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Review:nott theodore says:
Hi Laura! I'm here for our swap - uni has been swamping me recently (I'm sure you know the feeling) so I'm really excited to get the chance to come and read some more of your writing. I've really missed it and this story ♥

The first thing that struck me about this was your writing - kind of like always, really. I'm sure you're getting bored of me saying it by now, sorry :P But I've been away from this story - and most fanfiction in general - for quite a while, and it was still so easy for me to slip back into it as if it was the most natural thing to be reading. I just love the description and elegance and everything about your writing, and it makes it so easy to come back to this story, even after a break.

The introspection that threaded throughout this chapter was brilliant. I felt like it really showcased the way that Albus is getting older and growing as a person, someone who's seen more and experienced more than the teenage boy who was forced home after his mother's death and left to look after his family in his frustration. There was so much truth here about humanity in general that it's kind of scary, but it felt like it fit with his character so well. Albus is finally realising his own flaws and starting to admit them, even if it's not openly. When we see him in the books, he's still reluctant - like everybody is, I think - to admit his own faults and not be infallible. I wonder whether that's part of why he hid so much from Harry - he saw in Harry the sort of person that he'd like to have been, with that sense of right, and didn't want to let him down when he knew that Harry respected and loved him. (Sorry, that's kind of a tangential ramble, you can ignore that :P) Anyway, I loved the fact that Albus was so introspective here and it really showed how much he's grown and developed as a person over the years.

The thoughts on immortality were so interesting, too! Really, it's so true - even if we think that we'd rise above the idea of wanting to live forever (which sounds like a nightmare to me), so many of us chase, or at least dream of, immortality in some other form. We want to be remembered. We fear leaving the world without a trace and not having left behind some contribution that makes a difference. So in a way, we're all looking for a way to be immortal.

Achieving something that will make you - or at least your name - immortal at the age of just twenty-five sounds kind of terrifying to me to be honest, haha. That would be so incredibly overwhelming, and of course a fantastic achievement, but I can see how that would trigger so many painful memories for Albus and lead him into behaviour that he'd go on to regret.

I felt really sorry for Alain here :( He seemed similar in some ways to Gellert, which I suspect was the initial attraction for Albus, but in the end just highlighted the differences between the two of them. Albus still loves Gellert, in spite of his efforts to forget him, although he's more willing here to admit his flaws than he has been in the past. But I felt like Alain really got caught up in something that he couldn't truly imagine or understand and I felt really sorry for him when Albus was unable to be kind to him the next morning and he just had to leave.

Maybe it's because I'm weird and have strange interests, but I loved the fact that you included a fragment of that letter that Gellert had sent to Albus. The way that he used all of those theories and works to justify his ideas was so fascinating, and it just shows how deeply you've thought about this and their plans. But through the years, so many people in similar positions have used what sounds like very reasonable argument to justify their causes, so it fit really well with that - after all, Gellert can't have risen to power entirely through his own skill. There has to have been charisma and charm in there to get people on his side, and a solid way to persuade people. I think Albus's reaction - the way that he wanted to find something to say other than 'I agree' in response to it, because he knew it wasn't really the right thing to do - was really telling. It shows how easy it would be to accept that sort of argument, and in a way maybe why Albus went along with it for so long, because he couldn't argue with the logic behind the argument. It's kind of worrying that Gellert was able to make such a rational argument about their plans being 'For the Greater Good' but we've seen it time and time again over history, so it's really believable.

I'm so intrigued by Albus returning to England, going back home. He's been running away from what happened because his memory of Gellert and Ariana and that night's events is fixed there, or so he thinks, but in reality it's in his mind and he can't escape it wherever he is. The physical return to England really shows the way he's starting to try and distance himself entirely from Gellert, though, and make a name for himself - and I guess will make it easier for him to ignore what's happening in Europe over the coming years.

The last line was just beautiful, too - so well done! It really captured Albus's frame of mind and the way that he can't escape Gellert wherever he goes - in a way, going back home and knowing that the memories will be waiting for him there could even be a form of acceptance and a willingness to start dealing with what happened, rather than trying to escape it?

Anyway, predictably, I loved this - and I'm sorry for rambling so much in this review! ♥

Sian :)

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