I thought I'd take a look at your stories, and decided to start with this one because the title is familiar!
It's interesting to see your version of the story, told from Albus' POV rather than Grindelwald's. You have Albus' fascination with Grindelwald, and the hints of slash are good but perhaps a little artificial in places, rather than seeming a natural part of the story. But as worse happens when I try to write romance, I can't really talk.
I love the idea he knows he is failing before Grindelwald arrives. How much he struggles to accept that and the way he feels guilty about being jealous of Elphias.
The way he thinks of his younger siblings sums him up well - he sees them as being younger than they are and less capable than him. He is too proud to admit that maybe Aberforth would be better at looking after Ariana than him.
Then Gellert arrives, and Albus wants to prove himself. That pride is clear again - he won't admit to not knowing things. He wants to impress Gellert, and has an unhealthy admiration - the way he hangs on to every word is worrying.
Then they move on to the Hallows and Albus realises that the Resurrection Stone could free him from looking after his sister. It turns out he doesn't want world domination so much, only to prove himself somehow. But Gellert links them, and his obsession is back.
Albus is so condescending towards his brother - feeling that he didn't really understand and he was jealous of Gellert. He thinks Gellert is so great that Aberforth sees it too.
The hints of Grindelwald's character that we get show that cold indifference towards others and his own ambition. But he also seems slightly childish, when he taunts Aberforth about his reading ability.
Albus' reaction to Grindelwald's Cruciatus curse is a little surprising but just about fits with the character you've created. He doesn't act immediately, and it takes him a minute to rethink his opinion of Grindelwald. Then he struggles to understand, resorting to a basic spell while Grindelwald is using unforgiveables.
Ariana's death - Aberforth really does care for her more than himself. He knows what Grindelwald is capable of, but abandons self defence when he sees her. "Ignoring the fact that Gellert was still firing spells at him" - nice reflection on his character, but considering the types of spells Gellert was using surely the consequences of this would have been nasty. Did Albus protect him?
And Albus' inability to understand that she is dead - "Is she... she going to be all right?" That is the most vivid line in the whole story. For a moment, he's abandoned his pride and is seeking comfort from the little brother who he was so condescending of earlier. He's frightened of the responsibility.
But then his character changes again, and this change doesn't work quite so well. The reactions - writing that realistically would be pretty much impossible. I'd expect a bit more before Aberforth gets angry like that (although he would when he'd got over the initial shock), and reading it back over several times I guess Albus is dazed with shock - perhaps that could be clearer?
Albus coming to understand at the end - he needed to grow up like that, but it's horrible that it had to happen in that way. So much guilt! He realises that Aberforth understood better than him, and he feels guilty for ignoring him. And he cannot accept that it is easier to see things looking back than at the time. He blames himself.
On the whole, a good story with hints if brilliance. The flow slips occasionally, like the conversation after Ariana's death where it jumps from checking her pulse to Aberforth shouting, but you pick it up again immediately.
A small thing - at one point you refer to "The Tale of TWO Brothers"
Interesting characterisation of Dumbledore, particularly the change to how he is when he is older. A worthwhile read.
Author's Response: Hiya. Thank you so, so much for such an awesome, detailed review. I really wasn't expecting it. Thank you again.
I reread the story to check exactly what you were referring to in certain places, because it's four years old and I didn't actually remember all of it. I remembered the basic plot and so on, but not exactly how the transitions happened. And yeah, you're right, it is kind of jerky and clumsy in places. I'm half tempted to rewrite it from scratch when I get a chance and the queue reopens, but I have a few different chapters of stories to edit when the queue reopens, so might be a while.
I was actually thinking of this story when I read your Grindelwald one. I was thinking it was pretty much the other side of it.
I think there are some similarities in our stories actually. We both seem to have a few from the point of view of villains. I've "The Road to Hell" about Barty Crouch too. And "No Room at the Inn" has some similarities with your story about Remus, although all the characters in THAT are OCS.
I'll definitely correct that "Tale of Two Brothers" thing. Thanks for pointing it out.
The artificiality in the parts which focus on Albus's crush on Grindelwald might be because I've always seen Dumbledore as pretty much asexual and until J.K. Rowling SAID he was in love with Grindelwald, I always just interpreted it as teenage hero-worship, but I wanted to bring in the canon relationship as ignoring Dumbledore's feelings would be changing the story pretty considerably in a way, as it is the catalyst for some of his actions.
And yeah, he feels that being the oldest it's his responsibility to take care of his siblings, even though, as you say, Aberforth really would be better able to care for Ariana.
I guess I find it hard to see Dumbledore as having ever been truly after world domination. In the book, it seems like what the resurrection stone most meant to him was the chance of getting his family back. And I very much feel that a really bright boy forced to give up on a really exciting educational opportunity would seize on any chance at sort of using his intellect and imagination, which trying to find the Hallows certainly would, regardless of whether he wanted them or not.
Dumbledore is my absolute favourite Harry Potter character anyway, so I'm biased here. He reminds me of an Irish historical figure, de Valera, who I'm a big fan of. While reading Deathly Hallows, I actually put the book down for a while and asked myself "does he STILL remind me of de Valera?" and two words immediately came to mind, "civil war," when Dev, along with pretty much everybody else made some very bad decisions. At one point, he apparently said "the views of Rory O'Connor, which I was so stupid as to support are now the greatest barrier to peace that with have." Can't you imagine Dumbledore thinking the same thing about the views of Gellert Grindelwald?
I tend to feel Grindelwald was somewhat using Albus, playing on his crush on him. Though of course his reluctance to let Voldemort desecrate Dumbledore's grave indicates he DID feel something for him, but not enough to prevent him attacking his brother.
Thanks again for the review.