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Review:Cirque Du Freak says:
Hi! I'm here for the TGS Review Swap :D
(I'm so excited and nervous that I finally got you and sjfhksfudfjdfsd I hope you don't hate my story /end freakout)

I had to read this multiple times, mostly because it didn't sink in upon reading it the first time. There's a poetic tone to it and so many techniques and the language all carefully chosen to come together as the final piece... it all reminds me of beautifully crafted poetry. Something I would have to physically study for days on end to truly appreciate every single line following another until I could appreciate it properly as it should be. It reminds me of all those times in school were I poured over my anthology book disecting each and every word in order to write pages upon pages on a poem that filled up less than a quarter of a page. In truth I miss those days so I was immediately filled with nostalgia once I had gotten to the middle of it.

I love the Albus/Ariana/Gellert dynamic as a whole - they're so interesting to research and venture into because there are so many possibilities and feelings and just the events themselves are tantalising and I couldn't bare to leave it alone myself. I started writing something focusing on Ariana a while ago (that reminds me I should pick it back up after newfound inspiration after reading this!) and since then I've just been gravitating to their same kind of stories. I hadn't realised you had written this until the swap so I'm lucky that I was paired with you to find another gem!

The story itself is so heart-wrenching and reminds me a little Of Mice and Men and Lennie's demise - both characters who you wouldn't expect such events to happen to and then the effect of those events that turn to death very suddenly and startlingly. It really brings out the emotion of the whole thing and blah I can't properly say what I want to say. There's just... no words for such beauty.

I love the idea of making Ariana's death more deliberate than it was - mostly because it shows that even through all of Albus' selfishness and his wants and needs and state of mind he still wanted to protect his sister from Gellert - he knew that he was going too far and it seems he couldn't bare for Gellert, no matter how he was in his blind eyes, couldn't take Ariana as well. It's a very difficult and strange decision to make - the feeling to want to protect something and the only way to do so is by killing them. Even through Albus' want to protect his family he still didn't think logically - just in the moment where he thought he could solve everything and didn't think of what could happen afterwards.

And when you describe what Albus would do just for Gellert to love him back its one of the most extreme versions of other relationships in the book - Harry and Ginny, Tonks and Remus, Lily and James and to some extent Ron and Hermione. All pairings that had one-sided love at one point or another and all the different and hidden ways of how each character had to deal with them and then with Albus where you see that he didn't have anything or anyone to stop him going mad and filling himself with Gellert and nothing else. Harry, Tonks, Hermione - they all had people relying on them, a world to save, bigger things than them revolving around them, needing them. Who needed Albus as much as that in his eyes?

It's sad in the end that he will never know what Gellert did for him by not revealing Albus' secret and how he would live for the rest of his life with this burden - how we are blind to him as a person when it all starts as he puts baby Harry in front of the Dursley's door. His life we could never fathom, his choices, the struggle and even when he put a pause (hardly an end in my eyes) between Gellert and him when they duelled. What happened between them then? Obviously something bitter enough that so many years later when he was drinking a potion of emotional pain he still couldn't let go of Ariana or Gellert.

I think I've rambled enough for now, sorry about that! D: This was extremely thought-provoking and I look forward to the day when I can make time for reading this as well as the poem by Coleridge!

Beautiful work as always Susan,
Hannah ♥

Author's Response: Wow, this is long and lovely, thank you so much! My review for your story will never be able to match this (my reviews lately have been patchy at best) - it means a lot that you took the time to draw this amount of detail out of this story. ^_^

Eek, I don't know what to say to your compliments except a big thank you. I did start this story as a poem and it kept expanding from there, and it's fantastic to hear that such a beginning influenced the rest of the story. A lot of it does have to do with the word-count limit because it really does make you sit back and think about the most efficient way of writing a sentence, or describing a scene, or even expressing a character's emotions. It's far from the way I usually write, which is what makes the challenge as effective as it is. From what it sounds like, the limitation of 500 words resulted in every sentence, even every word, containing a lot of meaning, often multiple meanings at once. It definitely makes it harder to read because a person has to keep pausing and thinking - it's not always a good thing, but I'm very glad to hear that it worked in such a positive way for you. :D I'm also like that with poetry and short stories - I really love the ones that force me to read them over and over again to grasp the whole thing. And even then, there's still more. For me, it makes these stories a lot more meaningful and hard to forget. I'd love to be able to recreate that experience, and it's fantastic that I was able to do so for you with this story.

The possibility that Dumbledore wants to "save" Ariana is a frightening one because it's one of those impossible decisions - damned if you do, damned if you don't. I remember seeing in canon that they were planning on taking Ariana with them, and I wondered why - it can't just be because Dumbledore's her guardian, and even the idea that he did it to keep her out of St. Mungo's was... strange to say the least. It would protect her from becoming a test subject, but it also means that she can't receive the treatment she needs. But what if Ariana also worked into Gellert's schemes? I aligned Gellert's beliefs with those of the Third Reich and imagined what if he wanted to show her off as a victim of Muggle brutality? What would they do with someone in Ariana's condition? Perhaps the Dumbledores' worry that Ariana would be exploited by science was a genuine concern, and her wild magic could be harnessed? There are so many things that could have been going on - the potential is incredible.

The one person who did need Albus was the one he betrayed - Ariana. His knowledge of magic and his ability to research and discover new things... he might have found a way to help her control her magic, but he never tried. He instead did everything to further himself, leaving his family behind - selfishness drives him, and even in this story, he feels sorry for himself more than anything. Even as he laments Ariana's death, he dreams of what he could have had with Gellert. Like the mariner in the poem, Albus made the wrong decision, and it cursed him for life.

You make a number of fabulous points in this review - it's not rambling at all, but rather it's a huge pleasure to read it. Thank you very much!

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