10 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TreacleTart 

1st December 2015:
Hello Aph,

I'm here for our review swap!

Wow! The first thing that really stood out in this chapter to me was the way that you described winter. It felt so festive and beautiful, but the way that Dumbeldore was talking about it gave it a touch of melancholy.

I love all of the little details that you include in Dumbledore's character that make him seem more like a real person. His choice to smoke and then excuse it as an indulgence, his annoyance at the idea that someone else had discovered a property of dragon's blood, and his hopefulness at seeing a blonde man enter the party, all make him seem much deeper and more human. In cannon, he sort of comes off as semi-omnipotent...so it's nice to see a story that shows his human flaws.

The ending when he falls into bed with the golden haired Grindelwald look alike was really sad. I mean I understand why he did it. He was looking for comfort, but the idea of him being physically engaged with this man and then thinking of someone else seems really depressing.

I do wonder how Gellert wil respond to the flowers or if he'll respond at all. I do hope they'll communicate at least a little bit.

Oh and I almost forgot. I loved the beginning of this chapter and how Dumbledore tells us about Gellert's love for poetry. It does seem out of place against his background in poetry, but in a way I think it makes sense.

Good work as usual!


Author's Response: Hey there - thank you so much for dropping by again! :)

I love winter, but I think Christmas is often a family-oriented thing (at least, it is in the UK, I don't know too much about elsewhere) so for someone like Albus, who's kinda lost his family, it must be very lonely. So that kinda came from there.

Haha, they're really fun to write! I really love making characters a little more human and real and less... I dunno, godly and all-knowing or black and white, you know? I think Albus often gets the 'wise' treatment a bit too much, so here he's less wise :P And yeah, he's a lot more... almost fragile in this chapter, I think, but hehe... the smoking thing - I had to include it, tbh :P

Yeah, it kinda had to happen but it was sad. It's an easy thing to do, I think, if you have the possibility - a couple of people I know have done similar things - and I kinda wanted something more than just Gellert to give him the whole 'avoiding relationships' thing, you know?

Hehe... wait and see! No spoilers here! ;)

I'm so glad you liked it! It's been a long-standing part of my headcanon for Gellert, so I'm so happy you thought it worked! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely review, and for the swap - it was so great to do, as always! :)

Aph xx

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Review #2, by Penelope Inkwell 

17th September 2015:
Even now, when I think of it, it brings a smile to my face, and I wonder what others would think if I told them, in all honesty, that Gellert Grindelwald, terror of Europe, former dictator and Dark Lord, was an avid reader Ė and lover, indeed Ė of poetry
--once again, I really like how you give Grindelwald facets. He was ruthless, a killer, yes. But he also loved poetry and apparently enjoyed the opera.

Do they allow you books in Nurmengard? I cannot imagine they do; they are still wary of you, of what you might do if given the chance. Perhaps I should send you some Ė novels, poetry, history Ė if only to save you from yourself. Locking you in prison was one thing, but sitting back and allowing you to drive yourself quite mad with boredom is another.
--Yes! Called it!

No, in this we were opposites Ė as we were in so many things, as we discovered in the end.
--I find it interesting that Gellert really clings to the idea that they were always together in this, that they had thought the same things and that Albus had just kind of bailed, almost chickened out. Or, at least, that's how he seems to think about it. Dumbledore, on the other hand, believes that, at their cores, there were always key differences, even as he doesn't really look down on Gellert. It's interesting.


similies and comparisons,
--I think it's spelled "similes".

since my own linguistic skills have always been poor, despite your best attempts at instruction, my darling.
--I wondered about this a bit, since we know that Dumbledore speaks Mermish and Gobbledegook, at least.

Excellent job, Aph! Your writing really is superb (and I can see why you're so fond of the Romantic poets--it's beautifully reflected in your style. Congratulations on all your Dobbys nominations, once again!


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Review #3, by HeyMrsPotter 

13th September 2015:
Who doesn't love stories about christmas? :)

Dumbledore's heartbreak is so obvious in this chapter in comparison with the happiness that usually comes with christmas. Even though he's describing things as spectacular and saying that he enjoyed himself, and that things were beautiful, it still all sounds so sad, as if it would be better if Gellert was there.

I can really see why this story has been nominated, and for more than one round of the Dobbys. Your writing is impeccable.


Author's Response: Hi Dee! :) Thank you so so much for stopping by again - it means so much! :)

Christmas! :D Everyone loves Christmas! I couldn't resist writing a Christmas chapter, haha... :P

I really wanted to play on the happiness theme, and the idea that this one stands out because of what it - and the one before - should have been, and what it ended up being in contrast to it. I think the story is generally kinda sad, haha, so it's a little hard to avoid it (though I'm always kinda scared it's too repetitive on that point...), so I'm so glad you liked that! :)

Thank you so so much - you're giving me far too many compliments here, and it's so lovely, but I really don't know what to say other than thank you! :)

Thank you so so much for the lovely bunch of reviews you left me - they were so wonderful to get, and such a lovely surprise, thank you! :)

Aph xx

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Review #4, by ad astra 

20th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 Review - Slytherin

It was in this chapter that I realised how much I love the way you've structured this story, opening with reflections and moving into flashbacks. There's something oddly endearing about Albus's flashbacks in particular, and it gives the whole story a unique tone of reflection.

Quite probably they would laugh, my darling, and you mustnít blame them for it: the Dark Arts and poetry are hardly ordinary bedfellows. I love this line so much. I shouldn't find anything endearing about the terror of Europe, former dictator and Dark Lord, but honestly? Bless his irretrievably dark, twisted and yet unashamedly nerdy soul. I love Grindelwald. What has this story done to me that I'm saying that?

Christmas aesthetics. I feel truly blessed. Thank you for this

Where you were Germanic steel, beautiful and strong and unyielding, he was light and eager and so very pliable beneath my hands. I love this line so much. Germanic steel. Your imagery is flawless.

10/10 as always. I'm in love with your writing this is a problem

Author's Response: Hi Lisa! :) Thank you so much for stopping by (again :P) - it's the most amazing run of reviews! :)

Gah, thank you so much! :) It was a strange sort of way to structure it for me - I wrote the first section of the first chapter and wasn't sure whether or not to include it, really, but left it in in the end - especially because I know I struggle with substance in chapters, and it felt a lot like avoiding that. I'm just so glad you like it! :)

I would say I'm sorry, but I'm actually just really happy, haha. I had a really solid view of Gellert when I started writing this, and I really wanted to make it less a clear-cut, good v evil, thing, so I'm so glad you like him, since that means I've kinda succeeded? Maybe... :P And yes, he is very nerdy. Though I wouldn't tell him that ;)

I had to write a Christmas chapter at some point! :P Gah, you're welcome - I loved writing it, so I'm just glad you liked it! :)

(Funny story: I was doing a lot of EU Business stuff at the time, and they always used to use the example of German steel for it. So that's sort of how that came about :P)

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review - it was amazing to get, really! Thank you! :)

Aph xx

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Review #5, by Dojh167 

18th May 2015:
The difference between the style in which you write Albus and Gellert is really beginning to show through, while maintaining the overall writing style of the story.

This paragraph is this story for me: "I think you might quite enjoy Tennyson, at any rate. He talks of death and nature and thought intertwined, describing psychology through imagery; he never states things directly, as such, merely gives a sense of them to the reader, leaving you to decipher the exact meaning yourself. A poet for both politicians and lovers. Perhaps it is too bold to say (and so I shall not, at least not out loud), but having been both of those things, you seem his ideal audience." It is perfect. Now I need to read some Tennyson.

I love Albus' admission that words were always Gellert's tool and passion. This caught me off gaurd, since Albus' chapters are themed around language, but it also explains why they are in a really beautiful way.

"I have always preferred things which do not speak directly to me, things which allow me to decipher and translate without words, to give them meaning rather than take it from them, even if I could change it to what I would like to take from it. Music was always my first love, art the second: both play on the senses, on emotions through the senses, leaving the mind out of it altogether." This is really wonderful, and again not what I would expect from Albus, but instead of making him feel out of character, it really deeply adds to his characterization and makes him much more accessible.

Albus would drink absinthe.

I love how you incorporate Dillonsby - such a lovely little canon gem.

This passage has a fabulous subtle sensuality: "Where you were Germanic steel, beautiful and strong and unyielding, he was light and eager and so very pliable beneath my hands. You had inspired longing in me, brought out passion and wanting and a hunger I had always known but refused to acknowledge, and I could not muster up those emotions for him."

I haven't found reference to which quote won the Dobby's. I am curious because so many of them are jaw-droppingly stunning.

I think this was the most beautiful chapter yet(particularly the intro), and it kept me highly engaged and marveling at the beauty of your words.

I am beyond complaining about the melodrama. While I can't read more than more than one chapter at a time, as it is so brilliantly saturated, my heart has quickly learned to yearn for it. Despite my prior objections and my wariness at the off-balance between description and action, when I got to the end of this chapter's opening I was disappointed that there were traditional scenes ahead, as I wanted nothing more than the continued raw emotion of directly reading Albus' thoughts. Of course, that was a foolish reaction, as this fulfilling beauty permeates all of your prose.

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Review #6, by nott theodore 

1st May 2015:
Hi Laura! Sorry about the delay in getting to this review for our swap - I got caught up Skyping my friend and doing other things which distracted me from reviewing. I hope you don't mind me coming back to this story because I really do love it!

I don't actually even know where to start with writing a review for this chapter, to be honest. It was just so beautiful. Your writing is really incredible here and I just want to quote most of it back to you but that would take up the whole review.

How do you manage to capture Albus so well? It's just so impressive - you manage to write him on a level which sounds like it is actually Albus Dumbledore. His ramblings and thoughts at the beginning of this chapter were just so real for me - we've gradually learnt over the course of this story so far about the feelings that Albus and Gellert had for each other and the way that Albus reflects on those feelings and the concept of love is just wonderful.

I think one of my favourite things about your writing in this is that, even though at the beginning the reflection part is a little detached from the main narrative, you still manage to make sure that everything flows and connects together. Albus has been reading poetry which reminds him of Gellert and then we get to learn about the different things that they loved together - their differences in taste and the way they view literature and music and art and the values they impart to those different forms. I don't know why but it just felt so true and real when I was reading that section.

The line about Albus wanting to send Gellert some books and poetry while he's in Azkaban, so that he doesn't drive himself mad from boredom, was so sad - especially after Gellert fearing being imprisoned and trapped with his own company.

Then to return to the 'chronological' part of the narrative was even sadder. Albus is so lonely and sad and that comes through so clearly. His thoughts on Christmas being a time of family were really sad - I always love Christmas and getting to see everyone I love at that time of year, but then the thought of the people who don't have people to spend that time with is really upsetting.

I loved the description of the party that Albus went to - I also loved the little thing about the French not really caring if people really had invites or not :P It just made me laugh!

The party was described so wonderfully - I really got a sense of the exuberance and the celebration. The details that you included were great too - just the little things like Albus smoking because that's what people did then, and he'd got into it like the rest of them - all of that made it so much more authentic and believable for me.

The scene when Ivor Dillonsby approached Albus about the dragon's blood properties was great! I'm so intrigued to see whether Albus will deliberately discover them on his own first or if he actually did take some of the ideas from him - it's also great that you're using a tiny detail from canon, something that Rita Skeeter digs up and might not even be true, and putting your own spin on it and giving it some foundation in fact at least.

This chapter just felt so... wise. I don't know if that's the right word really but I just keep marvelling at how well you captured Albus's voice, the voice of someone who's much older and wiser now and who has learnt from his mistakes and can reflect on lots of qualities and acknowledge his own mistakes and shortcomings. It's such an interesting narration and I just love reading it.

Sorry for the rambling and confused nature of this review, but I really don't know what to say at the moment, other than this was a brilliant chapter, like always!

Sian :)

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Review #7, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

13th March 2015:
What can mere denial do, in the face of such an ending?

Iím always in denial. Sssh, let me still stay there for awhile.

I promised myself I would be happy at Christmas, but the truth about happiness is that you can promise it to yourself as many times as you wish, it will not necessarily do anything.

Too true Albus, too true. You know what really bugs me? I watch a lot of YouTube videos, talk shows, read a lot of books for my job and what I cannot stand is this sudden movement where everyone thinks they are a preacher or this beacon of hope and they have decided theyíve figured out life and their advice to all these kids who are struggling with depression or anyone: oh, just wake up and be happy.

Itís not that simple.

But they think it is.

Sorry, Iím ranting. His rambles have me rambling.

There was no need for a spectacle; after all, I had been in love with you for years then, even if I had not thought of it until that moment.

Ugh. Itís so heartbreaking. They were in love and they never got their time together. Their real chance to be together out in the world and experience life and follow their dreamsótogether. Itís also heartbreaking they ended up alone but two of the most powerful wizards with such a connection and past, you canít really expect them to move on and love someone else. I think in general love is hard for them. I donít know why but I do.

Author's Response: Hi there! :) Thank you so much for stopping by!

Haha, no worries, you can stay there ;) Denial is one of those things which is simultaneously good and bad, you know? So nice, but not always the best thing for us.

Yes, that always bugs me too! It's like they think you can make yourself happy by certain things - 'oh, you just need to be more relaxed', 'stop making yourself sad'. It doesn't really work like that - emotions aren't that logical or flexible, or under our control in quite that way.

Haha, don't apologise - it's fine! ;) Rambling in response to rambling is perfectly allowable.

Sorry! :P But yeah, it's desperately sad that it never happened, and maybe in a way it almost couldn't happen for them, or shouldn't happen - but it means unhappiness, which is kinda harsh for them. And connections like that don't just go, either - I definitely don't think it's easy for them, it's not quite so simple for them as for other people.

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #8, by pottered  

22nd February 2015:
"after all, I had been in love with you for years then," ):
It's so sad how they both ended up alone, still in love with each other but still holding a hint of hatred because of the turn of events.

Author's Response: Hey again - thank you so much for stopping by! :) I'm so amazed you're still going through this story! Thank you! :)

Yeah, I really wanted to show that people don't always realise they're in love when they are, or recognise the depth of their feelings, especially when they're young, so Albus kinda realises too late what it actually is. It's a really sad thing for them, because they do love each other but it's almost like circumstances force them apart and there's always the memory of Ariana, for both of them, which kind of stands in the way. It's a pretty heartbreaking situation.

Thank you so much for the amazing review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #9, by crestwood 

2nd February 2015:
Hi Laura! It's been far too long since I've stopped by this story.

The opening paragraph has already kind of blown me away. It's pretty clear why you won Best Quote with this story, but I do wonder how anyone ever chose a single quote from all of this. 'it binds people together, whether they will it or not, whether there are papers to proclaim it or not' --I LOVE THIS.

This makes me feel so sad for Dumbledore, to think that he never again considered himself worthy of companionship. To open up so little for so long would be torture for me personally. I do wonder if he ever allowed another person to know him (his deepest dreams, fears, etc) after Gellert.

I've always imagined that Albus was a lover of poetry. Especially after reading this story, it's been difficult to separate him from a very poetic sort of sensibility.

You're making me so happy now making them both love poetry so much. In fact, it seems like Gellert got Albus into it. It does seem funny to have an image of him reading Tennyson in Nurmengard for some reason.

Well, now I'm convinced that you're just writing my headcanon that you've somehow discovered. Albus as a music and art lover is one of those things that is so strongly in my mind that I've never considered any other possibility.

The way you described the opera scene is just so good. I run out of words trying to comprehend how talented you are--this is just of such high quality that I struggle to explain it to you in any truly satisfactory way.

All of this about Albus on Christmas is pretty heartbreaking. I mean, even more than is typical for this story. I find every single thing anyone in this story says so compelling. Just Albus attending church and not understanding the words or going home and crying is worded so as to become something of incredible worth.

It's funny to think about Albus' linguistic skills being poor because he's never really been bad at much, has he? Even funnier when he explains why he's not good with languages :P

I love arrogant Albus. I need more of this. Of course he doesn't want someone else finding uses of dragon's blood, that's his thing! No one wants to be beaten at their own thing.

It makes sense to me that Albus never realized how strong his feelings for Gellert were before he met this guy who looks a lot like him and is theoretically everything that he should want. Because all that would do is make it glaringly obvious that he is not Gellert.

This story is still excellent and you're just so awesome for writing this, I can't believe how consistently great it is. Thank you so much for the swap!

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Review #10, by AlexFan 

12th December 2014:
I should warn you that I am sick so if I sound like Iím not making any sense at any point in time, that is most likely the reason as to why.

I donít know how to put this into words properly but I like how you took the theme of similes and connected it to romantic writers like Byron, and Wordsworth, and Milton because if the reader has read anything written by them, then they would be able to see the connection.

It kind of startled me when you mentioned Advent because I never really pictured Dumbledore as a religious man. I always thought of him as someone who would be open to the idea of religion but wouldnít have invested much time in it privately. And even in your story, it feels like he goes along with the custom of going to church more so to fit in rather than because of his belief in God.

I like how you brought out some of Dumbledoreís arrogance here, because you see it in the books but itís more mellow in the series. When Dumbledore is faced with the fact that someone besides him might have figured out the properties of dragon blood, it really hits you that he knew he was the best, he didnít just think it, but he knew for a fact that he was the best and the idea that someone could do something that he, the best, could not is just unbelievable.

I like how you included how Dumbledore was dealing with the fact that he had defeated the man that he cared for, and how he was still attracted to Grindelwald. (I also feel really proud to catch onto and understand all of the references that you made to Verdi and Goethe). Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again, this story isnít too slow but youíve got to have patience and the time to properly sit down and read it and digest whatís happening and going on.

Author's Response: Hi there again! :) Thank you so much for stopping by again - and no worries about it! Hope you get better soon! :)

I just had to include poets when talking about similies and imagery - it seemed so fitting! And Byron and Wordsworth are so lovely, though, admittedly, not my favourite poets. Though they do have beautiful imagery (and, helpfully, they fit the time frame :P)!

Yeah, same, exactly! I never thought he'd be very religious - if he ever was as a child, definitely not after what happened (and I don't even think as a child, tbh) - but I really wanted to include a Christmas chapter - a sort of holiday kinda chapter, so that's where that came from. The religion just sort of came along due to the place and time it was set :)

Haha, he is kinda arrogant in the books at times, right? :P But yeah, I think it's something which would affect him greatly, in a kind of competitive sort of way, because it's his thing, you know? and he doesn't want someone else doing it instead of him. Plus yeah, he doesn't want to think that someone else could :P

I really want to emphasise in this how it didn't really ever end, so yeah, he keeps on loving him and keeps wanting him - I'm so glad you like it, though, because it's one of those things which can divide people ;) Haha, yeah, Verdi and Goethe... only in this story would I ever include those two, lol.

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review - it was so great to get, as always! :)

Aph xx

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