Reading Reviews for L'optimisme
120 Reviews Found

Review #1, by RavenclawFTW Wales

24th August 2015:
Here for the swap and BvB! Also, this is my 100th review! Woohoo! I'm very happy to leave it here on this wonderful story. :)

Ahh Aph your writing kills me. Seriously. I'll try not to be too repetitive from the first chapter but you've seriously ruined me for any other Albert/Gellert because you just write their perspectives and backstories and passions and thoughts so freaking well. You're ridiculously talented to be able to paint these brilliant characters so well here.

In this chapter, I love the ways you've softened Gellert and added to the ways he views Albus and their relationship. Mostly I'm in awe of how I can see under the surface of this characterization how Gellert is so focused and ruthless and ambitious, which is much of what we know about him from canon. But the amount that he cares for Albus shines through some of his character while not overwhelming those features, if that makes any sense. Like you've managed to weave together the seeds of a single-minded person who tries to take over Europe for his own goals and this intense connection and love so well. It's just really meshing to me in my head, especially the way that you've integrated his reaction to the Ariana situation.

It's basically pointless for me to talk about your imagery every review but it's so ridiculously wonderful and evocative that I can't not mention it, you know? I just feel like I can picture Wales and Gellert's initial wonder at the beautiful land around him, and then also his home and his desire to return there with Albus.

In this chapter this line really stood out to me: Perhaps they might call it that later, if you ever tell anyone of me (though I doubt it, for it would reveal you to be fallible and human and would hint at a longing you wish you were better than to have), but it was not a lie.

I think that's such a great and short way to summarize so much about Albus and his character and his relationship with Gellert and the bitterness that Gellert has after it all goes south, but then also the understanding that Gellert has of Albus and his flaws. Ugh sorry I always end up rambling so inarticulately but this is just such a great representation of their characters and relationship. It kills me.

Thanks for the swap! I hope we do another soon. Or if I get time I may end up just going through and reviewing like all of this story because it makes my heart ache.


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Review #2, by RavenclawFTW Silence

17th August 2015:
Hey Aph! Here for the swap and BvB.

So I've honestly been avoiding reading this fic for a while now because something about Albus/Gellert really, really stresses me out. Like...I'm too light-hearted a person to handle a ship that's doomed from the start, y'know? Plus I think it's so so hard to capture Albus in fic because he's so brilliant and we really only scratch the surface of his character in canon, so I'm always slightly apprehensive to see him in fic.

That said...yowza, Aph. You capture Albus's voice so well. I have no problem reconciling what we know of him, and how we see him as an old man weighed down with regret, with the voice you're creating here. The numerous asides and the ways his thoughts drift in so many directions is perfect, and I also love the bittersweet tone you're hitting about his relationship with Gellert. It's so easy to see how Albus romanticized and idolized him when he was younger, but how he came to understand more about Gellert over time and see his faults.

I also love how you've shown Albus's reaction to Ariana's death. It fits so perfectly with his actions in canon and also seems to anchor a lot of his later regret, which seems to be based not only on her death but also his reaction to everything that was going on. I'm curious to see if you're going to touch on the funeral, especially because I really enjoy the hints of Aberforth's character you've introduced in this chapter.

I think it basically goes without saying but I'll say it anyway: as ever, your descriptions are so wonderfully constructed and totally evocative. The details you think to include, like the cherry tree outside the window and the blood on Gellert's collar, paint such a vivid and poignant image in my mind. Ugh. You're ridiculously talented, Aph.

Okay, I think that's about all I have to say for this first chapter, but I will definitely be back for more sometime soon! Seriously incredible job with this introduction, Aph.


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Review #3, by BellaLestrange87 Sicily

26th July 2015:
Laura! It's been so long since I left a review for this story - way too long. (And I'm so happy you're doing Camp because it means I have lots of beautiful writing to read!)

Also, this entire review will probably consist of me quoting your prose back at you talking about how beautiful it is.

Like this - I do not believe in paradise, in perfection of nature realised, beauty and serenity twined together so that you feel nothing can go wrong there, nothing bad can exist there; it is all left outside the edges, abandoned at the border, snarling and growling and waiting for your return. - THAT IS GORGEOUS. How do you come up with sentences like this?? How? Teach me your ways, please.

One thing about this - There is a time and place for such things, for displays of wealth and power, reminders of to whom you bow, but not in a crisis, not while people choke on ash and pray that the next bullet will not (or perhaps would; the trick to wars is not to survive, but to survive the aftermath. Death’s last call to those he could not collect) hit them. - the bit in the parentheses feels a bit odd there; maybe move it to the end of the sentence, after "them". I'm reading this out loud (best way to appreciate it *nods*) and it felt weird. It's still a gorgeous sentence, though (and true, from my history-nerd reading.)

that we should potter about drawing rooms and orangeries - that we should putter?

This line was very intriguing - Two of my half-brothers were to die in the war, sabres and muskets in hand, Austrian blue on their backs and the roar of a nation in their throats. Grindelwald has muggle ancestry? I find it interesting that he's talking about dominating muggles for the greater good when he's a half-blood himself. Right now he's reminding me both of Snape, Voldemort, and Hitler.

This is also gorgeous - I stood, soon enough, and I spoke, and I watched their thoughts and their feelings flitter across their faces, one by one – some half-hidden, some completely bare, and a very few curtained entirely. The spear hovered in my hand, vibrating, cold and hungry, and when it flew, the air shivered around it; a ripple, almost visible, passed out from where it hit, spreading across the room, enveloping each person as it went, shards of it, thin and poisonous in nature, piercing their skin and sinking down.

I really enjoyed reading the conversation between Albus and Gellert. It had the right amount of awkwardness (as there would be between two people who had spent years desiring each other with a bad past) and familiarity. I'm wondering right now if Albus withdrew himself from all political activity after Gellert?

Okay, this bit is perfect - Silence, then, and a silence too strong on both of our shoulders, a storm-cloud full of the things we had not said, the things we had never said and should have, and the things we would take back, if given the chance. So many words there, unheard and unspoken – incomplete halves of a conversation, as ungainly even in thought as a pas-de-deux danced by one. Perfect.

I found a few typos:

that we should potter about drawing rooms and orangeries - that we should putter?

ah, but sense it often lost on those who are most in need of it, no? - but sense is often lost

*runs off to read more of your work*


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Review #4, by blackballet Silence

19th July 2015:
Hi there! I'm here from the Ravenclaw Review Battle for team Bronze

First off, I'd like to say that I love how you've started this first chapter. I think it really helps set up the tone and mood for the story, and flows together easily. It switches perfectly from an analysis to a narration of someone's (main characters?) life It doesn't seem at all forced, and eases nicely into the beginning of your story.
The introduction to Dumbledore and Grindelwald perfectly sets their relationship as well. It explains enough without being obtuse, and also reflects the acknowledgment of same-sex relationships in the 1800s- non-existent.
When Dumbledore begins recalling the events leading up to Ariana's demise, it is also clear that the story has taken a turn for the darker. It didn't give anything away, but I somehow immediately knew that something bad was going to happen. Your technique is SO thorough and subtle!
Finally, after Ariana's death, the silence comes back into play. The fact that you tied together all of this is so fantastic. It fit so well with the beginning and was not redundant in the slightest. It also fits very well with Dumbledore's canon character, and is something I could see him calling back on.
Overall, I loved this first chapter so much! It could definitely stand alone as a one-shot, and I can't even imagine how you've expanded on it. Thanks for such a lovely piece!


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

Thank you so much! It was strange writing it - I wrote the analytical part and wasn't sure to include it or not really, since I didn't know if it really worked as a section, so I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Yeah, I really didn't want to make their relationship incredibly overt, because, as you say, it wasn't at the time - but at the same time, it needed to be overt enough, because obviously they lived it, you know? Kind of a balancing act to do there...

Thank you! :) Ariana's death was one of those scenes which was so terrifying to actually write, because it needed to be right, I felt, so it was really hard to do. I really liked getting to tie it back to silence, too - though it wasn't planned at all, haha. And yeah, writing suspensful things is something I've worked on before this, so it wasn't perhaps as hard in terms of technique as it could have been (before I practised it I was so bad at it, haha), but I still struggled a bit with that scene so I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - and thank you again for stopping by! It was such a nice thing to get; I'm just so glad you liked the story! :)

Aph xx

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Review #5, by toomanycurls Silence

16th July 2015:
Dear Laura,

I feel that it is long past due for me to start in on this. I feel as if the first chapter was so complete that I am curious as to what the rest of the story is about. It will be difficult to address everything I like about this chapter but I will try.

The exposition and theme around silence gave this chapter a wonderful tone and thoughtfulness that I'd expect from Dumbledore. I thought it very fitting that Dumbledore would use the pensieve to keep his private, treasured memories as well as those of great importance to the rest of the world.

I appreciate that you started with Gellert and Albus already together - and I'm guessing that this will either go through the fallout of their relationship or go back and start from its beginning. Their intimacy is delightful. I love that you managed it with such tenderness and discretion. Even in their tender moments, I can sense a bit of a power play between them (not wanting to ask him to stay but not wanting him to leave).

This might be my favorite Ariana death scene that I've read. Albus' response in the moment certainly seemed to anchor his guilt in later years. I liked his concern for Gellert and almost disregard for Aberforth (I'm pretty sure he was barely mentione in the last section). One thing that also stood out to me here is Albus' need to see the best in people - wanting to think Gellert agonized over Ariana's death.

You have a brilliant opening chapter and I will jump into more of this later!


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

Thank you so so much! :) Yeah, it's strange because the first two chapters, especially this one, sort of go through an entire relationship, almost - the two months - so they sort of are pretty complete, in their own way? So yeah, I totally get that! :)

Thank you! I really like having themes for chapters, tbh, as they help me to focus on things (I'm so bad otherwise...) so I'm so glad you liked that - yeah, I always kinda assumed those memories would be in there; too precious and too painful, and also too secret, almost, in their own way.

Yeah, it's going to go on forwards, though there will inevitably be glimpses of that summer and what happened, so it sort of does both, in a way? But I always wanted to explore more what happened afterwards, since to me that was always more interesting :) I'm so happy you like their relationship - I really wanted to make it seem so real, if a little tense, and yeah, there is a sense of power between them, definitely!

Haha, thank you? :P But seriously, thank you! I quite like writing death scenes (coz that's not weird at all... :P) and hers was fun, if difficult to write. I really wanted to give Albus reason to feel guilty, but equally less reason than perhaps he takes on himself, if that makes sense. And yeah, he really wants to think it mattered to Gellert - a side-effect of still caring, I think.

Thank you so so much for the amazing review - it was so so lovely to get; I'm so glad you liked the chapter! :)

Aph xx

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Review #6, by BookDinosaur Wales

13th July 2015:
Laura! here for our review swap and i am so late. so. late. it's not like i even have a good excuse? i'm so sorry. and oh my days have i not reviewed this before? i honestly thought i already had, but that's okay, i can make up for both of those transgressions now, hopefully :)

oh my days, i don't think i can ever say this enough laura, but your prose and descriptions are so gorgeous and beautiful and how do you do this please teach me your ways? i honestly don't know how you write with such a beautiful flowing style and i'm sure that you're sick of me telling you this (over and over and over, in every review that i've ever left for you, probably) but i can't not say it. your writing is the most beautiful thing.

i wasn't expecting that you would ever turn to gellert's POV, and i'm not sure what i was expecting but i don't think it was this - you created a complex and sympathetic character from the one-dimensional figure which we saw in canon while not actually contradicting canon.

i love love love this quote: Without you, I do not remember the places. Make of that what you will. as i said, i don't know what i was expecting with gellert, but i don't think that i ever expected him to have adored albus as clearly and as much as he does in this fic - you show the reader that this is a love which went both ways, and it was situation and belief which eventually separated them. i think that is am example of the saddest breakups of all - how they loved each other, and it was external forces which separated them.

the kiss that you wrote was so beautiful. you conveyed the emotion that the two of them so well and so powerfully, and painted such a vivid picture with your beautiful description - seriously, laura, teach me your ways! D:

i love the slightly darker tone that gellert adopts at the end. does this mean he knows who killed ariana? i'm so glad you touched on his thoughts when it concerned ariana's death, though, b ecause i don't think people expect him to have thbought about it much in future years or been remorseful at all, and it was very interesting to see his thoughts on the matter.

the spilt-pov technique that you employed to tell the story works really well; i don't know how but you've managed to create two very different voices just from these two chapters - how albus thinks more about words, more rationally, and how gellert is a person of action, someone who becomes enchanted with and then bored with a place in quick succession, you know?

i don't know how much of this made sense and how much was weird rambling, but i really, really loved this chapter and hopefully i'll be back to review more of this!

♥ emily

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Review #7, by AlexFan Hungary

22nd June 2015:
I am something like two months late with this review so "I'm late" is an understatement at this point nevertheless I am here!

I don’t know why this has a lower count than all of the chapters to be honest with you because I really enjoyed reading about Gellert’s back story. I liked the glimpse into his family history, it just made him seem more real, and I actually pitied him a little bit to be honest with you, to grow up knowing that you were unwanted simply because you were the result of an out of marriage pregnancy, I can only imagine what kind of affect that must’ve had on a child.

I thought Gellert’s backstory was a little bit like Albus’s to be honest with you, Gellert was the child that was kept silent and that no one was supposed to know about because of the shame that it would bring upon the family and hidden away and isolated much like Ariana was hidden away and isolated because of her inability to control her magic because of what the muggle boys did to her. I think Albus would’ve understood Gellert’s situation very well and understood how he must’ve been feeling because of this. I really hope there’s more about Gellert’s backstory to be honest with you.

I feel like some backstory is important to Gellert’s character because it helps to understand what led to him being the person that he turned out to be and it helps to understand his motivation to do the things that he did. Seeing this bit about his life made me pity him even though he did horrible things during his time, it made Gellert seem more human and kind of destroys this idea that he’s cold and invincible because you get to see the emotions that he’s hiding.

Awesome job on this and again I’m so sorry for taking so long but I had to focus on school.

Author's Response: Hey there! :) No worries for being late - rl gets in the way sometimes; it happens to us all! :) Just glad to see you back again and that things are (hopefully) all okay on your end! :)

Thank you so much! :) I really wanted to give a little more information on Gellert, especially while he was still younger, haha, because we know about Albus' and it's so necessary to understand people, and characters are people? It is pretty sad, imo, to grow up feeling so left out and so apart because of something which wasn't your fault - but it was a very common opinion, then.

It is pretty similar, yeah. I mean, there are some differences - but they're very slight, more differences of situations rather than the effects, if that makes sense? I do have more on his backstory, and more will definitely come up later! :) And yeah, I think Albus would have found it an easy thing to sympathise with, given his own family's situation.

I'm just so glad you liked it, tbh - I wanted to include it to show a bit more of him, a different side perhaps to him, and a bit more of where and how he'd grown up, and why he'd developed the way he had. Especially since we know all of that (or a lot of that) for Albus, too... I just really didn't want it to seem too random or forced, so I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - and seriously, don't worry about the timing! :)

Aph xx

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Review #8, by HappyMollyWeasley Meter

20th June 2015:

It's Molly here with the review for our swap. :-)

First I have to say that I'm so very impressed by your writing. It's unusual to come across stories which are of such high quality chapter after chapter. Every chapter of this is well-measured and poetic, and although I recognise the form of it by now you still manage to surprise me and keep my attention to the story. It's a long story, and one could think it would become boring after a while, because the pace is so slow, but you manage to keep every chapter interesting and important.

So it took fifteen years for Albus to finally reach out to Aberforth. It's quite a long time. But then, he had strong reasons. Although I can understand Aberforth too, it's not all Albus' fault that it took so long. During those fifteen years one might think that Aberforth could have became a little softer and contacted his brother too... Well, I'm glad they've found each other again anyway. Albus has been alone for so long, and family is family after all.

I smiled at the mentioning of Aberforth's goats. I hope you'll include his goat related scandal in this story somehow... :-)

I like how you intertwine the Muggle war with the wizarding world. I know it's canon, but it's an aspect which is often forgotten in fanfiction. The worlds are not separate from each other, but depending on each other in many ways. It'll be interesting to see where you'll lead this storyline.


Author's Response: Hey Molly! :) Thank you so much for stopping by again - I'm so so glad you still like this! :)

Gah, thank you so so much! :) It's strange for me writing this story because I'm not used to writing things which are so long, and I struggle sometimes therefore to feel like it's as good? Like I never feel that the later chapters live up to the first ones and I'm always worried they're rubbish in comparison, so thank you so much! It's so great to hear that! :) I really try to pick situations which are important but also able to be extrapolated with regards to the overarching theme of the story, so thank you - I'm so glad you think they're working! :)

Yeah, it's a long time. But in canon they don't have much beyond a sort of working relationship, really - they're definitely not close - but I wanted the initial reach out to happen earlier - but not too early. Losing a sister and feeling like it was your fault is a pretty big thing, after all. And yeah, it's sort of both of their faults - and Gryffindor courage in the end, for Albus to manage it :P And yes! Family is so important! :)

Haha, I have plans for that, actually! It will definitely be mentioned - at least once, if not more. It's one of those moments which isn't necessary to include but I want to, you know? It's such a great bit :P

Thank you so much! :) I really love history and given the canon timeline and how it's meant to intertwine, I really couldn't leave it out at all - and I like including it, too. I think things maybe make more sense that way?

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - it was so great to get, and I'm just so glad you're still enjoying the story! :)

Aph xx

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Review #9, by ad astra Württemberg

20th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 Review - Slytherin

I don't know what it says about me that the more I read this story, the more I love Gellert and the more I look forward to reading his chapters. The Dark Lord and malevolent dictator, perpetrator of war crimes and what can only be described as a reign of terror throughout Europe, and you make him a poet who loves watching the snow fall. File that under: things I should not find oddly heartwarming.

Work was calling; no doubt there would be time to ruminate on declarations of love made by silent admirers once I had installed a new world order. I love this line so much I can't even express to you how much I love this line

The will of the people is a powerful thing, Albus, as no doubt you know now. On it, empires rise and fall, politicians cast their souls, and the whims of God are made clear. I love this line for entirely different reasons. This story is in every way testament to your abilities as a linguist and a historian as well as a writer, down to the simple fact that you created the Codex Alaricium for this chapter. The authenticity of your setting is incredible and it adds so much depth and vibrancy to the story.

Author's Response: Hi again, Lisa! :D Thank you so much for stopping by - it's been so so amazing getting these reviews, especially from you, and I'm just so incredibly grateful for them, so thank you! :)

Thank you! :D It is one of those things - he's quite a fun character to write because opinions on him vary so differently - some people like him, some people still hate him. It's something I love about writing him - it makes it much more interesting to see what responses you get from things, if people change their minds and things. And yeah, I really, really didn't want to leave him as a kind of 2D Dark Lord figure, and for some reason poetry seemed to suit him - words in general are his sort of thing, though. I'm so glad you like it, though! :) Sometimes things which seem to make sense to me don't seem to make sense to other people :P

Gah, thank you! :) Gellert has his priorities sorted, for sure :P

Thank you so so much! I seem to say this so often in your review responses, but I'm just so blown away by your comments I'm just lost for words most of the time, so thank you! Languages and history are two of my favourite things and two hobbies as well as areas of interest, and a lot of that does feed into this, and I just love that you like that. (The Codex Alaricium came from law classes, though - not in name, but in form, sort of? :P)

Thank you so so much for the amazing set of reviews, they've been so so incredible to get, and I'm so so grateful for every one I've got, so thank you so much! :)

Aph xx

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Review #10, by ad astra Similes

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 mustn’t 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 #11, by ad astra Bulgaria

20th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 Review - Slytherin


This is stunning writing. I don't know how you manage it but every chapter of this story has been impossibly better than the last, and your depiction of Gellert here is incredible. Absolutely chilling, terrifying in its intensity and remorselessness, and so brilliantly done.

I want the memories of that place, the blood and the tears and the power I poured into that land to come back to me; I want it to possess me again, I want to feel it wrap around me and fill me until I choke on it.

I want the thrill of being unstoppable again.

This gave me chills, there's no other way of putting it, and I'm just in awe of your talent here. Gellert's euphoria at finding the Elder Wand, the sense of invincibility which echoes through every word - this is phenomenal writing.

that as much as I might have been the dawn, you were the sunset. This is such an incredible line to end on. I sound like a stuck record but your writing is absolutely mindblowing and this chapter goes above and beyond anything I expected.

Author's Response: Hi Lisa! :D Okay, okay, you're going to have to forgive me on this one because I really have absolutely no idea how on earth I'm going to respond to this properly. English has abandoned me (I joke, but seriously, there are no words *hug*).

I really, really love writing Gellert. Well, both of them really, but there's something almost freeing about writing someone who just doesn't care and is so unapologetic about the way he is and what he enjoys and the things he does and has done. It's so much fun, and I liked getting the chance in this chapter to show him being, well, a bit more of a dark lord :P

Thank you so so much - this was a scene I knew I had to write from the beginning, and I looked forward to it so much, even though it wasn't very far in, so I'm just so so glad you liked it, really :)

It's strange, actually, because that's one of the few lines I've ever written before the rest of the chapter :P I just liked the metaphor too much - I like colours and references to colours, so it sort of came from there :)

Thank you so so much for the incredible review, and I'm really sorry for the awful response in return :)

Aph xx

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Review #12, by ad astra Words

20th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 Review - Slytherin

I said I need to stop complimenting you on your writing ability and incredible use of language and then I see that incredible Dobby-winning quote which is even more incredible in context. I could read the opening section of this chapter over and over again until it sinks into my very soul. I could get a tattoo of some of these lines, that's how incredible they are. I don't think any review can really do justice to the sheer beauty of your words so I'll move on to the story itself.

Your evocation of the turn of the 20th century is beautiful here, and I have to say I'm in love with the sheer aesthetic of this story, Europe at the dawning of a new era, Albus and Gellert at the centre of it, tragedy and grief and pain juxtaposed with celebration and hope. It's perfect.

I just want one moment of Albus glibly talking about his beautiful blonde boy. Just one. It would make my entire life. Embrace scandal, Albus Dumbledore.

I could talk about aesthetics with the Flamels and alchemy and Albus's slow, gradual return to happiness until Christmas but I'll leave it at the simple fact that I want to immerse myself completely in the world you've created here.

Author's Response: Lisa! :D Thank you so much for dropping by again (I have no idea how you're managing to review this of all things - which is so long and so heavy and so slow - for TAR, so thank you so much for that!)! :)

Gah, thank you so much! :) I really love writing this fic (though there are bits in it I still hate, if I'm honest), so I'm just so glad you like it - especially the little exposition-y bits at the beginning of each chapter since I was so nervous about those - and still am each time I post. Wah, you're amazing and you're making me blush saying these things, you know? :) Thank you so so much!

Thank you! :D I really, really loved writing the turn of the century - especially because it's such a coincidental time, them meeting just before it and being split when they had so many plans and so on. Especially when everyone around them was so hopeful of a bright new future and so many new theories were coming out/being developed... it's a time I love in history, so I had to include it and try and do it justice in here :)

Mahaha, maybe. Maybe :P I'm very tempted to have a drunk confession-type scene, but I'm not sure how it would work... (a one-shot? Maybe? :P) Poor boy, he would, but he's too terrified too :( Societal prejudices and all that jazz...

Mah, I loved the alchemy stuff! And the Flamels! :D So I'm so happy you liked it too! :)

Thank you so so much for the amazing review, as always! :) Really, I'm just so so glad you like this! :)

Aph xx

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Review #13, by ad astra Wales

20th June 2015:
House Cup 2015 Review - Slytherin

Hi Laura! I feel like I should have read and reviewed more of this story ages ago because it's permanently on my to-read list, but I'm back for chapter 2 at last!

I've already told you that I absolutely adore your writing style and I should probably stop repeating myself in every review I leave you, but just to reiterate - your prose is gorgeous and I could happily read it for the next hundred years.

I'm not sure what I expected of Gellert's POV but you've surprised me here with him - all we know of him from canon is the great-evil-dark-wizard-bet-on-world-domination, but you've made him incredibly complex, sympathetic and loving in a way I didn't expect. I've kind of always viewed the Albus/Gellert relationship as Albus placing Gellert on a pedestal, Patroclus and Achilles, but Gellert places Albus on the very same pedestal and I really love the way you've constructed their relationship here.

The passage about exploring the world stuck out to me as well - I love the subtle magical twists you put into the various wonders of the world, like seeing phoenixes in flight at dawn and curses carved into the Great Wall of China - it's such a rich world you're creating around them.

I could (and would) write so much more for this review but time is of the essence! Onto chapter 3!

Author's Response: Hey Lisa! :) Thank you so much for stopping by - it was such a great surprise to get! :)

Gah, thank you so so much! :) It is just so so amazing to hear - I love your writing, as you know, so especially from you - and really, I just have no other way to respond to it apart from 'THANK YOU THANK YOU' :)

Haha, thanks! :D I had a lot of time to think about how I wanted to characterise him and develop him before I really started this, since I had two gos at doing it properly :P I really wanted to cast him as a kind of dark lord separate from Voldemort and the whole completely-evil sphere, especially because, you know, Albus Dumbledore manages to fall in love with him, which sorta suggests he's not totally insane? Maybe? :P And I liked the idea of this kind of mutual adoration/admiration which is then destroyed because of fear and self-hatred and so on - load up the angst, you know? :P

Thank you! :D I love including little details like that, so it's so great to hear you noticed them and liked them too! :) I love the idea of a whole magical world - it's so cool to me - so I had to include a little nod to that :)

Thank you so so much for the review - it was so lovely to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #14, by cherry_pop94 Silence

19th June 2015:
Hi Aph!

Here for the blue vs. bronze battle!

Ack! This story is lovely so far and I can't believe it's taken me so long to get here. You really are such a remarkable writer, though I know that I've told you this a million times now :P

I love the relationship with Gellert and Albus that you've built up here. It seems to real and so strong. Albus's whole world revolved around him, but Gellert turned into this monster later in life. It's honestly so tragic, but Albus still loves him so much.

I love how you've written in first person, but addressing a 'you!' That's such a difficult thing to write well, but you make it seem so natural. And in this perspective, Albus reliving Ariana's death is so much more painful.

Basically, this was amazing and wonderful and you're just such a fantastic writer!!

Much love,


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

Ah, thank you so much - I'm just so glad you like it! They're one of my OTPs, Albus and Gellert, so this story is like my baby - I'm always so nervous about how people are going to receive it and all... and thank you - you're so sweet! :)

Thank you! :D I really love them as a pairing and writing them was actually a lot less difficult than I thought? There's a very specific voice, I think, but especially over time it's got easier for me to do it... and yeah, it's incredibly tragic how Albus loved him, and then Gellert sort of changes... it really doesn't work out well for them :(

Thanks! :D I don't really remember how it ended up being told that way, haha, but I like it as a perspective - another person's perspective on someone else is always interesting, at least it is to me :P

Gah, thank you so much for the wonderful review - it was such a great thing to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #15, by Dojh167 Württemberg

17th June 2015:
Sam here for our review swap

I remember reading the first part of this chapter, though it looks like I didn't get all the way through it.

As usual, your imagery is beautiful. Just by glancing over the first part of the chapter which I read weeks, ago, I am powerfully transported to the frozen cell that I remember you creating so perfectly. I think the fact that your imagery is so strong that it has that effect from the memory of having read it says a lot.

I really like the sense of missed connection that you establish with the flowers. The fact that Gellert didn't even consider that it was Albus who sent them says a lot about how his thoughts and priorities have shifted.

I enjoyed Gellert's logic about not being able to get what he ans by taking control of the Minister. He shows a high level of political intelligence here that makes his journey a lot more interesting to follow than that of somebody who is thoughtlessly power hungry.

Wait, they're not allowed to use magic in the hall of records, but he smokes a cigarette? That seems odd.

I like how you wrote Mathaus. The line where you said that they had the same initial reactions to each other was very interesting and really helped set the tone for the scene. I'm glad that you put the twists on their interaction that Mathaus would help Gellert get where he wanted, but also their first "conquest."

I'm really interested to hear how Gellert's journey develops.

Thanks for the swap!


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Review #16, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Clichés

11th June 2015:

I cannot say, truthfully, that I always longed for you – that I always dreamed, specifically, of you – but I will say that, underneath it all, I was always lonely, in a way I could never quite shake, no matter how many friends or students or titles I had.

This story always takes a lot out of me. I can’t imagine how you feel when you finish writing a chapter. I would be relieved. Every chapter is just so powerful, you know? There’s always so much to consider and think about.

I chose this part because I know what he means. I think we’re conditioned to want love because I think if we were a society where love wasn’t important or we were taught there was no such thing as love that we existed that would be perfectly reasonable as well. Yet somehow through all these generations and decades or whatever the idea and the obsession with love was created.

I’m rambling. Anyway, the loneliness he talks about I’ve experienced that. That’s why I like this story. It’s relateable even when it’s not if that makes any sense at all. There are powerful sentences that can cause you to cry, to pause and contemplate, to think about the past.

This is what they’re doing though, isn’t it? Thinking about the past, contemplating their decisions and maybe they aren’t crying outwardly but there’s an emotion and pain there that is evident.

Curiosity is a dangerous thing, even more so when it is paired with desire.

This is true. This gets a lot of people in trouble.

Ah, but perhaps that would have wrecked the dream, turned white into black and gold into dust, for I have an unerring tendency to be so very cruel to my family, one way or another, never intentionally.

Wow. It’s true though, he did, didn’t he? Man. I feel like I’m getting into the inner depths of Albus now and I’m not quite sure I want to venture there. It’s eerie.

And that ending took me by total surprise, that last line. But it’s true and such things exist. They were essentially bound together though they were/are now apart. It’s so sad.

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Review #17, by Veritaserum27 Wales

6th June 2015:
Hey there, Aph!

I'm here for the review pairings for May (I know, I know - it's June).

And yet again, the beauty of your writing has me searching for words to put down in this review.

I've noticed that while your skill is no less when writing from either point of view, you seem to have Albus focus on words and finer details of their love and Gellert seems to see the scenery and emotions that are part of the bigger picture. I apologize if I'm totally wrong in this perception of things.

Another thing I've noticed that you've cleverly done to contrast their two personalities is how subtlety and incredibly selfish Gellert can be. It's not done in an overt way in any sense, but little things like how he couldn't understand why Albus felt trapped. Even when he realized that he was trapped because of his family situation, it was more like Gellert could sort of see how Albus felt, but was more focused on how Albus's emotional state affected him.

All the same, you've given us a beautiful love story - and while that love was deep and passionate for both men, it was different and meant different things to them. That is the real brilliance of your writing. I think that the two men never truly realized that - the fact that they saw the relationship from different angles. They may have been the one true person that really understood the other one, but I think it was a little more than their ideals that played a part in why they could never be forever.

Gah - I'm sorry if I'm totally off base here... But I can't wait to read more!

♥ Beth

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Review #18, by InkStainedFingers Silence

5th June 2015:
Oh my word this is beautiful. So, so exquisitely beautiful. How haven’t I read this before? Why on earth haven’t I read this before?

(I’ll back-track a little here to say hello! I’m dropping by to leave a BvB review and be amazed by your writing.)

Seriously, though, this is the sort of writing that leaves you breathless. It’s hauntingly beautiful. Where can I even try to begin?

“The inflections used, the placement of stresses, the tone in which the words are stated: all these can change the meaning of something completely, from one thing to another.”

Your prose is gorgeous (sorry - I’m going to try to limit the amount of times I say that, but it really is true) and I love your opening paragraphs. Everything you say about the importance of words and silences has a wonderful flow to it, and is such a beautiful place to approach Albus and Gellert’s relationship from. It feels like such a powerful idea, the strength and power of silence.

I love the perspective you’ve written this from as well, as though Albus is talking to Gellert. It has all of the expressive eloquence you would expect from him, and the tender, almost reverent tone that is created... it is almost as though he is writing a love letter to Gellert – a letter written long after they separated, almost as though he knows Gellert will never read it. You’ve captured a burdening sense of regret throughout the whole chapter: every memory Albus speaks of seems to hang heavy with regrets and longing.

“Of course, I admired you from the beginning, but it wasn’t until I spoke to you, until I learned you and all that made you, that I was truly entranced by you.

I’m really struggling not just to quote your beautiful sentences back at you, because I’m not sure anything I can say about it can even begin to explain how much I love this. I adore the picture you have created of Albus and Gellert lying in bed, holding each other in the morning. Your description of them – you can’t use the word ‘cuddling’ to describe two such powerful wizards, but I’m not sure how else you would put it – is perfect. You capture so beautifully the affection between the boys; the warmth and happiness of the summer. I love their story – if I didn’t already ship Albus/Gellert I would after reading this – the lies and deceptions; the delicate silences of devotion and desire.

And then you have the bittersweet memory, the last day – the only complete day he keeps in his Pensive. There’s something powerful about that, and desperately sad as well, Albus only allowing himself to remember in full clarity that day and not any of the others they shared. The fact that he makes sure he remembers exactly how much he loved Gellert is almost heart-breaking – it would be so much easier, so much less painful for him to try to forget as much as he can.

”You should know now that I do not blame you. I did once – I will admit that to you, for I know you will refuse to believe me otherwise – but I have grown wiser, I think, and I know that this burden is mine to bear.”

This is another beautiful and haunting line. How far Albus has come to accept and believe that Ariana’s death is his burden to carry. I love your description of their fight: how Aberforth, failing in provoking his brother into argument, instead turned to Gellert and used the words that he knew would offend him most. The words ‘cataclysmic’ and ‘crescendo’ seem to describe the scene you have drawn so well. And Albus’ first instinct was to curse his own brother rather than Gellert... that really shows how dangerous love can be when it blinds you.

I think one of my favourite lines in this chapter is “a final blare of trumpets and violins and drums in a last, distorted chord, a last barrage of spells in a rainbow of colours, and it all ended” – I love the finality those words suggest. And then you link it back to silence – heavy, suffocating silence.

“For the first time since we had met, I could not quite recognise you.”

That is another haunting line, and Albus’ thoughts that follow it are even more so. How terrible it must have been, not to know who cast the curse which killed Ariana. How beautifully you describe the silence that did not lift even when Gellert ran and Albus’ longing to once again be a child.

And your final paragraph... I honestly can’t say anything about it – it’s so beautiful, so powerful, so heavy with meaning and intent. It really does send shivers up and down your spine.

This is such a fantastic opening chapter, I cannot wait to read the rest (meaning that I quite likely won’t wait, and will be up well into the early hours of the morning devouring the next twelve).

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Review #19, by HappyMollyWeasley Prussia

24th May 2015:
Happy birthday!

I thought I should leave you a short birthday review tonight, along with my best wishes of a happy birthday to you!

Gellert is surely aware of himself, proud, and confident, despite everything that has happened. I suppose that the similarities between him and Albus as youngsters are replaced with differences as they grow older. I can't stop wondering what would have happened if it wasn't for Ariana... Who would have the most influence over whom?

"You do not need to answer; I know whatever you say will be a lie." Well, Gellert sums it up here, doesn't he? He has no faith, no true believe in humanity. And that makes him so different from Albus. And although my heart was broken for Albus' sake in your last chapter, it's nothing like how I pity Gellert.


Author's Response: Hi there, Molly - thank you so much for stopping by! :) And thank you! :) :) I really, really didn't expect anything, so this was such a great surprise present! :D

Yeah, Gellert is very confident, definitely about himself. He's one of those people who just knows himself so well, and his knows his own abilities and limits, so he's really able to maximise them perfectly, you know? Similarities, I think, sometimes seem closer because of situations, but they're actually not so close - so it's kinda what happened with them: they seemed almost identical, but then they're not, and that sort of become more obvious later on, for sure. Influence - tbh, I think if Ariana hadn't died it could have gone either way. Albus isn't a total pushover, after all, even for Gellert ;)

Yeah, Gellert has a really different view on humanity in general from Albus, and it is kinda sad, though it's also a little bit patronising. He just doesn't see people as capable of managing themselves. He sees things in terms of danger, which is, imo, a very sad and difficult way to live life. Albus is definitely a lot more hopeful and positive. In that, I think they do balance each other out quite well :)

Thank you so so much for the review - and for the birthday wishes! I'm just so happy you're still enjoying this! :)

Aph xx

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Review #20, by nott theodore Württemberg

21st May 2015:
Hi Laura! I shouldn't be here. I really shouldn't be here - I have to get up in six hours and I promised myself an early night, but I saw that you were one review away from an enormous landmark and now I'm typing as fast as I can to try and be the person to get you there :D

Your description. How? Please, please teach me your ways and share just a little bit of the talent that you've got for imagery. The opening to this chapter was just so beautiful, with Gellert looking out from his prison cell in Nurmengard and watching the snowstorm. I didn't think that I would read something that made a snowstorm sound so incredibly beautiful and magical, but I just have. I really loved the way that Gellert was so fascinated and mesmerized by the scene - which I think is easy to be when you're watching snow fall - but he sees the cruelty in what is happening and still thinks it's beautiful; he picks up on the power there and admires it for that. Just those tiny things, the way that he views a snowstorm, tell us so much about his character and you've really captured him so well.

Since you're switching perspectives every chapter in this story, I also really like the fact that the style of the opening of each chapter is the same, which then follows onto the next stage in their story. It lets us relax back into ttheir narratives but also is just such wonderful writing that I can't help loving it.

The fact that Gellert thinks of Albus when he watches the storm shows a lot too - even after all these years, it is the other that they think of rather than anyone else they've come across romantically in their lives, and that says so much. It's like they still want to share moments with each other even when they're impossibly separated. It was sad seeing Gellert's thoughts on Albus and his guilt, too

I loved the fact that you've already told us now where this story - or at least Gellert's reign - will end, back in the same place his story started; I really like the circular element that adds to the narrative and there's almost something poetic about it.

I'm so intrigued to know if the flowers actually were from Albus or if it was another of Gellert's admirers - I can't tell if they actually are from him or if, now, looking back on the events, Gellert just wants them to be from Albus.

So I know there aren't many Albus/Gellert stories on the archives at all, and I haven't seen any apart from this one which really focus on their lives as a whole as well as telling their romance, but this is such an original story. I have never really thought before about how Gellert started gaining power, and how he influenced people so much and gained followers to the extent that he had power over a lot of Europe and people wanted Albus to stop him before he got to Britain, but this version makes so much sense to me. I really like the fact that it's so different from the way we know Tom Riddle went about gaining power - this is almost a more natural path into it. To start at the bottom and work up, gaining the trust of and getting to know the people who make the decisions until you can influence them to do what you want, is a very clever way of doing it; like Gellert says, he has to change the way people think and that's what he tries to do with his path here, which shows how different to Voldemort he is.

It's both sad and kind of scary to see Gellert being forced to do such mundane work that bored him out of his mind, because we know he's so brilliant. The parallels that you were able to draw there with Albus and his situation were great; even when they were torn apart they were still linked and thought of each other a lot. I can't think of anything that reflects that fact better than seeing the way that Gellert still thinks of himself as making conquests for him and Albus. for their plans rather than just his own. It clearly indicates how close he still feels - in his heart and mind at least - to Albus and the fact that he remained in his mind when he was planning to take power. I'm so intrigued to see if that'll continue to happen as he progresses on his journey.

And I really should go to bed now so I'm going to post this and hope that nobody else ninja'ed and got there before me to the 100th review. No matter, this was a beautiful chapter and I'm so excited for you to reach 100 reviews on this amazing story!

Sian :)

Edit: wah Beth got there before me :( but now you can say you've passed 100 reviews and congratulations anyway! ♥

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Review #21, by Veritaserum27 Silence

21st May 2015:
Hi there Aph!

I'm here for our review pairing from the Prefect Lounge! I just read your review on ASLTW and I'm giggling because I've felt the same way about your story! I'm so happy when these exchanges occur because I get to finally get into stories that I've been meaning to read for ages

So I'm going to start off my commenting on your story summary. It's beautiful. So beautiful in fact that I was certain that I had read it before. I mean, it sounds like a line form a poem or a philosopher so I actually thought it was odd that you didn't credit Mr. So-and-so who wrote his traitorous opinion paper on the French Revolution or whatever.

Language shapes the world, for good or for evil. In silence, wounds fester and arguments begin. And what are wars but arguments out of control?

It's brilliant in its simplicity, beauty and truth. I don't know if I can say more because you have such a gift for saying so much with your words that I sort of feel like my review can't possibly be good enough to justify your work.

Then I noticed your chapter titles - and haha I know you did the same for me :) - I guess we notice the same things in a story. They are all single words and each one is either a location or a word about... well, erm - words. Another beautiful way to tie in the theme of this story. Albus and Gellert used words to fuel their justification for their naive and passionate thoughts and I've no doubt that one of the things they found beautiful about each other is they way they could use their words to show their love and affection.

Which leads me to my next point. *sigh* Your writing is so amazingly beautiful and crafted with such skill, it is both intellectually challenging and effortless to read. I know that seems like a contradiction, but I'm speaking of the way you tell your story doesn't feel like I'm reading. Rather, I'm being pulled on a journey along with the characters. I feel what they feel and I'm right there along with them in their trials and jubilation. At the same time, I know I'm reading a story that's going to make me think. I don't want to miss any details and I can't stop for one moment because something important or beautiful or heartbreaking might happen. (At the same time, it makes me a little sad, as my own writing is mediocre in comparison to yours.)

Your introduction regarding words is perfect for this story and your insights on the absence of words had my mind immediately spinning. Words are power, but words are loud and the silence can be even more powerful. I'll never forget one moment in my life when I was engaged in an argument with my brother, which was quickly escalating. His voice raised and the words came as shouts, while I maintained my viewpoint with a calm pace and softer words. A realization came that while I wasn't speaking louder or with more intensity, I was still winning the argument. The power I held by being quiet has stuck with me for years.

You've done a great job characterizing a young, smitten Dumbledore. He is telling the story as a much older and wiser man, looking back on his time as something that he should have cherished a bit more, but also the very idea of having the foolishness to not cherish those moments is what makes youth. Gellert is clearly confident and coy, but no less in love than Albus.

The only complete day he keeps in the pensieve. Gah! I'm so broken by this. Albus needs to hold on to the physical proof of the memory so he can never forget how his actions molded the rest of his life. What purposeful torture.

And Silence is Albus's great weakness. In a story about words written by an author who is a master at using them, we end the first chapter in silence. It's brilliant.

I can't wait to see how their story unfolds and I'm really interested because it seems that you've chosen to start the story on the day when Gellert leaves. For all we know from the books, Albus and Gellert didn't meet after that day until their duel. I'm intrigued.

♥ Beth

PS: I'm also really, really excited that I got to be review number 100 for this story!

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Review #22, by HappyMollyWeasley Clichés

21st May 2015:

So, I'm finally here with the review for our swap. What an emotional chapter! Emotional, and sad. (Just like the story itself... This chapter summaries the feeling of the story in some ways, or at least Albus' feelings I suppose.)

"I was always lonely..." This is so sad. He feels lonely, even among friends. And it doesn't help that people are pairing up around him and getting married. It can be stressing to anybody to feel that everybody else is getting married, but for Albus it's not a possibility to get married at all.

I like the discussion about marriage here, that's it's not for everyone. You're not worth any more or less if you're married or not, but I suppose it can feel like that sometimes. It was different times back then too, which makes Albus' thoughts about common-law and about gay marriages to be before his time. If it was anyone else who discussed it like this I would have thought it was a bit unbelievable, but coming from Albus Dumbledore it makes sense. He was a man of great thoughts. and a great mind.

This chapter was, as I already said, sad and emotional, and although it didn't contained much action driving the story forwards, it clearly stated how Albus still feels about Gellert. That was nice done!

Thanks for swapping with me!


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Review #23, by TreacleTart Württemberg

20th May 2015:
Hi Aph!

I'm here for our review swap!

After a short break from this story, I'm back for some more. I have to admit that I really have to take these chapters slowly, one at a time, and really let the meaning of them sink in. There's so much detail that it almost gives me a system overload...and I mean this in the best way.

I do notice that at points, Albus and Gellert sound fairly similar. It's easy enough to tell them apart because of what they're talking about, where they are, and the occasional way that you slip the name of the other person into the chapter. I imagine that the reason they sound so similar is because they actually are so similar in a lot of senses. They're both brilliant, talented, young, and becoming disillusioned with the world, although for different reasons.

I particularly love the end of this chapter and how you've shown how disillusioned and power hungry Gellert is getting. The boredom with the normalcy of his job and his desire to affect massive change are very clear. His response to the Ministry representative really highlighted that all very nicely.

The tone of this whole chapter feels ominous, but in such a strange way. It's so beautifully described that it makes it almost feel light and flowy, except for the fact that we know he's only a few short steps away from trying to take over the world or at least Europe.

Another lovely chapter. As always, it's a pleasure to read your work. I'll be back for more soon!


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Review #24, by Dojh167 Similes

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 #25, by Dojh167 Bulgaria

17th May 2015:
I'm really enjoying how you're separating Albus' chapters to be about language and Gellert's chapter to be about places. It really helps define each of the characters, especially because their tones can sometimes feel similar, what with all the angsting.

FIRE. Yeah, I liked that description. All of your descriptions are fabulous, and as the other recent descriptions have been about landscapes, this one really powerfully stands out and is a powerful chapter opener. I really get a sense that with each of these descriptions we are getting a deeper look into Gellert's character. At first his description of Wales was surprising, as I had not to be so romantic and affectionate of the country. Now this description of fire and dragons brings in that layer of passionate darkness into his character. Your descriptions are not just about setting up the world of the action, but really the world of the character and the unique way that they experience that world. I'm a fan.

The way you distinguish between the torment of nightmares and of daydreams/memories is tragically beautiful.

Other quotes I loved (because there are so many): "passing them backwards and forwards in some meaningless, unspoken competition."
"Beyond that, far into anger, the flashes in my mind of flames and smoke speak to me of fury and grief and all the power I had ever possessed."
"I had not yet gained anything other than tired bones, a stolen horse and a growing tendency to talk to myself."
"Ah, freedom: for you a burden you bear only grudgingly, a pleasure you insist on denying to yourself, and for me it is the drug I crave more desperately than any other. How we are different, Albus. How we always were."
"but magic all the same. It was tough, hardy and it sunk into the walls of the houses, making their white-painted stone gleam, turning each crude building into its own castle."
" Or did your courage die at the end of that summer, cradled so delicately in the girl’s hands as she fell?"

The way that Gellert blames Albus for holding him to the ideals he created for himself, "These emotions, they are not for you, not for who you .want to become, and so I am not allowed them too" is really fabulously nuanced.

I also really enjoyed the section in which Gellert reaffirms that they had been "our" plans, and his certainty that one way or another he would have Albus back.

Fabulous rhythm here: "urging me on to run, to go, go now, faster and faster, not to stop, not to breathe"

I personally find it a little offputting that writers are giving so many characters the ability of flight, when in the books I got the sense that that was a very special ability that Voldemort had developed, and it kind of cheapens it with overuse by other characters. But maybe you'll make this pay off.

It is very powerful how Gellert is already prepared to fight Albus on his vision, though I can't help but wonder why he thinks he will have to. If I am following the narrative correctly, at this point Albus had not spoken out in any way against Gellert's plans, and their separation was based on the tragedy of Adriana, not a difference in beliefs.

I read much of this chapter out loud. It is written in such a raw personal tone that it feels more natural to me this way than on the page. This would read really well as an audiobook.

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