Reading Reviews for L'optimisme
130 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Penelope Inkwell Similes

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

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

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


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

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

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


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Review #2, by Penelope Inkwell Words

17th September 2015:
Though their meanings are often simpler to decipher, words are as potent as silence can be – and, in my experience, are far more likely to be employed to hurt, as they require far less skill on the part of the one wielding them. They can bite and nip, wound to the bone, and potentially kill.
--This is a great description, and very true. I don't know that I've thought of it before, but he's quite right: it takes skill to powerfully wield silence. Words are much easier. It reminds me--back when I was studying acting--one of the notes we'd always get as fledgling actors were notes on how to use silence. We could all read the lines, and do it well, but learning when to pause, and how long to hold it, and having the courage to hold it out, to trust your instincts and not break under the pressure and the silence--that took a lot of work.

And, of course, as all mothers seem to know, silent treatment and "being disappointed" can be so much worse than recriminations and loud words.

It is interesting to note here that, of course, all spells are formed of words, incantations, used to focus the magic and so allow it to flow in a concentrated, precise manner. For this reason, non-verbal magic is so difficult and a highly prized skill amongst powerful witches and wizards. If spells can kill, can be unforgiveable, cannot words be the same?
--this is sooo Dumbledore-esque. It's like you've captured how he sounds in the notes in "The Tales of Beedle the Bard. That was a great touch--these kind of intellectual asides. He's so smart, he can't help making them, and he knows that Gellert would be able to keep up.

I love the idea that he went off to work as Nicolas Flamel's assistant after all that. It makes sense that he would flee, really, and that he would want to go somewhere far away. But it also seems the sort of thing that would be a bit prestigious, that would suit his advanced mind. And, of course, it's a nice little fill-in to the question of how the two of them met.

Nice work!


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Review #3, by Penelope Inkwell Wales

17th September 2015:
They have allowed me books, you know – only in recent years, when they have stopped thinking of me as a threat (though I cannot help but wonder if this, too, is your doing. It would not surprise me)
--this was an interesting--and very believable--touch. I could see Dumbledore being concerned for anyone's prison conditions, no matter what they had done. I think, as a great mind himself, he would be troubled by the idea of a brilliant mind turning in on itself and going madder for lack of exercise. And then, of course, it was Gellert. And it's clear in this fic that, whatever he had done and whatever had become of them, there was a part of him that still cared.

Instead of saying that, instead of being utterly honest with you, I spoke to you of how you were wasted here, how we both were, how our talents would be better served elsewhere, anywhere, together. It was what you wanted to hear, no? To be encouraged to want to leave, to have that desire understood by someone who could match you? It was what you wanted to hear, and what I wanted to tell you.
--this was a really interesting idea--the thought that Gellert's urging was initially not based on the idea that they were too good for that place, but his desire to connect to Albus, to be someone whom Albus would feel could understand him. It adds a lot of depth to Gellert's character.

I did not like you distracted, subdued like a whipped dog; I wanted you to be alive.
--this is such an interesting line. It goes from sounding selfish--he doesn't want Albus to be distracted from him, from their plans--to what sounds like legitimate concern, though in a harsh way that fits his character. Once again, you manage to give Gellert some facets and angles, rather than making him a caricature of an "evil wizard". Maybe it was this experience, early on, that made Dumbledore so open to seeing the good in people all the world might judge to be "bad" (like Snape, or Draco). He was so forgiving of the people whom nobody thought was worthy of it, and I can see how that could have begun with Gellert, with his knowledge of how a person can go so wrong, but can still have goodness in them

I could not help it, and I tried to cover it, tried to hide the embarrassment and shame I felt of having such childish emotions (for they are, no matter what you might say about romance and comfort)
--this was another interesting piece of characterization--an opposition to Dumbledore's beliefs about the power and importance of love. And this, too, fits quite well.

As soon as she had died – even as I felt the blood on my cheek starting to dry and my hand trembling because she was dead and I knew her killer and I knew you needed me but how could I stay, how could I – I knew that you had been destroyed. Without her, your passion for the ideals fled (perhaps they had been centred in her all along, and I had simply been too blind and too selfish to see it)
--So he really does know. I'm curious--do you have a headcanon for which of them it was. Do you have a hard idea of what, exactly, Gellert saw here. He's right, though. Maybe Dumbledore did need him, but he truly would have been sent to Azkaban. They wouldn't have believed him. (and, if they could test his wand...what if it wasn't him? That could have destroyed Albus even more. Perhaps in some ways Gellert did the kindest thing for him. We don't know if he was the killer, but if he wasn't, he gave Albus a scapegoat; he gave him the chance to believe that Albus himself had not done it).

I thought that was interesting, about how maybe it was for Ariana all along. I think that was mentioned, in the books, right? That if their plans came to fruition, Ariana wouldn't have to be hidden. I do think a large part of Albus latching onto their plans was a desire to get out of dodge, but I still think it could have been a significant factor, and I liked seeing Gellert reflect on it.


huge, green hills rolling off into the horizon, their sides untouched, perhaps even unchartered,
--I think that "unchartered" should be "uncharted."

No, now as I sit here, fighting cramp and fading sight,
--it might be better to say "cramps" instead of "cramp".

Wow. In just one chapter, you've added a lot of depth to a villain. I'm really impressed!


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Review #4, by Penelope Inkwell Silence

17th September 2015:
Hello again! It's me, reading through the Dobby noms--congratulations, yet again!

In others, we are the oppressors, spiting hatred, a kind of verbal violence. It is in moments like that we feel at our most powerful, when we do not need to raise a hand to make people kneel and crawl and weep.

No one talks about silence.

It is the forgotten part of conversations, the part no one thinks about or considers as important, but, really, which defines everything. There is nothing quite so terrifying as a pause, only a second’s worth of silence. Your heart quickens, your mouth dries and your palms sweat; you wait, anxious, suddenly second-guessing yourself about everything you thought you knew, wondering if, maybe, you were wrong. In the hands of a master, it is an intense, deadly weapon, choking you without requiring any force, any malice, anything other than itself.

--this whole passage is phenomenal. It just really is.

You do a great job with balancing words and emotion. This fic obviously revels in word usage (in a way that I think suits Dumbledore quite well), but it doesn't gum up the works, as can sometimes happen. I feel like the emotion still really shines through--especially the pain and confusion and horror of Ariana's death.

I think you've also done a really good job of capturing Dumbledore's voice--academic, but still emotionally attached. Wise. Occasionally self-deprecating. It really suits his character.

I've never seen a fic in which he was this forgiving of Grindelwald, or willing to be this vulnerable in front of him, so that's a very interesting take. He seems a bit more secure of Gellert's affections here, and I'm interested to see how that's going to go.

I can almost hear you laughing at me; I almost wish I could.
--this was so sad. :(


We are warned against it, wary of their power since young,
--I wasn't sure, or anything, but I thought that "since young" might not flow as well as some other options, like "since we are young", or "from our youth"? But, like I said, I'm not certain those are better, by any means, it's just a thought, because "since young" stuck out a little, to me.

spiting hatred
--should this be "spitting hatred?"

Excellent work, but then I'm hardly surprised. Your way with words really is incredible, though.


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Review #5, by HeyMrsPotter Similes

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

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

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


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Review #6, by HeyMrsPotter Bulgaria

13th September 2015:
Laura! I loved this chapter♥

Missing moments are my absolute favourite and I've never read a story about Gellert stealing the Elder Wand before. I love that you gave it the build up too, of where he had been between Ariana's death and finding it.

As always, your description in this is absolutely incredible. I really fel like I'm right there with Gellert and Dumbledore every step of the way in this story.


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Review #7, by HeyMrsPotter Words

13th September 2015:
but the following scandal would not, I think, have been worth the few moments of amusement it would have produced. LOL omg favourite line of this chapter. This is just SO Dumbledore, of course he would have found this absolutely hilarious.

I like the idea of Dumbledore seeking out friends after Ariana by means of distraction, and the inclusion of the Flamels was a nice touch. I'm enjoying the alternating between Dumbledore and Gellert's points of view, and that I can tell by the 'voice' which is which before any characters have been mentioned.


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Review #8, by HeyMrsPotter Wales

13th September 2015:
Another amazing chapter, Laura! I'm so glad you were nominated for so many Dobbys, because it's given me the chance to read your work, and now I'm kicking myself for not having read it before.

I liked the switch in POV here. And I really love the voice that you've given to Gellert. I loved how well Gellert understands Dumbledore, the way that he describes him feeling trapped by his family, and the bitterness he feels whenever Doge's letters arrived with news of the trip he should have been on. I feel like I really understand your version of a young Dumbledore from this chapter, even though it's from Gellerts point of view. It's heartbreaking how much he obviously still loves Gellert even after everything with Ariana.

Loved it :)

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Review #9, by HeyMrsPotter Silence

13th September 2015:
Laura, congratulations on yet another (inevitably well-deserved) Dobby nomination!

Your writing is just so incredible. This chapter reads like a love letter, each word is just perfectly placed and beautiful. It really feels like it was actually written by Dumbledore himself. There's such a subtle but painfully real sense of loss and sadness in his words. Have you managed to break into JKR's home and steal her writing or something?!

As always, I loved it and cannot wait for more!


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Review #10, by Frankie05 Silence

31st August 2015:
Hey Aph,

You are a brilliant writer. I seriously am at a loss for words at what to say to this story. I felt like I was reading C.S. Lewis. Lord have mercy. I had to concentrate to follow along (not s bad thing you are just extremely talented!)

I read a Albus/Gellert earlier this week and I thought I'd read yours :). It's going to prove difficult (only because I am dense sometimes )

I like how you started this off- talking about what is said in silence is often the most profound thing and then you take us through their relationships and the silence of it all especially in the mornings which seem to be Dumbledores favorite part of their relationship.

Also the scene where Ariana dies is so beautifully described. Seriously. Why are you so good at describing things. It's impeccable! You described the fight so well and the misguidings behind each of the attacks and then her death! And then poof. Bye Gellert. And now I'm sad.

Gosh this was so good. So very good. Smarty pants (in the most loving of ways)


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

Omigosh, thank you so much! As a girl who was somewhat raised on CS Lewis, Tolkien, etc. that's huge, huge praise to me, so thank you so much! Yeah, I know it can be pretty tough going - it's pretty dense :P - so no worries ;)

Ooh, Albus/Gellert - careful, if you read too many you'll be converted ;) They are the only OTP, though, at least for me :P

This is actually a re-write, hence the 2012 label on the story shell, and I really wanted to talk more about more abstract things because it was so easy for me to slip into it in the voices I created for them, so I kinda felt it should have it's own place, and then connect in to the main body, so I'm so glad you liked it! I wasn't sure how well it would work :P And yeah, I think the silence is important to him, despite how good they were at words - or maybe because of it, who knows? :P

Ahhh, thank you! :) I'm so happy you liked that scene because it was surprisingly hard to write. JKR didn't describe it much in the books, but enough that it was so hard to do my own rendition of it, you know? So I'm so glad you liked it! And yeah, it's a pretty sad ending for a first chapter - but both necessary and inevitable, really :P

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review! (And I'll take the smarty pants and run, haha :P) It was so lovely to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #11, 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 #12, 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 #13, 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 #14, 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 #15, 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 #16, 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 #17, 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 #18, 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 #19, 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 #20, 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 #21, 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 #22, 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 #23, 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 #24, 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 #25, 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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