Chapter 3: Something Found, Something Lost.
There are things that could probably be improved about the fight with the kappa, but overall, I am still pleased with it. Kappas, of course, are mentioned once in the books and described in Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.
The description in Fantastic Beasts is straight out of Japanese fairy tales, so Rowling did her homework there. One detail she omitted, not surprisingly, is that traditionally, kappas sucked their unfortunate victims' blood and intestines out through their anuses. (Kappas thus supposedly explained why drowning victims are often found with distended anuses. Now didn't you want to know that?)
Alex is again, perhaps, pushing the Mary Sue envelope, but hey, if she can't outwit a kappa (which is how heroes traditionally beat them) what kind of heroine is she? At least she didn't use this method:
Something I notice here in the reread is that she explicitly relies on Brian's help. Alexandra is often criticized for being too independent and unwilling to ask her friends for help, but she does sometimes. Of course she often does it as she does now, in moments of crisis when there's no time to think about it or make sure they're willing first.
Brian eyed the gold circlet, as he put an arm around his sister's shoulders.
“You got your bracelet back,” he said, and the bitterness in his voice was unmistakable.
“I didn't know that thing was in the pond. I thought... I thought maybe there was a naiad but... well you didn't really believe it either, did you?” Alexandra was more shaken than she wanted to admit. She looked at Bonnie, then at Brian. “I didn't think there would be any danger!”
“What are redcaps?” he asked.
"Something Found, Something Lost" refers, of course, to Alexandra's found bracelet and her lost friendship with Brian. This is the chapter where Alexandra's separation from the Muggle world begins. Even before Dean Grimm arrives, she manages to estrange herself from her best friend. It's been hinted at already — that Brian is uneasy with Alexandra's magic, that he doesn't like Bonnie being exposed to it.
“I'd never let you or Bonnie get hurt,” she said, softly. And she meant it. She really did. She might not have realized it until now, but the last thing she would ever want to do was see her best friend or his sister come to harm. Yet even to herself, the words sounded a little hollow. In the back of her mind, a small voice was telling her that she hadn't even thought about Brian or Bonnie getting hurt. She'd only been thinking about her bracelet. And that was exactly what Brian was thinking now.
So close to self-awareness, Alex. It's just too bad you can't hold that thought in your head the next time you want to do something reckless.
And yes, in rereading, I am seeing lots of passages like this where I do too much narrating of what Alexandra and other people are feeling.
Bonnie was still heaving, and didn't answer, nor did she look at Alexandra. But Brian said, “You don't get to let things happen or not happen, Alex. Just because you can... do things doesn't mean you can control what happens.”
Even though Brian spells it out for her right here, this is probably one of the most important lessons Alexandra needs to learn, and one that after four books she may or may not have finally learned.
Now, for those wondering what I was planning and how far ahead I planned it: yes, I knew all the way back when I was writing this chapter that Brian and Alex would someday be reconciled. At least for a time. In fact, I had the "kiss" scene from book four planned way back in book one. I didn't know exactly when it would happen or how, but Brian was always destined to come back into her life. Though Alexandra tells Claudia in book four that as long as she still has a home in Larkin Mills, she will always return, it's Brian who symbolizes her connection to the Muggle world.
That doesn't mean it's permanent, though.
Instead, she was looking at the unfamiliar car sitting on the street in front of their house. It was a big, shiny, silver car that looked very new and expensive, not the sort of car one often saw in Larkin Mills, and certainly not sitting in front of the Green residence. It had a bright silver falcon as a hood ornament, and its windows were mirrored glass. The license plates said 'LILITH.'
So, where does Lilith keep her car when she's at Charmbridge, anyway? I'll have to figure that out one of these days. :D