Reading Reviews for Fortress: An Anatomy
15 Reviews Found

Review #1, by NightHerald The birth, life, and death of stone

4th March 2018:
What a very intriguing idea. I love it.

Author's Response: Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #2, by TreacleTart The birth, life, and death of stone

10th December 2015:
Advent Calendar-Day Nine

Hey Teh!

I'm here for the Advent Calendar prompt to review a story of someone who's been on the site for more than three years. When scrolling through stories to read, I realized that I'm woefully behind on reading your work and I also realized that on my recommendations blog post, you were one of the most heavily recommended authors. This story was one of those recommendations, so here I am.

I have to say that I absolutely love the concept of the sentient building, particularly because you chose to focus on Nurmengard. It's the perfect setting for a story like this. The way you created this history and relationship with Gellert worked so well.

I'm sure you've probably been told this a hundred times before, but you've really have an incredible knack for vivid imagery. Your description is possibly the best I've read on this site and one of the things that really stands out to me about it is how diverse it is. Often times, I notice that people use similar descriptive words or techniques or phrase over and over again in their writing, but you break from that. Each sentence is unique and works to create such a rich portrait of what's happening. This seems to be particularly important in this story because the only way to make a building believably sentient is to paint the picture of what it sees/feels. Seriously, this was a work of beauty.

I also loved how you handled Gellert's growth. He starts as sort of this cruel, greedy prison overlord and develops into the person who tries to take over Europe. Then you show him getting tired, perhaps maybe even a little burned out and complacent. It sets everything up so nicely for when Dumbledore arrives. And I love the way you wrote the duel. Gellert conceding to Dumbledore, little things in his actions telling me that his heart wasn't really in the fight to begin with.

Finally, the way you wrote both Gellert and Dumbledore's feelings for each other was perfect. The moments of hesitation from Dumbledore that betrayed his love for the man he's locking away. The desperation in Gellert as he sort of tries to make himself seem not quite as bad as he is. The thing of it is, it's such a short little part of the actual writing, but it feels like I got much more than I might've from a novel. It's so packed with feeling.

Normally, I try to leave a bit of CC in my reviews, but I truly have nothing to offer that could make this any better than it is. Phenomenal work. This is definitely going into my favorites.

Thanks for the spectacular read.


Author's Response: Hello Kaitlin! ♥

Thank you so very much for such a wonderful surprise review! Reading this absolutely made my day, and I'm sorry it has taken me quite a while to respond. I'm touched and a bit awed to hear that others recommended my work on your blog post (I'll admit that when I read your review, I ran to look at your blog post...gah, I've so many people to thank ♥ ). So thank you and thank you and thank you once again for taking the time to stop by and read.

I am absolutely flattered by your comments about my use of imagery, description and word choice. I do try to put new twists on familiar descriptive phrases, and I try to be vivid with my imagery, but in a specific manner. I had way too much fun toying around with descriptions in this piece! It's certainly one of my more description-heavy stories. :)

Loved reading your analysis of Gellert's charater. You're right, of course--he does start of as this power-hungry mad warlord who becomes increasingly jaded, to the point of being apathetic to the immense power he possesses, in terms of the Elder Wand and the war. Something is just missing for Gellert, some chasm which Nurmengard cannot fill because the fortress isn't human and can hardly comprehend humanity, only loyalty, a sense of belonging, tied closely to its own self-awareness of its origins. Nurmengard as a character is limited in terms of the range of human emotions it exhibits; it comprehends itself, and really, its raison d'etre is that singular memory of its birth, of the beginnings of its consciousness.

Sorry, I'm getting a bit carried away with rambling!! :P Hope I'm making a bit of sense, though??

I'm a fan of Albus/Gellert, one of my favourite canon pairings! :) So I had to bring up some ghost of their past relationship in this fic. It gradually dawns on Gellert that all the power he wields is meaningless without Albus by his side, and in giving up Albus in order to fulfil his quest for power, he has also given up part of himself. I know that it was mentioned (or at least implied) that Dumbledore was better than Grindelwald, that he could defeat the greatest Dark Wizard of his time...I like to think that they were fairly evenly matched, though. But that if Gellert really put his mind to defeating Dumbledore, he could definitely do it, especially with the aid of the Elder Wand. But you're right, I don't believe his heart was really in that final duel. I think he surrendered; he realised that whether he lost or won, it was all the same to him. His existence wouldn't be whole. Grindelwald is /such/ a fascinating but complex character. Obviously he's a Dark Lord and such, but JKR did mention that he felt remorse in his later years in Nurmengard.

Sigh. All the could-have-beens with Dumbledore/Grindelwald.

I really should stop rambling now. :P So thank you so much once again, Kaitlin, for reading, for leaving me such an amazing review. This has been wonderful to read again, and I'm very grateful. ♥


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Review #3, by SnowyOwl19 The birth, life, and death of stone

26th March 2015:
Really enjoyed the story! It took me awhile to warm up to the sentient building concept, and your commitment to it won me over in the end. The descriptions of the building compound itself are beautiful, and really help set a sinister tone for the rest of the piece. Very nicely done!

However, my favorite part was the duel between Dumbledore and Grindlewald. I've been wondering for a long time how their duel might have played out, and your version is incredibly well done. Thanks for putting so much work into this fic; it really shows!

Author's Response: Hello there! ♥

Thank you for leaving me such a lovely surprise review! It's taken me a few days to see it (I've just been so busy with stuff and I haven't been logging in much to the archives...)

I'm glad you warmed up to the sentient building concept; honestly, it's a very far-fetched concept and not everyone will like it, but I'm so glad you did! I enjoyed writing all those descriptions...may have got a bit overdramatic and carried away with some of them. :P

Dumbledore/Grindelwald duel is something that always fascinates me! I am so incredibly flattered that you thought my very brief version was well done! Thank you so much; this means a LOT to me. ♥

Thank YOU for leaving me such a wonderful review!


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Review #4, by casual_chaos The birth, life, and death of stone

8th November 2014:
Hey teh! (I haven't forgotten your name, I'm just under the impression you prefer to use teh on the forums.)

I really wanted to come review this earlier but you know... LIFE. What can I say?

Anyway, this story. The Author's Note alone is pure perfection - the idea of using a panopticon as inspiration for Nurmengard is simply fantastic, as well as the word play with utilitarianism!

The descriptions of Nurmengard were brilliant, as are all your descriptions. With every new sentence I could visualise another part of the building and it just got more and more impressive as the story continued. Also, my inner biologist was swooning over the anatomical references! Everything was just so well put together; the idea of a building coming to life (loved the biblical feeling of its creation!), the descriptions of its anatomy and its basically pathetic obsession with its master. I really like the fourth segment, with the prison tending to the exotic plants in hope that Grindelwald would eat the fruits, and the fact that he wouldn't allow Grindelwald to write to Dumbledore. The interactions between Grindelwald and Dumbledore were just perfect and the duel was gripping - I really enjoyed reading it.

''The mountains have stumpy limbs of elder down in their sleeping valleys, as they have yew and oak and ramrod-straight pine, scenting the lowland breezes.''

Okay, this is not the most representative quote from this story but can I just take a moment to say how much I loved seeing actual names of trees, instead of just having a /Tree vulgaris/ used as a prop for a woodland setting. I'm amazed by how people nowadays can't seem to differentiate between plant species. :D

''But Nurmengard stoppers every crack, it flexes its gates and solders its hinges into bedrock, it chokes off every man’s magic, forces them back into their veins, back they flow until they are trapped in hearts that palpate and contract uselessly.'' This is just breathtaking!

To conclude: you are an amazing writer and I hope you are aware of this fact. I know you're doing NaNo right now so I wish you lots of inspiration and time! And because I love your stories so much, I'm really glad you decided to use NaNo to write fanfiction! :D

Have a great day!


Author's Response: Hello Andy!!

AT LAST I am responding to your review. -hides- ARGH I'm so sorry, I just have been sitting on a number of unanswered reviews, and it's NaNo season and all...

First, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this review! Thank you for stopping by my author page (again) and for taking the time to read my work. ♥ This means so so much to me; I'm honestly so flattered and honoured at your feedback that all I can do is flail.

Hahaha I'm SO glad you like the idea of the panopticon and the word play on utilitarianism! If I'm not mistaken, you're the first reviewer to mention the latter, and gah, this makes me so happy. :D When I was just reading up a bit on utilitarianism and the greatest happiness principle and such, I also discovered that the same philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, came up with the panopticon prison design, and I just HAD to use it!

Awww, thank you so much for your amazing comments on the description. The descriptive prose is probably my favourite part to write in this particular fic, and I let myself go a little with this. I'm also glad you liked the interactions between Grindelwald and Dumbledore; I enjoy writing interactions between these two a lot!

ACTUAL TREE NAMES YES. I love it when people use specific tree/plant names as well! And I'm laughing hard at your comment about people not being able to differentiate between tree species in their stories. I always enjoy reading specificity in story details!

Aww, Andy, this is such a wonderful review! ♥ Thank you so much once again, my dear! And I'm not so much doing NaNo as failing to do it. :P And by the way, I always sign off my reviews as 'teh'. I honestly don't mind if you call me teh or Nicole; it's really up to you and how many letters you wish to type everytime you address me. :P Talk to you soon, love!


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Review #5, by Penelope Inkwell The birth, life, and death of stone

4th October 2014:

So, I've been wanting to read this story for ages. Since whenever I first saw that you had written a story about a sentient Nurmengard. And somehow I hadn't gotten around to it. However, when I saw that it was a nominee for the Best One Shot Dobby, I was like, "Oh, yeah!" and skipped on over here to read about a real live prison (poorly-constructed pun intended) of Doom. And boy am I glad I did, because, teh,


you, my friend, are freakin' brilliant! What even is this? How did you come up with it?


You are such an amazing writer. All the moments where you describe Nurmengard's "body" are just...yargh. Do you hear me? Yargh! You have reduced me to pirate speech! THAT IS HOW AMAZING THIS IS!

And, oh my gosh, that part where you describe the chasms beneath the prison, and the ashes, and Grindelwald there, it was such a striking image. Incredible. Your word choice is impeccable. The whole thing is so crisp, so chilling...

Yargh. I wish I could do better. Such an amazing story deserves a slightly more...coherent review. But the awesomeness of this story's construction has robbed me of my words.

So, yargh. That's all I've got left.

P.S. I've read about the panopticon idea, and I think it's awesome that that's what inspired you!


Author's Response: PENNNYY!! ♥

YOU HAVE HELPED ME ACCOMPLISH ONE OF MY LIFE DREAMS! Which was to reduce a reviewer to pirate speech, of course.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR PIRATING. And I love you. Like really, really love you.

Thanks for this amazing review. I LOVE YOU ISAID.

Now, bring all the building puns!!

Grindelwald is one of my favourite characters to write! I write him a lot in my main WIP. I'm so glad you found the whole thing 'crisp' - I love this term, and I do like my writing to be crisp and sharp; I think I certainly was going for that effect in this piece, despite it being one of the more descriptive things I've written.

The panopticon is SUCH a fascinating idea. I don't know if it was a stretch to include this as part of Nurmengard's structure, but I had to try. Glad you think it's not too bad. :)

Thank you, my love. And carry on gracing the high seas of fanfic. ❤


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Review #6, by Karou_Marauder The birth, life, and death of stone

30th September 2014:
Hello there, I'm trying to review the Dobby-nominated stories so I can vote fairly. Yours is first! :)

Where to start?! Your imagery is amazing. I can picture what absolutely everything looks like - and feels like, and sometimes smells like. The descriptive language used here was so powerful...what I could say in a paragraph you've shown in a sentence and it's just so amazing like aisjdidkdjd. Really. Teach me how to write please!!

The characterisation was absolutely great too. Nurmengard's adoration of Grindelwald came through everywhere and almost everything was brought back to how amazing/great/etc. he is. It was done so simply as well...seriously, you are an amazing writer.

The duel at the end and Nurmengard's protectivenes over Grindelwald were brilliantly described. I could feel Nurmbegard's pain over what was happening both to it and to Grindelwald, and you almost got me to dislike Dumbledore. Almost! :)

This was one of my favourite lines (one of many!): "And the Master, Gellert Grindelwald they called him, glowing gold in the dirt-coloured skies of winter, untroubled by wind and rock, wand held above his head in glee." It gives us a great idea of the characters of both Grindelwald - his gleeful, self-important attitude - and Nurmengard. (It adores Grindelwald and paints him as a beautiful and powerful hero. This kinda also tells us about how controlling Grindelwald is too.)

This was absolutely amazing...good luck in the Dobbies! :)


Author's Response: Hello Karou!

Awww, thank you for such a lovely review! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read; it really does mean a lot to me.

Ah, I'm so glad you like the descriptive language. :) I had a lot of fun with this aspect of writing in this fic. This is probably one of my more descriptive stories haha.

I had heaps of fun writing about Grindelwald. Seriously, he's quickly becoming one of my favourite characters to write about; he's such an interesting Dark Lord. :P I'm glad you thought the duel was well-written; I was pretty concerned about that part. I didn't want a very grand battle that would drag on for ages; I kind of wanted something a little more personal between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

Yeah, gleeful and self-important pretty much sounds like the Gellert I like to write about. :D

Thank you so much once again! I hope you enjoy reading all the other nominated stories! :D


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Review #7, by nott theodore The birth, life, and death of stone

25th September 2014:
Hi teh!

So, I've got a confession to make - I actually read this one-shot a while ago but couldn't find the words to do it justice properly in a review. I've still not managed to find them, but after nominating this for a Dobby I felt like I was kind of cheating you out of a review, so here I am.

Seriously though, how do you do it? I'm extremely jealous of your imagination and the way that you manage to come up with such original ideas - I honestly never imagined that I'd read a story from the point of view of a sentient prison, let alone as a Harry Potter fanfiction, and yet I read this and it just feels entirely natural.

One other thing about your writing: it's beautiful. Every single thing of yours that I've read has been so well crafted and beautiful, especially the descriptions that you include which just bring your writing to life. But it's more than that; I've never read a story of yours without being completely gripped by it from start to finish, so that I can't take my eyes off the screen, no matter how long it is. I just wanted you to know how amazing you are! ♥

I think the title tied in so brilliantly to this story, with the way that you brought all the anatomical description in when referring to Nurmengard, which really helped it to come alive. I never thought that I'd say this, but you did a fantastic job of portraying the prison here - it felt like a character that I warmed to and actually cared about by the end of the story, and I am amazed that you managed to write something that made me feel for a building. A building, for goodness' sake!

One of my favourite parts of this story was not only the anatomical description you used, but the Biblical allusions when you referred to its creation, as that gave it an almost religious status and kind of sanctified it, and yet that contrasted so sharply with what Nurmengard was made to do that I found it extremely effective!

Also, how on earth do you manage to characterise Gellert Grindelwald so well when you're writing from the perspective of a building? My mind is baffled by this, completely baffled. And yet the characterisation of him was perfect - he was so powerful and determined on his course, and yet there was still a defiance about him, even right at the end, and the youthful exuberance which continues even as he's aged and facing Dumbledore in a duel. So many aspects which we only really get a brief glimpse at in canon and the books but you expanded them so well to flesh him out as a character.

The relationship between Grindelwald and Nurmengard was really intriguing, too - especially if you link back to the imagery that you used at the creation of the prison and cast him as Nurmengard's god. Perhaps a relationship which, in a way, mirrors that between God and earth in the Bible? It's so interesting to consider it from that perspective and I loved the way that Nurmengard didn't have feelings exactly, and yet it did have a measure of respect for Gellert as its creator, and wanted to take care of him as best it could. Grindelwald being Grindelwald, of course, barely seemed conscious of the fact that the prison he'd created was anything more than a building, when here it appeared to be a living, breathing entity. I don't really know what else to comment on in that relationship but I really loved reading about it!

The use of italics to represent the speech worked so well here, especially as there were only two speakers. It demonstrated the sort of detachment that the building has from what's going on, not changing that much with time but witnessing events all the time without completely understanding. Having said that, you still managed to capture the characters extremely well in their speech, particularly Dumbledore!

Those last few scenes were brilliant! I actually felt really sorry for Gellert as he was facing Voldemort and kind of proud of him for showing some remorse and standing up to him when he said that he didn't have the wand and never had had it. I know we see that in canon but it was great to see him defending himself and trying to stop Voldemort getting the wand even in his last moments, and then for Nurmengard to properly take care of him in the end.

In case you couldn't tell, teh, I absolutely loved this piece!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Oh, goodness, Sian! ❤

Thank you for this super long and wonderfully detailed review!! I have so many things to thank you for!! For reading! For reviewing! FOR NOMINATING!! For taking the time at all. :D THank you so much; you're the best! And I'm sorry it's taken me quite a long time to respond. I tried responding several times and only ended up flailing and saying nothing.

I honestly didn't think many people would like this fic, or that they'd think it too weird and impossible, so it really means a lot to me that you enjoyed this. Hahaha, a talking building.

I'm glad you like the Biblical references. I had way too much fun including those. I enjoy religious imagery/references in stories; I always find them fascinating, and perhaps a bit mystical sometimes. And yeah, you're right, the religious references do indeed suggest the relationship between Grindelwald and the fortress, though Grindelwald is more of a self-absorbed god who notices little about his creations.

I'm SO HAPPY that you thought Grindelwald well-characterised! He's becoming one of my favourite characters to write about. I have written a fair deal about him in my WIP, 'The Deathly Children' - him and his relationship with Dumbledore, so I do feel like I know his character well enough.

I'm so glad you like the last few scenes. The second half of the story including the ending always gave me some doubt, and I didn't see any other ending but this one. So your words gave me plenty of reassurance.

Sian, you're absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much for this gorgeous review; it's made my day, week, forever, etc. ♥


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Review #8, by Roisin The birth, life, and death of stone

2nd August 2014:

This is beautiful.

After reading the first few paragraphs, I ended up going back and reading them out loud, just for the joy of hearing it. It reads almost as a prose poem. The language dazzles.

This story is a great example of the title perfectly capturing what it is--I've said it before, but your prose is so visceral.

"These are the days of its infancy."--I actually teared up at that.

And the story was smart, and heartbreaking, and cruel. How Grindelwald created this thing, his child, without understanding or properly nurturing the thing that he'd brought to life. How that mistake ended up creating his own tomb.

And the cruelty--that Nurmengard is a concentration camp, sated by its prisoners. That its master twisted its existence into something so terrible, and it's, like, a BUILDING, so it doesn't know any better. This could almost be read like an allegory for bad parenting--except it's a lot more.

I know it's silly to say that this story was like magical realism, considering it's HPFF, and therefore *literal magic*--but it WAS.

All in all, this was an amazingly imaginative, and genuinely inspiring thing to read.

And if you haven't noticed, I'm basically just in love with everything you've written, and going through your back catalog.

Fangirl out,

Author's Response: OMG


I don't know if there's anything more flattering than this!? THANK YOU ♥

I did have a bit of fun with the descriptive prose in this one; this is probably one of my more descriptive stories. :) The fact that you read it aloud made me smile quite a bit; I always read things aloud! Because I love hearing the sounds of words, which I suppose is one of the factors that shape my choice of words.

Grindelwald creating a sentient fortress bahaha! I never thought I would actually write a fic from the POV of a building, but ah well. Some story ideas just plague you for months. Gellert never in deed understood the extent of his creation; he's quite unsentimental and indifferent to the Fortress. And you're right, he did twist it into something awful and terrible. I'm imagining that the Fortress could have turned out into a...a..more...benevolent building (if you can describe a building as such). Like perhaps how I imagine the Hogwarts castle to be, if castles can be sentient.

I laughed at the allegory of bad parenting bit! Yep, Grindelwald will make a terrible parent. It's a lucky thing that he doesn't have any children in canon. Or at least, it's not stated.

I absolutely /love/ magical realism! And I'm over the moon that you think this story fits that genre!

THANK YOU SO MUCH ONCE AGAIN. ♥ All your reviews are muchly muchly appreciated!


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Review #9, by academica The birth, life, and death of stone

9th May 2014:
Hi teh, I'm here with your requested review :)

This is definitely an unorthodox point of view, but I got into it after a while, mostly after I identified who the characters in the story were. I liked the different facets of personality demonstrated by the fortress, first a sort of childlike admiration of Gellert, then a sense of wanting to defend him, and then a loving embrace and self-sacrifice at his death. It was also interested to observe the two intruders from the fortress's point of view. I think you had a gorgeous way of personifying the building; your imagery throughout was my favorite part of the piece (e.g., the way the building fed on the prisoners).

I think the pacing is okay. I read it at sort of a medium pace throughout, though there were obviously more intense moments of confrontation. It would have been interesting--and perhaps more intense--to take the point of view of the wand, but I liked how you were able to take it all the way to the end of Gellert by not doing that.

I liked the characters, too. I thought you did a good job of using context clues instead of stating outright who was who, and you got the defining features of their personalities down well (e.g., Dumbledore's sort of sad, but knowing resignation). I took more of an interest in the interactions between characters than I normally do in stories featuring them, so that's good. It was interesting to watch all of that play out from the perspective of the fortress.

I really liked the mood here, though I'm not quite sure about how to characterize it, and it was nice to see the different phases of the fortress's existence and Gellert's "reign" play out in parallel. Really nice job with this one! I would definitely recommend it to others.

Hope this review is helpful. Thanks for requesting!


Author's Response: Hello Amanda! Thank you so much for coming by to read and leave such an incredibly helpful review! I know how busy you are, and I really appreciate you doing this - fulfilling my request before closing your thread. Thanks again! And I'm sorry it's taken me quite a few days to respond.

I'm glad you managed to get used to the oddness of the perspective of the story; I hope it didn't take too long! That was one of the things I was quite concerned about. I'm so glad you noticed all the shifting facets of the fortress' 'personality'; it's always so weird when I think about it, that this is a building and all. And gah, thanks for your lovely compliment on the imagery. That was so fun to write.

Glad the pacing worked out okay. And yeah, the Wand would have been interesting, though I'm not sure how I could fit two different perspectives into this story. And it's great to hear that you took interest in the character interactions. I like writing character interactions the best, and it was interesting portraying Dumbledore and Grindelwald through an outsider's POV.

This review has been absolutely helpful! Thank you so much, Amanda! ♥


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Review #10, by Veritaserum27 The birth, life, and death of stone

3rd May 2014:
Hi teh!

Here for review tag!

Wow! This was really, really well written. Kudos on such an original idea! I don't think it was stupid or weird. It was captivating. I could see how the concept would be mishandled by a novice writer, but not you.

Your description was beautiful and moving. I actually found myself caring about a prison!! I felt bad for it and was almost rooting for Grindelwald to win the battle with Dumbledore! The was you showed how Nurmengard cared for his master until the end was touching.

The little details you provided along the way were what made this story great. For example, the way that Nurmengard was born, the way he passed along the newspaper about the coming of Dumbledore , and the "green globes" of bitter fruit that grew on the vines were my favorites.

Fantastic story!


Author's Response: Hi Beth!

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading and reviewing my newest story! It's one that I wasn't sure about when posting, and you comments have been absolutely lovely, so thank you. ♥ I'm so pleased to hear that you thought it original.

Gah, glad you like descriptions. And I'm surprised to hear that you were rooting for Grindelwald! Wow, that usually doesn't happen!

All the details were so fun to write! Some of them were last minute additions, just to take up more space and pad things up a little - whoops, sounds like it didn't plan this too well... :P The strange fruit and plants were definitely not part of the original plan I had for this story.

Thanks so much for such a wonderful review, Beth! :D


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Review #11, by marauderfan The birth, life, and death of stone

3rd May 2014:
1. I can't recall ever having read something from the POV of a building before.
2. This story (especially the beginning) is incredibly creepy.
3. And weird.
4. therefore I LOVED IT.

Seriously, how do you do it? This is an amazing story. You have an amazing way with words (unlike me, because I'm just calling everything amazing again) and you craft them so well into this incredibly vivid, intense story that I feel rather than just read. I especially love the part about how Nurmengard is composed of stone cells, making it like any other living thing - that is such a cool way to draw a comparison and makes me see the building in a whole new way. The way you built up the fortress in the beginning with all the creepy imagery of the dead inside it, just wow.

I also love the way Nurmengard watches time pass, kind of removed from history because buildings don't age the way people do, so it just watches as the war happens and all this stuff happens and nothing is that important because the building has no emotions, except respect for Grindelwald who created it. Aah it's just so cool.

Your characterization of Grindelwald is phenomenal, btw. Not that I'm surprised at all by this, because I know from TDC that you have a good grasp on writing him, but this was just so unique. Its from the POV of a building that kind of worships him, so there's that weird aspect to it, and then his interactions with Dumbledore and finally with Voldemort are just so well done. He's so arrogant and almost charming, which is what makes him such a great bad guy :p Voldemort is just ugh go away so boringly evil. But Grindelwald is fascinating because he still kind of holds onto his past with Dumbledore, and he thinks Voldemort is not even worth his time. I'm starting to ramble so much but I just really like the portrayal of him here.

And the italics for speaking! Love it. It feels more disconnected than using quote marks, for some reason - but that works perfectly since a building would feel a bit disconnected from human babbling.

I know this probably wasn't meant to be funny, but I laughed when you described Grindelwald's face as "stony" - considering this is from the POV of a stone building.

Well, I've found a new story to add to my favourites. Excellent story, teh! As you can tell from my gushing review, I really admire your creativity on this and it's just such an unusual, impressive fic. Bravo!

Author's Response: Kristin! ♥

1. That's because buildings don't usually have POVs
3. Vampire!buildings drinking people's blood?
4. ♥ ♥ ♥

Waah, thank you for your fab review! I didn't even know how to respond so I left it for a few days, and now I've got a small build-up of reviews thanks to your awesomeness. :P

Amazing is a good word to use. :P I use this a lot in reviews and review responses. Amazing. Lovely. Gorgeous. Brilliant. Et cetera. The dead people in the walls is totally plagiarised from history. I heard that the people who died while building the Great Wall of China were thrown into the wall and then everyone just kept on building.

I enjoy writing Grindelwald a lot, and this fic was definitely good practice for writing him, which I'll be doing a fair bit in upcoming chapters of TDC. Yeah, compared to Grindelwald, Voldie's a bit uptight. Reads too many Dark Magic books, I reckon. Cuts his soul up and has his personality flattened more and more each day.

And yay for italics! So much neater than yucky quote marks. It's probably what I enjoyed most about writing this story. Using italics for all the speech. Heh.

The 'stony' bit was totally intentional. Considering this fic's from the POV of a building, it probably considers Gellert is soul mate for life.

Ah, thank you for reading! And reviewing! And favouriting! And gushing! Honestly SO HAPPY to read this review. ♥


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Review #12, by patronus_charm The birth, life, and death of stone

1st May 2014:
Whoo, I hope your one-shot roll never ends as I’m enjoying this far too much! Ok, I’m going to do this section by section otherwise my brain will burst with too much to say!

Uno! Ok the description here was chilling and so amazing and wah! I loved the whole biology theme to it, and how you worked it into the title as that was really clever and I really love it when authors do that. Erm, I mean, what is this amazingness! ‘shrouded in a placenta of flint and lodestones and broken shale’ and ‘Hundreds of cells, segmented by membranes of stone, all waiting to be filled to function.’ It really reminded me of Lord of the Rings (please say you’ve read/watched it so you know what I mean), and had the creepy feel that Sauron had. I wasn’t sure whether Grindelwald or the prison were alive and that ambiguity was written so well.

Deux! I really liked how you explored the prison and Grindelwald’s relationship here as they were so interlinked and really relied on one another, it was almost as if they could only carry on living with the other one. That small moment of sort of understanding with Grindelwald when the prisoner spat in his face was so interesting and unexpected but fitting and wonderful and yeah, his characterisation here is fab!

Three! ahaha this was fab! ♥ The use of italics was really what made it for me in this chapter as it just created so many more levels to the story and made it so much more complex and interesting to read and I loved it! Albus really brought out another side to Gellert, it seemed to make his thoughts a lot more guarded yet emotional at the same time, showing how they had a past together really effectively. The duel was really fab (also, yay for more fighting scenes, keep it up!), and I definitely felt that there was something lacking in Gellert when he fought. Almost as if he built this fortress for the sole purpose of tempting Albus back to see him again and that he never wanted this fight. The fortress and him had such a solemn air at the end, like they had both lost Albus forever it was so great and a really amazing bit of writing.

Iv! Ah this was so sad and definitely a tough love parenting moment from Nurmengard :P Your descriptions of the torn bits of letter were so vivid and sad, I could just imagine Grindelwald slowly crumbling away before me as his one hope of having Albus again fades away! Ah, even though this story isn’t about their ship I can feel tinges of it when reading and there’s just so many feels because of it!

Five! NO! I think the master and I are having the same levels of soul destroying feels at the death of Gellert! That scene was just so fantastic with Voldemort because you still managed to squeeze in some sarcastic lines which just fitted his character really well, and even though I knew it would end that way it didn’t stop me wishing it wouldn’t. I think I was just so sad because this was such an interesting and refreshing portrayal of Gellert – like nothing I’ve ever read, frankly – and I just wanted to explore him so much more as it was just so interesting and fab and yeah this was amazing! ♥

Author's Response: Y U SO COOL KIANA ♥

Unfortunately, I have to announce that my one-shot roll has indeed come to an end :( April has ended, along with my one-shot writing/editing spree. I've got two half-shots waiting to be completed, but I'm going to finish them slowly over May, though my focus will be on writing something else (guess what that is!).

Yeah, Section I was so fun to write. I wouldn't think it's highly original to write phrases like 'bones of the earth/mountains etc.' since I've come across this sort of stuff in...YES TOKLIEN'S STUFF. And a whole lot of other published authors. This is me trying to jump on the sentient!insentient-things bandwagon. And man, this was fun to write, though the editing was a giant headache. I must say, though, I'm quite pleased you picked out the 'placenta' quote. :D I was influenced by the fact that in Maori, the word 'placenta' and the word 'land' share the same word, and that people traditionally bury placenta in the earth, and many things are born of the earth...I thought there were some lovely interlinking ideas there that could be explored. Oh dear, I'm rambling.

Yeah, there's kind of a close relationship between creator and created, though that being said, Gellert is kind of an indifferent god to Nurmengard. In fact, he hardly seems aware that the building is more than a building. AH I'M GLAD YOU LIKE GRINDELWALD'S CHARACTERISATION. He's so fun to write lol.

I love some stories which use italics as dialogue as a stylistic feature! I tried to do that here, get rid of the quote marks to reflect the unusualness of the perspective.


Well, sigh. Gellert had all this coming. Yay, I'm glad you like the Voldie scene! Voldie is just all evilevilevilevil and Gellert is like 'Evil? Yeah, OK.' With a raised eyebrow and everything. He's clearly not afraid of death. I seem to be writing a lot of reckless characters lately! First Sirius, now Gellert, and also an OC on one of my uncompleted one-shots...gah.

Fortunately with you, I'm not done with writing Gellert. I've got chapters of him left to explore!

Thank you, lovely!

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Review #13, by BookDinosaur The birth, life, and death of stone

29th April 2014:
O HAI TEH. Review swapsies, and am I ever glad I swapped with you!

This isn't like anything I've read before, I've never read a sentient!building fic but if I had to I'm so so glad it was this one because it's just so lovely.

The way you wrote everything here was amazing. There's something so beautifully prose-y about your writing here, all the words flow together perfectly and it feels a little like poetry. The writing here is just so powerful, you know? And I love it.

The way you portrayed Nurmengard, I don't really know how to explain this but somehow you managed to inject a real personality in there, if Nurmengard took a human shape than I can imagine its character being filled out and well-rounded, and that's just amazing and how do you do it? Teach me your secrets.

You write Grindelwald so well! And not only that, but you write Grindelwald and Dumbledore's complicated relationship so well, it's seriously a joy to read this stuff, teh. He and Dumbledore have an immensely complicated relationship and I think that's it's incredibly hard to get that right but somehow you do. And even though both Grindelwald and Dumbldore only speak a few lines here, and they're not main characters, you still managed to characterise them and personify them so well and just gaaah I'm jealous now.

Also, can I just say that I love how Nurmengard is all No you will not write to Dumbledore. No. It's just so perfect and made me laugh out loud.

And Grindelwald hasn't lost any of his sass, has he? Oh dear, when Voldemort comes to visit him I can definitely see why Nurmengard wishes for a way to keep the Master silent, oh dear. But I love how protective Nurmengard is of its Creator as well, it suits the building so well, this blind loyalty to Grindelwald. And how sad that Grindelwald was deaf to Nurmengard's whispering! Poor Nurmengard. :( But it's probably a good ting that they never tried to plot anything together or something truly terrible might have happened. ;)

Thanks for agreeing to swap with me teh, I really enjoyed it!

Author's Response: EMILYYY

Gah, thank you for this brilliant review!! ♥ I was waay nervous about this fic; there's a reason why there aren't many sentient building fics on HPFF, and it's because buildings aren't typically sentient. :P But your review was such encouragement, thank you!

Sadly, I have no secrets. :P I'm not lying! Everything you read is all that I have, TIS ALL THERE IN THE FINE PRINT, I mean the writing. :P

Oh thank you for those comments on Grindelwald and Dumbledore. I love writing Grindelwald. He's a more interesting Dark Lord to write compared to uptight, sneering Voldemort. And wow, it's such great pleasure to receive this compliment about the Grindelwald-Dumbledore relationship. They do indeed have a very complex relationship, and I'm always deathly afraid I'll botch it up. Nope, Grindelwald is rather rude to Voldie right up to the end. He should indeed have his throat filled with gravel and his mouth sealed with tar, and if Nurmengard was a person, it would probably do just that. :P

Thank you for this awesome review, Emily! Pleasure doing a swap with you.


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Review #14, by MissesWeasley123 The birth, life, and death of stone

29th April 2014:
Hi teh!

So, wow. This is unlike any story I have ever read. Such strong, powerful writing and vocabulary. really brilliant.

Before I forget, I'd like to express my astonishment at how superb that scene was, when Gellert would try to write to Albus, and then Nurmengard would be all, "oh no you didn't" except not like a fashionista such as that but more like:

The Master will not write to Dumbledore.

like whooaaa stuff just got reaaal. Seriously I loved that part so much.

The fact that all of this was written in a way like this was so chilling. Seriously great writing, because it was a building but like whoa. I can't really express my feelings right now because this whole piece just makes you think and you've done a really great job at taking emotions to a whole other level.

Grindelwald as always was portrayed so well and he is so hard to write the struggle is actually real and you just do him so well every time it makes me so jealous like WHY can I not write him like that god I just make him sound like a pathetic girl *rolls eyes*

And seriously. Your summary/opening is so brilliant. Amazing writing. Everything you write is so different and I really think you have a knack for looking at things in a different way, and you are a true story teller.
(go write OF!)

I really enjoyed reading this piece teh, very cool and different. One of the most original fics I have read on this site! You truly are one of the best writers here.

Author's Response: Ooh, helloo Nadia!

You mean this is a very weird piece? I AGREE. What the devil was I thinking eep. But you compliments! ♥ THANK YOU.

...are you trying to seed more plunnies in my brain with fashionista!buildings? Because as you can see from this fic, I'll pretty much write any weird thing. And I do not have time for too much of this.

But yeah, I'm glad you liked that scene! I'm quite fond of that little segment as well, which is kinda like an interlude between the middle and the ending parts.

The more people point out to the building-ness of the fic, the more I kinda cringe and wonder if I did the right thing at all.

But ah, thank you for your comments on Gellert. I LOVE writing him; he's seriously such a fun-loving Dark Lord. OK, he's an evil jerk as well. You should totes write Grindelwald; seriously, I'll read it and I'd love to hear him sound like a 'pathetic girl'. Your writing is FAB. REPEAT. Your writing is FAB. Your writing is FAB. (When you're repeating, you should be replacing 'your' with 'my') ;)

Thank you, lovely! I'm a bit reluctant to write OF at the moment, but someday soon I'll try.

Sorry for the ridiculousness of this response, but honestly, your words as always, mean so, so much to me. ♥

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Review #15, by RedHairGinny The birth, life, and death of stone

28th April 2014:
I think I'm the first reviewer!
Your story was wonderful, a great read.
I think the spirit of Gellert Grindelwald has been portrayed beautifully. And the sentient!building idea has been executed perfectly!

Your imagery and choice of words in some places is absolutely stunning. You've done a great job using your words to portray a dark theme for this one-shot.
'before humans came to speckle the foot of the mountains with their villages'
'filters away the ugliness of his dreams and cradles him in sleep'
'Blood to slake the thirst of stone, to strengthen the magic in Nurmengard’s lithic arteries'

And am I wrong in guessing that some of this - the omnipresent eye, the 'evil place with its own mind' concept - has been inspired by Mordor in Lord of the Rings?
Even if it is not, it really reminds of Sauron's stronghold. Also your writing is quite similar to Tolkien's.
Anyway, amazing piece! And I hope you get your banner soon - I'm looking forward to see how it will be!

Author's Response: Oh hey there!

Wow! What a lovely surprise review! Thank you so much for dropping by and taking the time to read and review ♥

Hearing your compliment about Grindelwald's portrayal just absolutely made my day! I really do enjoy writing him. And I'm glad the sentient!building idea worked. :D

Thanks, I love playing about with word choice and description!

There are indeed similarities with Sauron's All Seeing Eye. :D But I've actually put this fic back into the queue and edited stuff, mainly to explain in a longer author's note about some of the inspiration behind this fic. I'll explain it here now. The structure of Nurmengard is based on the design of the 'panopticon', which is kind of an institution where inmates always feel watched at all times. It's a design created by Jeremy Bentham, English philosopher, who's also associated with modern utilitarianism (the greater good!) Also, the Deathly Hallows symbol always looked like an eye. I think Harry mentioned that in the book.

And gah! I love Tolkien's writing, so it means a great deal that you're comparing my humble work with his. :)

Thank you once again for such a lovely review! I really do appreciate this.


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