Reading Reviews for L'optimisme
102 Reviews Found

Review #1, 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.


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Review #2, by nott theodore WŁrttemberg

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 #3, 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 #4, by HappyMollyWeasley Clichťs

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 #5, by TreacleTart WŁrttemberg

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 #6, 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 #7, 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 girlís 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 #8, 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 #9, 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 #10, 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 #11, 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 #12, by TearsIMustConceal Silence

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

For once, I actually donít know what to say and Iím struggling to string a coherent sentence together Ė the whole thing, from start to finish was breathtakingly beautiful.

Iím completely lost for words.

The way youíve started this chapter was perfect. It flowed so beautifully and there were so many lines I loved Ė too many to note down in this review Ė I just canít believe that I have never read this before now. Iíve clearly been missing out.

Youíre writing is perfect Ė every word is flawless and the whole chapter just flows so effortlessly. No wonder this story has been nominated in the diadems Ė you really deserve it. I adored all the scenes involving Albus and Gellert Ė Albus is so obviously head over heels for Gellert and you can feel every emotion he talks about, imagine everything he is feeling. And itís lovely to see that there was a mutual love (or at least love on Albusí part) between them Ė most stories have their relationship in terms of an unrequited, doomed attraction but this seems more realistic? I donít 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 Iím in awe at everything you have done here.

And now Iím going to stop rambling and continue onto the next chapter because I canít help myself. I know this review has basically been me lost for words and rambling but I hope you can understand that itís just utterly amazing and Iím struggling to form sentences right now!

This is truly the start of a masterpiece!


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Review #13, 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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Review #14, by TreacleTart Words

4th May 2015:
Bonjour Laura!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #15, by nott theodore Similes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sian :)

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Review #16, by HappyMollyWeasley Switzerland

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #17, by Claire Evergreen Silence

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


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

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

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

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

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


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Review #18, by TreacleTart Wales

14th April 2015:
Hi Laura!

Here for our review swap!

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

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

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

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

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

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

I look forward to reading chapter 3! Great work!


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Review #19, by nott theodore Bulgaria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sian :)

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Review #20, by BookDinosaur Silence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #21, by eunoia Wales

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again, another amazing, gorgeous chapter! ♥

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Review #22, by TreacleTart Silence

25th March 2015:
Hi Laura,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for agreeing to the swap!


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Review #23, by Red_headed_juliet Pragmatics

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

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

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

I can't wait to read more!

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

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

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

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

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

Aph xx

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Review #24, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Switzerland

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #25, by crestwood Switzerland

14th March 2015:
Hi again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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