Reading Reviews for L'optimisme
89 Reviews Found

Review #1, by TreacleTart Words

4th May 2015:
Bonjour Laura!

I'm here for our review swap! As always I plan to ramble incoherently about what a fantastic story this is. It's just so beautiful. Honestly, as I read this I actually notice myself holding my breath from time to time. It really just stuns me how masterfully you handle description and imagery. It's something for me to aspire to someday.

The way you painted the picture of France being this healing place for Albus was spectacular. I went to France for the first time myself, last October (only to Paris) and found it a bit like that as well, so I can really relate to his experience. There is something so relaxing and reinvigorating about the French way of life, the beautiful sights, the food, the wines, the culture, all of it.

The undercurrent of his thoughts about Gellert really contradict the beauty in the beginning. It's like there's this corpse of this person who used to exist in his life shielding him from everything. I'm glad that as the chapter progressed, he becomes less of an actual obstruction and more of an after thought, if that makes any sense. Instead of blocking the view, he becomes more of a ghost, whispering in his ear about what the view might've been like had he been present.

Finally, I was happy to see Albus start to have ideas about healing his relationship with Aberforth and trying to do some good in the world. We all know the man he eventually becomes, so it's lovely to see the actual transition to that point. Once again, you've described it so eloquently. And I love that you haven't rushed it at all. At this point, it's just the first musings of it. The pace seems very natural.

Also...I just wanted to point out one line that stood out and actually made me giggle mid-way through the story. "Euphemia Bones, having forgotten all about my absence after the brief disappointment upon making the discovery, quickly gathered a circle of admirers, half of whom she would go on to marry and then promptly divorce after lengthy affairs." I'm amazed at what a complete picture you've created of this woman in just a few sentences.

Comme toujours, votre ecriture etait tres bon. Jíťtais heureux de le faire.


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Review #2, by nott theodore Similes

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 #3, by HappyMollyWeasley Switzerland

28th April 2015:
So, I'm finally here. Better late than never? I'm sorry for the delay, there was too much happening at once in real life...

You keep the tone and the feeling perfect in tune, as always. Although this story has a slow pace, I don't lose my interest.

Gellert feels sorry for himself, which is understandable. It also makes him more human. He is broken down in a way, and he has had a lot of time to think about things. His thoughts about Saint George and the Dragon is spot on. He can't decide what character to choose. (This reminds me about Harry when he sees Mr Weasley being attacked by Nagini, and he feels like he is the snake. The difference between Harry and Gellert is of course enormous, but there are similarities too.)

I can very well imagine Gellert surrounded by intellecutal free thinkers of his time. I also think it's quite plausible that Albus would have loved it too. What a different life it would have been...

Gellert wants someone who burns for him, and him alone... That says something about him. He wants to be desired, he doesn't long for mutual love and equal respect. I feel very sorry for him.


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Review #4, by Claire Evergreen Silence

14th April 2015:
Hey! Here for the BvB Battle!


I'm honestly at a loss for words. Obviously I've heard of this story before, but I've never really been interested in Albus stories, but wow. This is incredible. I'm trying to think of words to describe it but I can't. Everything about this is stunning and it's only the first chapter. I can't even imagine what the rest looks like if the beginning is this fantastic.

The entire first section of this is flawless. I was trying to pick out a favorite quote or something that I wanted to comment on, but every time I thought I'd found one, I read the next line and went "no wait, I like this one more." After reading even that little bit, it's no surprise to me that this won the Dobby for Best Quote.

Your descriptions are amazing. I could picture every last detail that you included here. It was like you were painting a picture in my mind and I love every last bit of it. I'm nerding out over this and I'm trying to write something intelligent down here, but I'm having a hard time doing that.

I learned that day that silence is, in the end, far more deadly to the soul than any words could ever possibly be or could ever hope to be, no matter whose voice speaks them or in what order they come. So obviously I love every single line in this story, but I really really like this one. Like, wow, I wish that I could just randomly spout out any lines this deep.

I apologize if this was completely incoherent or if it made no sense, but I'm just in love with this. This is absolutely incredible, I can't believe that I almost missed out on reading it.


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Review #5, by TreacleTart Wales

14th April 2015:
Hi Laura!

Here for our review swap!

Iím so excited about reading chapter 2! Iíve been meaning to get back to this for ages, but life keeps dragging me away from the computer! Anyways, here I am now.

The opening section with Gellert remembering Wales and his time spent with Albus was so beautiful. Your imagery is stellar. Iíve never been to Wales myself, but the way you wrote it, I could imagine it all very clearly. You have me just about convinced that Iíll be taking my next vacation to Wales. :D

The way Gellert talks about the pressure and captivity that Dumbledore feels is interesting. The pity Gellert feels makes him seem so much more human than the monster he is described as in the books. The idea that he knows what he should say, but instead chooses to say what Dumbledore wants to hear really adds some depth to him.

The jealousy that he shows towards Elphias Doge is interesting as well. The conversation it sparks between them about traveling is really relatable. Iíve wanted to travel my whole life, to everywhere I could possibly go, but have been unable to until last year (when I went to Paris on my first ever international trip!), so I totally understand how Albus feels. Itís suffocating being stuck in the same old place, even when itís somewhere you realize that you love once you leave.

The reflection on the moment Ariana died was so sad, not just for what it meant to Dumbledore or for the death specifically, but because you can also see the death of hopes and dreams in it.

As always, your writing is lovely. Normally when people are very verbose in their writing it feels very forced, but for some reason when you do it, it comes across very easily, almost like there is no effort involved. That's probably my favorite part of your writing. Just the easiness of the flow and the beauty of the words you use.

I look forward to reading chapter 3! Great work!


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Review #6, by nott theodore Bulgaria

13th April 2015:
Laura ♥ (This review is taking me a ridiculously long time to write because I keep getting distracted, and I'm also very tired so keep reading things wrong in this chapter, but I'm finally here :P But just a warning in advance if this review is worse than usual and even more rambly...)

The opening of this was just... wow. There was a real shift in tone there from the last time we saw Gellert in this story, when he seemed more wistful and nostalgic. Here he really seems to have been ensnared by the lure of power and he's consumed with it completely, going down that path even though he knows where it will lead him.

Also, the imagery in that opening section. I mean, your description is always stunning and beautiful, but the imagery there was just incredible. I reread it a couple of times, just thinking over the way that you used fire and all the things it could symbolise in this story (which I'm not going to list, because I'm sure you know them all and were intending them to be there when you wrote it, so). It was just really powerful and evocative to me, and to open the chapter with that just gave it such an impact.

I think that in this chapter we seem to get more of an insight into the differences between Gellert and Albus, too, and especially the ways that they grew apart after going their separate ways. Gellert can't stand being still; he's the sort of person who always has to have a purpose, a motive for doing something, and he wants the sense of power that being able to move around gives him. Stripping away his independence and freedom when he's imprisoned after being defeated in the duel is the worst thing that could happen to him, and I loved the way that you touched on that. You've thought so deeply into these characters and know them so well, and it really comes across in your writing.

There was also a real shift in the way that Gellert thinks about Albus in this chapter, too - a lot more bitterness and some jealousy, too. Albus is the one who, though he's often content to sit in contemplation, still has his freedom while Gellert's in prison. And Gellert seems to be very ambitious but also tries to be true to himself, in a way; he's kind of ideological in his plans for domination and power. Because of that it's even worse to him when Albus disassociates himself (as much as possible) from the schemes and dreams that the two of them once had. There's a lot of bitterness and resentment towards Albus because of that, I think, and Gellert's trying to convince himself that he doesn't feel anything for Albus anymore, but the fact that his thoughts come back to him so constantly throughout the course of the chapter proves that he's not fallen out of love with him.

Is it okay to say that I also found it a little scary to see how well you managed to capture Gellert's mindset when he was setting out on his plan for world domination? :P You capture him so well in this, and you could really feel the greed and determination there.

I loved, once again, the way that you segued from one location to the next. Bulgaria comes into play, and Bulgaria's the natural next step because we know that Gellert stole the Elder Wand when he was still a young man, so it makes sense for him to then go there - in search of something, with a purpose. The sorts of things he needs to distract him from thoughts of Albus, really.

I could have probably drooled over that last section for the amazing description and imagery that was contained in it. I won't, partly because I'd want to analyse every line and I don't have anywhere near enough characters for that, but seriously, Laura - how do you keep doing this? Throughout this chapter - the fire, the hunter imagery, and then the sky, something that encompasses the two of them no matter where they are. And those last two lines... just, erm, wow. I don't actually know what else to say.

This was really beautiful, as always, and I apologise now for the complete confusion that this review must be because my brain is slowly shutting down as I write it :P

Sian :)

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Review #7, by BookDinosaur Silence

13th April 2015:
Laura! I'm here to play catch-up, as promised, because I have time and only one Exploration left to do (it concerns Algebra; procrastination is my friend, and this is so much more pleasant, I think you'll agree).

Oh my days, I'm not entirely sure what to say or do. Nothing I can say will ever do justice to the story, so I should get that idea out of the way before I even start. I've been meaning to read this for ages but somehow I've never been able to get around to it, and I regret that so much now because - I could have been reading this ages ago, and I wasn't. That's pretty silly of me, no?

Honestly, though, where to start? The flow of this - I know you've said that words are only secondary to silence, but over the Internet words are pretty much the only way to communicate, and you nailed everything perfectly. The flow of this is amazing, and the words are arranged so beautifully - I mean, it feels like I'm reading art, or poetry. The words slip through my consciousness so smoothly and beautifully and I honestly have no words for the amazing way that you narrate this. Your prose is so gorgeous, I just want to read it forever - will you teach me your ways?

You characterised Albus perfectly, and I'm sure I'm only saying what everyone else who reviewed this story has said, but you really did manage to capture his character perfectly. On the one hand, the young man here is easily recognisable as Dumbledore, and his actions and thoughts are in character enough that a reader could look at them and agree that yes, this person could grow up to be the man in the HP series - and on the other hand, the narrative voice of the present-day Dumbledore is clearly Dumbledore.

I'm probably just confusing you so much with this, but what I really want to say is that even though Dumbledore is generally viewed as a pretty tough character to write, you've nailed him so perfectly in both his adolescent and adult forms.

Albus and Gellert aren't a pairing that I read that often, and again, I'm sort of cursing myself for it now. You do this so beautifully - expressing their relationship with one another, and the emotions truly do seem to jump off the page with this. I loved the description of mornings, and how they would take as much time as they could for themselves before Gellert would leave, and Albus would watch him go.

Your use of narrative here is genius as well - I don't know whether or not you're planning to keep Albus just remembering his time with Gellert, but your wordcraft and the way that you tell the audience what happens keeps it really interesting, I think, and their attention is held - or mine was, in any case. :P I imagine that it'd be pretty easy for a story to get boring when the narrator is an old man ruminating on his youth, but you've kept it beautifully fresh and a pleasure to read.

The battle scene was absolutely intense - your prose remained beautiful and serene, but somehow you kept suspense building and building until, finally, it released and your handling of that scene was absolutely masterful.

The emotions which permeated the whole piece were all so well done, too - honestly, I don't think that there's anything in this chapter that you haven't done perfectly, but the nostalgia and love and melancholy that Albus must be feeling as he writes all this down - it's absolutely spectacular, and I honestly have no idea how you do it.

I have no clue what to say to you, Laura, except that this was so, so beautiful and there's no way that I'm not coming back to this. ♥


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Review #8, by eunoia Wales

4th April 2015:
Oh my gosh, your writing leaves me breathless.

I loved your change in point of view from Albus to Gellert, it flowed seamlessly with the last chapter. I really enjoyed reading Gellert's perspective on everything and getting insights into his character. I really liked how Gellert seems to be the more practical of the two as well.

Your descriptions were incredible yet again. It was so easy to lose myself in the scenes you were creating in my mind's eye. I particularly adored this scene in particular;

"The few memories I have of that summer which are not of the way your hair glowed in firelight and the way your eyes lit up and shone when you saw me in the same way they would shine when you spoke of a fascinating theory or your Hogwarts, are fleeting and strangely blurred, as though a careless painter has tipped water onto a landscape, and so much of Wales is now a spoiled masterpiece, the colours leaking and running across each other, until I cannot remember how it was supposed to look."

You depicted and described everything so beautifully that I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it was to read.

Finally, this was another highly emotive chapter and I loved how when Gellert spoke about Albus his love for him was clear in every single word. It just makes the whole thing even more bittersweet.

Once again, another amazing, gorgeous chapter! ♥

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Review #9, by TreacleTart Silence

25th March 2015:
Hi Laura,

I'm here for our review swap! I'm sorry it take me a few hours to get here, but as I said previously I was at work. Anyways, here I am now!

So I've purposely avoided reading this story up until now because I love your writing so much and I just haven't had the time to get wrapped up in reading a novel. I wanted to wait until I could really dedicate some time to reading each chapter and really digesting your words.

And your words! My goodness are your words beautiful in this one. The way they read is the same way it feels to skate on fresh ice. They glide through my mind so smoothly. It's almost like reading poetry.

The voice you've given Dumbledore in this is so authentic to what we see of him in the books. If he were having one last conversation with Gellert, I could imagine a scenario much like this occurring. I don't know what else to say really, except that it's perfection.

The way you describe the fight building up to the moment that Ariana is killed is spectacular. It never breaks the poetic, easy flow, but somehow I still feel my pulse rising and the suspense building. Even though I know what is about to happen, I'm still saddened when we finally get there.

This was a truly spectacular read! I always enjoy your work, but this one was probably my favorite thus far. I will definitely be reading the rest of it as time allows!

Thanks for agreeing to the swap!


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Review #10, by Red_headed_juliet Pragmatics

21st March 2015:
I just noticed how all of the chapter titles are different for each of them. I think that goes to say allot about their respective personalities. Albus the romantic and gellert, the realist. I love the entire dichotomy you've created with such beautifully flawed characters. I can't wait for the showdown, though I'm very curious to see which perspective we'll get it from.

I do love how poetic you've made him in these selections. The language is so rich and beautiful, I can't skim through, I have to go slowly so that I don't miss anything. If I can't sit down and give my full attention, I can't read it. I do the same thing with old English. (That's a good thing, to me...)

I really like the idea of him not originally wanting to teach. I think it makes a lot of sense with everything we found out about his avoiding powerful positions.

I can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Hi there! Thank you so much for stopping by again - I'm so happy to know you're still enjoying this! :)

Yeah, they each have their own theme for chapters titles :) I always have themes for chapter titles - it's a habit I can't seem to kick, haha, so I'm so glad you like it! And yeah, it is pretty indicative of their personalities - I tried to adjust the themes to each of them as much as I could without losing them from the overall sense. The showdown! Um, it's a long way off, I'm afraid, haha, and I'm not really sure either, at the moment. Sorry!

Thank you so much! I try to keep as closely to his voice as is possible - especially for Albus - because it's so him, you know? Like, it would be wrong to move too far away from it. I'm so glad you like it, though - I know it's a fairly strong voice in this story.

Thank you! :) I really wanted to avoid the whole 'Hogwarts is my home' thing, a la Harry and Riddle, so I tried to turn that on its head as much as I could :P It's both power, but also a genuine reluctance, I think. He still thinks he's meant for more than that, but it's something of a cage he can put himself in to keep himself from power, if that makes sense ;)

Thank you so so much for the lovely review, and I'm so glad you're excited for the next chapter! :)

Aph xx

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Review #11, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Switzerland

18th March 2015:
Have you ever wondered, up in your tower as you wear away at yourself day by day, what it would be like to drink love Ė to taste passion and lust, longing and adoration, from the very first, sweet trickles of it, to the final blare of the trumpets before it crumbles into nothing?

I love this. Favorite part by far. It stopped me for a second and then I came back to it after I finished the entire chapter. So powerful. To drink love. I think when you are in love and so swept by it that yes, you're sort of 'drinking' it in a way but Albus and Gellert didn't get to experience love fully so they question love. They contemplate love. They try to find love in other places because they cannot find each other again. That's so sad.

Author's Response: Hey there again! :) Thank you so so much for all the reviews in total - I can't believe you went through the entire thing so quickly! I'm so amazed and so flattered! :)

Yeah, I loved writing that whole scene, tbh - it was so much fun! It's very much a literal metaphor, in a way, because it's a literal drink they have, but it's sort of a metaphor at the same time - more for Gellert than Albus, but now you mention it, it works well enough for both of them ;) And yeah, they both want it, but don't necessarily know how to get it or where to find it, and each other is not always an option for them, when really, that's the answer. It's pretty sad, definitely! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #12, by crestwood Switzerland

14th March 2015:
Hi again!

I am so glad that the concept of this chapter is color. I can kind of talk about color palettes in film for days on end so I suspect this will be equally interesting. I can't imagine not seeing anything but forms of grey. That alone sounds like gradual torture to me. I am obsessed with the idea of the present fading even as it is happening.

I imagine Gellert's views would not exactly fit into the world that existed while Voldemort had fallen from power. I think that his prison must be much better than Azkaban would have been, at least. I do not think that he ever could have been neutral in any sense of the word. Gellert was always a singularly extreme person.

This is possibly the saddest thing that has happened so far in this story. Gellert scrambling to the window to get a single glimpse at the sunrise just for the opportunity to see just the smallest amount of color. The image of it being 'like ink onto a faded painting' was just the most beautiful of descriptions. Practically an immediately vivid mental image waiting to happen.

Your Gellert is certainly more fanciful than I would have suspected. (You've permanently altered my idea of him and everything he represented) I wonder where the thoughts that he has come from. It's difficult to imagine that these thoughts could come from anyone other than the man himself, they're so intrinsically tied to what I now believe of him. Of course, there's the issue of his non-existence to worry about, but I do find myself constantly forgetting--or maybe purposely omitting that fact from my conscious thought, suspension of belief and all that--and a part of me believes that any sufficiently fully formed character does become real through the imaginations of those who experience them. Which then raises the question: what is real? Are our thoughts real? Do they exist? Because, if so; if my thoughts exist, then Gellert Grindelwald is a part of my reality now and will always be. And, as such, you have drastically changed my reality and honestly, what more could a writer ask for?

I love the thought of Gellert being neither St. George nor the beautiful damsel, but the dragon. Not only because it is quite a cool nickname, but because it is fitting. He, perhaps, fits the part all too perfectly, in fact. As if all he ever was was an obstacle on Albus' way to greatness.

I think I would have liked this house of rebels. I have such a fascination with the outcasts of society and the places at which they gather. I tend to visit such places and just observe. Not to pass judgment, as most would, but to learn. I always find that the stranger most would find a group of people, the more interesting I typically will find them.

The scene with Mathaus was expertly written. It's so easy to feel what your characters are feeling. I could live through these people for as long as you could continue writing them.

I would read a lot of words about the similarities and differences between the methods and goals of Gellert and Voldemort. I can only imagine how intriguing the contrasts between the two would be. I have always wanted to read an account of Gellert's rise to power more than anything. It seems as though you are headed in a direction that will finally give me a satisfactory answer to my questions. I can only wait and see with bated breath. Excellent chapter, again. Going to find two other things to review now :)

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Review #13, by crestwood Pragmatics

14th March 2015:
Hi, back again!

The subtle differences between Albus and Gellert's voices are really fun to pick apart.

What the first paragraph of this chapter proved to me was that even your metaphors have better descriptions than anything I write. I am really rooting for your OF you're working on to take off because I want more people to see this kind of writing. Fan fiction may attract a niche audience, but it's shame that people do not make exception for your writing. If only they knew what they were missing out on, I suppose. I, for one, can not wait to find you in my local bookstore. And yes, I say local, although you live nowhere near me. You are nothing but a world class talent and deserve the wide reaching fanbase of one. But, back to the story at hand.

I love the musings of these characters. I want to know them and just pick their brains about the various things they have to say about life. No doubt we could all learn something from either of the two men. My favorite part of this story is just reading where their minds will take us.

I suspect that Gellert would have succeeded in his plans if he could have convinced Albus to go forth with everything. I have almost no doubt in my mind of it. If the three way duel had never happened, I don't think that Albus could have resisted the allure of Gellert. He was obviously so very in love with him and completely under his influence. You write this fact better than anything. Pure, unadulterated love shines through your words. It astounds me that you don't think of yourself as much of a romance writer because you are surely amazing when it comes to writing about love.

It's interesting that Albus doesn't refer to Hogwarts as home--as so many people do in canon--and because of Gellert. (It's always because of Gellert, isn't it?)

It's funny to think that Albus, of all people, would be nervous about an interview at Hogwarts. I'd say that he's sort of a shoe-in for the job.

This Professor Black sounds fun. I tend to rather like people with a bit of a dramatic flair. Birds of a feather flock together and all that.

It's strange reading about Albus on this side of the desk. This interview is quite an entertaining one. I agree that I'd think Albus had some sort of ulterior motive to wanting the job. He seems much too young, much too accomplished.

The run in with Aberforth was particularly tense. The fact that he seems to be so poor actually puts things into perspective. His brother is out doing so well for himself and he is dressed in clothes that are ragged at the edges. Most would not walk away from said brother as he did. But Aberforth was never one to rely upon Albus.

The last line in all of these chapters is always so great. I'm obsessed with this story and I really can't wait until the next chapter is here. For now, I'll find some other things to finish our swap with!

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Review #14, by crestwood Hungary

14th March 2015:
Hi Laura! Finally getting around to your reviews. Hoping I can get all five done tonight.

You have the best descriptions of anyone. Like, anyone. You can make anything interesting to hear about. The way you talk about the wolves--detailing their howls, their movements, their nature--it'd pull anyone in.

And then comparing Gellert to them is great because I kind of see him as this powerful, graceful thing in his youth. There's nothing more alluring than my mental image of him and this story just continuously feeds into that. I love the POV of prisoner Gellert though. There's something so weathered about his thoughts by this time as if he's done a great deal more than thinking than most people ever do.

The way you turn phrases is so distinctive. We all use words slightly differently, but you just take words and elevate higher than anyone else. I don't think I'd realized the extent to which one can utilize words until I began reading your work. Every single word is carefully cultivated and manipulated and I'll eventually run out of words to describe this.

I'm interested in Gellert's reading of Albus as an almost frail, cowardly person. Most would say that he was especially brave, but Gellert just taunts him and calls him a fox in chains. (more comparisons to animals!!) I love this idea of a false front put on my Albus where he is hiding from his own guilt like wolves closing in on his weakness. This deconstruction of his character is excellent on so many levels.

I am so excited to find out about Gellert's mother! He doesn't talk much about her, it doesn't seem. This was so poignant - "no one is ever more desperate for salvation than a dying man."

It's quite sad that he regards himself beyond redemption. Even if true, it's still a sad thing for one to think of oneself.

The idea that Gellert's mother abandoned him is one that immediately makes sense to me. I feel that could have echoed on into what he become. He doesn't seem to have forgiven her much for it, even in his old age.

Also, Gellert as a tragic king!!! I love it. Your references are always spot on. Every time.

I wonder how you manage to make me visualize as much as you do. I always an idea in my mind of the setting of anything I read, but you literally craft it before me eyes. My own struggles with this are only highlighted by how effortless you make it all seem. This is not the first time I have wished I could write like you.

I'm feeling bad for Gellert because of this scene with his half-sister. The way she looks at him alone is heartbreaking. The way these people are treating Gellert is almost understandable but for the fact that he could not help being born. This is the backstory I would have expected, I think. Quite a horrid one, but one I would have expected. Only you could make me feel sorry for a person like him.

Honestly I think I would have run back to Germany in this situation, but Gellert is almost certainly a braver man than I. I find it curious that he describes his mental picture of his mother as 'white space.'

I love the idea of Gellert being nervous. Just the idea that he feels things like nerves; that this moment had some effect on him. In my head, this story has built him up and torn him down many times over.

Gellert's mother is creepy in this way that I cannot describe. She's especially clear in my mind. I can almost smell the room she's in, in fact.

I understand Gellert's mother's insistence that she is sorry, but something about it seems hollow. Maybe I feel it is just too little too late? I suppose she was in a bad situation because what chance would there be that her son would have even responded if she had ever attempted to contact him before?

I see that he doesn't condemn her and I'm glad that he found forgiveness from somewhere inside of him. I suppose when someone is dying, there's not much reason not to give them that.

I feel so much for Gellert as he describes the companionship he craves. The last line hit me really hard. Once again, you really are such an incredible writer.

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Review #15, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Pragmatics

13th March 2015:
but I would have done almost anything you asked as long as you would continue lying next to me,

This is what I meant in my other review talking about what ifís. Albus was so knee deep in love he would have done anything Gellert wanted him too. They would have destroyed everything together.

Love is powerful. It makes you do crazy things.

I never thought about Albus being overqualified to teach but itís true. The scene was definitely different and eye opening when he went to go interview for the position. It explained something Iíve never quite given a second thought of.

Author's Response: Hi again! :) Thanks so much for stopping by again!

Albus is definitely very, very deeply in love and very easily affected by Gellert, I think. And yeah, they would have been absolutely unstoppable together - though I dunno if they'd have destroyed everything... it depends on whether or not Albus could have influenced Gellert in turn ;) But yeah, there would have have been no stopping them at all, whatever they did.

It definitely, definitely does! Plus, it's fun to see Albus as fallible :P

You know, I never really thought about it either, but when I came to planning the chapter and planning that bit, it sort of became very obvious to me that he was. I've seen other people get round this problem in different ways, but I liked the idea that he was too good for Hogwarts more. It sort of fits in better with his whole 'keeping myself out of trouble' thing he mentions in canon with Hogwarts.

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #16, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Hungary

13th March 2015:
My mother smiled at me as I entered, though it was not a kind smile, nothing tender in it at all. I suspect she saved that for her true children, leaving none of it to spare for me.

I feelÖpity. Because for one I understand that moment he went through. Meeting his mother. I went through something similar and I will admit the chapter shook me a little bit because I had the same reaction afterwards. He longed for Albus, felt lonely, and foolish for it. I longed for my ex-boyfriend and sometimes I still do. Not as a lover but as my companion or my friend.

What are you doing to me here? I might have to stop reading soon. Itís just very emotional and relateable.

Author's Response: Hi again! :)

Oh no, I'm so sorry! It's such a horrible thing to have happen - I hope you're okay! *hug* But yeah, it is sad - I knew that I didn't want his family situation to be perfect, though, and with his name it was just too good an idea to pass up, really :P I think when people are lonely, you do want someone who knows you, who understands you, even if not the situation, so that you don't really have to explain. It's a very human thing, I think.

Gah, sorry! It's not intentional! And no, don't go! :( ;)

Thank you so so much for the great review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #17, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Malapropisms

13th March 2015:
By this rule, I must be a fool more times over than I can count, and the shame is all mine, tricking myself as I am. It is no more than I deserve, having been blinded by myself, blinded by my own pride and stubbornness and self-belief, and I like to think I have long accepted that it is simply a part of me.

By this rule I am a fool and will always be one.

I canít help it even when I see it even when I feel itÖI just cannot.

It was familiar, and so easy, and in the dark room his curls splayed over my pillow, loose and wild, the wrong name choking in my throat even as he gasped out mine.

Itís funny, well not really, how we can love someone so hard (even if they are not good for us) and try to find their doppleganger, their twin, and hope we see what we see in the one we really love in them. Essentially, Alain is his rebound. A poor one. Iíve been there. Iíve done that.

Author's Response: Hey again! :) Thank you so so much for stopping by again!

Yeah, it's a very human thing, I think, and human things are kinda almost impossible to actually avoid, you know? Even when you know you do it, even when you know you shouldn't, it's so innate, it's impossible.

I really wanted to sort of show that it's often so difficult to move on when you find someone so similar, but not quite the same - like a doppelganger - because it just highlights the differences, you know? And that's all Alain does for Albus, really. Alain is very much a rebound - a long one, and definitely a bad one - but it's just really an unfortunate situation for everybody involved. It's so hard! :(

Thank you so so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #18, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap WŁrttemberg

13th March 2015:
To truly change a nation, to forge a future and send a continent, even a world, hurtling down the road to progression and freedom from oppression, one has to change the will of the people, and the will of the people is not so easily persuaded as the mind of a single man.

Itís a little unsettling to think of the what ifís because if they had never separated but instead loved each other and gone off together for the Hallows I wonder what destruction the two of them would have caused. Do you think Albus would have sided with Gellert and just done as he had done? They were both childish young men and had dreams and ideas and power. Albus still had all of that but he changed once his sister died. So, if that didnít happen I think he would have joined Gellert in this Ďchange the worldí and Ďdominationí thing he had going. Albus Dumbledore could have been as dangerous as Lord Voldemort. The two of them together could have been either the best or worse thing to happen to the world.

But then again Albus isnít like Gellert in the sense heís not a politican. Politicans areÖhow do I put this nicelyÖuntrustworthy and slimey people (most of them letís be real).

Author's Response: Hey there again! :) Thank you so much for stopping by again - I can't believe you've gone through so much of this so quickly, it's amazing! :)

Yeah, it's definitely a very nervous thought, haha! I don't really know... I think they would have ended up going off together and perhaps following a similar course, maybe, though if Gellert listened/was influenced by Albus, it might have been better? It's definitely an interesting question to think about - they're a very volatile and powerful combination, I think. Gellert isn't quite as domineering as he thinks he is, though :P But yes, they could have been anywhere from best to worst, that's for sure! ;)

Albus is far less of a politician, I think, and he's much more cautious, which makes him a bit better. He's still political, though, and still radical, just he has less passion about it, in a way, I think. But god yes, so many politicians are so awful... all out for themselves and nothing else. Ugh :P

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

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Review #19, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Similes

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 #20, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Bulgaria

13th March 2015:
Anger, hot and strong, burns through my veins, and I can only think that the fire down below is a reflection of my soul. There is no pity, no mercy; only their unavoidable destiny, creeping ever closer.

No lie he creeps me out a little bit. I donít know why! I just feel this dark soul about him and it unsettles me.

Some days, Albus, I think I hate you. Others, I know that I do.

I was going to pick out another sentence before this but I couldnít stop contemplating this in my mind. Some days, I think I hate you. Yeah, I get it. Weíve all been there. At least, I have. I realize they didnít go through a normal Ďbreak-up,í if thatís what weíre going to call it because they werenít necessary together. They were always hidden, not entirely straight forward to the world and themselves about their feelings but it still hurts. It was still real.

I would, I knew then, lead the world into a new age, raise the revolution which would reform the world, reform order and society.

Heís almost a mad man, almost. In reality heís childish. He thinks he could do all these things and would have all this power and everything would fall into place. They were both just not living in reality and I guess once reality hit (for Albus it came with his sisterís death) but did reality ever hit Gellert? I donít know. I donít think so.

Perhaps I should have thought of that then, that as much as I might have been the dawn, you were the sunset.


Author's Response: Hi again! :) Thank you so much for coming back to this! It means so much!

Haha, don't worry about it - he is a little creepy at times. A little too zealous. And angry. Very angry. I liked bringing out a first glimpse at perhaps a darker side of him than in previous chapters, though; it was an interesting different side to explore.

I think, in a way, the secrecy almost makes it hurt more, because you can't really tell people you're hurt, you know? You can't be sad and explain to people why and get sympathy and be comforted for it. You have to sort of try and heal on your own in silence - though it definitely wasn't a normal break-up in any way, and the relationship was very real for both of them, for sure! :)

One of the things which I love with this, with some of Gellert's more political-centric opinions, is the different ways people read it, you know? He is a bit mad and a bit childish, but it's a very zealous, revolutionary-type idea, wanting to change the world and believing it's possible. Albus is a lot more cautious than Gellert (and a lot less inclined to dramatics, in a way :P), so yeah, he gets a big dose of realism and steps away, but for Gellert, he still believes in it.

Thank you! :) I loved writing that line - I actually wrote that metaphor at the beginning of the chapter, haha, and kept it on the document all the time until I got to the part it was needed for :P

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review, again! :)

Aph xx

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Review #21, by Red_headed_juliet Hungary

12th March 2015:
Oh Gellert, I've missed you!

I don't have much to say about this, other than your language, plot, character development, and descriptions are all still the greatest things ever. Thank you for this beautiful story. I'm going to try and read the next chapter today as well.

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for dropping by again! I'm so so glad you're still enjoying this! :)

Haha, so glad you missed Gellert - he seems particularly divisive in terms of opinion, so it's nice to see people like him :P

Gah, I really, really don't know what to say in response other than, thank you thank you thank you! This story is absolutely my baby at the moment, so I'm just so happy to see people enjoying it! :)

Thank you so so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #22, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Words

11th March 2015:
If silence is the killer and the jester and the lover all in one, the joker in the deck, then words are the simple, lowly twos and threes.

I almost donít want to read on because I am jealous of your writing style and know I could never open a chapter quite like this, as great as you, or even be on your level.

Youíre making it hard out there for us fanfic writers.

You and I, that summer, we lived by words. They flew through the air between us, thick and fast, until they filled it completely, nothing left to breathe, and we sat there, laughing and exhausted.

I have to admit so far reading from his point of view is my favorite. I feel like thereís more magic to his thoughts and explanation. Not that I didnít enjoy chapter two (come on I was a gushing fool in my last review) but thereís something about Albus and his attention to detail. The way each word is carefully picked out and crafted in order to give us a sense of what he felt, what he is feeling, and what happened long ago.

The idea of socialising, of being expected to laugh and chat about inconsequential things and yet be the clever, witty man they had grown up with at school was suddenly abhorrent to me.

I can relate to this without a doubt. When I graduated high school I felt no connection to any of my friends. In fact by the time my senior year rolled around I didnít want to talk to most of them anymore. I pretended to be busy or that my mother wouldnít let me go out with them because in truth I was tired of them and we no longer had a common interest. Everyone was moving on to partying and these other things and I was still this same person. The quiet shy girl who liked to read for fun and was afraid of boys touching her.

I decided that since life was determined to simply march along no matter what I did or said or how much I refused to follow, I would continue on too, with or without you, as you wished. I decided I would not let you define my life, would not let that summer, tragic though it was, define my life.

That ending! What are you doing to me. I was so captured by the chapter and the imagery the end just pulled me with full force because I keptÖI knew the feeling but I couldnít quite place it. Heís heartbroken and that didnít get me until the end. I understood the pain and desire, the want, the need but it didnít dawn on me until the very end his pain. Itís not because of your lack of writing. Itís because it is something that I have pushed away for such a long time. I was in a long relationship that ended terribly and though I have forgotten him (so to speak) that tick of pain can still easily be remembered even though I have moved on and am in love with someone else. Wow. Your story brings up a lot of emotions and I canít help but feel for Albus. Itís a tragic love story but then at times it doesnít feel like a love story. It feels like something more.

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Review #23, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Wales

11th March 2015:
Iím supposed to be cleaning my room or exercising but you know Iím here. Once again.
I have no regrets.

Once, we watched the sun set on top of a nearby hill and you spoke of capturing the heavens in a net, containing them in a single enchantment.

Every other sentence is breathtakingly beautiful.

Itís as if youíre making music.

I had expected confinement. What I had found was freedom.

Then, of course, barely a day later, I met you.

I donít know what it is but when I read ĎI met you,í I took a really deep breath and exhaled loudly because I feel as if Iím winded. Thereís just so much in those two sentences. Youíre taking me on a beautiful journey in his mind and his past.

I only ask one thing: do not ask me what happened that day. I will not tell you, I cannot tell you; it must remain unspoken for us to succeed.

First, youíve convinced me. I am an official Albus/Gellert shipper. I need more, now.

Second, I canít help but feeling heís very selfish but maybe they both are in their childish dreams and fantasies. I feel like as I read this chapter it had this air of ĎI am better. I can do better.í I donít know what it was and then to request that he never ask him about what happened that day. Doomed. They were doomed since day one because their love was forbidden and then after that tragic day it was just unspoken, they could not be together.

I canít wait to read what happens next. I feel like the story is challenging to read because it is very emotional. I am stuck between wanting to cry at some of the sentences and feeling anger at others. The anger is fleeting but the sense of sadness is always there.

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Review #24, by randomwriter Silence

7th March 2015:
Laura! I'm so sorry about the delay, and that too, after the wonderful review you left me! I had this half typed out the other day, when chrome just crashed on my laptop, and I was sort of demotivated. I did not forget, though. And I'll make it up to you.

As for this, oh gosh. Where do I start? This has been on my list for a long, long time, but I regret not having read this sooner. You deserve all the praise you've gotten for this. It's just one of the most beautiful things I've ever had the pleasure of reading, and I'm only in chapter one!

Your opening section was so lovely. It was so insightful. I just read that one section over and over again, and each time I did, I found something new at marvel at. It was simple, in terms of observation, but it was true. Every word was so very true. It really got me thinking, and I'm still thinking about that. I'm sure it's something I'll come back to in the future. Not just for that bit, of course. The whole chapter was great, but that part, in particular, stayed with me.

The rest of your chapter was no less, in all honesty. And I'm finding it difficult to go with this review, because words cannot do justice to how amazing it is.

But anyway, Albus/Gellert is a pairing I love, thanks to teh's story. But it is also not a pairing I read often. You made me fall in love with them even more. I found myself questioning why I haven't been more into them, really. I love how you wrote Albus' love for Gellert. It was so raw, but so pure. The descriptions of how they spent their mornings, lying in each other's arms, those stolen moments, the passion, it all came through so well. I really enjoyed it. At the same time, it made me so upset, that a love as beautiful as theirs is doomed to burn. If not for Ariana's death, maybe their future would have been different, but alas.

Another thing that really stood out was your characterisation of Albus Dumbledore (and everyone else in whatever capacity you wrote them). He's one of the characters that really scare me. I'm always worried that I'll mess something up. But you wrote him perfectly. It's important to note that at that age, he hasn't seen the enough of the world or gathered enough wisdom to be the way we see him in the books. And you nailed it. I can see your version of Dumbledore growing up to be the one we are familiar with. His speech pattern is spot on, his reflective tone is indicative of it, and his ideas are believably his-like I can see him thinking that way (if that makes sense. Forgive me, it's quite late here :p).

The battle scene was so well done. Another thing I'm apprehensive about writing, apart from Dumbledore, is a battle scene., But you handles it so well. It wasn't too rushed or chaotic, and it wasn't slow and unnecessarily dragged out. I think you did a great job of delivering the intensity of the situation, especially in terms of how you gave us great clarity into Dumbledore's mindset at that point. He really isn't thinking straight. He's trying to reason it out. But he hasn't comprehended a possibility where things go out of control and backfire, like they did. His grief for Ariana was evident. His shock, even more so. Also, I've never felt as if he would have cried at her death, but I've always believed tht it affected him deeply. So whatever you've said really resonated with my headcanon over there.

Your writing flows so well. There's this certain quality to it that makes it flow like poetry, almost. It speaks volumes about your talent. The word choices are perfect, the phrasing just makes me want to scream out at wonder and joy and just... of god, I can't tell you how amazing this was.

I also really love the voice. First person, and written as if Albus is talking to Gellert. I LOVE this style of writing, and I really think it suit the piece. You've managed to bring out a lot of his emotions through his dialogue through this style... the tenderness, the fondness, tones of regret. It's just beautiful.

Your descriptions, as usual, are amazing. You've blown my mind with your writing here. Everything is so vivid. I could feel the summer heat, or the intensity of battle. I loved how you included loads of details in this. I can't fault you anywhere, Laura. This was so great! As I mentioned, I really loved the flow of this piece. It was easy to read. The descriptions helped move it along, and it sort of just.. sailed smoothly? If that makes sense. (Again, it's late. Forgive me :p)

(And I'm rushing through this because I don't have too many characters left, oops. Sorry about this!)

I'm going to take you back to your own story for a second, Laura. Silence holds a great deal of power, yes. But on this medium, words hold all the power. Thank you for showing me that, for reminding me about the sort of hold words can have over you. I was in a trance while I was reading this. It's so gorgeous. I'm glad that there's a lot left for me to read. I loved this. I'm favouriting it. It's so lovely, and unique and I've really been fighting a losing battle from the moment I started writing this review because words, as powerful as they may be, can't do justice here. I hope I have managed to convery how much I loved this, and what a great writer I think you are. As you told me, I will tell you: If I miss out on something you've put up, I'm really going to be missing out.

Thanks for doing this swap, Laura. There is so much more I wish I could say, but space is limited. Basically, you've done a lot of things right, and I loved it! Great job ♥

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Review #25, by nott theodore Words

6th March 2015:
Hi Laura! I'm back (and finally not for a review swap :P) and this chapter was like the perfect one for me to come back to, because it was set in France and I was able to picture so many of the places that are mentioned here after seeing them in real life and that was really cool!

Other than squeeing over the fact that this chapter is set in France, I really don't know where to start with this review. Could you teach me how to write? Please? Pretty please? *hands over chocolate* I want your talents with forming a narrative like this and creating beautiful descriptions!

The opening section, like all of your writing, was stunning. I don't know how you manage to come up with such powerful similes and metaphors to highlight the importance and potency of language (and you know that I'll never disagree with something like that) but it was so amazing to read and it really felt like it was something that would come from Albus's mind, realising how much of an impact words can have on a person - both on the recipient and the speaker.

I love the way that, while all of this story (so far, at least) is a reflection by Albus and Gellert on their past and their feelings for each other, we're moving forward in time from where they began and it's not exactly a love story - not a very happy one, anyway :P

It's brilliant that you included Albus's work with Nicolas Flamel in this chapter! I love the way that this story is going to so many different countries and locations and exploring them, but the reasons for them being in those places are so well thought out as well. This seems to me to take place just after Gellert's left and Ariana's died, and so Albus is at a loss for what to do, and I can imagine him going somewhere like France, away from the memories that his home holds, and studying with someone like Flamel. It's a tiny thing, but I loved the fact that he was only an assistant here - although he's proven he has a brilliant mind, he still isn't on a par with someone the age of Nicolas, who has so much experience and knowledge, and the friendship that is talked about later in Albus's life hasn't grown yet.

The way that Albus talked about the study of Alchemy was great as well - I loved the duality of the subject, the way that it was certain and uncertain at the same time. I really like to think that his work with Flamel is what really helped Albus make his name as an intellectual in the wizarding world.

The fact that he tries to absorb himself in his studies but ignores the concept of immortality that Alchemy offers is really interesting - he's deliberately shying away now from things that remind him of Gellert and the time that they spent together, and the plans that they had. Part of me thinks that he's a little ashamed already of his greed for immortality and power, but I think the bigger part is still regret and sadness over what he's lost.

The descriptions of France were just so beautiful, particularly the views of the Loire and the different cities that were mentioned too - Paris and Marseilles especially. I loved the detail that you included with the turn of the century and the celebrations and hope that the new century brought, and the way that you used those enormous cities to evoke the idea of excitement and wonder. It contrasted really well with the misery that Albus was feeling here, and the way that he simply didn't want to be a part of those celebrations because he didn't feel that he had anything to celebrate. It fits so well with his state of mind.

I really liked the way that you wrote about the parties that his friends were having back at home without him - they felt detached from Albus's life, something completely different, and almost in another world to his own at this point. The parties seemed really funny too, though (I could picture the events so well!). I also really liked the panic that the mention of Euphemia caused Albus, which ties in with the fact that nobody knew about his past with Gellert and it was a big secret. It's a great way to touch on the fact that the prejudices and discrimination were ingrained in wizarding society at this point, too, and the way that Albus felt having to deal with that.

Towards the end of this chapter, I definitely got the sense that Albus is deliberately doing what he can to avoid thinking of Gellert and even trying to forget him, which makes perfect sense to me. People don't want to hurt and be in pain if they can move on in a way, and so the fact that he could celebrate and enjoy the sights and beauty of the different places in France is a sign that Albus has been somewhat successful in trying to put the memories of him and Gellert behind him. At the same time, I'm very intrigued about the mention of another meeting as lovers, and I wonder when that will occur in the story and the timeline that we know existed for the two of them.

This was yet another fantastic chapter, Laura! I loved it!

Sian :)

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