Nice work ;-) Very sad, and a fascinating insight into a Dumbledore before he was the caring old man we all know and love... blaming Arianna for the loss of his own life... tragic but selfish, this changed his world... really groundbreaing stuff. Great job on showing this.Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad to hear that you liked this one-shot. Groundbreaking, wow! I never would have thought of it in that way - it was a spontaneous story, out of nowhere, and I never expected people to like it as much as they do. It was great to further explore Dumbledore's character, and I'd like to continue doing so in the future. :D Report Review
Very good story. Not a single spell cast but there was plenty of magic there to enchant the reader. Here is the arrogant prideful youth that Rita Skeeter skewered in her book. He's almost unrecognizable without the years of experience and the gravity of responsibility turning him from that path to the old sage capable of such sympathy and self-sacrifice that he was fit to be Harry's mentor.Author's Response: That's an interesting point because I actually don't use many spells in my stories, which makes me wonder why that's the case. but I am glad to hear that you found much to be enchanted with in this story. There is so much more to Dumbledore's character that is only hinted at within the books, even DH, and I can understand why the barest hint of "taint" on Dumbledore's name upsets Harry to the degree that it does. The old and young Dumbledore's are entirely different people, both due to experience and because there is a hundred years dividing them. The younger Dumbledore is actually the more interesting explore.
Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! I appreciate hearing from you! Report Review
Stunning. Excellent characterization of young Albus, and a well-paced, well-thought out story. I'm trying to think of specifics to comment on, but all I can come up with is blubbering praise. Extremely well done.Author's Response: Wow, thank you! This is spectacular to hear, and I really appreciate that you took the time to review. I would like to agree with you that the story was well-thought out, but in actuality, it emerged by itself. I was uncertain of how to make the young Dumbledore work throughout the whole thing, relying on the presence of Sherlock Holmes in the back of my mind rather more than I should have. But I'm certainly glad to hear that the story seems well-thought out. ;) Report Review
This is brilliant writing!! It's so eloquent, I keep re-reading it! This is a magnificent example of the power of the written word! I wish that everything I read could be this good!
Anyone can carry a plot but it's much harder to write as powerfully as you have.
Now I'm going to read all your other stories :)Author's Response: Thank you very much! *blushes* It's wonderful to hear that you enjoyed this story so much, and I thank you for the compliments. :)
Carry a plot? Now that's just the sort of thing I'm not good at doing, which is perhaps why this other type of story is my forte. ;) Report Review
Wonderful. The emotions came across beautifuly. Keep writing.Author's Response: Thank you very much! :) Report Review
Wow! What do i say that hasn't already been said. Fantastic character portrayal. I came across your story incidentally from the home page, but i am happy i did. Would read more stories of your's soon. Great work.
Take care.Author's Response: Thank you very much! Wow, it's a happy accident that led you to this story, and it's fantastic to hear that you enjoyed it! :D Report Review
I love this story! One of the best I've ever read.Author's Response: Really? Wow, thank you so much! :O It means a lot to hear that! Report Review
This was such an amazing portrayal of a young Dumbledore--well, of any character, in fact, because it was so layered and complex. He's selfish, but extremely willing to be the martyr and shoulder the weight of his family (although I suppose martyrdom could be construed as a form of selfishness). He's disdainful of his family, but not so much that he will cast them away. He seems very detached, and yet he's so strongly affected by losing his family members. There's so much to contemplate and unravel with his character, and it's just astounding that you could fit so much into such a short space (and do it so well).
This a Dumbledore that's really not much like the one we see in the books, but I think that, from what we DO know of him as a teenager, your portrayal is very accurate.
And, you know, just as a concept for a a story using the staff challenge prompt, this is so interesting. I tried to write an entry but found that I couldn't think of much to write beyond...well, an exam. And here you managed to write not only about an exam, and really get across the image of Dumbledore as a student, but also tie it in to a life-changing moment for him.
The canon psycho in me does feel the need to point out that it should be "Ariana" with one "n", rather than "Arianna". But, hey, I figure if all you have to be worried about in a story is a few extra "n"s here an there, you don't really have much to worry about at all. ;) It was excellent!Author's Response: Thank you very much for this; it's a fantastic review and I'm not sure how to respond without bursting into maudlin gratitude. I myself don't get the fuss about this story, but hearing praise of anything I write can't do anything but make my day. ;)
As I wrote Albus, I thought mostly of his surface actions - the way he looks down on his family (on most people, in fact) and thinks so rationally, without emotion - but it was too difficult to ignore the knowledge of who he would become, what he would be like as an old man. It's interesting that you saw him as upset over losing his family members, as I saw him as upset only because it meddled with his own plans. I hadn't thought of why he did not cast off his family, but now that you've mentioned it, I don't know what to think about him. If he does feel something for his family, then why does he act otherwise? What is he doing by treating his siblings so poorly? Writing a sequel to this would be quite a feat, showing what happened as he met Grindelwald up to the death of his sister, if only to see his transformation.
For the challenge, I originally wanted to do something with him and Grindelwald, but that didn't work into the timeline, so this came about. There's supposed to be a connection between the unanswered question and the death of his mother. I can't remember exactly what that was meant to be, but it had to do with forgetfulness - Albus forgets the answer and he forgets his family. (It sounds a lot more mushy than I intended it to.)
Yep, got that now. Thank you very much for pointing that out. It's one of those things that I'm anal about too, if only I could figure them out beforehand. ;) Report Review
Your writing really deserves more thought and time than I'll be putting into this review, but I simply had to take advantage of the review fest to review some of your work.
Perhaps what I found most interesting was Albus telling Aberforth that he had to return school. He did this, obviously, not because he so values education that he felt his brother must complete his. Indeed, he appeared to think, even, that his brother may not be worthy of a full education. No, he insisted because he felt like a martyr, and that act solidified everything for him. He probably felt a certain duty (as the new head of household--oh, poor Albus, what a burden) to urge Aberforth to return to Hogwarts, but he really did it because he felt sorry for himself.
To return to the beginning of the piece, I enjoyed the situation with the exam. I can definitely relate to the feeling of having that one question staring at you, and you know that you're not going to be able to answer it. However, I don't suppose this bothers me quite as much as it bothered young Albus.
He's quite inflexible in this story, and not particularly admirable. Well, that's how he was at this point in his life. Yet, I still found myself relating to him. He did have a couple of valid points--for instance, might Ariana have been better off under professional care? Who's to say? It's just his selfish way of approaching the situation that grates. (This all made more sense in my head.)
Well, I wound up writing more than I had intended. I usually find a lot to ponder when I read your work.Author's Response: Wow, thank you very much, Alopex! It's always fantastic to receive your reviews, and I'm in great luck to have gotten this (I think I had been going to request you anyway.).
I'm a little surprised at how complex the story ended up being when I hadn't put too much planning into it beyond the characterization of Albus. The rest fell together, arising from personal experience with exams and the few facts of their mother's death I could gleam. Aberforth became rather more prominent than I expected because he's so much of a contrast from his cold, ambitious brother. He is all heart, while Albus is all mind, and neither can be successful in those extremes.
For Albus, the significance is on finishing something. He cannot finish the question. Aberforth cannot finish school. Those things go against his belief that only once something is complete can one move on to the next step - there is no deviation. Albus is also very scared, or rather I think that he should be, but it's very unconscious, possibly repressed. He has had to become their father, and now he must be mother, too. It's not fair on him, no matter how awful he appears to be.
It felt like in DH that Dumbledore wished that he had done something more for Arianna, and that likely includes sending her to the asylum. Although that would have been a crime in Aberforth's eyes, Arianna would not have died, perhaps she could have even been helped. It's impossible to know. Albus has sound logic, but like you said, his attitude toward his family is demeaning and insulting, making it impossible for neither brother to see things clearly.
You've given me a lot to ponder too. :P I never thought about the story quite like that before, it's pretty strange how little I think about a story while writing it, then only afterward do I see all its facets. Thank you very much for reading and reviewing. :D Report Review
Wow! That was interesting. You wrote young Albus very well: that side of him that isn't that likeable at all. The exam situation was very believable for him. I can imagine that he was so much of a perfectionist that he couldn't really leave a question unanswered and would just about panic if he didn't remember the answer. I don't know if young Albus would do it but I think an older one would probably find it even amusing to come up with an own way to analyse the name if he didn't remember the answer. That must have been arithmancy by the way, right? It made me smile when he thought of his too long name to analyse. This was very well done and I enjoyed the story.Author's Response: Hi Andrina! Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! It's good to hear that you liked my characterization of Albus - it was an interesting one to write because he's so different as a youth than as an older man, making it a challenge to figure out where to situate his personality. It was fun to actually write the part about the exam because I've felt the same way - a sort of panic when I can't think of the answer, especially when I know that I should know it. ;)
It was arithmancy, a tribute to my own troubles on calculus exams, and although it's rarely mentioned in the books, I wonder if it's a more challenging class than some of the others.
I'm very glad that you enjoyed reading it. ^_^ Report Review
I like this a lot. When I first read the description I thought it was gonna be Dumbledore vs. Grindewald. I like the insight into seventeen-year-old Albus's mind much better. Especially since it had similarities to my favorite detective ever. :P
I like how you described Dumbledore's family thru his eyes. And that professor too. I loved this line "It was really unbearable that such a person could be allowed to teach, no matter how desperate they were for professors at this school." I'm sure some students and their parents thought the same about some of the DADA professors Dumbledore hired. This story was very well done :D
~alexAuthor's Response: It's funny because I originally wanted to make the story about D vs. G, but then it didn't fit into the canon timeline, so I took a different direction.
It's great that you liked the characterization of Dumbledore, particularly the Sherlock Holmes aspect. Their portrayals seemed suiting to one another, and it made it a lot easier to have a point of inspiration, Dumbledore himself having altered so much after the death of his sister.
Thank you very much for reading and reviewing! I really appreciate hearing from you! :) Report Review
Perhaps one of the most poignant and eloquent stories I've seen from you, Susan, at least in this length. As always, you write Dumbledore to absolute, heartwrenching, eyewatering perfection, and this was left nothing to be desired. Albus was literally perfect ... the cruelty of his gaze, of his demeanor, towards his brother is absolutely on point. It's terrifying, to know that this young, avaricious, and ambitious boy could become the man with the twinkling blue eyes that we know so well. But, again, everyone has skeletons in their closet.
And in regards to those skeletons, you've presented a beautiful one here: that Albus cannot, will not, allow himself to be defeated, least of all by a question. Thinking about it, I kind of realized that a question to which we do not know the answer is the most terrible foe: it can deal you countless damage, but what can you do in return? Beautiful, Susan, absolutely beautiful.
And Aberforth! So young, so determined, so completely dominated by his older brother. Strange that he'd become the man and goat in the Hog's Head ... I'd like to see a story that develops his character, writes his life out (and there we go, another plot bunny on the run).
I am absolutely unsurprised that you won the staff challenge, as I can hardly imagine anybody writing something more touching, more real, than this. A masterpiece, Susan. Really, really astounding. I doff my hat to you. :)
XOXO, Kalina.Author's Response: Wow! I really don't know how to respond to this. I've tried a couple of times, but just can't make it sound good enough. This review is amazing, and I really didn't expect this story to be much of anything. I rushed to write it and just went with my gut feels, no plans or anything. Why is it that the stories I don't think will be important end up becoming so? It's so weird and disconcerting, but you know, I love it! XD It's really amazing to have been able to come up with a story like this.
Dumbledore's personality is a strange one, and this was the first time I'd really gotten into his character as a young man, before his transformation, the guilt that haunts him beyond his death. I tried to think of the most egotistic, intelligent person I could imagine - so there was House and Sherlock Holmes. What was scary afterward was how easy it was to write from that perspective. It was like unleashing some unconscious side of myself. :P Or maybe not so unconscious. That's where I got the idea of centering the story on that one question. I've had them too often and they're excruciating. No matter how many have told me not to worry so much over one question, it's impossible not to.
Aberforth? Now there's someone I didn't pay any attention to at all. :P It's great that you liked him, though. I think that, like Albus, Aberforth changed after the death of Arianna - how could he not? It could have made him go mad with grief and anger.
Thanks so very much for reading and reviewing this so thoroughly, Kalina. It means a lot to hear from you. ^_^ Report Review
this is an exelent peice!
you really have a brilliant authors voice, i got lost in that stroy! no wonder you won...xAuthor's Response: Thank you! Well, there weren't many entries, so getting in the top 5 probably wasn't that difficult. ;) But I'm glad that you enjoyed the story! Report Review
Wow. That was really good. The writing was gorgeous, and I liked your characterization of Albus: it fit perfectly with what the Dumbledore we saw in DH, and it was really refreshing to see his 'darker side' portrayed so well.Author's Response: Thank you very much for reading and reviewing! I wasn't sure about how Albus had turned out in this - it could have been too radical - but it's great to hear that you liked it. :D Report Review
I am sure I've said this before but even trying to write a relatively constructive review for you is almost impossibly difficult, so I apologise now for any incoherency or mindless rambling later on.
You mentioned being unsure about your style - I really don't think you have anything at all to worry about. Everything you write is so eloquent, sophisticated and elegant and that is undoubtedly applicable to this. It flows so effortlessly and beautifully and it's so obviously you because of how accurate it is, if that makes sense? It's flawless; completely flawless.
Dumbledore's characterisation was a bit of a shock, actually, and yet highly believable. The frustration that comes with his inability to answer that question is so vivid and understandable, and I think it was a way of making him a little more universal. Everyone has had that moment where they see a question and no matter how much they claw at their brain, the answer just doesn't appear, and to see that applied to Dumbledore really humanises him.
That wasn't really the shocking part, though. It was his feelings towards his family, namely his sister. I can't remember off the top of my head how Aberforth describes his brother's relationship with Arianna in canon but this was so scarily believable. The emotional distance that Albus has from his sister, in that wish that she'd been sent away, was heartbreaking. His selfishness gives him a brilliant flaw and the unselfishness that counteracts that is marred by the fact that he is mourning (in a way) the loss of his own life. It creates a really interesting take on him, and one which is thoroughly believable.
Also, Aberforth stuck out greatly. He contrasts so wonderfully against his brother and I did feel far more sorry for him than for Albus. To see him so tender was really different to that angrier, more emotionally unstable side we saw in DH and I much preferred this take on him, in all honesty.
This is absolutely wonderful and I see no reason at all for you to doubt yourself with it. It's fantastic.
xxAuthor's Response: Eek! Super long, but super amazing. Thanks for this stunning review, Rachel! I really appreciate it. ^_^
A flawless flowing style? That is excellent news and a fantastic compliment from you. When I read these things over, they sound so strange in my head and I keep feeling the need to edit and revise - that's why I'm continuously unsure of how it sounds.
It was awkward writing Dumbledore like this, so cold and selfish - it makes me wonder how he could have been a Gryffindor now that I think about it. But he had to be to care so little for his siblings and desire so much power for himself and Grindlewald. Probably the frustration you mention increased his harshness, making him even worse than usual. He couldn't stand being wrong or forgetting something - his personal standards were just too high.
There were two options for how Dumbledore would act toward his sister - with pity and love, or with bitterness and almost jealousy. With the latter, he could see Arianna as the cause of his family's problems, being the reason his father was sent to Azkaban. Their mother would also spend a lot of time with Arianna, and probably none with her sons. Only once she was gone did he realize just how much distance he'd placed between himself and her, especially knowing that he could have been the one to kill her. It was tempting to actually write about that moment, and I still may. ;)
I'm glad that Aberforth was a strong enough presence in this. I was worried that Albus would be too overwhelming and his brother would only appear as a dim shadow. It's interesting to think about how much the brothers changed as they grew older - Albus becomes more tender, while Aberforth more bitter. It's like they changed places somewhere in between.
Thank you again for this review! It's wonderful to hear your opinions on things - this review in particular has really got me thinking. :D Report Review
Susan, I love your writing. I've probably told you this a thousand times but I really do. Your style is so unique and I love how you take popular or even minor characters and make them seem so realistic and give your own flair to them. I honestly have not read any Dumbledore/Aberforth fics so this was really interesting to read. I absolutely loved these lines, "His voice was hollow, his heart crying out for freedom as the bars of domestic prison shut before his eyes, the mark of Cain upon his skin, burning out his desire to explore, to discover, to conquer the world for himself."
it just really tears my heart open and make me want to cry along with him. I enjoyed seeing Aberforth's viewpoint as well as some of Albus' as well. It was very well written and I recall in the seventh harry potter book about Arianna and the issues with her and their mother. I remember reading that and just being totally surprised by it. Jk Rowling definitely is a genius with writing but so are you! :)
And the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle title was great! I have read some of his work and absolutely love Sherlock Holmes and those stories!!!
You're an amazing writer Susan and I think you've inspired me so much the past few months. I actually want to be an English teacher now. Anyway, great fic, great work. I can definitely tell you really like Sherlock Holmes as I've seen from this fic and your TDA work. I hope to see more writing from you in the future and I hope you are well! we miss you as an admin over at TDA!Author's Response: Wow, thanks for this review, Sarah! I could almost swear that it's longer than the story itself, but that would be an exaggeration - it's fantastic to receive a review like this! Thank you for taking the time to write it. :D
There can't be that many fics that show interaction between Albus and Aberforth - maybe because they are so estranged, no matter how close in distance they live. They're such opposites - like Percy and his siblings, for instance - that it makes them fascinating to try and write together.
It was a surprising part of DH to learn more about Dumbledore's past and the reason for all of his guilt. It made him a very complex character, almost like Snape - changing sides and changing themselves to become better people.
Haha, Sherlock Holmes was my first love. :P Sad, but true, and I still think he's one of the best characters ever created. It's great to hear that you want to teach English now! It's a fun pursuit, with a lot of creativity involved. :D Report Review
You really captured the essence of young Dumbledore here. Had you not explain who it was at the start I would have known it was him anyway, just from the way you worded things, the way he approached that question. He was perfectly characterised. I find him an interesting character anyway, but you captured him almost at his most vulnerable and made it realistic. I also liked how your paragraphs were quite short - it sort of supported the fact that he was searching his mind for an answer, and I think we're all familiar with that feeling. Anyway, I got the feeling that his mind was all over the place, unable to concentrate.
A lovely piece :)
MarinaAuthor's Response: Thanks very much, Marina! It's wonderful to receive a review from you! ^_^
I'm glad to hear that Dumbledore was recognizable right away, even if I hadn't included his name. It was, at first, weird to try and characterize him differently from the old wise wizard in the books, which is why I took the shortcut and borrowed Sherlock Holmes's characterization. And yet it works, which is really weird - once I'd written a story with the two of them in it, but it didn't work canonically, but still... interesting to try again, maybe.
Nevertheless, I wanted to make Albus appear too smart for his own good - it drives him too distraction and makes it almost impossible to get along with other people, especially those he deems beneath him (which is probably most people). It's a personality that requires the shorter, more abrupt style because his brain is moving so fast and he doesn't need to describe everything because he already understands it (or thinks he does).
Thanks again for reading and reviewing! :D Report Review
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