Your encapsulation of Harry's history with the Dursleys, Lockhart, Krumm, etc. is terse and well-limned. The story about Dudley's misdemeanors is particularly enjoyable--not just a rehash--and points up his parents' personalities as well.
Love Aurellia's take on the Four Houses of Hogwarts. Your style changes from practical to elegant here. A presaging of Mme. Deveroux's personality, perhaps?
I was especially taken with the dead-on comparison in: "Yellow and black were the colors of Hufflepuff, the house of the loyal, humble *worker bees*..."
And what a neat device, the reading of residual auras in the classrooms to highlight the characters of the teachers.
Thanks for your kind reading of Minerva McGonagall, one of my favorites. It dovetails perfectly with my own picture of her.
Some of my favorite lines:
"Wonder why they don't hire a living person to teach this class, Deveroux thought. Then again, how do you fire a ghost?"
Snape's warning to Aurellia: "There are some things in this world that give even the mightiest wizards nightmares. I have seen such things; I have experienced such things. And sometimes... I even am one of these things" gave me the most delicious chills. I am looking forward to more confrontations between these two.
(BTW for another luscious take on Snape's wit vis-a-vis another formidable AU opponent, try Anya's "Speak of the Dead" on sugarquill.net.)
"...Dark Cauldron, a fantasy role-playing/trading-card game..." --love it!
Ron-Hermione gibing with a particular witty edge:
"I needn't ask then if you studied at all this summer," Hermione retorted, fixing Ron with a stern glare.
"I needn't ask you if you did anything besides study," Ron shot back.
"[George] and Fred found the revolving door on the DADA classroom to be a virtually inexhaustible source of joke material."
"...troll and goblin patrols..." in the Hogwarts corridors. Now I wonder what you're setting us up for there?
Love your famous Slytherin alums:
"Well, let me see...." replied [Nick], a thoughtful look on his ethereal face. "How about Captain Flabberjakes? Numo Stillmarsh? Or the great dragonslayer Viron Von Arx? Or Reebikah Parrowen, widely considered the greatest sorceress artist of all time?"
And the boys' come-backs:
"Um ... I was thinking more along the lines of the living, Nick," Ron stated sardonically.
"Oh, I don't know, I always thought the only good Slytherin is a dead Slytherin," Lee Jordan chimed in.
Wow! Thanks you, what a marvelous review! You will see more Dark Cauldron later. Yes, it\'s a wink and a nod to the many RPG games out there (I\'ve played a couple myself and enjoy it)
My best friend and co-author is responsible for most of the good Snape-Deveroux spats (I generally do Fred and George). I\'m reading Anya\'s story as well :) My two favorite characters are Snape and Lupin. I\'m having fun creating backstory and history. Thanks again!