I can never go past a story with him in it (and you have plenty - huzzah! *gets comfortable on author page*)
Your style of writing just gives me goosebumps. Shivers. Chills. It is so incredible. And it's perfect for stories featuring Grindelwald and Voldemort, both of whom I see a lot of in your collection.
I'ma just leave this here: "Glory has one ultimate enemy: death." Amazing and powerful.
I literally just have my mouth open the whole time I read anything from you. I try to make little notes and comments as I go, but you generally leave me speechless.
Hm. That's not like me in reviews.
There's just something about the language you use (aside from the fact that it's just, like, wow) in writing about the relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. I think it's to do with the power behind it - all the plans that they had. You capture it so well. It's not just a relationship, it's a deep connection of sorts between two extremely powerful people. That's what's scary, and that's what you write well.
On the same line as power, I love all the references to historic/mythical people. It's just so fitting that Grindelwald should raise himself to the likes of them. He wanted to rule the world and you show that through every single word choice you made.
Just need to pull this out too: "you should have remembered that gold rusts and sapphires crack, that metal can be melted and jewels ground into dust."
I am in awe of everything you write!
Amazing amazing amazing (just like you ♥)
Wow, truly breathtaking fanfic. It is quite hard to distinguish who is 'you' and who is 'he' that makes me wonder, who is the writer of the non-italic paragraphs? Is it Gellert himself, or Albus? I like to think it is Gellert whom written all the letters, but this line (Outwardly, he is always composed: the beauty of Italian dreams crafted through Hungary’s blood and Germany’s patient, steady building.) crosses my prejudice. So perhaps, Gellert wrote the italic letters and Albus wrote the non-italic ones? Only you who know. I'm really happy to read this magnificent work of yours, even though I can't deny the bitterness toward the end of it. The idea of Gellert loving Albus back is intriguing, and I've only read few fanfics about that. Gellert love is posessive,I think it's the opposite of Albus's pure one. That's why Albus left him, even though Gellert clearly said the chaos he did was for Albus. It is wonderful to read fanfic through Gellert's point of view, because he is more than just evil. Probably he had used Albus in the past, but as time passed by he grow to love Albus back?
Thank you for writing such amazing fanfic. I appreciate the depth of your writing and the art behind it. Please write more.
Ooo that is quite an intriguing opening.
You've used some beautiful descriptions, which flow so well and effortlessly together, and I am jealous of your amazing talent!
Seriously, I am so amazed with the way that you craft your words, painting the scene so vividly in my head it's as if I'm there. Every word was chosen perfectly, as if you thought long and hard about everything, and it's all just so perfect!
You've conveyed the emotions in this fantastically and it's easy to tell how much he feels for Albus. The love is so strong and powerful, but they're different in the end. Not everything is as perfect between them and I can't believe that you sank them.
The only main thing that keeps going through my mind abotu this one shot is just. Wow. wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.
Author's Response: Hey Tammi! :) You're so so generous for offering to do this - so thank you so much! :)
Thank you so so much! This one-shot was actually incredibly hard to write in the end - though the idea was so clear in my head, you know - because I wanted it to be right, so I'm so so glad you liked it! :)
Thank you! :D I really wanted to expand my description in this one - like, use more of it and more often and so on - so I'm so happy you liked it, and that it seemed to work! :)
I really, really love writing them as a pairing, and this one was so great to do because I wanted to build it up and then sink them at the end (you can blame Lisa for that, haha, since this was written for her challenge :P). Emotions... aren't usually something I write masses of, comparatively, so it was fun to explore that more. And yeah, they sink, which breaks my heart too, I promise! :(
Thank you so much - this is an amazing review to get, and I'm just genuinely floored by the compliments and just so happy you liked it, since I know it's not to everyone's tastes! Thank you! :)
Hey Aph! I feel a bit weird reviewing after stalking you so thoroughly for WILTY, but I’m here for your requested review. :)
I’d like to start this review by saying wow. I’ve never read any Albus/Gellert before, or anything about either character on their own, so I don’t really have any background/context for this fic, but I loved it. This fic is incredible, and you’re an amazing and gifted writer. Seriously, this is one of the most beautifully-written stories I’ve ever read on here, and your lyrical style is not only stunning but perfect for this fic.
You mentioned some of this in your AoC, but I’m going to address style/references/POV in one ramble-y mess. I almost always hate reading things in second person POV. I’ve read it done well probably once before this. But I LOVED your use of it in this fic, especially juxtaposed against the first person asides. Something about it just conveyed the desperation and emotional entanglement so well it made me ache. Having the second and first person alternating was so well done. Then there’s the integration of references/whether it’s too pretentious-- I thought they were really well worked in. I’m no expert in the classics by any means, but I didn’t think they were too many references, nor were they too high brow or anything. I found them to be worked into the story really well, and I could tell they were references but still made sense in context. They didn’t seem like references for the sake of references or anything like that. Also, I feel like they worked really well with your Albus and Gellert, who were obviously incredibly brilliant, and would’ve been making connections internally all the time. The heightened diction/tone of this correspond super well to how I imagine they would’ve really thought and been.
That brings me to your Albus and your Gellert. Like I said earlier, I have no experience with them in fanfic, but I thought they were very believably in character, to respond to your canon concerns. That sentence sold them incredibly short as characters though, because I found them to be exceptionally compelling, intriguing, and engaging on their own merits. I was super impressed by your Gellert and how well you showed him and fleshed him out in the italicized portions, because I felt like I learned so much about him/his perspective in so few words. You made him so believable and I found my heart breaking for him and Albus, even though I’ve really never been emotionally invested in either of them before this. I thought this story also showed a lot about Albus and how he would later become the Albus we know, especially about how conflicted and guilty he seems to be in some moments in HP. I love how intense and all consuming you’ve made their relationship to be so that it shapes them so thoroughly-- “Giving yourself to another, and receiving them in return, so that in the end it is impossible to see where one ends and the other begins; the lines of our souls are forever blurred, Albus.” Ah Aph that’s such an incredible description and it just makes so much sense for the characters you’ve created, especially how you’ve tied in their desire for glory and fear of death and how those two things interact with their relationship.it just makes all makes so much sense.
You said to be critical, but it’s hard with a fic like this to really be critical. I got so wrapped up in it that I didn’t notice any obvious grammar things/typos (which also means if there are any they don’t stick out much). The one thing that kinda struck me as off was the length of the first nonitalicized section and the Prometheus descriptions-- it felt to me like they wore on a little, especially because I wasn’t as invested in the characters yet and it was a bit confusing ‘cause I wasn’t exactly sure where it was going. Basically in that section (and obviously this is all personal preference and super nitpicky but I think that’s what you wanted?) I would’ve liked to see a little more about the real characters, a little less about extended metaphors/Greek mythology, just to get the fic going a bit. That said, I loved that section in my second read through, when I was already invested/used to the style. So...I don’t know where that leaves anything.
K now I’m going to focus on some quotes/connections I loved.
“It is then that you learn that though the rest of the tree might be rotten, the fruit sour and the flowers fading, love is always pure.” --this quote man, this quote. It’s so well-crafted and compelling and explains so much about Albus and works so well with HP Albus and his eternal belief in the power of Love. I could write odes to this line (if I were capable of writing odes, that is...).
“Glory has one ultimate enemy: death. You do not want to die – for if you die, then he could too, and there should never exist a power in the world able to kill him...You could not live without him; ah, but can you live with him?” --I loveee this tie-in to glory and death and some of the basis of Albus’s fear of death and how it connects to Gellert. This whole little section was great to me. I love the background for the duel and how Albus is conceptualizing it beforehand.
“This betrayal will kill him just as much as it will save him. /Glory, then, at last, but at what cost?”
“I loved you – but did you ever love me more than glory? /And so, the murderer and the betrayed, the very best of friends, we end.” --ahhh both of these ideas together and how Gellert views Albus’s actions and how Albus views his own actions and how they don’t understand each other at the end but they do because they both think of it as murder and they love each other and the idea of glory again...I’m slowly growing less and less articulate as my feelings grow haha.
Ahh character limit and I think that’s about all I had to comment on anyway...I’m sorry cause I don’t think I was actually very helpful/constructive but I just really loved it. :)
Laura, it's been far too long, and if it takes the BvB Review Battle to get me back to reading and reviewing your work, then so be it!
(BvB Review Battle July 2015, by the way)
I... I just... I'm so not scholarly enough to take all of this stuff in, but it was so incredible to read. It was like reading something written by an author--maybe Virginia Woolf?--I can't exactly name the author that this reminds me of, but it is simply professional. This is obviously NOT a child's game!
Maybe Oscar Wilde? Anyway, it's so very Romantic in its aesthetic (to me, at least), and the high amounts of sensory detail have me wondering why I don't experience life that way. You have an incredible talent for describing colors and places and smells and everything, especially in this story, where metaphors abound. And that makes sense, because Gellert and Albus were probably both incredibly metaphorical people.
But this sentence was absolutely the best, hands-down: "Words flutter about you in the air: soft, delicate things, butterflies with wings the colour of rosebuds and cherry blossom." Like, whhat??? How can you do that?! How can you be so amazing?! Where did you come up with that comparison?! It's so delicate and so, so beautiful. It gave me chill bumps. Gah, I love it!!
And even though there were all of these references to classical myths and historical figures, I could feel the pain as the ship sank. I tend to think of classicism as something academic and stuffy, but in my head, I know that isn't truly the case, and this story illustrated that. Sure, Achilles and Patroclus fought in a war and died, but they also were lovers and were probably just as passionate about that as they were about fighting (if not more). And using that comparison to describe Albus/Gellert was ingenious! Really, it brought the Greek myths to life as much as it brought Gelbus to life.
And can I just talk about your description all the time?? You are so good at writing those first sentences, drawing me in with the color red (as far as the nonitalicized part goes). It's so wonderful to use colors to establish the mood, and the way you meditate on it for the first paragraph before moving towards the problem of Albus/Gellert was just brilliant. In fact, you do this with all of those nonitalicized sections, juxtaposing some kind of mythology or history with the changing relationship. And you know, I didn't even realize that until now, which is a crying shame.
I love how you describe them with the seasons in the first section, how Albus is autumnal and Gellert is vernal, and Gellert has Albus totally under his spell. It's so crazy how they play this little game, and it seems more like a political relationship than a real one because of Gellert's tendency to rule things. And then the husband-wife comparison reminded me a lot of Tennyson's metaphors in "In Memoriam," which was really cool, too.
I'd better stop being incoherent in this review because it's getting sort of dumb. Sorry I can't be all academic and analyze this like I want to, but I'm waist-deep in summer vacation and I can't dust off my English brain.
In conclusion, please teach me your sorcery, because dang, do you EVER know how to craft a sentence. And imagery, imagery, imagery. Your imagery gives me life. I want that butterfly quote tattooed on my arm, seriously.
Please accept this silly review, Your Majesty!
I once had a discussion with someone about the concept of the perfect reader; the concept of every piece of writing having one perfectly sympathetic listener, who was made for the story as much as the story was made for him or her. I have to warn you that I am not this story's perfect reader. I'm not well versed enough in Homer, or in anything else you referenced, to appreciate this story fully; having been very quiet in the world of hpff and Harry Potter in general for awhile now, even my Albus and Gellert history is a bit rusty. But I'm doing my best, because I do believe this is a story worth appreciating.
When I saw the length of this I blinked, and then dove right in. And I think the length is ultimately quite fitting; if anything, it allowed me to sink deeper and deeper into the story as it went along, so that by the end, I was fully entrenched in it. The writing was beautiful, but it required a lot of attention (I know I'd like to go back and read this again). And requiring my full attention, if anything, just indicates to me how much thought and effort clearly went into this. Every word seemed to fit perfectly (one exception: there was a moment when you described water falling out of Gellert's hair as a miniature rain shower, and I felt that that might not have been the strongest image in the story). Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is that this is a story intended for close reading, not skimming, and the length allowed me to sink into that close reading, if that makes sense. And I truly enjoyed it.
I think the second person perspective really worked for this. Sometimes, when people use it, it seems almost random, but here I felt that it truly added to the story. Combined with the breaking up of the story into sections, and separating the sections with Gellert's voice in italics, it really told the story in an engaging way.
The line that really stopped me was this one, I loved it to pieces: "It is then that you learn that though the rest of the tree might be rotten, the fruit sour and the flowers fading, love is always pure." Of course the entire story is filled to the brim with beautiful imagery and lovely wording, but this felt like a powerful sentence. I think it also could almost sum up a good deal of the story itself. Power, glory, murder, they all mingled in ways wonderful and terrible, but the love itself isn't something we should condemn. That's something I got out of it, anyway.
Another thing I loved was how you portrayed Albus in this, as something far different from the wise, perfect old man we know from the books. I think you really got at his deeper character, and some deep questions in general, with this talk of glory. Got me thinking.
Overall, this was a beautiful story, and like I said I will probably reread it just to try and soak up more of it-- especially in the beginning when I hadn't settled in yet. Very well done! It's clear that this was carefully thought through, and carefully written, and that care all paid off in a big way.
House Cup 2015 Hufflepuff
WOW. This is gorgeous. An absolutely stunning usage of words. I adore reading things with lovely language like this, so finding this was like a dream come true! The way you described everything was just beautiful, so much so I can't even choose a line or two as an example. Every single line was fantastic. I loved all of the references, they, along with your beautiful descriptions, really seem to fit this couple. Albus and Gellert were the most talented wizards of their time, so it makes sense that they would be educated enough to speak in this manner.
I loved the emotion you showed here as well! It was so heartbreaking to read about how they longed for each other, and yet ended up on opposite sides. I think they have one of the more tragic love stories of the series, actually.
I think your characterization of Dumbledore, through Gellert, was so on point.
I loved you – but did you ever love me more than glory?
That is such an apt description of Dumbledore, and the flaws we learned he has. He's ambitious and hungry for power, and I can absolutely see how that would damage all of his relationships.
Happy House Cup!
Author's Response: Hey there - thank you so much for stopping by! :)
Gah, thank you so so much! :D I'm just so glad you liked it - I always think it's too pretentious, but it kinda suits them as characters, you know? Like, I can kinda get away with it because it's them... I really love stuffing things full of references - though I never know if they make sense or if it's too many - so I'm so happy you liked those, too! :)
The emotion... omigosh, I really didn' think there was that much in this, you know? I was really worried it wasn't that angsty and that it wasn't that emotional, so you have no idea how much it means to hear (see?) you say that! :) Thank you so much! And yeah, it's definitely so tragic - and I do love a good tragedy!
Oh yeah, Dumbledore definitely has a lot of flaws - but I think those get exaggerated for Gellert, especially after the whole breaking up thing :P And the whole power and glory axis definitely defines their whole relationship in a way which isn't necessarily bad, but isn't good either.
Thank you so so much for the wonderful review - it was so great to get! :) And good luck with the rest of the cup! :)
I swear, every single thing you write is so incredibly epic, so amazingly put together and orchestrated and carefully thought out, it just takes my breath away. All of your references, the multi-layered and colourful images you paint with your words, the feelings arching through this piece, all of it.
This was beautiful. Not even beautiful, BEYOND beautiful. Sort of, scarily otherworldly and inspiring all wrapped up. It was like drifting off into a dream in the corner of a warm library and slipping into another world. Just ~ insanely, crazily good. I am in absolute awe. And I'm aware I'm not doing a good job at putting my thoughts into words right now and I hope my feeble attempts aren't creating the wrong impression. I'm rambling, but I mean this all so sincerely. This is pure poetry.
When we agreed to swap you mentioned that this was pretty long - but actually, reading this, it didn't feel too long at all. Perhaps it was the way you've divided this into each of their separate narratives, but it sort of split it up in quite an easy to manage way. I don't normally mind reading longer things anyway providing I've set time apart to do it, but this didn't feel particularly heavily long as I was reading. Maybe I was just utterly swept up in it! But I do think this works so well as one long continuous piece. It sort of solidifies what Gellert and Albus are - one intense companionship, one that you've (rather carefully (and evilly? (Curse Lisa's challenge! It's breaking my heart!!))) dismantled throughout the course of this.
The main thing I really wanted to emphasise in this review is just how effective Gellert's ascension to power is. Maybe not even power in the literal sense - perhaps just in their relationship, because it is through this facet that you have told their story. Every time a new sort of subsection started it felt as though he was slipping further away and Albus was starting to view him, yes, with a sort of affection still, but a new reverence that signals warning bells in his (and my) head and which eventually means that they cannot be. Yet in Gellert's sections I could almost feel him trying to claw his way back to Albus, especially in the last one, when his language becomes so accusing and hard - 'your damp, pretty England' literally mentioning a 'crown of thorns'. While there is a romance between them there's also a definite dependence/envy of one another, as though they complete and better each other yet compete - which I think is what makes their relationship, generally speaking, really fascinating. They're both incredibly bright men (understatement of the century) and they want to get better, and if it is Albus that motivates him, Gellert is going to want to cling and keep him. But perhaps it is because Albus is the better man that he can't stay with Gellert for the things that he's done - I don't know. But you've done an incredible job at untangling their relationship. You've laid it out in all of these hues and you've created such a beautiful, visual selection of moments to represent it - it's just amazing.
Okay, so now I'm going to ATTEMPT to talk about your writing itself. Watch as I go off on an emotional tangent... Ok so I have always always always loved your writing. You're one of the handful of writers on this archive who I read every once in a while and I flail and I weep (with joy? with pain? who knows?) and I feel so inspired to open up my word docs and poke at my own stories some more. Maybe you know that, but I don't know if I've said it before. It's so special to read someones work and be actually blown away by it. For me, it's not so much the story (though the story here is incredible) but it's the way it's told that reaches out to me. Writing is such an art and it's literally the best thing in the entire universe when I can see that there is another writer out there who is wrestling with this art and using their own voice and making their words their own, making them original and telling a story how they need to and in a way that they feel does it best. I always get a feeling from your work that you're writing because you're motivated by feelings and situations that are so difficult to put into words but you need to TRY because that's what writing is, right? This piece is packed with such gorgeous, emotive and loaded language but what is so unique is that you have written it. I read this and I loved it and I know it is in your voice, your style, your rhythm. Another favourite of mine that you have written is Two Earthly Kingdoms, and there are some parallels between these pieces, but only in such a way that it is evident you have written them. You've left your mark on the words, and you've made them your own. I genuinely read your work and I feel like one day in the future I'll pick up a book in a shop and glance over it and I'll recognise your beautiful style, I'll know that you have written it because that's what you do - you make words your own.
I hope you know how talented you are. I hope you know that reading your work is special and that it creates these beautiful, mesmerising worlds for the reader. You have such a skill and its amazing to be able to be a part of it on this site ♥
I just glanced at my character count and Holy Heck I'm on less than 500 - I feel like I should have PM'd you that last paragraph but heyho. THINGS I NEED TO MENTION BEFORE I RUN OUT:
India - the sea as a painting - mint waves - JUST SPECTACULAR. I can see the brushstrokes
Midas in his hall of gold - an amazing, almost terrifying image. Everything is so real/unreal
Blackberries growing sour - I love this - even though they feel immortal like statues and gods, they will fade & change - they are merely of the earth too
Keep writing - always ♥
Ok ok I'm almost out of letters! Sorry for this absolutely insane lame review, but thank you for writing this.
YOU ARE LITERALLY AMAZING. ♥
Hey Aph! Here for our review swap! Sorry it took so long, but I had a last minute work emergency this morning.
First of all, I’m once again blown away by the poetic quality of your writing. Your prose reads like poetry, it’s just so stunningly beautiful and captivating. There’s not a word out of place, not a single awkward phrase. Everything fits together and works magic on the reader. Seriously, you have an amazing gift. And writing in second person! I could never do that. Seriously, that first bit from Grindlewald’s point of view was one of the best things I’ve read in a while. Actually, all of Grindlewald’s bits are absolute gold.
All those bits of Roman mythology, history, Christianity references, and art references in this made my heart squeal a little. I’m an art history major so all that seriously made me so happy! And it works beautifully with what you’re saying here. I love the comparison of Albus to Prometheus. It’s a perfect metaphor for his everlasting suffering and constant punishment. I was reminded of when Albus drank the potion and the memories of his sister’s death. It was a really beautiful part.
The love between Grindlewald and Dumbledore is just so beautiful. They truly love each other but everything tore them apart, Grindlewald’s own ambition tore them apart, which is tragic, because he once focused all that ambition of Albus.
“I would have built empires for you, levelled mountains, crossed seas and volcanoes barefoot.” I thought this line was just so perfect. It shows that Grindlewald thinks love is grand gestures, big displays, monumental feats for the one you love. But Albus is broken and he can never be put back together no matter how many statues Grindlewald erects for him or how many kingdoms he conquers in his name. It is tragic and heartbreaking, but so beautiful and amazing.
Thank you for sharing this marvellous story, Aph. Your writing just blows me away and I’ll definitely be favourting this.