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28 Reviews Found

Review #1, by nott theodore 

1st April 2017:
CTF Jailbreak Review

Nicole! It's been far too long since I read your work (and I'm aware I need to review the latest chapter of Jingle All the Way) but I've been wanting to read this for absolutely ages and I'm so glad to get back to your writing. I swear, every time that I read your stories I'm taken aback again by how beautiful your writing is.

That opening section, with the letter from Gellert - I am so impressed by the way that you managed to find his voice and characterise him so well. The description in that was brilliant, especially some phrases - talking about the whitewashing of history and wiping the slate. Albus's character only really becomes more well-rounded in the later books, and at the start of the series he's definitely the one we look up to as the hero. I also thought it was a lovely way to take us back - start from a point most of us recognised more, after this duel between Albus and Gellert, to take us back with Gellert's memories to when it started between them.

That last line, though - that seems to me so to be so cruel! It was almost like while he was saying that he hoped Albus had peace for one night, he was ensuring he'd never really be peaceful again - by saying that it wasn't Aberforth that killed Ariana, he never said that it wasn't Albus.

The switch to Albus's POV was really well done - and what I found interesting about it was that he wasn't actually the most likeable character. I know he's obviously grieving here, and he's still so young, and trying to cope with things the only way he can see, but at the same time he's being kind of insensitive to the others around him and not seeing what his siblings need. It must be such a burden for him though to have to face looking after his family and at the same time grieving his mother and a future he once saw for himself. I can't really blame him for that, but it captures perfectly the reasons he might be attracted by the ideas that Gellert brings.

My favourite part of this chapter was the focus on Ariana, though. I've only ever seen her in one-shots and never that much consideration of her perspective while this is all going on, so I'm looking forward to seeing more about her. Her insights into those around her were really interesting, and even though Albus wants to protect her, I got the impression from this that he actually underestimates her. I'll hopefully get back to this soon!

Sian :)

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Review #2, by ascendio 

15th November 2015:
(ONTO THIS. I can only fit in one chapter right now, but I figured why not at least start it and then come back later.)

Already I'm so impressed. Does your slate sparkle? Has the history of your doing been whitewashed? You nailed that letter! It was perfectly executed and it set the mood; a great setup to what I'm sure will be an equally great story. I am not that generous, old friend. Oh, Gellert, stop.

::

You've managed to capture the Gothic tone, but you also made it your own. I felt like I was reading one of the classics, albeit one with more immediacy, which I think has to do with the tense. The writing felt both of "now" and "then" - hard to explain, but it was very impressive.

This whole fic just feels like an immense achievement, and your descriptions are, again, superb. You capture just the right amount to serve the story without ever being extraneous, but there's still enough to make me flail. (Flailing, I'm guessing, is what most of my reviews for your stories will be). I loved how you added in the different aspects of the time, in regards to fashion and mannerisms and whatnot, and it all felt accurate.

I liked the way you've characterized Albus (aain, it felt accurate.) He's reserved and rigid and gentlemanly, in contrast to grass-flecked Alberforth and unstable Ariana. And I can see how he becomes intrigued with Gellert - who is like Albus, as both of them are intelligent wizards, but more worldly and less repressed - and I think that's probably what Albus kind of wants to be, but won't let himself become because of his family (and, uh, perhaps some of his own ideals, I'm guessing?) I'm eager to see your take on their relationship, how it'll be introduced and developed and such.

Also, Ariana. Sometimes she thinks that he knows her with a terrible precision, every interstice of her thoughts; he sees her and is unimpressed, bored. Other times, he seems blind, staring through her as though she is a ghost. I loved this. The whole situation with her reminds me of Bronte (and from your story summary, it seems like that's what you wanted, so yay!) And I guess she feels both powerful and scared - I'm probably way off, but I sense that she wants to be more..."innocent" isn't the right word, but I'll use it...but at the same time she distrusts something, and that makes her more guarded - more aware of herself and this uneasy magic - and she's kind of grateful that she has it to protect herself with? Eh, like I said, I'm probably waaay off. I mean, this is only the first chapter and I'll of course be continuing at a later time.

But right now I'm bouncing at my keyboard with excitement and crying with adoration for your writing skills (if they're ever on loan, tell me, please. I beg of you).

Mo

Author's Response: Hello Mo! ♥

I must apologise for the lateness of my response...I'm so sorry. *hides* And thank you, thank you, thank you for your absolutely beautiful compliments and this wonderful review of yorus. Thank you for stopping by my page and choosing to read this story; most people wouldn't choose this fic to read because of its long chapters and not-so-popular era/ship. So thank you, again!

LOVED your comment about tone, and the sense of immediacy you got from the writing. Time is a peculiar thing in this story...the bulk of it is set in the summer months at Godric's Hollow, and so far, the only parts of the fic to deviate from this specific period are Gellert's letters, which are dated after the duel between him and Dumbledore, and during his subsequent imprisonment within Nurmengard. And your comment about accuracy of the fic in terms of fashions, mannerisms etc. just let me breathe a huge sigh of relief. That was one of the things that was killing me at the start of the story...trying to capture the essence of the era without having to resort to grandiose depictions of cities and global events and stuff. Things are highly localised in this fic to the setting. There's a very restricted view of the outside world, to reflect the restrictiveness Albus feels in terms of his current situation.

Glad you like my portrayal of Ariana! I will try to develop a very different character of Ariana from how she is usually depicted in fic. Or in the books in general. In DH, she was nothing more than a poor broken girl, a mere plot device to substantiate Albus's humanity...a plot device for male angst, basically. :P So here she's going to be very different, but you'll have to read on to find out more about Ariana. :P

Aww, Mo, you're just the loveliest person ever! ♥ Thank you once again for taking the time to read and review, and apologies for the belated response again. Much love, always. ♥

-teh


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Review #3, by wolfgirl17 

13th January 2015:
Hey teh!

Happy Belated Hotseat Review Day!

I couldn't remember if I had already reviewed this story for you. I think I did on one of the later chapters, but I wanted to come back and just let you know how absolutely intoxicating your writing is. It's like a drug I've begun to crave with wicked intent.

You have such in-depth and moving descriptions and this way of painting the picture in my mind that you yourself are imagining as you write that I find myself constantly hoping for updates and for more of this brilliant story.

I can't get enough of it. I love the way you portray this younger version of Albs and the problems he faces with an unwell sister and a resentful brother. I love the way you can transport me into your imagination with you cleverly wielded words. I just love everything about you and this story!

Please keep up the utterly breathtaking work! I'd love to see a new update posted soon if you have the time =)

xx-Wolfgirl

Author's Response: Hey Ellie! ♥

Wow, I don't even know what to say with this review! Sorry it took me so long to respond; RL has been slowly killing me and I just escaped from it...at least for a few moments. Which I'm not using to respond to your lovely comments.

I'm pretty much blushing at all your compliments on my writing; honestly, I'm over the moon that my writing can affect you in such a way!

Glad you like young!Albus; He's a tricky one to write, but I do enjoy writing him nevertheless, and every time he appears, I feel like I learn a little more about his character, even as I'm writing him. :)

I have finished the whole story! I finished it last November, but unfortunately, there's quite a lot of editing to be done. I'm trying to reread the whole thing and edit the next chapter and hopefully I can post it up soon! Stupid RL, though. *shakes fist*

Thanks once again for your amazing review, Ellie! ♥

-teh


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Review #4, by Roisin 

8th January 2015:
THE WAND WAS NEVER GELLERT'S! OH MY GOD! Of COURSE the wand was never Gellert's! I always wondered how Dumbledore could have beaten him, if the whole POINT is that the wand is unbeatable. And it's not like he sneaky killed Gellert in the night--they had a proper duel and all. And it just fits SO WELL with canon wandlore that the wand was always Dumbledore's! AH!

Okay, stopped reading to say that, and then got incredibly engrossed in the rest of the story.

I feel redundant praising your word choices AGAIN, but your language is always so unexpected, yet still gives me the exact impression of what you're saying. I really love the way this offers multiple perspectives, because you manage to include details that are so specific to the person perceiving them. It's not just a change in voice, it really is a change in /perspective./

Also, this is the very first ever thing I've read from Ariana Dumbledore's perspective--and I just can't even! She was such a tragic figure in canon (and she IS a tragic figure), but I love the way you inhabit her mind. Like, by making her REAL, you give her a lot of strength and agency (while objectively, she wouldn't seem to have much, given the circumstances). And its known that Ariana was difficult (for good reason), but I love how her Difficultness is also, like, the expression of her agency, kinda.

This is just amazing! Ah!

Author's Response: Roisin! ♥ Thank you for this lovely surprise review! I always love your thoughtful reviews; thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read.

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about this. And your interpretation of Gellert's letter. I reveal more things as the fic progresses, at least I hope I do. It could be that the wand was always Dumbledore's, or it could be something else. But I'm fairly sure that there was no simple straightforward final duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

Multiple perspectives were fun to write!! Aww, thanks for your comment on the character-specific details; I really worked hard on this aspect, especially with the earlier chapters.

Ariana is indeed one of the most tragic figures in canon, and she doesn't have much of a story, surprisingly. Definitely no voice at all in canon, since her story is told through others' accounts. So I definitely wanted to give her her own voice, agency, perspective where she isn't always the frail sick girl that everyone in DH implies her to be. Ariana was incredibly fun to write, and I do try and develop her more as the fic goes on.

Thank you so much once again for your amazing review, roisin! ♥

-teh


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Review #5, by HeyMrsPotter 

30th December 2014:
Hello, teh! A belated happy hot seat day to you! It's been too long since I paid a visit to your author page, but I've come prepared for heartbreak, sadness, and complete jealousy at your wonderful writing!

I've seen a lot of this story on the forums and have FINALLY got some time to start reading it (though it'll probably take me about 6 years to catch up on it!)

As with every word you write, this is such a fascinating opening chapter! I really love all of the characters. Dumbledore, though younger and affected in his own way by grief,is still ultimately Dumbledore. I like the contrast between him and Abeforth too. One of my favourite things about your writing is your knack for subtlety, and its there in the differences between the two brothers. Albus is determined to be polite with Bathilda, and Abeforth makes no effert to hide the fact that he sits as far away from her as possible and doesn't even speak to her.

Ariana was brilliant too, she's such an interesting character but definitely under-represented in fanfiction. I wouldn't even know where to begin with writing her and here you go and do it perfectly! She has all those problems with her magic and what happened to her with the muggle boys, but I loved that you write her thoughts so coherent and articulately. I enjoyed how she compares her brothers and her mother by the ways they tuck her in. It made me sad that she couldn't remember her mother had died and that she immediately blames herself.

All in all, an excellent opening chapter. I can already see why it won a Dobby!

Dee :)

Author's Response: Hey, Dee! ♥ Thank you! Thank you for stopping by and reading and leaving this lovely review *squishes*

Yes, this story indeed has some unmanageable chunk chapters. :P BUT I'm so glad you started reading it!

Aww, I'm so glad (and relieved) to hear your thoughts about the characters, in particular about young Albus. I was kind of half afraid that readers wouldn't recognise the DUmbledore we know from the books here. And I love your comment on subtlety! I'm a fan of it as well, and I like to see it in others' writing.

Ariana is fun to write, and I do agree that she's serious underrepresented in fic. And writing her thoughts coherently was all part of things shifting to her perspective, giving her a larger role in this story than what she had in the books (which was pretty much a few passing references in tales told by others).

Thank you for your loveliness, lovely! ♥

-teh


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Review #6, by Diogenissa 

25th December 2014:
Heyllo teh! Happy Hufflepuff Hotseat Day! (a day late ack!) I'm here ready to rock 'n' review!

I have only the basic understanding of Albus/Gellert from my initial research for another project, as well as read another story here with them as the primary characters but I really really like them and they fascinate me so here I am! :)

O--M--G I absolutely LOVE the way you open this. It seems both scathing and affectionate all at once. It is very clear to me that Gellert is intent on getting some sort of revenge in his reminding Dumbledore of his entire past (or the past in which they were together). I can sense a lot of sarcasm when Gellert calls him 'old friend'. I also love how he lays it all on the line and is upfront and truthful, unafraid and not sugar-coating anything at all. He is telling it like it is (at least in his mind and according to his perspective). That and he comes across really creepy (sorry can't think of any other word *lol*). Awesome so far!

I really liked that you gave a nice and concise summary of Bagshot--for those of us such as myself who haven't gotten to Deathly Hallows yet, this is a NICE introduction to a character in which we've never heard of, let alone know much about so thank you for this! :-)

Very good flow, easy to follow and moves fluidly! I could very easily see the story as it was going on--from the gray skies, his seemingly frozen state as his thoughts take over a little stronger than they had recently, the colorlessness of his eyes, etc.--very very nicely done!


I must admit to a bit of amusement when Aberforth first shows up! From his earlier mention and background, he sounds like that one oddball sort of sibling a lot of folks have but fun and loving toward his family. He seems a bit on the cheeky side.

The relationship between Aberforth and Ariana is lovely and certainly a lot better than hers is with Albus. While reading through Ariana, I can't help but detect that part of her is not only mourning for their mother, but for the fact that she seems to wish for a better relationship with Albus, it really feels written all over the latter part of the chapter.

I don't think I can really say too much more given that I indeed haven't gotten to Deathly Hallows yet. I really enjoyed this opening chapter (ESPECIALLY that letter--gahhh I can't say enough about that)!

You have a wonderful gift for description (that Dobby is more than well-earned *polishes it extra nice and shiny* :D ) and that is something I really love personally. Thank you so much for a beautiful opening and I'll be sure to come back and check out the rest when time is a little kinder to me.

Karen xoxo

Author's Response: Karen! ♥

OMG what is this review!! THANK YOU.

You're far too kind; thank you for polishing my award. :P But really, I can't thank you enough for all your exceedingly lovely comments and your general amazingness. Oh, you haven't read DH yet? I'm hoping I didn't spoil anything for you with this chapter!

I'm so glad you like Gellert's letter! There are more of his letters in later chapters, and I love writing them. I love trying out Gellert's voice, all his scathing affection, as you so eloquently put it, and his bitterness, and that little hint of creepy.

And I love all your analyses on Albus and Aberforth and Ariana and their relationships with each other. They're not the most united of fmailies, and I can only imagine how hard it must be for all of them.

Thank you so much for your wonderful review, Karen! ♥ This is muchly appreciated, and you've made my day!

-teh


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Review #7, by likeness_of_a_seabird 

24th December 2014:
Hufflepuff Hot Seat Review!

I absolutely loved the beginning! A letter from Grindelwald, sent from NurmengardÖ That was simply grand. It really crabbed my attention and made me curious about the history Grindelwald was referring to. Obviously I know the story Ė but I had to stop and ask, how much, exactly, do I really know about what happened between Dumbledore and Grindelwald before Albus defeated him and he was locked in his own prison. Iím really excited to read your interpretation about their history.

I also loved the way you write Albus. He is exactly as I imagined; lamenting the death of his mother, but more importantly, the death of his own future. I really liked how he refers the village as quant and how he feels the need to put up an act for the mourners. It really feels like he is a young man who feels like his motherís death robbed him of a brilliant future. I also liked how distant he seems to his siblings.

I really liked Arianaís POV and how confused she was when she woke up in the middle of the night and there was no one in the room. I loved how you described her magic being like fire coursing through her veins. Itís such a powerful image; no wonder Ariana is afraid of her powers.

An excellent first chapter! I canít wait to read the rest!

- Emmi

Author's Response: Hey Emmi!

Thanks for your lovely detailed review! :) I'm so pleased you like the beginning and Grindelwald's letter. I really enjoyed writing that part...I rather enjoy writing Grindelwald. :) There's not much detail about the actual duel between DUmbledore and Grindelwald, so I'm going to take a bit of liberty with things here.

I'm glad you liked my version of Albus! And really pleased that you imagined him this way, too! He's waaay more of a flawed (and human, probably) character than the wise old headmaster who hardly ever errs or displays much vulnerability. I wish he wasn't so distant to his siblings,

Ariana's one of my favourite characters to write!

Thank you so much for your wonderful review. :)

-teh


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Review #8, by GalleonScarlet 

3rd December 2014:
Amazing! Your style of writing is impeccable!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for leaving this lovely review! ♥ It really does mean a lot to me. :)

-teh


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Review #9, by beyourbest 

19th October 2014:
Extraordinary! An excellent and fascinating story of the past of one of the most important characters in the Harry Potter series.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! ♥

-teh


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Review #10, by Aphoride 

30th May 2014:
Hey there - sorry for getting here so late! I've been looking forward to reading this ever since the pairings went up, but end of exams and my birthday and my mum's birthday kinda threw everything out of whack :P

So, you should know that I adore Albus/Gellert. Beyond anything. They have, as far as I am concerned, the monopoly on tragic boyhood romances in HP :P I love stories about that summer and how they met and so on and so this seems exactly my kind of thing (plus your beautiful writing, which always helps! ;D)!

I love how you've started with a sort of almost prologue-esque letter, and how it's sort of accusing Dumbledore, even if not quite, it's angry and it's bitter and it works so well. Your writing is so brilliant and just gah... so nice! :) Even though we haven't technically met Gellert yet, as such, it still feels like because you've shown us what he becomes and sort of ends up as, that you've kinda let us know him already, if that makes any sense...

Your Albus is so similar to my head-canon young!Albus it's unreal :P I love how you didn't shy away from the harsh elements of his character - the loneliness, how he hates the village and doesn't really like Bathilda because she's nosy and irritating, how he and Aberforth don't get on... it makes him simultaneously sympathetic and not, you know, because it's understandable but also harsh things to feel. But yeah, he's wonderful. I'm so excited to see what else you do with him in this - how he develops and grows.

The last section is so sad. Poor, poor Ariana. I loved how you didn't make her stupid or anything, how she's still capable of understanding things, even if someone has to explain them to her, you know? And the way she's so scared of magic, and compares Albus and Kendra and kinda finds, in a way, both of them wanting, is so sad for all of them... I think it really highlights the tragedy of what happened to her - how she's scared of magic and Albus' gaze scares her and things, how she's barely ever alone... you've kinda taken things which might normally be little and created this debilitating condition with them. It's amazing writing, but incredibly sad.

As always, of course, your writing is stunning. The description is gorgeous and the detail is amazing - I loved the details about Kendra's body particularly (though it's kinda morbid to say) as they're so real and yet you avoid all the cliche things to say. The characters are so, so good before and I'm so fascinated to know what you're going to do with them later on...

So yeah, I'm hooked, and I'll be back at some time in the future for sure ;)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hello, Aph!

First of all, massive apologies for taking forever to respond to your review. -hides-

And speaking of that, thank you so much for leaving such a lovely detailed review on my fic! Your comments made me incredibly happy, and I love how you analysed the characters.

Albus/Gellert is my OTP of this fandom! I love them together - they're such a fascinating pair of characters - not the easiest to write, but definitely one of the most interesting character couples to read about in fic. And I'm glad you found it to be your kind of thing (I've seen you post somewhere on the forums that you have an Albus/Gellert, though I can't seem to find it, so maybe you haven't posted it up yet? When you do, I'm looking forward to reading!) Like you, adore this pair and I'm always looking for more about them.

Ah, Gellert's letter. He doesn't actually appear in this opening chapter, but I thought the letter would be sort of a hint to his character, or at least to show how the whole relationship has turned out. It also kind of opens up a different sort-of parallel timeline to the main action of the story; I dunno, I might have overdone things, but it was worth a shot, trying stuff out! :P

Albus Dumbledore as a character in the books is like the epitome of perfection. Seriously. Brilliant, witty, confident, assured, never wrong in his guesses, highly intelligent, sagely...beyond any sort of mistake. Until of course, that final book, when his whole perfect image is sort of shattered, and he's brought right down to the level of the average human being. Or as flawed as Dumbledore can get. So I decided to develop his more selfish negative aspects a little more, make him a little more vulnerable as a character. And wow, it sounds great that we both have such similar headcanons of him!

Ariana is the most interesting of characters to write for me. Her characterisation goes places and probably diverges from canon, mostly because I can't stand how she's portrayed in the books. Actually she wasn't portrayed at all, and she's only seen through her brothers' eyes. So she's a very elusive, mysterious figure, which provides me a little bit of free rein with her.

Thank you so, so much for this wonderful review, Aph! I'll be keeping an eye out for your Albus/Gellert, and once again, forgive me for taking so long to respond to all your lovely comments! ♥

-teh


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Review #11, by lovegoodlooney 

26th April 2014:
This is so good! I've been looking for it since your review on my story, and I have found it! The letter at the start really sets it off, and I love how you portray Bathilda. This is far better than my attempt of a Dumbledore fanfiction!

Author's Response: Hey there!

Wow, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my story! This is actually a fic that I really love writing, so it means a whole lot to me to receive this review!

Aww, I don't think it's better than your story; I think both our fics are different and yours is wonderful! ^.^ Here's to more Dumbledore family fics! ♥

-teh


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Review #12, by adluvshp 

2nd April 2014:
Hey Nicole =)

Here for the TGS review exchange!

I skimmed through this chapter once before but didn't get time to properly read and review it. So, I'm glad I got that chance today as this was really a very well-written chapter and the story seems amazing!

I loved the letter in the beginning. I think it set the perfect tone for the story. Grindelwald's "style' of writing was also interesting and quite impressive, and essentially how I'd imagine him to speak/write. The way he addresses Albus and appears to know him so well and the way he comments on certain things about him, it was very unsettling and I worry for Albus now. This just shows the powerful writing it was!

Then, as we moved into the past - of the day of the funeral - we got an insight into Albus' mind which was pretty brilliant. I absolutely love your characterisation of him. I think a younger Dumbledore would have been a lot like that. The most interesting aspect of this segment was how Albus "mourned" the death of not just his mother - but his "life" as well. It told a lot about his personality and I found myself not being able to decide whether to sympathise with him or dislike him. At the same time, I also liked how concerned he was that the "family" shouldn't be tarnished - circulating a rumour etc. Bathilda's inclusion was also a nice touch to emphasise how much he disliked sympathy and how he suspected something to have gone awry - I just wanted to shout and say Bathilda's memory has been modified when that scene happened where she couldn't remember what she had to say but of course Albus couldn't have heard me.

I loved how you wrote Ariana as well. I can guess it would have been hard to characterise her as she has an unstable and almost naive mind and at the same time she is quite sharp (I think) but you nailed it. I adore her and enjoyed reading her thought process. It was interesting to see what she thought of her brothers and her mother. The last bit also made me slightly sad that she didn't know her mother was dead but at the same time she suspected something was wrong.

All in all, I think this was a beautiful chapter with great descriptions. I am eager to read more, and see more of Aberforth too. The plot is very intriguing and your writing quite powerful. I am already hooked to the story so I'll be returning (hopefully) soon to read on.

Great job =)
10/10
Cheers,
AD
(AditiDraco95)

Author's Response: Hey Aditi!

Thank you so much for such a lovely review! This was wonderful to receive, and thank you for all the lovely compliments!

Glad you like the starting letter, and how it seems to fit Grindelwald's voice. He does indeed know Albus very well, too well, in fact, and it's good to hear that this familiarity does carry through his words. Those two do indeed have a lot of history together.

Waaah, so flattered to hear your thoughts about young Albus! He's such a tricky character to write; I don't want him to be the same as the old Dumbledore, who's so very wise and all - I was aiming for a less perfect picture of him in his youth. One where he has flaws as the rest of us, where he doesn't hide himself so well, as he does when he's much much older. Albus in this fic does indeed exhibit a degree of self-absorption; but after all, he's still a teenager, barely an adult, and already he has the huge burden on his shoulders.

Albus is very perceptive, but not enough it seems!

As for Ariana, I wanted her to be sharper than how she's usually portrayed in fic. Not so sweet, but self-aware and fairly lucid. Things will get a little strange with her, though. She's my favourite character to write!

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, AD! This review really made my day! ♥

teh


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Review #13, by Pixileanin 

27th February 2014:
Hey, it's about time I came around here to review this! Sorry for the "end of times" delay, but you know about RL and all that. I am excited to be paired with you this month! I've read this story a few times already, but I never had the time to put my thoughts together.

No time like the present!

I am really excited about the time period you chose for this story. I haven't read a lot of stories in this era, and it's one of those periods that leaves us a bunch of room to play, so I can't wait to see where you take us!

Your opening already has chills on my arms, because it sounds like he's coming after Albus Dumbledore in the worst way possible, calling him back to the roots of something that he knows Albus wants to forget. I love the last line, where he says that he is "not that generous", and then the last-last line, the one about how Aberforth wasn't responsible... is he going to come back with claims against Albus' character? Will it be worse than that???

You've gotten me seriously worried with the first section. How can you do that to me? Great opening, if you didn't get the point of all that. The letter carries a sense of wrongness to it, something that should be left alone that he's bringing into the light.

So now you take us back to the beginning of the story, where Albus tries to deal with the grief and guilt that is his family. I loved how you included Bathilda in this, as the concerned neighbor. She seems to know what the family needs, even though Albus is reluctant to accept the help. He seems so concerned about the story of his, making sure that no one can find fault with it or point a finger elsewhere. It shows his protective nature over his family, his sister. I can see why he doesn't allow himself to grieve over his mother, he has other things on his mind, like how he's going to manage his sister.

I loved the details that you gave Albus' mother, that she was strong and patient and put all of her energy into Ariana. It really gives us a clear picture of what kind of life Albus faces for himself now. He has to become that person that his mother was, and he will do it. But I can sense that he will hate it. I love that line you threw in, where he's mourning his previous existence, like he's burying his life along with his mother's. This seems very fitting for someone of his age and temperament that I got from the HP story. I've never seen it expressed quite this deliberately before. It's great, and it's refreshing.

I also love how you introduced Ariana. I'm excited that she's a conscious, thinking being, and she has this strange awareness of the things surrounding her. Your description of the way that the magic burns within her, like a sickness instead of a friend, it tells me that something bad will happen from this. You're setting up quite a scenario, and I can't wait to see how you have it play out.

Great first chapter here!

Author's Response: Hello Pix!!

My goodness, this is some review you've left me! Thank you!! For taking the time to read and leave such detailed comments. And don't worry about 'end of times' delay and all that; RL refuses to be easy for most of us, unfortunately.

I haven't read a lot of stories in this era either! And those which I have read, well they're mostly one-shots. Ah, I'm glad you found the opening part, letter and all, unsettling! There is indeed a sense of wrongness to it - Grindelwald was always a bit wrong, right up to his death, I believe.

And ah, Albus. Yes, he's in such a miserable situation - being gifted and brilliant and all that...and very trapped as well. He is indeed mourning his loss of freedom; just like what he says in DH, it isn't as though he does not care about Ariana or Aberforth, but there's an element of self-centredness and self-absorption to his character. I'm glad you find this refreshing.

And Ariana isn't going to be the vacant, sweet-faced girl who occasionally throws a dangerous fit, as she is usually portrayed in fic. I do mean to make her more conscious and aware of things; it's so much more fun to write her this way, in my humble opinion!

Thank you once again for this lovely review!! It's made my day and I loved reading your comments and observations about this opening chapter!

-teh


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Review #14, by MrsJaydeMalfoy 

11th February 2014:
Hello there, lovely! ♥

First off, let me just congratulate you once again for winning Featured Story! And now that I've finally got some free time on my hands, I thought it was about time I came and gave your story some love! :)

Judging from your other pieces that I've read, I knew that this was going to be good... you really never fail to amaze me. This covers such a 'dark' period (dark because of Kendra's death and its effects on Albus, but also dark because this is a period we don't know much about). I think it's safe to say that you have a knack for taking little-known characters, time periods and situations and turning them into something so well-written and amazing that it could easily BE canon! :)

I found this first chapter to be beautiful and heartbreaking. I really loved seeing things from the three different characters' perspectives. As we discovered in "Deathly Hallows", there is something sinister in the past of the man we all know and love as Albus Dumbledore, and I think you did an outstanding job of conveying that complexity.

My curiosity is piqued; I'm wondering what Bathilda is reluctant to tell Albus, and I'm also wondering if we'll see any more letters from Grindelwald in the future.

As always, the flow and writing itself are just plain phenomenal. An absolutely amazing first chapter, and I'm off to the next!

-Jayde

Author's Response: Jayde! ♥

Ahhh, thank you SO MUCH for your absolutely fabulous reviews, my dear, and I'm so sorry for taking so long to respond! UGH. Thanks for taking the time to read and review both chapters, even though you have such an absolutely hectic life; I really appreciate this! ♥

Honestly, you're far too kind with your compliments *hugs* I am indeed hoping that this piece will fit into canon; it pushes the boundaries of canon a lot, but still, I'm hoping that things will fit in the end, and dare I hope, offer a different insight on these wonderful canon characters and the fateful events that affected them and completely changed their lives.

I do agree, there is something sinister about Albus Dumbledore; his clean, dazzling record is...not so clean after all. In DH, it was revealed that he was still human after all, he had weaknesses, plenty of them - he had pride, ego; he was selfish. Brilliant, but with his fair share of faults. And I really wanted to explore this aspect of him.

Thank you, my dear! You'll find out everything all in good time! :P ♥ ♥

teh


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Review #15, by CassiePotter 

29th January 2014:
Hi teh!
I saw this story in the Hufflepuff Common Room and decided to come check it out! I'm so, so glad I did! I absolutely love it!
I love the letter at the beginning of this chapter! It was so thought-provoking and almost uncomfortable, since Albus is being called out on all of his mistakes and broken promises. We're being forced to think about him in a way that's not enjoyable, because he hasn't grown into the good person we have seen when he's older. It's another perspective on what Albus has done with his life, which is really, really interesting to read in first person!
I also loved the conversation between Albus and Bathilda. He really doesn't want to keep talking to her, and I can just picture how tense and awkward that conversation was for him. The lack of grief is also really striking. I was kind of unsettled when you talked about how he smiled when people started arriving at him mother's funeral... The image of that just made me shiver! Haha.
And then we met Ariana! I adored your descriptions of her! The way you talked about how she can feel the magic in her blood was fascinating to read! I can't wait to see more of her!
This story had such an intriguing start, and you've done fantastically with it! I'll definitely be reading more! 10/10
Cassie :)

Author's Response: CASSIE! ♥

Ahh, wow, what a lovely surprise review! Thank you, thank you! I'm so glad you decided to give this story a chance! Awww, your comments have reduced me to a melty puddle - I don't know where to start!

Flawed Albus is definitely what I was trying to write. He can't always have been his perfect twinkling self, as depicted in the books, and he does indeed have plenty of weaknesses. I love knocking characters off their pedestals and really examining them in detail. I'm glad you were unsettled, actually! Not that I like scaring you, but because, I did achieve some sort of effect. This story is going to be an unsettling one, at least for me to write. Albus really does follow his mother's teachings, and he places a lot of stock in facades and public appearances, hence his disapproval with Aberforth.

And I'm excited to write more about Ariana as well!

Thank you for the fantastic review, Cassie! ♥ ♥ I'm so glad you enjoyed this and I hope to see you around again! Much love.

teh


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Review #16, by CambAngst 

27th January 2014:
Tagging you from Review Tag!

Ooh, ooh, ooh! Do you know how excited I was to see that you have a new project going on? And such an interesting topic and time period, too! It's always really interesting to see a talented author take the Dumbledore family history apart and try to ferret out all of those interesting little events and relationships that left an old man so world-weary and wise.

I think Grindelwald's letter was a brilliant way to start this off. I absolutely loved that dripping condescension and self-assurance that comes through so strong. That certainty that it was not by lack of skill that he was defeated, but rather by some subconscious desire on his own part. Some need to be vindicated by seeing himself rejoined with his old friend.

I love the way that he tears at Albus's insecurities, laying bare all of the baggage that Albus confessed to him in his younger days. And the idea that the Elder Wand somehow gave its allegiance to Dumbledore before Gellert ever possessed it... wow. I'm really excited to see where you're going with that.

The last dig at Dumbledore was brilliant. A bit of information precisely calculated to hit Albus where it would hurt the worst. It pretty much leaves a 50-50 chance.

Your descriptions of the day of Kendra's funeral were excellent. They set the scene so perfectly for an event as emotionally bewildering as a funeral. Thankfully, I haven't been to that many, but I always remember not having any idea how to feel. I remember how everything seems artificial and disjointed and almost impossible to touch. The weather you created worked so well with that sort of feeling. There's no sun on your face, no breeze, no rain... just an overcast, grey summer day.

I thought you also paced the scene beautifully. It sort of drags along in a way that's perfectly consistent with Albus's mood. He doesn't want to be there. He's dreading all of the fake, formal pleasantries of greeting the other mourners. He just wants the event to be over so that he can go back to grieving over the wreck of the life that he was planning to live. Just as Albus is being held in the moment, you kept the reader held in the moment as old Bathilda engages him in mostly perfunctory conversation. There's only one thing that she might be able to help him understand and her focus sort of drifts away before she can offer him her insight. In the end, he can't even be troubled to try to rekindle the conversation.

It's pretty easy to see the animosity between Albus and Aberforth here. He treats his brother as barely useful.

Ariana was really interesting here. There is a sort of childlike quality to her, but at the same time she might understand more about what's happening around her -- and possibly what's happening to her, as well -- than she lets on. I loved her perspectives on the other members of her family. They fit so well with the canon characterizations as well as they way that you've started to build Kendra Dumbledore up. And the idea that her magic has become almost a painful thing coursing through her veins sounds like a great metaphor for the kind of damage that she's able to cause when it gets beyond her control.

The magic is bitter, scalding; it tunnels deeper into her as though it is a live insidious thing, making its way to her heart. She can feel the strength of it and she is afraid. Her bones are kindling. -- I loved that passage, especially the last sentence.

Albus is so fake and distant toward her. It's really sad.

I saw one little typo in this, which is definitely a testament to the quality of your proof-reading:

She peels the blanket of her. It is much too hot; -- peels the blanket off her

Otherwise, beautiful writing! Excellent work!

Author's Response: Dan! ♥ Oh my goodness, what a review! I'm reading this for the fourth or fifth time, and I'm also resisting the urge to slam my fist down on the table and shout, "Yes that's it!" with some of the incredibly perceptive comments you've made about the story. I'll have to restrain myself, though; it's past midnight and people are asleep.

And I am honestly so flattered that you're excited about my new project!! Gah, THANK YOU. I am still working on this story very enthusiastically, though I've always been a bit of a slow one.

I'm glad you thought Grindelwald's letter was a strong start to the story. Gosh, I had enormous amounts of fun writing his sneeriness and his anger and sulkiness. Grindelwald, I think, is a Dark Lord I enjoy writing more than Voldie.

Your description of a funeral is exactly what I was trying to convey in this opening chapter. Death is a sudden event, a very alien concept to all three of the Dumbledore children; Percival may be long dead, but he died in prison and the children were far too physically removed from him to be able to fully comprehend the nature of death. The funeral is indeed 'emotionally bewildering' (great way to describe it!); there's a great focus on surfaces, on maintaining a kind of public facade (at least for Albus), as well as on things like ritual, order and custom. Everything that Albus cannot feel and cannot really care about, especially in such a difficult moment.

Glad you found Ariana an interesting character here! I have certainly made her a little more lucid than how I've read her in fic, or how she sounds like in DH, but she could also be pretty delusional, I suppose! I'm really enjoying writing her!

Ah, that typo! I spotted it the day after this chapter was validated...and never got down to changing it! :P I suppose I didn't want to go through the hassle of putting the chapter through the queue again etc. But now that you've called me out on that, it's high time I pick myself up and start editing properly!

Thank you so much for your fabulous, wondrous reviews, Dan! ♥ They really mean a lot to me. :)

teh


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Review #17, by toomanycurls 

23rd January 2014:
Hi teh!

I feel like I could read this several times and get a new meaning from it with each iteration. Your use of words is more than powerful and the way you've laid them so elegantly in the story is artistic.

The letter from Gellert to Albus is packed with innuendo and depth that shows both of their brilliance and cunning. The letter shows Gellert's clear contempt for Albus and perhaps a touch of fondness still. I love his taunts and air of superiority throughout his letter. The way Gellert lays out his own feelings of betrayal - that Dumbledore would have egged him on regarding the Hallows then left him to his own devices - struck me quite powerfully. Gellert displays the same facts we know in the books but makes tiny twists to contort information to his own view point. Ending the letter with that post script felt like his death blow. So many times people will save the most damaging injury for last and nothing could have shaken Dumbledore more than to know it could have been his spell that ended his sister.

Albus seems almost disconnected from the funeral and proceedings around his mother's death. I can imagine that it's easier to hold grief at a distance while going through the process of funeral arrangements.

I especially liked his question to Bathilda regarding his mother having lost her edge. It seemed like he wanted to find the reason she was killed in a magical accident caused by his sister when she'd been able to divert and prevent such occurrences for so long.

The slightly darker side to Ariana's care was brilliantly done. Having her mostly subdued with potions felt a bit more sinister than I expected. I'm dying to know what the time Bathilda recalls then balks from telling the entire story.

Ariana's brief section is incredible. I love how perceptive you've made her to the care she receives. The frustration, gentileness, and dutiful care - depending on the giver - seemed to be a cornerstone for her life. Oh it's heartbreaking to have Albus so sharp with Ariana regarding Kendra's death. It's terribly sad when Ariana realizes if her mother is gone, it's her fault.

You've made such a powerful story here! I look forward to reading more of this.

-Rose

Author's Response: Hellooo Rose!! :D

asldkjcif THANK YOU for this amazing review! I'm a bit floored at your wonderful compliments; thank you for agreeing to do a swap with me and for leaving such a thoughtful review!

Lovely analysis on Gellert's letter to Albus! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about that; you've pretty much hit everything on the spot. Gellert is bitter and manipulative and contemptuous and yes, there is a touch of fondness in his writing; I'm glad you picked that up! There is a lot of familiarity between the two; they have such a complicated and intricate history together.

As for Albus, I'm going for a less perfect version of him. I imagine that he can't always be his wonderful, brilliant self (as he is in the books), and I'm quite eager to explore his possible flaws and shortcomings.

Ariana is one of my favourite characters to write. In DH, Ariana is one of the most glossed-over characters (hardly surprising, as she's long dead). Still, her role in the books, or at least in Dumbledore's past, is crucial, and her condition and eventual death really changed a lot about Albus, veered his life off to a completely different direction. It's sad that she isn't so well-explored in the final book, but not that sad, because yaya! I can write my own twisted version of her. And I'm enjoying meself greatly. :P

Thank you for this brilliant review! ♥ This has absolutely made my night!!

-teh


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Review #18, by marinahill 

23rd January 2014:
Here for our review swap :)

I cannot express enough how much I LOVE stories about the Dumbledores. I remember reading about their back stories in Deathly Hallows and I got a chill then and I was quite surprised to get a similar sort of chill just now.

The letter between Albus and Gellert - from a future time, if I'm correct? It's very telling about their relationship at that time, of things that are yet to come for Albus. Gellert, even then, shows this strong manipulative power over Albus. It's like he knows exactly what buttons to press and when. Interesting indeed.

The visit to Madam Bagshot was also very revealing. The way she describes Kendra... so true to her representation in the books. Of course she wouldn't have made friends if she wouldn't let anyone in. I imagine it makes it very difficult for both Albus and Aberforth to not really have anyone to really talk to about her.

Ariana seems incredibly powerful already. How simply she just decides to not take the medicine and that's that... Remarkable really. I already get a sense for this unpredictable and powerful young girl who hasn't quite grasped the reality of her surroundings and doesn't fully comprehend that her mother is gone.

I really love this, teh! An amazing first chapter with some truly remarkable characters.

Marina

Author's Response: Hiya Marina!

Gah, what an absolutely lovely review! Thank you! :D I love stories about the Dumbledores as well, and I'm blown away that my story affected you in such a way. I suppose I must be doing something right with this. :P

The letter is indeed from the future - many years after the events of the summer of 1899. I am beyond excited to explore the power dynamics between the two; Gellert is indeed rather bitter and manipulative in that letter. Ah well, he did just lose a major duel after all, and has been pretty much consigned to the prison of his own making for the rest of his life.

I loved scouring DH for little telling details about the Dumbledores and other characters surrounding them, and I love expanding on these tidbits of information even more! I'm glad you like the glimpses of Kendra! Sadly, she won't play too big a role in this story, seeing as she's already dead.

Thank you so so much for your fab review, Marina! This was absolutely lovely to receive !! ♥

-teh


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Review #19, by AlexFan 

19th January 2014:
I seem to be reading quite a few stories about the Dumbledore family these days.

The writing in this was so beautiful but at the same time it was so sad. Everything flowed so well and it sucked me into the story. The writing in this was almost poetic. I love how you started out with a letter from Grindelwald. I was actually wondering who had written the letter because it sounded a lot like something that Albus would've written to Grindelwald.

I think Grindelwald changed from the person that he was when he was younger, all of those years spent in his prison cells must've changed something in him. The fact that he admitted in his letter that it wasn't Aberforth who killed Ariana convinces me even more that Gellert Grindelwald changed a little bit.

I liked your portrayal of Dumbeldore as a teenager as well. You showed how he must've been when he was younger. The impatience that he had with people, the way that he treated his brother is very different from the Albus Dumbledore that we've all known and loved. Your version of Albus seems almost cold, cut off from everyone else in his life. It's almost like he doesn't want to become close with anyone that he met.

I also enjoyed how you showed the family dynamic. You made it very clear that although Albus, Aberforth, Kendra and Ariana were related, they were by no means close to one another. They cared for each other but they weren't close. My favourite character has to be Kendra. I always got the impression that she was a strict, no-nonsense sort of woman, and you showed that, but I love how you also showed that she cared for her daughter. Kendra wasn't hiding her daughter because she was ashamed of her, she was hiding her from the world because she didn't want anymore harm to come to her or anyone else.

The Dumbledore family is definitely an interesting part of the Potterverse that isn't written a whole lot about and you're definitely off to an interesting start with the story.

Author's Response: Hello Grace! :)

Thanks for such a lovely review! I know there are a few Dumbledore family stories circulating out there, and hopefully you weren't tired of them by the time you got to this story. :P Thanks for your wonderful comments on my writing; it's most interesting that you think that the letter sounds like something that Albus would have written to Gellert. I suppose it might have something to do with the sense of betrayal within the letter.

I do agree with your statement that Grindelwald would have changed over the years he spent in prison. The letter is dated 1945, though, so I think he was only a few months in his own cell after his defeat by Dumbledore...so...possibly something else is happening? Something else that changed him? Hmmm.

I was trying to portray Albus as a more flawed version of his perfect old self, twinkling at everyone, giving ludicrous bits of advice but being a bit of a genius all the same...Albus here has more discernible faults, and I think I'm really enjoying writing him the way he is.

I'm glad you like the family dynamic of this! You're right, not all of them are close to each other; they're stuck with each other because of circumstances, but there's plenty of conflict between them, grudges, resentment, bitterness. Ah, I love exploring families sometimes. Hopefully I'll be able to develop Kendra's character a little more as the story unfolds.

Thank you so much for this lovely review! You've made some really thoughtful comments, and I really do appreciate them; they've certainly made me think about some things in the story.

-teh


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Review #20, by Infinityx 

14th January 2014:
Hi! I'm here for the review swap.

First of all, that was absolutely brilliant. I think that was the best piece of writing I have ever read so far and I completely loved it.

The way you started with Grindelwald's letter was perfect. You've brought out his voice so strongly, with his proud, condescending way of writing. He uncannily made me think of Dumbledore. With the way you've portrayed his attitude to be, I can totally imagine the two being best friends.

Your descriptions are overwhelmingly powerful. I literally got chills while reading this chapter. There were certain phrases which I loved.
muzzle the whole damned continent, the one who trampled the faces of pitiful kings and politicians - you should have heard how their spines moaned .. This part was so incredibly vivid. Then the P.S. had such a lingering impact. It was such a perfect way to end the letter. I also think the way Albus describes Kendra's features is so picuresque. I could just imagine her face before me. Great job!

I love the way you characterized all the three Dumbledores. The tension between the two brothers is very clear. And Albus is so cold and unloving in this chapter. It's hard to believe that the same person would later tell Harry that love is what is most powerful. I'm really curious about how his character would develop. Ariana causes a great deal of mystery to envelop the chapter. There's a subtle hint that she's dangerously powerful. Maybe she had a role in Kendra's death? I'm eager to find out.

Once again, the descriptions involved when it comes to Ariana's way of differentiating between her brothers and her mother are incredible. You've brought out the child in her as well as her perceptiveness. I'm eager to see how her character will progress.

I am so glad I read this. Please update soon! I can't wait to know what happens next! :)

Cheers!
Erin.

Author's Response: Hello there, Erin!

Thank you so much for choosing to read my new story! :) The best piece of writing you've ever read so far? *blushes* Thank you! *hugs* That is honestly such an amazing compliment!

Oh, your comments on the letter were wonderful. It's interesting that Gellert's way of writing made you think of Dumbledore. I do think the two boys might have some similarities; in my mind, they're both quite self-absorbed and immensely proud of their own abilities.

I'm very nervous about writing Albus Dumbledore :P I'm a little afraid about how he's going to turn out to be, and whether or not my portrayal of him as a character is a believable one. Ariana, in my opinion is certainly powerful. She did have uncontrollable fits of magic; I think it was mentioned in DH somewhere. And these episodes of hers were powerful enough to cause Kendra's death. So I do think that she is indeed a very powerful witch, though not one who is in full control of her magic.

Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I shall indeed be updating soon, and I hope you'll be back! Pleasure doing a swap with you.

-teh


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Review #21, by Lululuna 

8th January 2014:
Hi teh! :) I'm here for your 2nd of 5 prize reviews!

Ah, this is just fascinating. I've been re-reading DH recently and I love how you're filling in the empty spaces and mysteries surrounding Dumbledore's early life. The letter at the beginning was very interesting, and I loved the very sinister and almost mocking tone of it: it reminded me of how a mad serial killer might speak. Grindelwald reminded me of Voldemort in a way, but I felt that Grindelwald unlike Voldy could understand and sense love here, since he uses love to taunt Albus, so that was a really unique distinction. The description of what he did in conquering Europe was wonderful too, and so chilling. I love it when stories explore how Grindelwald was involved in muggle wars and politics, and by the looks of the date he would have just been imprisoned after WWII so is writing this quite soon after.

The little details and mysteries in the letter were very intriguing as well: I loved the phrase "hallowed ambition" and its subtle allusion to the Deathly Hallows (if that's what you intended!) and the mentions of Albus never winning the Elder wand from Grindelwald. Hmm, I'm so curious! Did Albus win the wand from someone they were dueling with and then Grindelwald stole it from him? The idea that Grindelwald was never a master of the wand and that perhaps during their duel something similar to Voldy and Harry's ownership of the wand might have happened is very creative.

Wow, if Bathilda is already old when Albus is young then I can't even imagine how old she must have been by the time Harry comes round! :P Although I suppose she was possessed by a snaky Horcrux for a bit.

Something which I think is interesting so far is that I don't really "like" any of your characters here in the traditional sense. I feel like they're well-developed and beautifully written, with that element of imperfection and humanity which brings the rottenness in each one parallel with their good attributes. Albus is selfish and rather manipulative in the contrast of his outer poise and his inner angry thoughts. He has a sort of sinister impatience which casts a dark foreboding about him. Ariana, though I feel sorry for her, has a sort of inner death which frightens me as well. I'm looking forward to see how you develop them further and explain some of the mysteries surrounding the story. :)

I had a lot of favourite lines and there was some really lovely and powerful writing here, my dear! :) I think my favourite part was the description of Kendra's mouth blending in with the rest of her face: it was so gruesome and really conveyed the dehumanization and grotesque objectivity of a dead body, I could really picture it. I also loved how Ariana sees Albus, how she is sort of afraid of him but also thinks he is disappointed in her- in fact, he seems to be disappointed in his life and the fact that he is now responsible for her, so she is right to be nervous. I think, as awful a fact that Albus' attitude towards his sister is, it's something that anyone can relate to a little no matter how good of a person they are. :)

Sorry for the rambly quality of this review- I loved the story and am looking forward to the next chapter! :D

Author's Response: Hiya Jenna! ♥

Aahh, this is such an amazing review, I'm not quite sure what to say! Thank you for taking the time to read my new story and leave such lengthy, detailed and extremely flattering and kind comments! ♥

I will indeed be attempting to fill in some of the gaps surrounding Dumbledore's early years; I will also be trying to stretch canon a little bit in some areas. I'm glad you liked Gellert's letter. I've been wondering whether it is a mistake on my part to open up /that/ part of canon, to hint at a separate timeline from the main story...but I'm going to stick with this structure and plot for now. Gellert, in my opinion, is a lot more fascinating as a Dark Lord compared to Voldemort. Voldie sometimes feels a little bit two-dimensional to me. 'Hallowed ambition' is indeed a reference to the Deathly Hallows. I'm glad you picked that up! The Hallows were such a big part of Albus and Gellert's lives and relationship during that summer. It was really interesting reading your thoughts and guesses at the hints in the letter; hopefully I'll be able to explain things with more clarity as the story progresses (hopefully). :P

Yeah, Bathilda is an old one! I was originally going to make her a bit younger, but then during 1899, she is already a 'great aunt' with a grand-nephew (Gellert), which perhaps suggests that she's fairly old.

Well, I really love how you described my characters. I understand about not 'liking' them; they're flawed, all of them, and they are not necessarily relatable to the reader. Albus is far from perfect; I did want to explore that other side of him: his self-absorbed and slightly arrogant self. And I'm going to focus quite a bit on Ariana in this story, because I think she's a really interesting character to explore! "Inner death" is quite an appropriate way to describe her! :P I honestly cannot wait to write these characters in greater detail, and show how they interact with each other.

Thank you so much once again for this fantastic review! It isn't rambly at all, and I do hope you'll be back to read the next chapter of this!

teh


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Review #22, by marauderfan 

6th January 2014:
Teh! Lucky you, you get 3 reviews from me today. I read this earlier today but didn't have time to review until now... so, not-as-luckily, it's after midnight so this sleepy review may not make much sense, just warning you :p

I remember you mentioning this story a while ago, so I was excited to see it posted today! The letter from Grindelwald - what a great way to start out this story, it's such an ominous beginning. Love it. Though Grindelwald doesn't actually appear in person in the books at all, this feels very Grindelwald-ish to me (oh dear, one paragraph in and I'm already not making sense). The tone of the letter is at the same time friendly and incredibly bitter and spiteful - reminding Albus that even though Gellert is the one in prison, Albus isn't free either, as Gellert reminds him to make him feel guilty.

I really like your characterization of all three of the Dumbledore siblings. Albus is so refined, so... conforming. His outward appearance to society is really important to him, whereas Aberforth couldn't care less, I see him as more of an escapist. Where Albus is refined, Abeforth is free. And Ariana seems a little confused, but very strong.

Ok, I must admit though... Bathilda Bagshot's hat, with the tulips and crows on it. Hahahha. It's ludicrous but somehow seems to fit right in with the zaniness of the wizarding world. They do seem to like odd hats (thinking of Neville's grandmother with her vulture hat.)

I feel like I should also comment on your word choice. I've noticed this with many of your stories - you use such interesting and sometimes odd words, which help create the vivid descriptions you're quite famous for ;) Like describing Bathilda's back as "beetled" - it's a peculiar choice but is perfectly descriptive. Your sentences are very stylized, very carefully crafted with words I never would have thought to use, and I absolutely love the way it shapes the story.

Wonderful chapter! I'm really looking forward to keep reading this. And once again I'm sorry about the oajhohaewq-ness of this review.



Author's Response: Kristin! ♥

I am indeed too lucky!! ♥ ♥ (giving you plenty of hearts because YOU ARE McAWESOME)

Thank you for taking the time to drop by and read and review my new story! I really do appreciate it, and I was excited to read your thoughts about this. This is different from everything I've written so far (I say this for all my stories, haha - guess I'm having trouble settling on a single style/era).

I intend to explore the three Dumbledores in a bit more detail...actually more on Albus and Ariana rather than Aberforth. :P

Bathilda's hat! ♥ Muaha. That's just me trying to think of exactly /what/ sorts of clothes people wear in those days, and then failing to come up with anything satisfactory, so I put something ludicrous in the story and blame it on the weirdness of the wizarding world. :P

Thank you for that lovely comment on word choice! I love using words, especially simple everyday words, in unexpected ways! Hopefully it will breathe a bit of life into the language and prose of the story! ♥

falskcjoimsck thank YOU for this review, Kristin! I really hope you'll be back for the next chapter! And sorry for the general silliness of this response. :P

-tehhh


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Review #23, by Violet Gryfindor 

6th January 2014:
I really can't express how excited I am about this story! This will be a short review because there is too much to say and far too much flailing would occur. So to save you from the squees and flails...

What you have here is fantastic. The style feels very 19th century in the rhythm of the sentences and your descriptions - it's hard to put words to what exactly that style is, but you've captured it very well. I was looking forward to seeing how you'd approach the period after your topic on the forums, and there's a lot of important aspects you've included, from the decorum and rituals of society to the wondrous fashions of Bathilda (her hat made me laugh even though I'm sure someone back then actually had a hat like that). Two things in particular stood out in regard to the setting/atmosphere.

The first is Albus's performance of the proper Victorian gentleman in contrast to his brother, who pretty much stepped out of a Thomas Hardy novel. It fits perfectly with canon, but it's also a major concern of the Victorian period, the idea of the natural person versus the person constructed by society. Albus tends to live by the book - even Gellert acknowledges this, and calls Albus out for it. It's at once his strength and his weakness - he represses too much of his feeling, and thus loses both Ariana and Gellert, but it also gives him the strength to fight against Gellert (despite what he feels for him). Aberforth is easily the happier brother, more at home in nature, separating himself from the complexities and contradictions of human society. I really like how you've characterized both brothers so far. There's already so much one could say about them, dissecting their characters to one's heart delight, and I'm excited to see how you'll develop them from here.

The other thing that stood out was the wonderful Gothic atmosphere you evoked in the section with Ariana. It has shades of "Turn of the Screw" in it for sure, as well as shades of the Brontes' novels, but it's also very much your own. I loved the way you described Ariana's magic and her "affliction" and the way it burned in her veins and filled her mind, making everyday things seem supernatural. And that last line. ^_^ She could have been a victim, but she doesn't accept that role - that image of her fighting the blanket being wrapped tightly around her again and again is excellent for symbolising her struggle against the barriers her family and society have placed upon her. Not only is she a young girl, but she's different (dangerous), and in that world, it makes her almost worthless. But you show that she's strong. Despite their weaknesses, the three Dumbledores are strong people.

Okay, this review is starting to get long, and I haven't said enough about the letter. The voice of Gellert Grindelwald was haunting. It came across so powerfully that I could hear it in my head - in a rather Moriarty-ish voice - but the best part was when the flow of his words began to break, revealing how overwhelmed he is by hate. It is the betrayal that angers him most, and in revenge he attacks Albus with the best ammunition he knows: Albus's guilt. Ugh, it was perfect.

This is the kind of story I wish I could have written. The subject matter is fascinating, multi-faceted with plenty of grey area to explore. These characters are complex to the extreme, where all of them are victims and villains in their own way - they all destroy one another, no matter how good their intentions may have been. And of course it's also a period piece, for which you've done excellent research. The resulting chapter is brilliantly-put together - it's an amazing introduction to your story!

(And yes, this review did get long although I tried to hold back.)

It's an automatic favourite - I knew even before reading it that it would be perfect, and it's even better than I imagined!

Author's Response: Hello Susan! ♥

Oh my goodness, what an amazing and detailed review! I'm sitting here, reduced to a pile of squees, but I'll do my best to coherently answer all the wonderful and very perceptive points you brought up.

First, thank you SO MUCH for your comments on the style! When I was writing this, I honestly didn't think I could accurately employ a 19th century style of writing; I'm very much a contemporary writer, and I think my usual style is quite informal. With this fic, I pretty much decided to be a little more formal with my sentences and with things like dialogue, but otherwise to write as I normally do, so my writing won't be completely unrecognisable to myself. :P Your comment really means a lot to me, and it has definitely made me feel more confident with how I'm approaching the story.

Young Albus Dumbledore is indeed a very restrained character; he does keep up a very clean public appearance, and I think I was a bit influenced by Aberforth's story in DH, about how Albus was brought up with "secrets and lies", which he learned at his mother's knee, or something like that. He is very much the responsible gentlemanly figure, and he did do his best to help Kendra maintain the Dumbledore family image. I'm so, so glad you picked up on how he lives "by the book"! I intend to explore this characteristic of his a little more; he is certainly going to be a bit of a contrast to Gellert (and to Aberforth as well). I think I'm going to enjoy exploring all the flaws of young!Dumbledore and make him less of the lofty, brilliant tactician and teacher which we are so familiar with in the books.

As for Ariana, I had a lot of fun with her. I find Ariana a rather undeveloped and useless character in canon. :P She exists solely to illustrate the flaws in Albus' character, and has been relegated to the role of a tragic figure in Albus' troubled past. I was influenced by the whole 'mad woman in the attic' concept, and I'm glad you thought the atmosphere was Gothic enough to have shades of the Bronte sisters! There most certainly is a dangerous aspect about Ariana; in many fics I've read about her, she seems to be this sweet, innocent, tormented girl, and I find that sometimes writers overlook the fact that her magic is very powerful, powerful enough to cause a fatal accident to her own mother.

Grindelwald's letter! Ahh, I'm so happy that his voice had some impact on you! I have a very soft spot for Grindeldore, though admittedly, this ship is a doomed one, filled with nothing but angst and tragedy. All your comments on Gellert's letter are spot-on; he is indeed very bitter and taunting - he does feel that Albus has betrayed him, and he knows the latter well enough to be familiar with all his weak points. Grindeldore is a very complex ship, and I'm a little nervous trying to write this!

I love your comment on the character complexity, and how they're all victims and villains; they most definitely are, and I suppose one of the things of this story I'm most excited about examining is the interactions between the characters, and how they act and react to each other!

Ahh, thank you again! ♥ Thank you for the favourite, and I do hope you come back to this fic! I'm a slow writer, but I'll get there! :) ♥

teh


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Review #24, by BookDinosaur 

5th January 2014:
Hello teh! I'm here for the Tenth of the Twelve Days of Reviewing. :)

Ah this was just all amazing how do you do it? :O


The letter, we'll start with the letter. It was just so perfect, the way Grindelwald wrote it with this slightly condescending attitude but at the same time an odd familiarity that does make sense, because they shared a past. It said so much but then at the same time it didn't say enough and I'm left here saying no I want more.

And wait. Aberforth didn't kill Ariana. I have a feeling that Gellert knows who killed her, and he wants to tell Albus who did and just gaahhh I want to read more!

I think the section with Albus narrating was just perfect, all the narration was so him I could tell easily. The way he was so cold and unfeeling and just nothing when it's his mother who's dead unnerved me a little, and this line: It isn't so much a Soothing Solution as it is a powerful Sleeping Draught. I mean - why? Why is he so cruel to Ariana, he just wants her out of the way, he doesn't care for her at all. It's the equivalent of a doctor overdosing a patient because he doesn't want to deal with them. :(

Bathilda was great, I can't wait to find out what she's got up her sleeves. I think you really managed to capture her character and create something out of it, and I want to know what that strange episode with the forgettting was all about.

I think the Ariana-narrated section was perfect as well, you captured her voice so perfectly I knew exactly who was talking. I loved this line: She imagines Kendra, Albus and Aberforth slipping up to her, one by one, each with a blanket, trying to wrap her up like a parcel, suffocate her in a sheath of her own body heat. It's just perfect, your descriptions and your imagery is so perfect. I can see everything that's happening throughout the story so clearly.

All in all, this was just an amazing chapter, I'm so glad I had the chance to read it. Well done!

Author's Response: Hi Emily! faslkdjscm thank you for this lovely review ♥!

Am glad you like Grindelwald's letter. I really did enjoy trying to write his voice, how he would sound like, and his bitterness and anger toward his former old friend, Albus. I did try to convey the sense that they shared plenty together in the past, which I'll HOPEFULLY be revealing slowly as the chapters progress. Ooh, who killed Ariana Dumbledore, indeed This is beginning to sound like a murder mystery whodunnit. :P I still don't know if it IS indeed a murder mystery whodunnit.

Gah, thanks for your comment on Albus' narration. I've always seen Albus as having a bit of trouble really relating to other people: he understands and analyses the thoughts and emotions they feel and experience, but I have this strange sensation that he can't quite feel the same as them...the things he does in his later years, manipulating characters like Snape and Harry for the greater good showcases his brilliance and all, but I do find a certain lack of empathy, somehow in the way he acted. He really does stick to his 'for the greater good' motto, long after Grindelwald's defeat and long after that summer of 1899.

I loved writing Ariana, and I'll be exploring her in more detail in the next chapter. I do hope you'll be back to read. :) And I'm really, really gratified that there's a sense of clarity in the prose; clarity in writing is a very big deal for me.

Thank you, love! This was an absolutely wonderful review to receive. ♥

-teh


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Review #25, by UnluckyStar57 

5th January 2014:
On the Tenth Day of the Twelve Days of Reviewing, I'm giving you a review! :D

Okay, this is only the first chapter, but I already CAN'T WAIT for the next one! I love that you're writing about the Dumbledores at that so-pivotal point in their lives, in which Kendra died and Grindelwald came into the picture. The letter at the beginning was very powerful. My favorite phrase of the story comes from it: "the one who trampled the faces of pitiful kings and politicians." I thought that it was a perfect description of what Grindelwald did, and that phrase, along with the material preceding it (and coming afterwards!), was phrased so magnificently. Each word was incredibly powerful!

Albus Dumbledore as a seventeen-year-old is extremely unlikable. He is selfish and vain, wrapped up in worrying about how his future is ruined. Whatever my thoughts about him are, I loved having a look inside his thoughts. It gave a whole new dimension to the story that Aberforth told in DH. I'm sure that the next chapter will continue to elaborate on this new dimension, and I am really excited to see what Grindelwald is like!

The character that surprised me most was Ariana. I always pictured her as mute, simply because I presumed that when she went mad, she went silent as well. However, that is not the case in this story, and I quite like the idea! Thanks for showing me a new perspective of the Dumbledore family!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hey there, UnluckyStar!

Wow, thanks for this fabulous review! It was really such a lovely surprise, and this is my new story as well.

This is indeed a pretty crucial period int he Dumbledores' lives, and certainly, the summer of 1899 is possibly a very important turning point in Albus Dumbledore's life, and will pretty much dictate what kind of person he turns out to be in his later years.

I was certainly trying to portray a significantly more flawed Albus, hence his degree of self-absorption. I do feel that he couldn't always have been his perfect self, and it was fun making him waaay more human, bringing him down to earth and showing all his weaknesses and all. Grindelwald will appear in the next chapter. I'm excited writing him as well!

Ooh, your interpretation of Ariana is interesting. She isn't mute in this fic, but she still has been badly affected by that traumatic childhood incident with the Muggle boys. I'm actually looking forward to exploring her character in a lot more detail.

Thank you so much for this wonderful review! I'm glad you thought this was a new perspective on the Dumbledores!

-teh


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