necessary to take the long view, but now he sees the long view, not just in the matter of tangible items like food choices, but in abstract ideas of good and evil. He has come to the point of risking his short-term values in favor of supporting higher values. He's a neat guy.
Wayne Hopkins is a character I have come to love. Being nothing more in canon than a name on a list of students by JKR, he can be whatever I want him to be. He is in my one-shot "Greenhouse Seven", appears briefly in "The Crofter and The Snake" (not transferred to this site yet because it needs revision), and will be in my WIP (if I ever get it done).
Hannah also is not a particularly strong character in the seven books, but I wanted her to be stronger here, so I assumed that her year off from school had matured her and made her braver and more of a leader.
Like you, I love this school year because it is so important, and yet the canon books say so little about it. You know what would be fun? To gather all these 1997-1998 at-Hogwarts stories into a single book of short and long stories, just to see all the rich and varied visions of that year.
Thank you so much for your lovely review!