Word Count: 11,900, Pairing: Harry Potter/Cora Avery
My Thoughts: This chapter does a lot of things really well, and it also stumbles in quite a few places. Overall, I think the strongest moments in this chapter are the interactions between Harry and Cora’s mother. They’re all really sweet, and it’s nice to see how Harry responds to some proper maternal affection. These scenes don’t pop up too often, but when they do they’re always rather fun to read. I also think that Cora’s father, Lord Avery, is written quite well. I think the guilt that he feels over failing Harry for the first ten years of his life is really well visualized, and the most moving part of the chapter is when he’s silently crying over Harry’s abuse. It’s great, it’s powerful, and I absolutely loved it. However, I do feel like I have to point out that the part of this chapter that most concerned me was the scene featuring Cora’s parents arguing over some kind of contract. Now Valor’s never struck me as the type to do something so blatantly overused and silly as a marriage contract, and I sincerely hope that’s not where this is going, but if it is, then I’m afraid I’ll end up docking some major points for leaning on an overused, played out cliche. Not an issue with the chapter per say, but definitely something that has me worried. Now let’s talk about something that I’m a bit mixed on: Harry’s growing relationship with Cora. Now, because of the nature of this pairing, it has the potential to get…squicky, to say the least. Specifically, if Valor attempts to do any real romance before Harry is at least sixteen, it will become problematic very, very quickly. (Imagine if their genders were reversed and it was a sixteen year old boy with a twelve year old girl….I’m just saying, the gender flip doesn’t make it less of a concern). However, as of right now, I think Valor does a good job keeping Harry and Cora’s relationship relatively platonic, to the point where it almost feels as though they’re siblings. This is easily the correct thing to do, and I really enjoyed a lot of their interactions in this chapter. I thought that the general dynamic in Harry’s new home was fairly good, overall. I wasn’t a fan of Harry getting a personal house elf as a birthday present because I hate house elves on principal, but….I try not to let that kind of thing have too big an impact on my reviews, so….I’d probably only dock a point or two for that kind of thing in a review. Overall, I felt like this chapter’s pacing was kind of whack, and I’m wondering how well it will mesh with the rest of the story, but that kind of thing is something that I won’t be able to comment on until the fic’s complete. So…..anyway I just rambled for awhile, and hopefully my thoughts make sense kind of? That’s the goal anyway. Overall, I enjoyed this one a bit less than the first two, but I still thought it had a lot of cool stuff going on in it. It even ended on a nice little cliff hanger near the end, so we’ll all have to see where that will pick up in the next chapter. I’d probably place this chapter high in the good tier or low in the great tier, so….something around a 7.5/10 or so. Maybe 7.6 or 7? Somewhere in there.