Čt 07 února 2019
(my comments on “Terms of Matrimony” by Galad Estel)
First of all, this story has broken link on Fanfiction.net, so I have had to look up and down all over the Internet to find that only working copy known to me is at ff2ebook.com link shown above. Even the dump on archive.org is incomplete and plain text only. Thank you fflai on Reddit for pointing in the right direction.
This is obvious another example why serial writing is quite problematic. It seems to me that the author after writing introduction (first 23 chapters or so) lost interest and the end is stitched together with a very very hot needle (Czech saying) and it shows.
Having said that, the setup of the story is really nice. It is one of the most persuasive stories of Petunia-Snape relationship. It is dramatic (not like crazily talkative and generally absurd “A magical love affair”) and generally persuasive: one Death Eater (Macnair) uses Imperium Curse on Vernon Dursley to try to get to Harry (who is then six) and kill him. However, Vernon is stopped in the attempt by the magical protection by Harry’s mother and he kills himself (still under the influence of the curse, in order to cover tracks). Petunia with kids is on the run and she must hide in the magical world. However, her status as a single Muggle mother is very uncertain in the Magical world, so Dumbledore decides and manipulates her and Snape into a marriage to get her some standing.
Petunia and kids are hiding for a month at Weasleys’ and while staying there she decides in the end to take a little bit of control over her life and (charmingly with the help of ten-year-old Percy Weasley) drafts eponymous marriage contract, which she sends to Dumbledore, so she accedes to the pressure but still keeps some of her dignity and autonomy. What follows is nice and quite persuasive but already a bit brief struggle of all involved to find their role in the new situation: Petunia is forced to be suddenly real mother and wife, Snape has to learn how to care about somebody else, Dudley suddenly has a father who strictly requires following orders, and Harry has somebody who cares about him.
Unfortunately, in this moment, when one would say that it is well prepared for nice story (how could at least reasonably working family containing one very smart wizard face the challenge of the Dark Lord and how could they resist the machinations of Albus Dumbledore? etc.), so when the reader looks forward to start of nice story, it ends abruptly with Remus ex machina showing up and discovering immediately that the rat is Peter, and we get brief collaboration of two former enemies, just to be interrupted by the evil Veela (interesting concept, but why not?) sent by Lucius Malfoy, who immediately kills Pettigrew in order to protect the mystery and keep Sirius in Azkaban. Next chapter, whole family (& Remus) runs away to America. End of the story.
It’s a pity, it really has a foundation of good novel, but it never fulfils this promise. I would suggest reading it at least for the exposition, but be prepared to dream about continuation.