Wow, I can't believe how captivating you've managed to make a G/D songfic!
I usually prefer to review in the order of the story, but I just need to get this comment out there before I forget: I love that you didn't spell out their relationship, but made it clear there was something there. We never learn really what went on between them, we can just piece together that Dumbledore loved Gellert. Whether they ever acted on that, whether he felt it back.. you just kept that all open to interpretation and I was really pleased about that.
I didn't even realize his aunt was Bathilda! Now that I think about it, I think it's canon.. but regardless you just made everything perfect in this.
One thing out of many that I really loved was the entire time Gellert doesn't seem to be able to feel things the way most people do. He seems very calculating, and unable to handle a lot of emotions. He seemed to be partial to his aunt, but didn't love her. He seemed to be intoxicated with Albus, but never said anything about truly caring for him. He just doesn't seem completely right, which ties in so well to what he turns out to be!
This was a very enjoyable read, Merry Christmas.. and be on the look out for me ;).Author's Response:
I must have been good this year, because Santa left me a review!!
I'm so glad you appreciated the hint at the G/D relationship without making a big fuss over it. The reason why I didn't spell it out is exactly as you said: we never learn exactly what the deal was between them, and this one-shot was not written to explore those possibilities, so I didn't feel that any more mention of it was necessary.
Gellert isn't normal. He couldn't be to end up the way he did. I'm so pleased you felt that while reading this, and I'm so happy you came by to see my G/D songfic.
Thank you Santa! Report Review
Hey, pix! Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.
I don't often read fics from this era, so I was kind of excited to see what you would do with the topic. I thought that you created something really special here. You managed to capture the essence of a lot of different types of characters and weave it all together into something really clever and enjoyable to read. I honestly don't know the song or the musical that inspired this, so I don't think I can comment on how well they relate, but I do know the underlying canon and you did a great job building on that.
Your depiction of Gellert Grindenwald as the ambitious, headstrong, indefatigable young wizard setting out to change the world was fascinating and very believable. There were subdued shades of a young Tom Riddle in his character. The parallels in their stories are pretty obvious, but you also managed to create a few in their personalities, as well. His goal -- making wizards the benevolent rulers of the non-magical world -- would have obvious appeal to a young man like Albus, who was just coming to understand the extent of his own power and seemed to have a strong preference for order and peaceful coexistence.
I know this wasn't a comedy by any stretch of the imagination, but this gave me a good giggle: "Oh for Merlin’s sake, it was a Dearest Gellert letter." I guess those things are sort of universal, huh?
Albus's letter was wonderfully done. I thought you did a great job of capturing one of his hallmark traits: his tendency to make something respectful yet vaguely light-hearted out of situations that are terribly sad. His explanation of his duty to his family and specifically to his sister sounded like Albus Dumbledore. The way that he attributes his decision, at least partially, to Aberforth was also perfectly consistent with the tearful explanation he offers to Harry in King's Cross. Overall, I thought you did a great job, and I know how hard it is to get that man to sound right.
Gellert's anger was the obvious giveaway that even a "comrade" and someone he even possibly considers an equal like Albus was still not quite a human being in his eyes. He is angry because of what Albus's decision is doing to his plans, to his timeline. There is no human dimension to the discussion in his mind, only the inconvenience. Again, this really made me think of Tom Riddle.
Using Aunt 'Tilda to tell the story of the duel between the three powerful wizards was an interesting tack, and I think it spared you from having to turn this into a "fight story". It wouldn't have been easy to switch gears from something so introspective into a full-on brawl. I also don't think you could have done any justice to Ariana's death from Gellert's point of view. Aunt 'Tilda seemed to bring just the right emotional tone to the scene. She isn't aware of the particulars and in the end it doesn't really matter. A young woman is dead, two brothers are set irreparably at odds and Gellert flees to embark on his quest for power. That's all that anyone really needs to know.
Your writing was splendid in this. I really enjoyed every bit of it.
You need to write some more, pix! I'm running out of stuff to review!Author's Response:
There's a thoughtful, detailed review of my Gellert Grindelwald Songfic???
I bet you never thought you'd ever read one of those, did you? Hahaha! Seriously, no one reads this thing. Usually, when you chose to read anything from this era, the last thing you want to see is a songfic. Okay, I realize that NOW, but when I decided to try my hand at my first fanfic, I picked an obscure era, an under-loved character and set it to a Broadway Musical number that I had never heard before.
Doesn't everyone do that?
You said such awfully nice things about this story! I'm glad you thought Albus sounded "right". You definitely saw all the things I wanted to highlight in Gellert's personality, and you totally nailed the reason for the POV shift to Aunt Tilda. I was scared to death of action scenes, and would rather spend my time fussing over Dumbledore's letter than try to show a sequence of events with words. (I'm over that now, obviously. :) )
Thanks so much for the review. You are too kind!
So I'm a big fan of stories that cover underloved characters and eras, and this was just great!
I think you portrayed Grindelwald's personality perfectly. We could see how he was driven by blind ambition and a thirstfor power, and the twisted logic that led him to believe that he was acting for the greater good. It was also a great depiction of his reletionship with Dumbledore, and how Dumbledore's ambition was his weakness as well, but how he ultimately managed to do the right thing.
Bathilda was a really sympathetic charater as well, and its easy to imagine the grief she must have felt at being left all alone and seeing her only family go down a dark path.Author's Response:
Wow! Not many people touch this story or this era. Thanks for giving it some love and appreciation. Coming from a songfic, this was limited by how I perceived the lyrics, so if you got that much out of it, I am certainly pleased!
Sorry about this long wait for review! I've actually started this story like three times but other things always got in the way of me finishing (class starts, dinner, laundry done) and that's my fault.
And I'm sorry, because for the obscurity of this piece I definitely like it. Granted I feel no real ties to the characters (maybe 'Tilda a bit) because I know where they're going, it's nice to have an inkling into their heads.
The whole time I was reading I pictured all the 'sixteen year-old' boys with beards and wrinkles! It's so hard to imagine Gellert, Albus and Aberforth as young people! Well, not super hard, but you get the idea.
I'm not really sure what you have to be concerned about. I mean, reading it I guess the story felt a little . . . disjointed, but if you were to ask me where I'd totally drop the ball and not be able to help. And I think the best wrung for constructive criticism you could find is in Michael's review, so I don't really think I'll be repeating him, you know?
Anyways, I liked how the story changed perspective a whole lot! Reminded me of Faulkner without the poetic impossibility of his lyricism. You know? It was a coherent story in its thoughts and easily followed, so I would prefer it to a weekend reading in As I Lay Dying.
And told directly of plot points through misleading methods. Bathilda watching through the window, her constant mentioning of woolen socks. They made the read pleasant, overall.
And it was a pleasant read. Good use of the song. Vaguely slashy in its elements, and I also like how the song seemed to take on Bathilda's view near the end. At least that's what I thought it to do.
Hmm. I'm really sorry I can't be more hurtful --- I mean helpful on this review. It's a good story, I don't adore it (but I don't adore Faulkner, and he's supposedly the greatest Southern writer ever) but that isn't to say this story doesn't have all the right things going for it. Plot was parallel to what a one-shot should be, flow was pretty good, characterizations were impetuous, if I'm using that correctly. Song usage was pleasantly done as well.
All in all a great story, Pixil! I did like it, and I'm stoked you eat your veggies as well,
JacksonAuthor's Response: Hello, and thank you for your long-awaited comments! At least it was life that got in the way, and not that the story was an impossible read. :)
Beards and wrinkles! Haha! I had that problem with Albus, actually. I really had no idea what to do with him... which is why he ended up in print.
Geez... Faulkner? That was unexpected. I do have to agree that I'd probably prefer a lot of things to reading As I Lay Dying too... very amusing comment, especially the "poetic impossiblity". Aren't you glad I wasn't going for that?
I'm happy you liked my use of the song, since that was the purpose of the excercise to begin with. The POV switch seemed essential, since the song didn't lend itself properly to the next event in the story... and I became fascinated with how much or little I needed to show of the event and still have it come through.
Thanks for trying to pick at it the best you could. I really appreciate it. I don't adore it either, I just had fun turning a song on its head for the challenge. :) I'll keep eating my veggies and hopefully they will help me grow up to become big and strong! Report Review
So, here's your review...
The way you tell your story is good in general. The topic is something there aren't so many fics about on HPFF, and although I imagined the scene to be quite different, it didn't seem to be wrong.
The lines of poetry or songtext in the middle (not sure what it is) fit in very well.
Also, I like the idea of mentioning woolen socks, I laughed when I understood the connection to Dumbledore and the Mirror of Erised. Simply great.
Spelling, grammar, punctuation - no complaints here.
Now, how could you still improve the story?
Somewhere in the middle, you switch from a perspective focusing on Gellert to Tilda's point of view. Considering Grindelwald leaves Godric's Hollow shortly afterwards, this makes sense, but the change comes somewhat abrupt and surprising, which is a little confusing for the reader.
Maybe you could use some sort of connecting point, a symbolic change from Gellert's perspective to Tilda. E.g., the moment Gellert shuts the door with a bang upon leaving, a break in the text, and then Tilda flinching. Your timing is just not optimal at that point.
In the "official story", Dumbledore and Grindelwald were a gay couple during that summer (this was revealed by JKR after book seven was released). In your story, they don't seem to share more than friendship and common interests, or if they do, it doesn't become clear enough.
So as a fan of canon-abiding fanfic, I have to disapprove :-)
There are more points where I partially disagree with your point of view (like the way Albus describes his responsibility for Ariana... I think he'd express more feelings of bitterness about having to stay, rather than just apologizing)
, but all those are arguable.
All in all, great work!
Language and style of writing are good; I'd like to have heard more about the plans Grindelwald had to change the world - like: did he know already what kind of means he would be using? - and to what extent Dumbledore was involved. The relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore wasn't explained in detail.Author's Response: Thank you very much for your constructive comments! That was just what I was looking for!
I understand your comment on the change of perspective and at the time, I wasn't sure how to do it best. You've given me some great ideas I can use for the future. Thanks!
I purposefully didn't go into the Grindelwald/Dumbledore relationship. I don't think I contradicted it, though. I assume that you believe more focus on the relationship would have strengthened the piece. I was only going for a vague allusion, but it may have been too vague.
I'm glad you enjoyed the socks! I couldn't help but throw something silly in there...
I trully appreciate your thoughts! They were most insightful and I can take them with me for future ideas! Report Review
First - I loved the title. It sounds exactly like the kind of thing that would be associated with Gellert Grindelwald, considering his and Dumbledore's 'for the greater good' scheme. Second - that was a really interesting way to interpret the song. Considering the song is about a broken heart, but in the romantic sense, it was really interesting to see it from Gellert's point of view where his heart must have been broken, but it was more in the betrayal sense of it.
I think you got Grindelwald's personality down exactly. He always struck me as a cocky person and you wrote that excellently. I particularly liked how he honestly couldn't care less about Ariana Dumbledore and didn't understand why Albus wanted to stay behind. It seemed like something an overly ambitious, full of himself teenager would do.
His aunt seemed like such a sweet woman and it was a good idea to put in at the end that she thought her kindness towards Gellert had been part of Ariana's death. Gellert's panic after Ariana was killed was well-written and Tilda's willingness to help him escape.
I liked the way you wove the lyrics in and out of the story and the fact that you changed some of the lyrics to fit with the story was great. The part where Gellert's thoughts actually reacted to the lyrics was a good idea as well. You really did take this song and set it to something different than what it was intended for. Excellent story and thank you so much for participating in my challenge! You'll find out who the winner is once the rest of the entries have been sent in.Author's Response: I honestly hadn't seen this musical (shame on me) and had to look it up. After seeing it in performance, I really wasn't sure I could do it, since it sounded so angry and I haven't tried writing anyone jilted and angry yet.
But then when I read the lyrics, I got stuck on "Albert dear" and the next line and thought I could turn it around a bit. And then I wanted something feminine too... So there you go.
It makes me happy that the lyric placement worked for you. I really tried to give the song an important place in the piece. I'm glad you liked the title too... deciding on a title was harder than I thought it would be! :)
Thank you so much for your kind words! Also, thank you for the most excellent challenge! I love theatrical performances! Lights, music, action!
Terms of Service
categories & genres
short story collection