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Reading Reviews for L'optimisme
  
149 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Rhian Morphology

28th September 2017:
Hi there! It's been a while since I have left a review. Sorry about that. I'm always so thrilled when I see this story has been updated. It is a feast for the eyes and mind. I am sensing a climax in the last couple of chapters, slow-building as it is. Your writing is so poetic and descriptive that it is easy to visualise the story. The raw, honest way you depict both Albus and Grindelwald is beautifully poignant and carries a sense of authenticity within the HP Universe. I can't wait to read the next installment. You are a truely talented writer.
Until next time,
Rhian

Author's Response: Hey there! Awww, no worries - I'm terrible at leaving reviews myself, so I honestly can't tell other people off about that :P I'm so glad you're still enjoying the story - it's a long road, but it's starting to work towards the end. And I love writing it, so it's always so lovely to hear that other people love reading it :) Albus and Gellert have both lived inside my head for so long, and I've developed them so far, so I'm so glad you like them both!

The next chapter should hopefully be up within a month - I'm trying to stick to a vague sort of schedule :P

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx


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Review #2, by cecilia Turkey

1st June 2017:
I adore your work and this is probably the best fan writing I've ever read in my life, it's a masterpiece & I am so happy I have found it. I just wanted to leave some love here, again. Keep going.

Author's Response: Hey again! :) Thank you so so much for dropping by - it's so lovely and it always makes my day :) I'm so glad you like this story, and it means so much to hear other people say they like it because I love writing it and I really wanted to write it, too, so it's kinda personal, you know? So yeah, it means so much.

Thank you so so much! :) (I'm working on chapter 27 at the moment - as long as the characters co-operate, it should hopefully be up in the next week :))


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Review #3, by nott theodore Clauses

15th May 2017:
Laura! ♥ I hope you don't mind me picking L'optimisme for our swap, but I want to be able to read all of La Salvezza together, and with the speed that you're getting through the editing of this, I figured I should probably start trying to catch up :P

The opening section was so lovely, with the way that you tied in the more theoretical idea of clauses to the relationship between Albus and Gellert. It just worked so well and seemed to fit their relationship perfectly, especially with the way that Albus lingered over the ideas of certainty and uncertainty, and the fact that Gellert seemed to end each clause in his life. Gellert isn't a full stop, but a continuation, someone who helps Albus on in a way even while they're apart. There's this constant link between them and they're so bound up together.

I loved the idea of the fact that they'd been so very certain of each other in that summer of uncertainty - that in all the headiness of youth, neither of them had stopped to consider that they were the ones who might not last - at least, not together, as a couple. And yet, even though they were certain of each other and they weren't able to stay together in the conventional sense, they are perhaps more connected than they could be otherwise.

And I'm not sure if it was intentional, but I love the double meaning that you could apply to 'clauses' here - the idea that in that summer they sealed a sort of unwritten contract, and there will not be one without the other, however far apart they are geographically.

Have I told you before that I love the way that Albus kind of digresses and goes off on tangents? They're not really total tangents because they flow so well from his thoughts, but it fits his character so well. In the books you always get the impression that he's carried away by his own thoughts sometimes, and not always entirely in the moment.

I really, really like the way that you're moving the time period forward and reminding us of that with little details, like the changing fashions at the parties and the atmosphere there. It's really clever and lovely.

Ah, I kind of wanted to give Albus a hug here. He seems so lost - like he's really trying to find purpose and dedicate himself to his teaching and his research, but there's part of him that will always be connected to Gellert and he still feels his loss so much. I'm not sure that he'll really find it easier as time goes on or whether he'll just get better at dealing with it, but I love the subtle ways that you're developing his character and yet remaining true to the constants (and especially Gellert).

The moment when he confessed to Gellert that he was so worried he would be offered the Ministry of Magic post again and that at some point he would not find it easy to refuse ♥ It's kind of ironic that he's confessing to Gellert how worried he is about being in a position of power, especially since at this point Gellert is building up his own power base, but at the same time so sweet because there's nobody else he can (or wants to) share those fears with.

I loved the way that the conversation with Bathilda started off so gingerly, then just as they seemed to find themselves on solid ground, they stumbled into the danger zone again. But I thought what Gellert had said to Bathilda was so true! There are some people who present as a different person with every change of scene and group of people they're with, but it's incredibly hard to shake off and have the confidence to truly be yourself. It was wonderful to see that somehow Gellert was still reaching out to Albus though he's so far away and giving him the confidence to be a better person and be himself.

Ooh, and I forgot to mention earlier, but that question about whether or not Gellert or Albus had said a certain phrase was wonderful, because of how well it showed their similarities and the way that they're bound up together, no matter the distance between them.

This was lovely and wonderful and I'm really glad I'm finally continuing with it!

Sian :)

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Review #4, by Nicole_moon Semantics

23rd November 2016:
Is it finished? Please, I need to know *.*

Author's Response: Hey there - nope, it's definitely not finished! ;) We're going to go all the way up to 1945 and the duel, so still a way to go.

Currently, the plan is for it to finish with 40 chapters - so 17 more to come :)

Aph xx


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Review #5, by ImaRavenclaw Silence

3rd October 2016:
Hello Laura, finally here with your first prize review! (Sorry that it took so long).

First of all I'd like to say, that I've been eyeing this story since my first month on HPFF, but as my fear for reading this era and my business, I never got to it and ended up forgetting about it.

WELL I'M BACK!

I swear I will tell you in every single review how much I adore your description. Your words are so powerful. Bone chilling, swoon inducing, or intricate and well thought out. I simply adore reading the words you write, for they make me see into the characters/narrators souls.

I loved how you opened, talking about words as weapons and how powerful they are.

I can tell that this is from Albus's point of view, and I really enjoy that. The way he talks about Gellert is pure adoration.

As usual you've left me with no words. Your transition from sweet light morning romance to action and suspense was fast but very well written.

The ending of this chapter was so powerful!

I'm excited to read the next chapter, and hope to get to it soon. You know how RL gets sometimes :(

Overall I really enjoyed it, and it was very good.

Yours sincerely,
ImaRavenclaw

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Review #6, by Rhiannan England

22nd July 2016:
I truly enjoy reading your work. It is rhythmic and poignant, like a clock ticking away the hours in a quiet room. Beautiful. I look forward to the next chapter

Author's Response: Hi there - thank you so so much for stopping by! (And sorry for the lateness of the response!) :)

I'm so so happy you liked this - I really enjoy writing it so it always means a lot to hear that other people do too! Hopefully there will be a new chapter soon! :)

Thank you so much again! :)

Aph xx


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Review #7, by nott theodore Luxembourg

20th June 2016:
Laura! Yay, I'm finally caught up and this is so exciting :D I can't believe that these last few chapters haven't had any reviews yet, so I'm glad I get to show them some love, even if they're not quite as long as my usual reviews would be.

This chapter was perfect ♥ When I read the opening section, and the sadness that tinged all of Gellert's thoughts, I honestly didn't think that I would get to read about them later on ♥

The opening was beautiful, if sad - I loved the way that Gellert reflected on the seasons and birth and rebirth. Considering the way that he (and Albus) intended to master death, it's really intriguing to see the way that you use those motifs to explore their feelings about each other. And I loved the reference to Olympus and the Greek gods, too - I meant to mention this in some of the other reviews, actually, but I love all the references to mythology that you include. They fit so well with the characters of both Gellert and Albus, and the way that they see themselves in stories of people who have gone before, at the same time as trying to carve out their own paths.

I can't lie, I may have been fangirling more than a little at the ending of this chapter. I don't think that Albus and Gellert is an entirely healthy couple, for either of them and for everybody else, but they love each other and they got to be together again, and it was so adorable to see that ♥

Gellert was actually kind of funny in the way that he was trying to tease the information out of Elphias about Albus, because he didn't want to be so obvious as to ask. Then, at the same time, even though he was convinced that there was nothing to Elphias that made him a rival in Albus's affection, he was jealous of him, and of the time that they spent together. I think that - and the fact that he dropped everything to return to Albus - shows how much he really loves him.

I'm actually really glad that it was Gellert rather than Albus that sought the other out, though - I feel like Gellert has so much power that it's good for him not to be the one in control all the time, commanding people around him? And then Albus and Gellert got to be together again ♥ I don't know how long it's for but I am glad that they get another chance to be together, even if it's not going to end up in a proper relationship and any future together.

I love the way that you write the relationship between them. Those last lines, and the fact that Gellert is always Albus's, and vice versa - it's just so heartbreaking. Their relationship is so interesting, and there are so many facets to it which you explore, and it's fascinating to read about. I can't help wondering whether they would have actually been able to be happy together if Gellert hadn't been so determined to conquer and rule - but then, I don't think Albus would have been half as attracted to him. The dynamic is just so interesting and it's like they're lovers and enemies all at once - true equals.

I loved this chapter and now I'm all caught up with the story (finally! It took me long enough :P) I can't wait for the next chapter! ♥

Sian :)
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Review #8, by nott theodore Syntax

20th June 2016:
Hello!

Oh dear. I feel like this will not end very well? But maybe it's necessary. I don't know...

The opening section was so bittersweet, as Albus lingered on all the memories that he held so dear to him. I think you got that exactly right; it's the small moments, seemingly insignificant at that time, which are so important later. The memories of them having that time together were so sweet and I couldn't help feeling sorry for him for missing that, even though so much time has passed.

There is so much truth in this story. I love the way that you're getting all of this wisdom into the story through Albus and Gellert, because it doesn't often fit into novels unless you have a character that can actually recognise it and communicate it.

I don't know why, but I'm kind of nervous about what this sabbatical is going to do to Albus. He's going right into the heart of the land that Gellert is planning on conquering, and he'll be brought so much closer to him - I don't know whether he'll be able to resist the lure of seeing him, although I hope that he'll at least be able to resist the lure of those ideas they both once held so dear.

At the same time, I think that Albus does need freedom. He took the teaching job for protection (for his own, but maybe for other people's too?) but if he's not enjoying it and his heart isn't in it, then it isn't fair to stay there. Teaching isn't a job you should settle in, it's one you should be passionate about, because a good teacher can make such a difference to someone's life. I think Professor Black recognises that, and realises that it's not right for Albus - at least, not at this point in time. I'm hoping that when he comes back from his sabbatical he'll be able to enjoy teaching more and see the value in it.

Aberforth knows Albus so well. Even without saying the words, you could see that he really cares about him and doesn't want any harm to come to him - for him to be hurt again by Gellert or for him to be drawn into Gellert's schemes. Albus has already said that Aberforth uses few words, but I think the ones he did say carried a lot of meaning and showed how aware of the danger he is, and how much he cares about Albus. That was actually really sweet.

Sian :)
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Review #9, by nott theodore Germany

20th June 2016:
Hi Laura!

I don't know how you're doing this, but this chapter actually made me want to give Gellert a hug. A HUG. He's Gellert Grindelwald, I shouldn't be feeling sorry for someone who did so many bad things! This is your fault :P

The opening was kind of sad, though - I think this chapter did a really good job to emphasise how lonely Gellert was, and his own knowledge that he was lonely, which of course only made him wish for Albus more. It's kind of like he's been permanently lonely, with his childhood (although there were people there for him) and then choosing to rise to power. The fact that he hears his father's voice sometimes is sad - it really shows how much he's missing the life he once had.

I think that Gellert's right - there is a difference between winning and losing. I'm not sure that Albus won, though, or that it was just Gellert who lost. If Albus had won that day, he'd never have had to fight Gellert in the first place.

I may be a little confused trying to work out if there's an answer to Gellert's philosophical questions about asking questions, but I really loved that. It was kind of poetic in the way that he pondered the subject and shows the sort of person he is really well.

The conversation with the king of Prussia was really interesting! I actually love the idea that a lot of the European rulers could have been witches and wizards or had magical blood in their families, because it would have been quite easy for them to gain power when the magic and Muggle communities lived together, and then use it to keep power secretly later on. Hmm, new head canon possibly...?

The warning that the king gave Gellert was very true, though - I know that Gellert doesn't want to listen to it, and he thinks he's already lonely, but I think it was good advice. The people that he wants to rule for are going to get hurt - he can't possibly protect everyone. I'm really intrigued to see whether he still cares about them the way that he seemed to in earlier chapters, or if he'll learn to accept their suffering as a necessary for him to rule.

The idea of creating yourself a country and a homeland is actually quite powerful; I can't help but be a little impressed with the notion. Gellert is definitely someone who will take what he wants, and if he can't find it, will make it.

Sian :)
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Review #10, by nott theodore Phonology

20th June 2016:
Hellooo!

Again, the reflections on language and music ♥ It's just so beautiful and I love the way that you write about both of them, as living, breathing entities that are comparable to living people and their lives. The style of the opening, in particular, of this chapter, was actually almost musical in the way that the words flowed so beautifully. You're so talented, and I am very jealous :P

I can definitely understand Albus wanting freedom from Hogwarts. To be honest, I can't imagine having been there as a student - as exciting as it would be to go to a school surrounded by magic, surely there would be times when you just want to get away from everyone and everything. As a teacher, at least you have some freedom to leave the castle and go off on your own, but for a man who once had such wonderful dreams, who planned on travelling the world, the confinement must have been frustrating.

I think, knowing more about Albus - what we learnt in the seventh book in particular - it's so easy to see that this must have been an incredibly hard path for him to follow, even if Gellert had not been in the picture. As it is, though, it feels like he's constantly balancing on the edge of the precipice.

I'm glad that Albus managed to resume some normality, though, and stay in touch with his old friends and continue seeing them, and even begin to enjoy teaching. They might not be distractions enough for a mind like his, but even so, they're better than wallowing in self-pity.

The description of Diagon Alley in that year after the war was really striking; I can't imagine what it would have been like to live in Britain (or any of the countries involved) at that time, when the Spanish flu was ravaging a recovering population. I don't think that Albus could have prevented the war and so many deaths single-handed, but it's the turning points of history, isn't it? One decision made in those moments could have had such an impact.

I love the continuation of that secret language between Gellert and Albus, too, and the fact that, though nobody but Albus recognises it for what it is, Gellert is throwing down the gauntlet. I'm actually really excited to see how you develop his campaign and machinations!

Sian :)
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Review #11, by nott theodore Bavaria

20th June 2016:
Hi again!

The image of the fairy tale castle at the start was so beautiful. I've still never seen Neuschwanstein in person, only in pictures, but I think you captured the beauty of it. It's unusual but I really like the way that Gellert is someone who does appreciate the beautiful things in life, and can love. That much alone sets him far apart from Voldemort, who doesn't understand love, and was born from the absence of it, whose only understanding is hatred. It's really refreshing to see Gellert as a character in his own right and not just an earlier version of Voldemort. There have been plenty of evil people throughout history, and terrible, tyrannic rulers, but each of them had their own motives in different ways and I feel like this story reflects that.

I loved the reflections on them both living again, but in history. It's true that you never get to choose entirely how you will be portrayed later on, when you are dead and there are others looking back at what you did; the only way you can affect it is by writing as much of that history as possible yourself. Having read the last book and the way that Rita Skeeter wrote about the two of them, I actually feel kind of sad for Gellert that nobody knew about the other side to their relationship.

Each of your chapters links so well to the previous ones, and flows on so smoothly. I loved the way that the sending of flowers from Albus to Gellert here reminded me of what they'd talked of in the last chapter, and especially the way that Albus said they had their own language between them. It's like this is their own version of that secret language keeping them connected through the years.

And Fawkes ♥ I've always wondered how Albus came by Fawkes and I love the idea of the phoenix kind of being both of theirs, which Gellert kept until Albus took over. It's no wonder that Fawkes was so dear to Albus, really. (Now I'm also wondering if, after Albus's death, Fawkes returned to Gellert in his prison one last time.)

The end of this chapter really felt like things were building, like Gellert is starting to put his plans in place and is going to begin his work. The final line about standing on the edge of the cliff was really powerful, and I love the idea behind it - one misstep could cause him to falter and fall, but if the wings he's been building work, then he will soar and fly...

Sian :)
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Review #12, by nott theodore Expressions

20th June 2016:
Hola!

The language nerd in me (so most of me :P) loved the opening reflections on expressions and the way that languages change and grow. The idea about expressions is so true, the way that we each gain our own through our lives and one word can become filled with meaning for us because of its association with someone else. I liked the fact that Albus has all these expressions that he associates with Gellert, too, even if he's forgotten some of them.

The rose and the lilac - hmm, is this flower meanings? Or more specifically colours? Because I know that roses symbolise love and passion and lilac is often a reminder of first love... maybe I'm missing something here?

THE FEATHERS!! I think I got a bit too excited reading that part, because I loved the symbolism that was behind the giving of them, and was really intrigued to see what Albus was going to do. Then the way that you wove his reaction into canon was just perfect. Since phoenix feather isn't common and we know that the phoenix only gave two feathers for wand-making, it makes perfect sense that it would be these feathers used to make Harry and Voldemort's wands. There's actually something incredibly fitting about that, too, that they were given by Gellert to Albus - seen by many as the villain and hero of the generation - and then made the wands of the same characters in the next generation.

I don't think it's necessarily cowardly for Albus to run away from Gellert and not go back to him. I think it's quite brave to deny yourself what you want most of all because you know what the consequences might be. Still, he doesn't seem to be able to let Gellert go and actually enjoy a life without him.

I really like the way that you're writing Aberforth in this story; he's given so much more depth than we normally see. It's true that siblings often understand each other and know each other so well that words aren't needed, and they're the ones who can say what you need to here when it's hardest, so I like the fact that he pointed out to Albus that he didn't enjoy teaching and he wasn't being fair to his pupils.

I wonder if the loss of love is what made Albus believe in the power of it so much, and encourage it for those around him?

I was not expecting him to be sacked from teaching! I'd always imagined that he'd stay a teacher no matter what, so I'm really intrigued what might happen next!

Sian :)
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Review #13, by nott theodore Sicily

20th June 2016:
Hello!

There were so many beautiful lines in this chapter (although aren't there always) that I want to quote back to you, but I'm afraid that it would fill the review and there'd be no characters left for me to actually write something :P But your descriptions of Lampedusa were beautiful! I really, really want to visit it now - I can picture it in my mind as the paradise that you described it to be.

I loved the fact that this chapter started with the notion of paradise for Gellert, and ended with the possibility of that paradise. Albus appeared in that dream of his paradise and then Albus actually appeared there too. I really liked the two possibilities that you offered us at the end, of what happened between Albus and Gellert after that meeting; it's so interesting to think that in a different world what did not happen here may have happened, and to let us decide what decision we think Albus made. It ties in with the whole dreamlike nature of the first section, too.

The idea of paradise is kind of interesting when you link it to Gellert's religion, as well. I don't think I'd ever thought of Gellert as religious, maybe because it's a topic that's largely avoided in the books and not touched on much in fic either, but it makes sense for his character that he does have some of those beliefs. I don't think he subscribes entirely to one church doctrine as people were expected to do at this time, but the idea of him having faith in something more powerful is really intriguing.

I also saw a lot more compassion in Gellert here than I expected, actually - he seems to genuinely care about the people that are losing their lives fighting in the war, and the fact that the wizards and witches are meeting in decadence to discuss it frustrates him. It's intriguing, too, that he lost half-brothers; that would make the conflict a lot more personal to him, even if he did not get on with them, and he does genuinely seem to believe in his speeches about unity. I know that it's all building up and laying foundations for the future that he wants to command, but it's interesting all the same.

I love all of the political theory in here, too, and the way that Gellert muses on governance and power! It fits in so well with his desires to rule that he would study all of the different theories, and it's so interesting to read. I've always found myself wondering what the wizards would have done during Muggle conflicts. I think I read somewhere that during WW1, wizards were banned from signing up to fight in Britain, but I don't think they could have avoided involvement completely when so many people were affected, even if their boundaries and policies were different.

The image of Albus and Gellert as two Cassandras was lovely, too! It always makes me smile when I see one of them aligning themselves with the other, as if they're the only person they truly consider equal. It's just a reminder of the way they feel.

Sian :)
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Review #14, by nott theodore Meter

19th June 2016:
Hello again! (Are you sick of me yet? I'm sorry, I still have quite a few more chapters to go :P)

The idea of life beating to a rhythm is a really lovely metaphor, actually, and I liked the way that Albus noted how it could change. It can definitely become monotonous if you're living by the same rhythm constantly, without any change. I also liked Albus's reflections on age and the way that he had changed with it. I definitely think people keep growing and learning as they get older, and from the character we see in the books, it definitely fits that he would get calmer and milder with age. I think he's probably more accepting of himself and what has happened as he gets older.

Yay, it was so great to see Albus reconnecting with Aberforth! That was really lovely to see, because I knew that at some point the brothers started talking again, but it was great to see that they began to enjoy each other's company. Rifts between siblings are so horrible and painful and I love seeing siblings getting on well, so the scenes when they were learning about each other's lives in the last fifteen years were really sweet.

Aw, Aberforth is getting married and becoming a father! That's so sweet! I can't help but think that it's not going to end well, because we don't see Aberforth with a family in canon at all, but I really want it to, because it's lovely to imagine.

The idea of Gellert giving a speech to the International Confederation of Wizards was so interesting! The fact that it was called the 'Unity Address' was really amusing, and kind of ironic, to be honest, because of the only way that Gellert saw unity being achieved in reality. I think that Albus knew that, deep down. But I love the idea of Gellert coming to the forefront as someone who goes through the 'proper' political channels and entering the public consciousness as someone who promotes unity instead of hatred. It definitely marks him out as someone different to Voldemort, I think, and it's a really intriguing idea.

The ending was kind of sad; I felt sorry for Albus again, because I'm sure that he would want to make some sort of impact but he couldn't do that in his own words. I've always felt that the efforts he made to work against Voldemort were a result of the impotence he felt when Gellert was rising to power, and this ties in really well with that.

Sian :)
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Review #15, by nott theodore Prussia

19th June 2016:
Hallo :)

The opening of this chapter was really interesting! I liked the way that Gellert reflected on the different places that he came from, where he was born and where he'd grown up. The concept of a homeland is really intriguing and especially for someone like Gellert who has spent time in so many places. He actually seems to care more about Germany and Prussia as his homeland than he does about most people, which is really intriguing and seems to fit well with his character. I'm not sure there's enough love in his heart for more than a handful of people.

Noticing the date was in 1912 makes me really interested for what's coming in the future of this story. Maybe I shouldn't be as excited to see you plotting the war and everything that's going to happen in it, but I know that you enjoy writing and plotting it so I'm not going to feel too bad :P This chapter definitely felt like it the atmosphere was becoming slightly more tense - perhaps that's just because I know what's coming in these countries, but even so, you did a great job of capturing the sense that something is about to happen. There's a kind of inevitability about it - not that Gellert necessarily wants it a potential war to stop, but he wouldn't want his homeland to be destroyed.

The appearance of the Kaiser (I'm guessing it was Wilhelm II?) was so interesting, too! I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Gellert is rubbing shoulders with European leaders at this time, and influencing them, but I'm so intrigued to see what role Gellert might play in the coming war. I loved the way you wrote the conversation between them; Gellert was so confident of his own abilities to manipulate the people around him, and there's no reason that he shouldn't be able to control the Kaiser, too. The way that he worked on building the links between him and the Kaiser was so like Gellert, and really helped suggest how he might be involved in machinations of war later.

The ending, when he was thinking of Albus and how Albus would react to what was happening politically was great, too. I'm actually really curious now to see whether Albus wanted to get involved at all, or whether he and the rest of wizarding England will play a part in the war. All the reflection on politics is really interesting.

I don't know if I've said this before, but your writing is so inspiring. There are certain authors I can read who just inspire me to write and get better, and you're one of them, so thank you ♥

Sian :)
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Review #16, by nott theodore Clichés

19th June 2016:
Hello again!

The fairy tale motif at the beginning of this chapter was so beautiful ♥ I loved the way that you used it to apply to two men and the ideas of love that all of us are brought up on, which just aren't possible for everyone to achieve (especially for Albus at the time he was alive). It showed how similar everyone is, no matter what they choose to do with their lives and how intelligent they are; even people like Albus just want love in their lives. I think that made it even more heartbreaking that he'd had it and it had been taken away from him, and he could never dream - not really - of getting it back.

The wedding years. They're coming up for me (I already know a few people my age who've got married) and I really felt for Albus. As he says, not only is marriage something that's likely to happen for him, but he can't get married to the person he wants to because marriage between two men wasn't allowed at this time. That knowledge must have made it even harder for him to attend all of his friends' weddings and see them enjoying a happiness that he would never be able to.

I don't want to say that he's bitter, exactly, but I think your Albus has an edge to him that a lot of characterisations don't. Maybe because here he's very honest about what losing Gellert meant to him and has cost him? Anyway, I really enjoy reading this version of him because I think that, from what we learn in the last book in particular, there was a different side to Albus that he did a good job of hiding from the world, and we see that here.

It's so sweet that Albus was Elphias's best man! I'm really glad they stayed such good friends and I loved how sweet and innocent Elphias seemed in comparison to Albus. The scene between them also served as a really good introduction to Gellert intruding on his consciousness again. I felt so sorry for Albus then, when he was so jealous and upset and was trying to keep that at bay. It can't have been easy to never really explain to his closest friends who he was, and what pain he was suffering. I think his thoughts and feelings towards Nico are really believable, too.

I loved the ending, when Albus realised that technically Gellert could be his common law wife :P That added a much lighter note to the chapter and was a great ending!

Sian :)
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Review #17, by nott theodore Switzerland

19th June 2016:
Salut :)

Your characterisation of Gellert is so interesting! He's so different to how I would have imagined him after just reading the books, but at the same time there's something very convincing about the way you write him, especially in the opening section of the chapter. He's much more intellectual and thoughtful than I expected he would be - of course, I knew he had to be clever, just like Voldemort was clever, but there's something different about him. He doesn't use his intelligence just to get what he wants (although he's clearly very good at doing that too, and making the plans he needs to get what he wants), but he enjoys culture and learning, too. I think because of that it's really easy to see why both he and Albus would have been attracted to each other and shared such a deep understanding.

I also found the reflection on how history would paint him really interesting. It's like Gellert has realised that he was wrong but also at the same time doesn't think he was entirely wrong, if that makes sense? And he finds it kind of condescending to be compared to Voldemort because he sees so many differences between the two of them. I liked the opening section especially for the way that it showed there might be some remorse there, and that could prompt him to hide the truth about the Elder Wand at the end as much as he could.

The descriptions of Switzerland were so beautiful ♥ I love the way that you have each chapter of Gellert's focusing on a different country and we get all these wonderful, evocative descriptions of the scenery. He really seems to appreciate the beauty of the places he's planning to conquer, at least :P

Ah, Gellert is doing just the same as Albus has tried to do with other men, I think, trying to forget the pain of the other's absence while not necessarily admitting to themselves that that's what they're doing. I don't think it's entirely healthy, but then again, when have Albus and Gellert ever had healthy relationships? :P I can't really blame them for seeking solace and love (maybe? though not if you're Gellert haha) with someone else because nothing else is left to them. I can't help but wondering if they'd have been together or apart later even if Ariana hadn't died, and whether their differences would have made more of an impact. Even though I know mostly what happens in their story, you're still managing to make me question the different possibilities :P

Sian :)
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Review #18, by nott theodore Pragmatics

19th June 2016:
Hello again! And now I get to return to L'optimisme, too :D I've been away from this story for far too long.

The opening section was so interesting! I loved the way that Albus really reflected on his summer with Gellert there, and we got a real sense of what that time had meant to him, and how close he had probably come to joining Gellert on the journey that took him across Europe. The contrast between the opening sections and the later sections is great. At the start we get to see Albus's thoughts and nostalgia directed towards Gellert intensely, in comparison with the scenes when he is trying to live his life and get on with things as normal. Even then, Gellert is always there in his thoughts, but hidden from view. The description in the opening was lovely, too.

I found the reflection on Hogwarts as a home really interesting! I know in the books Harry thinks of Hogwarts as a home, and of him and Snape and Tom Riddle all finding a home there when they'd had no other, so the difference for Albus was intriguing. I think it makes sense that he wouldn't feel that it was entirely a home for him, maybe because he couldn't be truly happy anywhere after that horrible summer which changed his life forever? I think the line later about teaching giving him a purpose, rather than him wanting to teach, is really accurate for him.

The interview with Professor Black was great, too - I think you captured his character so well from what we know of him in the books. He's the sort of person who wouldn't want to be seen to beg and would always want to seem superior, and that came across really well. I liked Albus's honesty with him, and now we know he's going to begin at Hogwarts teaching, so I'm intrigued to see how actually having the purpose he wants so badly affects his thoughts towards Gellert, if it does at all.

The final scene, when Albus ran into Aberforth, made me want to give poor Albus a hug. I can completely understand Aberforth's animosity, though - if Albus lost everything that summer for someone he loved, then Aberforth lost everything too, because of someone he hated. Seeing his brother after that could only bring painful memories. I know that in later years they managed to reconcile a bit, but I think that encounter was a real reminder of what Albus had lost. Not only were most of his family dead, and Gellert far away, but his brother wanted nothing to do with him. You wrote it really powerfully.

Sian :)
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Review #19, by nott theodore Hungary

8th March 2016:
So I have a little more time and I couldn't really resist catching up on another chapter of this story :) I can't believe you've made it to twenty chapters already and I'm so far behind! Maybe when I finally finish this year's work and exams I'll have time to catch up (please don't have finished by then :P)

The opening of this chapter was fantastic - I loved the imagery that you used there. I could see the image so clearly in my mind, Gellert locked up in the tower, high above the wolves that he knows are running free through the forest beneath him. The comparison between Gellert and the wolves just worked so well, too - the ideas of power and strength and hunger that it evoked felt very compatible with his character.

Seeing the way that he thought of Albus at this point was so interesting, too! The comparison with the captive fox was really intriguing - the parallels that it drew between the two of them, yet again, since Gellert is a prisoner in Nurmengard and Albus, in his own way, is held captive in his tower. It kind of suggested that even though they're miles apart, in situations so far from each other, they're still the same in some ways.

The fact that they both see each other as wolves in their dreams really added to it, too - the sense of nostalgia and the longing for what they could have had, and the idea that they've continued together on the path even though they've lived such separate lives. The whole passage was just brilliant, really.

Gellert's voice is growing, too, and I like the way that it's developing in maturity. At times it's almost bitter, but he seems to have accepted his fate and actually be spending most of the time thinking and reflecting on what's happened. It's so compelling to read.

I also loved the fact that we got to find out some of Gellert's back story in this chapter! I think I knew a couple of things from reading your other stories, but definitely not to this extent, and since we know so much about how Albus grew up and stuff, it was great to get to know Gellert more. Even if it doesn't seem to directly affect what they're doing in the present, I always think it helps us to understand a character better. And the way that you introduced it and used it was so skilful - we're far enough into their story that it doesn't feel like an information dump (not that your writing ever could feel like that) and even at the end you bring it back to Albus and their story together.

I felt so sorry for Gellert in this chapter. Right from his reluctance to go to see his dying mother, I could tell that it wasn't going to be an easy experience for him. The fact that he was illegitimate makes so much sense to me, though, and I had so much sympathy there. It's so ridiculous that the children were condemned for what their parents had done, because people thought that they were born of sin and therefore had to be sinners themselves, but it was such a real situation for so many people at this time, and I'm glad that you showed how difficult it could really be. As far as Gellert's half-siblings knew, he hadn't done anything to actually deserve being shunned, and it's so unfair that they treated him that way, but it is understandable in a way. The fact that Gellert shows an understanding of it too really emphasises what social attitudes towards children born outside marriage were at the time.

I loved the line about all families having their own secrets! It's so true. Every family hides something from the world while they try and present a perfect image, a front that's considered socially acceptable. Maybe part of the reason that Albus and Gellert are drawn to each other and seem to understand each other so well is because they both know what it's like to live in a family that's full of secrets. The consequences and effects that must have on them are kind of similar - or at least create some similarities in their outlooks, I think.

It's so heartbreaking that Gellert's mother had to fake her own son's death so that she could save her marriage and get to stay with the children she already had. That shouldn't ever have to happen, but there are plenty of places where that sort of thing still goes on today and it's horrible to think of. Gellert was actually quite lucky in a way that his father was willing to take him and bring him up alone. Then there was his father's pain and regret - Gellert's background is so complicated and difficult. I am glad that his mother got to tell him that she loved him, though, even if it didn't make much difference to him.

Again, the ending was brilliant (how much time do you take planning and writing them out?!). I loved the wistful way that Gellert longed for someone, not quite admitting to himself until he had to that he was really missing Albus. The way each chapter starts and ends with each thinking of the other really reinforces the way that they feel, the enduring connection between them. Even though they took such different paths and parted in such horrible circumstances, I still feel like there's going to be a connection between them that goes beyond love - the two of them are like equals, and really the only one the other acknowledges as an equal, I think, and they're the only person that can stop the other from feeling lonely. (If any of that makes sense. I'm getting tired and rambling again. Sorry :P)

Hopefully I can get a break from my horrible amount of work at some point and come back to read more of this beautiful story soon ♥

Sian :)

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Review #20, by nott theodore Malapropisms

8th March 2016:
Hi Laura! I'm here for our swap - uni has been swamping me recently (I'm sure you know the feeling) so I'm really excited to get the chance to come and read some more of your writing. I've really missed it and this story ♥

The first thing that struck me about this was your writing - kind of like always, really. I'm sure you're getting bored of me saying it by now, sorry :P But I've been away from this story - and most fanfiction in general - for quite a while, and it was still so easy for me to slip back into it as if it was the most natural thing to be reading. I just love the description and elegance and everything about your writing, and it makes it so easy to come back to this story, even after a break.

The introspection that threaded throughout this chapter was brilliant. I felt like it really showcased the way that Albus is getting older and growing as a person, someone who's seen more and experienced more than the teenage boy who was forced home after his mother's death and left to look after his family in his frustration. There was so much truth here about humanity in general that it's kind of scary, but it felt like it fit with his character so well. Albus is finally realising his own flaws and starting to admit them, even if it's not openly. When we see him in the books, he's still reluctant - like everybody is, I think - to admit his own faults and not be infallible. I wonder whether that's part of why he hid so much from Harry - he saw in Harry the sort of person that he'd like to have been, with that sense of right, and didn't want to let him down when he knew that Harry respected and loved him. (Sorry, that's kind of a tangential ramble, you can ignore that :P) Anyway, I loved the fact that Albus was so introspective here and it really showed how much he's grown and developed as a person over the years.

The thoughts on immortality were so interesting, too! Really, it's so true - even if we think that we'd rise above the idea of wanting to live forever (which sounds like a nightmare to me), so many of us chase, or at least dream of, immortality in some other form. We want to be remembered. We fear leaving the world without a trace and not having left behind some contribution that makes a difference. So in a way, we're all looking for a way to be immortal.

Achieving something that will make you - or at least your name - immortal at the age of just twenty-five sounds kind of terrifying to me to be honest, haha. That would be so incredibly overwhelming, and of course a fantastic achievement, but I can see how that would trigger so many painful memories for Albus and lead him into behaviour that he'd go on to regret.

I felt really sorry for Alain here :( He seemed similar in some ways to Gellert, which I suspect was the initial attraction for Albus, but in the end just highlighted the differences between the two of them. Albus still loves Gellert, in spite of his efforts to forget him, although he's more willing here to admit his flaws than he has been in the past. But I felt like Alain really got caught up in something that he couldn't truly imagine or understand and I felt really sorry for him when Albus was unable to be kind to him the next morning and he just had to leave.

Maybe it's because I'm weird and have strange interests, but I loved the fact that you included a fragment of that letter that Gellert had sent to Albus. The way that he used all of those theories and works to justify his ideas was so fascinating, and it just shows how deeply you've thought about this and their plans. But through the years, so many people in similar positions have used what sounds like very reasonable argument to justify their causes, so it fit really well with that - after all, Gellert can't have risen to power entirely through his own skill. There has to have been charisma and charm in there to get people on his side, and a solid way to persuade people. I think Albus's reaction - the way that he wanted to find something to say other than 'I agree' in response to it, because he knew it wasn't really the right thing to do - was really telling. It shows how easy it would be to accept that sort of argument, and in a way maybe why Albus went along with it for so long, because he couldn't argue with the logic behind the argument. It's kind of worrying that Gellert was able to make such a rational argument about their plans being 'For the Greater Good' but we've seen it time and time again over history, so it's really believable.

I'm so intrigued by Albus returning to England, going back home. He's been running away from what happened because his memory of Gellert and Ariana and that night's events is fixed there, or so he thinks, but in reality it's in his mind and he can't escape it wherever he is. The physical return to England really shows the way he's starting to try and distance himself entirely from Gellert, though, and make a name for himself - and I guess will make it easier for him to ignore what's happening in Europe over the coming years.

The last line was just beautiful, too - so well done! It really captured Albus's frame of mind and the way that he can't escape Gellert wherever he goes - in a way, going back home and knowing that the memories will be waiting for him there could even be a form of acceptance and a willingness to start dealing with what happened, rather than trying to escape it?

Anyway, predictably, I loved this - and I'm sorry for rambling so much in this review! ♥

Sian :)

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Review #21, by maraudertimes Silence

6th March 2016:
Hi! Here for the HPFF Review-a-Thon and for our review swap!

I don't usually read Dumbledore centric fics, but for some reason I was really drawn to this one. And I'm so glad! I really like how you really captured Dumbledore and his thoughts are really well developed and you've really done his character justice.

This story is so bittersweet, and I really love the beginning. It's a whirlwind love affair between two kids who are just beginning to figure out who they are and it's so pure and innocent in that sense. That they have to constantly sneak around makes it seem that much more normal - that Albus doesn't have a brother and sister to take care of, that they won't eventually part ways, that Gellert won't eventually turn his back on Albus. I think that it's exactly right for the situation and you've really written that well.

I really liked the ending, even if it was sad. You added detail to Ariana's death in a way that showcased the absolute insanity of the situation and Albus's deepest thoughts and fears. I was amazing to get a closer look at how he feels - obviously he feels guilty seeing as he was immensely guilty in the books - but you really added another dimension to that guilt and it made the scene that much more in every single way.

This was such a great story and I loved how you wrote in this era - it's very reminiscent of older books and letters and very proper. It really made me feel like I was in that era! Great job and thank you so much for the swap!
Lo :)

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Review #22, by Yoshi_Kitten Words

8th February 2016:
Hello! RoxiMalfoy, back again for chapter 3 of our review swap!! But I think I'll just skip the part where I tell you how amazingly awesome and super talented you are, lol. I'm pretty sure you know that all day, and I could fangirl over this story for days, haha!! ^_^;

Man, do I ever wish that I could paint a picture with words in the way that you do!! The way that you describe everything is so beautiful, and it puts such vivid images in my mind as I read. I absolutely LOVE that quality in your writing. I've been trying to develop this skill more and more over the years, but dialogue and conversations still remain to be my stronger areas of writing. I feel like I have really learned a thing or two, just by reading your story tho, so I do wanna thank you for that. This is seriously some of the best quality fanfiction that I have ever read!!

I loved all the mentionings of Nicolas Flamel and Elphias Dodge and all of Dumbledore's other various friends throughout this chapter. It's good to see that he is finally cheering up a bit and moving on somewhat. A broken heart is never an easy thing to mend, and it's good that you are showing his internal struggle with his feelings. It seems fare more natural, the way that this is progressing, and I think you have the pacing of everything down perfect.

Dumbledore is extremely in character all throughout this story so far. Never once have you made him even the slightest bit OOC, in my opinion. And that alone is no easy feat, lol! I for one find Dumbledore (as well as Voldemort) to be one of the most difficult characters in the HP world to write. Yet you portray him so effortlessly here!! He is clever, intelligent, and perfectly witty in his thought process. And his voice is very much distinct from Gellert's in the alternating chapters. I love how different, yet incredibly similar they are.

Honestly, this whole thing is just perfect, and I cannot wait to read more!! You keep me guessing as to where this story is going to take me to next, and I love that!! Also, I'm glad that I refreshed the page before submitting this review, cuz I LOVE the new chapter Image!! I went back and looked at the last 2 also, and they are all so beautiful!! They even match the banner and everything, lol! Please give the artist my props, and congrats on getting such incredible CI's made for this amazing story!! ♥

~Deana~

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Review #23, by NPE Silence

5th February 2016:
Hi Aph,

Apologies for the mix up yesterday, here is my actual review of the chapter :)

I really enjoyed your portrayal of Dumbledore. Writing almost in the style of a memoir, particularly when attempting to encapsulate a Dumbledore of a different nature than the one in the books is quite a challenge. I think you pulled it off very well.

There are great hints and clues about some of his talents, his regrets, but also his genuine affection for Grindelwald and the pining for him carried through his words. There is an element of loathing at play, but most of all we are exposed to Dumbledore’s worries and fears. There is also this earnest, yet saccharine and melodramatic thrust to the chapter provided by Dumbledore which reads really well on the page.

I like the fact you start it with sort of a graceful segue which depicts Dumbledore’s intelligence and unique method of reflective thoughts about time.

It felt very authentic to me.

The only CC I feel I can offer are based on the limitations of the format rather than your writing which I like. I think any issues over the ideas coming circular or melodramatic are unfair, because that is what Dumbledore is like at this point in time.

I do think though, that even Dumbledore has to be complicated and confused in his feelings, especially when you are basically examining his mind here. You depict Dumbledore really well – but to mw these comments were a bit too pointed:

- beg you to please God have mercy upon me
- But I did not hate you then. That came later

Though I did like it a lot, as you can see from my review.

Looking forward to the next chapter.

Best,

Nick

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Review #24, by Yoshi_Kitten Wales

3rd February 2016:
RoxiMalfoy from the forums, finally here for our Review swap! I was so sure I had reviewed this chapter back when I did the 1st one, but evidently not. I know I've read this one before, but since it was so long ago, I decided to re-read the first 2 chapters all over again. Which honestly didnt bother me at all, cuz your writing is SO BEAUTIFUL!! I'm SO happy to see that you won a Dobby! I remember voting for this fic in like every category it was nominated in that year, so congrats on that, lol. It was definitely well deserved!

The first time I read this tho, I totally was NOT expecting to be reading from the POV of Gellert Grindelwald. That switch was such a nice surprise. I've never read anything featuring him in it like this before, so all I know of him is what little we learned in cannon. That being said, your characterization of him feels like it was pulled directly out of Jo's world! I dont know HOW you've done it with such little information to go on, but this version of Grindelwald just feels so right, and so natural. Every little detail you have created fits seamlessly into what we already know of him from the books. But then you take it one step further, and expand upon what little information we have already been given, and make him into this very deep and relatable character. From now on, I dont think I'll ever be able to look at Grindelwald the same way again, lol!

I LOVE it when a story here at HPFF gives me a whole new outlook on things, and this was no exception! Cuz you never would expect such a notoriously dark wizard as Grindelwald to be so sweet, endearing, and capable of such strong feelings of love. But then again, at sixteen years of age, I also find it difficult to believe that he would be in full-on dark wizard, take over the world mode, lol. But you can definitely see the beginning stages of that particular mind-frame starting to blossom here. I know that alot of people compare Voldemort to Grindelwald, but the two of them really arent all that similar, if you think about it. Sure, they shared many of the same belief systems, but what makes Voldemort so evil is that he was literally incapable of love. He was born of a loveless conception, then raised in an orphanage with no family to help nurture him during his upbringing. Grindelwald on the other hand; he did have a family. He had the support system that Tom Riddle never knew, and then, he also had Albus.

Personally, I do not think that Dumbledore, even at such a young age, could ever have been attracted to someone like Tom Riddle. So if the two dark wizards were as similar as people like to assume, then it would not be likely that Dumbledore would have fallen for Grindelwald the way that we know he did. Cuz as far as we know, Gellert is the only one that Albus ever had feeling for like this. (Much like Snape was with Lilly.) Sometimes in life we only get that 1 true love, and it's highly unlikely that Dumbledore -THE Albus Dumbledore- could have given his heart away to someone who was truly evil. So I totally get where it is you are writing from here, and I must say that I am absolutely mesmerized by it! I'm so glad, and so relieved to see that Gellert is NOT just another copy of Lord Voldemort in this story.

Wow, I just went off on this HUGE tangent without even meaning to, lol!! You see what your story has evoked in me already?!? This has really got me thinking quite a bit, for real tho. Cuz I was one of those people who thought that Grindelwald & Voldemort were way more similar than that. But now that I think about it, there really is no way that that could have been possible. Not at first, anyway. But we all know how both of these boys turn out in the end, so it will be fascinating to see the ways in which their characters grow and develop from here. I cannot wait to see where you take the two of them from this point forward...

Getting back to the actual review part tho - sorry for betting so distracted, haha... The language in this. OMG, dont even get me started on the language in these first 2 chapters, lol! It is so beautiful, and poetic, and rich in detail, and just so astoundingly profound! How did you do that?!? Not only was it perfect in regards to these two characters, but it's also extremely relevant to the time period as well. This all takes place in 1899 after all, so the way that they speak is absolutely beautiful in every single way. People really dont talk like that anymore, and it's a shame. Your English is exquisite though Aph, and I feel like I myself have already learned a thing or two, just by reading this, lol! ;)

I loved how the reoccurring theme of silence carried over from the 1st chapter into this one as well. Really, everything that you have to say about the subject is so amazingly detailed, and spot on. I'm so terrible at describing those awkward silences in a conversation, but you do it so beautifully here, OMG! I could go on and on about how amazing this was, but I think I've rambled here for long enough... I will point out the one (and only) thing I noticed that needs fixing was in this paragraph here:

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.

That whole entire thing is just one long run-on sentence. Idk if that was intentional, or if perhaps it was a formatting thing, but you may wanna go back and break that up with some commas or periods or something. I feel silly for pointing out something so small, but really everything else was PERFECT! ♥

~Deana~

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Review #25, by Cecilia Germany

27th January 2016:
Dear Aphoride,

It's been way too long since I first thought about leaving a message on this story and it's really about time I did it! I've been eagerly following and reading L'optimisme for almost a year now and I wish I could write for ages about everything that it means to me, but I don't think there'd be enough time (and space) - not to mention my imprecise English.

I love everything about Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald's relationship: all those dark and radiant shades it is made of, their brilliance and ruthlessness in tenderness, the considerations about life, love and power that it all brings to the mind - I could go on forever. I have come across lots of fanfictions and opinions about them, but this magnificent novel of yours is by far the best thing I've ever read on the Internet.

Your talent in mastering the words - those very words who shape our reality and trace Albus and Gellert's lives - is astonishing. I wish I could describe properly the deep, pure inspiration your writing gives to my soul every single time I go through a new chapter and, as I picture in the back of my mind all those rich, intense descriptions and flows of thoughts, meet again Albus or Gellert, moving on with their lives, following such different yet always intertwined routes.
This is how I always imagined their incredible story would be, and you're narrating it in an unique, thrilling way. Thank you.

I can't wait to read more :)
Have a nice day! xx

Author's Response: Hi Cecilia! :) Thank you so so much for stopping by - and I'm so sorry for the late response! Honestly, I just didn't know what to say - your review was so wonderful and so sweet, and literally made me blush, and it felt like it would be inadequate to repeat 'thank you thank you thank you' over and over again :P

I love writing this story - it's a pairing I wanted to write for a while before I got the courage to start this, and then I scrapped two different versions before starting this version, which eventually got published. I really, really wanted to tell it, and I love writing it, so it always means so much to hear people say that they like it too, because it's been part of my life for so long and so much of it is me finally getting to write it after so long. So thank you, thank you, thank you - it honestly means more than I can really properly say to hear that there are other people who like this pairing and other people who like how I write it, too :) :) :)

Ahhh I love writing that about them :) This whole story to me is primarily a romance - a very tragic romance, but nonetheless a romance - which just never quite ends; and also an argument, which equally never ends :P I really wanted to show that neither of them are good or bad or right or wrong - everything with them exists in shades of grey and somewhere between tangible and intangible. And love... omigosh, I love writing them in love, haha. I always wanted to write them in love from the beginning, because it makes everything that much more important and it give this kinda beautiful underlay to everything in HP :)

I have a real love for description. Dialogue and pacing and action can be difficult, but description has always come easily to me, for some reason. I don't know why, but it does, and I love writing it. It's so fun for me to do, though at times I have to cut down on it, haha, otherwise the entire chapter would just be description and nothing would ever happen :P Which is not, you know, the point of a story... but yeah, it's a style which isn't for everyone, though, and I know that - and I'm always so happy to hear that other people like it, because I know it's a very unusual style, perhaps, because it's so heavy.

This review was amazing - I'm only sorry I couldn't give a better response, and that it's so late. Thank you, thank you, thank you - this review made my week when I got it, honestly, and it makes me smile every time I read it :)

Aph xx


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