Reading Reviews for L'optimisme
114 Reviews Found

Review #1, 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.

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Review #2, 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.


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Review #3, 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.

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Review #4, 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

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Review #5, 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.

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Review #6, 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.

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Review #7, 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!

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Review #8, 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,


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Review #9, 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 #10, 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 #11, 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 #12, 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 #13, 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 #14, 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 #15, 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 #16, 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 #17, 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 #18, 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 #19, 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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Review #20, by Dojh167 Words

17th May 2015:
I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of having a love/hate relationship with how melodramatically pretentious. I normally wouldn't say something like that, but from reading your Novel Nest post, you understand that this story lives in that world. That being said, I can't help but keep coming back because it is SO DELICIOUS. Even deliciously melodramatically pretentious.

That being said, the chapters are so abstractly descriptive that so far they have been a little tough to get through without much action or dialogue. It can be a bit daunting to look at a 3000+ word chapter of narrative text. So a whine a bit when I start a chapter, but I never regret it afterwards. I hope that as the story progresses you find a way to maintain an engaging dramatic arc.

I have noticed that you use the "- and the - and the -" structure quite often, instead of "-, -, and -," I really like this structure as it has a powerful rhythmical effect, but you might want to be careful about overusing it. It is powerful when used sparingly. If used too often it can feel monotonous. I've noticed it in past chapters, and counted at least seven occurrences this chapter.

Again, the poetic style you are writing in is so perfect for these characters and this romance. I'm pretty sure at all of my reviews are going to amount to "Gah! Feelings!"

I did spot several typos and omitted words in this chapter, an issue I hadn't seen with previous chapters.

Love this line: "Naturally, admitting glibly to the world at large that I had spent a summer contentedly making love to a beautiful blonde boy would certainly have done the trick"

I really like seeing all the names of familiar characters and their ancestors. However, it seems a little odd that almost all the characters named are related to people we know.

The paragraph describing the boat on the river had particularly beautiful imagery.

I've noticed that you have a habit of describing something with two very similar words, such as "exact and precise" or "utterly and completely." If you are going to use multiple descriptive words, make sure that they are each valuable and add something new. If the extra words are not needed, being concise can have its own powerful impact.

"for even little mentions of those reminded me of Hallows and revolutions and the way you had breathed against my neck at night as you slept" The way that this sentence naturally captures his train of thought and its natural transitions without stopping to explain for outsiders is really fabulous.

And I love the implication that part of the reason Dumbledore always avoided politics was because of how strongly he associated those concepts with Gellert.

"For the first time, I felt what had possessed them since that fateful moment the clock struck twelve and the second hand ticked past: hope." I think that this line pushed the envelope on melodramatic cliche a little too far, and did take me out of the story. I like what you are trying to do with the line, but think the wording is a little too heavy handed.

I'll be back!

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Review #21, by Dojh167 Wales

16th May 2015:
I really like that we get to see Gellert's side of things. I love minor characters, so I am naturally more interested in his story.

And the feelings... Give me feelings.

I really like how you manage to get Gellert to come across as more carefree, and Albus as trapped and tormented. Considering how each of them turns out, this leaves a lot of room for compelling development.

Your emotional imagery is really fabulous. I particularly loved the line about the careless painter. I love how Albus and Gellert both have very romantic ways of describing heir surroundings, such as the physical description of Wales. It really goes a long way towards establishing character and tone. Writing physical description is something I really want to work on, as I tend to focus on the emotional side, but reading your work is a good demonstration about how well these things can contribute to each other.

I also really like how you built on the theme of silence established in the previous chapter. It is a little jarring how little dialogue there is, but it is so deliberate that it works. I particularly enjoy the details surrounding the unheard words Albus murmured into Gellert's collarbone.

I look forward to seeing what feelings this story will make me feel.

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Review #22, by Dojh167 Silence

14th May 2015:
Doing the swapping of the reviews!

First off. Just from the summary and characters I knew I would love this story. So you win. I normally don't review full length stories because I don't like only reviewing part of the story, but I expect I will be compelled to keep reading this one.

I was going to caution you about your introduction, as I have historically b=accidentally become too wordily abstract. I was going to advise you to try to incorporate that ind of information into dialogue or have it written from a characters point of view, but you beat me there. And then you made me have FEELINGS. Just that last paragraph of the intro. I'm not emotionally prepared for this story.

I am always uncomfortable when I start reading a story not knowing whose perspective it is from, but it this case it really works. Because lovers and feelings. This is something you may want to be aware of - with your style of writing, not knowing whose thoughts we are following can have a powerful effect. In this case it made the emotions more poignant and mystical. Because they could have been either Albus or Gellert's, when the reader is in that limbo they belong to both of them. Once it becomes clear who the narrator is, the story takes a shift and suddenly becomes much more grounded, and the reader more secure. This is a powerful tool, and if used at the right moment can have a huge impact.

"entrancement turned through enchantment into" this phrase is a little too clunky. I really like what you're trying to do with the sentence, but I had to read the sentence twice to make sense of it and that took me out of the story.

The partial nudity fence jumping line did a really good job of bringing Dumbledore's canon humor into this. It can be very difficult to make Dumbledore sound in character, but I suppose a nudity joke is as good a place to start as any. You overall did a good job with incorporating Albus' tone and personality. Sometimes it bordered on being too pedantically wordy, but that's kind of inevitable with this kind of character,

"The curtains were always open, often a window too during those hot" Another instance of awkward sentence structure that caught my attention. Okay, I'm going to try not to be too nitpicky.

I love the "I suspect I am being melodromatic" line. The honesty and the humor in it are spot on.

I'm really excited to see how this story develops!

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Review #23, by Unicorn_Charm Wales

14th May 2015:
Hey there! Here for our swap! I'm so sorry, I've been meaning to get back to this for a while now. This is one of those stories that has been on my reading list for ages, too. So I thought I would continue on for our swap. :)

Wow the beginning of this chapter was really something. Even thought Gellert says that he cannot remember, he does seem to recall quite a bit. You painted a beautiful picture of the countryside, rolling hills, gentle breeze, Albus' hair. And then there was the stark contrast of him sitting in the jail cell. It was all just very vivid to me. Such wonderful use of imagery there! :D

I particularly really loved this line, "Without you, I do not remember the places. Make of that what you will."

It was a beautiful way of showing just how much Albus did mean to him. Like, if it weren't for him, he wouldn't remember that time, period. I loved that.

I also really enjoyed the fine line between grateful and angry he seems at the thought of Albus showing him any mercy or making sure that he is somewhat comfortable in prison (like with the books). Even though he is trying to hide it, even within his own thoughts, there seems to be a part of him that is thankful for it. It's amazing how complex of a character he seems already.

I don't even know how to begin about the second part of this chapter. I loved it. Just simply loved it! Your writing is gorgeous and so wonderful to read. It's so vivid and full of emotion and just amazing. You really have quite a gift.

This. "(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)" That is SUCH a great description of Albus Dumbledore. Just perfect.

Wow. So much passion and budding love in that kiss (what what followed that kiss) between them. Gellert really did care for him quite a great deal, didn't he? It's so sad to see all the hope they have at thinking of traveling the world together and knowing what lies ahead for them. :(

And then it happened. Wow (I've been saying that a lot here) that was emotional. Reading that from Gellert's PoV was really something. I like how you left who killed her up for interpretation, just like JK had. Personally, I think it was Albus. That's my own headcanon. But that's the beauty with out it's written in cannon, and how it's written here, it's up to you.

This was a fantastic chapter, honestly. I just loved every last thing about it and your writing. I really can't wait to continue on with what I'm sure is a wonderfully fantastic story. Excellent job on this so far and thanks for the swap!! ♥

xoxo Meg

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Review #24, by TearsIMustConceal Silence

11th May 2015:
Hey Aph, here for our review swap!

For once, I actually don’t know what to say and I’m struggling to string a coherent sentence together – the whole thing, from start to finish was breathtakingly beautiful.

I’m completely lost for words.

The way you’ve started this chapter was perfect. It flowed so beautifully and there were so many lines I loved – too many to note down in this review – I just can’t believe that I have never read this before now. I’ve clearly been missing out.

You’re writing is perfect – every word is flawless and the whole chapter just flows so effortlessly. No wonder this story has been nominated in the diadems – you really deserve it. I adored all the scenes involving Albus and Gellert – Albus is so obviously head over heels for Gellert and you can feel every emotion he talks about, imagine everything he is feeling. And it’s lovely to see that there was a mutual love (or at least love on Albus’ part) between them – most stories have their relationship in terms of an unrequited, doomed attraction but this seems more realistic? I don’t know, but when you have two characters so charismatic and brilliant, surely there must have been a mutual respect and admiration which could have led to this tragic love?

Your descriptions are on point and I am seriously starting to run out of adjectives for describing this story. Your writing is just seriously beautiful and I’m in awe at everything you have done here.

And now I’m going to stop rambling and continue onto the next chapter because I can’t help myself. I know this review has basically been me lost for words and rambling but I hope you can understand that it’s just utterly amazing and I’m struggling to form sentences right now!

This is truly the start of a masterpiece!


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Review #25, by Beeezie Silence

8th May 2015:
Hey, here for BvB! :)

This was so beautifully written - I can completely understand why so many people nominated it for the diadems, because your prose is just breathtaking. It's lovely on its own merits and would be no matter what the content of the story was, but when combined with a character as laden with emotion and sadness and regret as Albus is, the story jumped to a completely different level.

And is now on my favorites and currently reading list, and I have a feeling that I'm not going to sleep tonight because OMG MUST READ. Why, Aph. Why do you do this to me. (Because obviously this is directed purely at me. :P)


You showed so many facets of Albus, Gellert, and their relationship. One of the things I particularly adored was that in some ways, I felt like you humanized Gellert at least a little - outside of Albus's commentary about the future, he mostly came off as just a typical teenager to me - while simultaneously making Albus look worse. I mean, not worse like "you irredeemable monster," but you didn't pull any punches, either. I felt like he was a self-centered and selfish jerk who was so consumed by his first love that he acted very, very poorly.

That's so realistic, because 1) that's so typical of teenagers, particularly teenagers in love and 2) it really gives so much depth to his insistence throughout the books to give people second chances. Some of the second chances he gave always kind of bothered me, to be honest - I thought that he was blind to keep Hagrid as a teacher when he was so clearly pretty incompetent at it (kind-hearted, but incompetent) and to not set Snape in line when it came to bullying students... but as I read through this, I kept thinking back to those little things from the books and started to interpret them in a bit of a different light. In some ways, Albus overcompensated, didn't he?

(At least that's my take!)

The end of this was absolutely heartbreaking. The way you described it more through Albus's feelings than the setting itself made me sympathize more with him, and I could feel his anguish and pain when he realized what he had done.

This was lovely. I can't wait to


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