Ok, I am horrible horrible horrible. This challenge was literally years ago but I couldn't get to it and it kept getting harder and harder to regroup and now here I am in 2019 reviewing it and I am horrible.
The story though... the story is NOT HORRIBLE.
What I mean is, the story is beautiful.
The style of this is just amazing. I cannot think of a single fic writer I'd be more afraid to take inspiration from than Aph, and yet you make it look easy. While I ladore your regular style and would be very sad for you not to write in your natural voice most of the time, I do agree that the quote you received for the challenge has a very Gellert ring to it. And this style just works so well for him and Dumbledore.
Really, the language is beautiful, and regardless of your inspiration, that talent is all your own. I think with long, descriptive sentence, it's important to 'listen' for the rhythm of the language, to make it sound just right. And you did that so perfectly. not a note out of place. *swoon*
I really love how to wrote Gellert's character in this. Because his love for Albus is conveyed with so much emotion and depth - but so is his lust for power.
This sentence, for example:
"You and I, Albus, we would have turned the world to ashes and risen together, phoenixes, standing high above the ruins, ready to take our rightful places and rule."
^This shows how much he wants to be with Albus, how much he longs for that - but he cannot separate that longing from his longing to be in control. It's sociopathic and sad and perfect.
The use of the quote is excellent. I think you made a perfect choice of character and theme to go with it, and you incorporated it so seamlessly into your own voice that I wouldn't even have know it wasn't yours if I hadn't set the challenge.
I also have to mention to brilliance of the first and last lines. The first questions Albus, dares him to claim happiness in a situation that Gellert doubts could satisfy him. But the final sentence turns that on his head, admitting that his own tower. which he did not enter by choice, is probably for the best. He doubts Albus' victory... but then admits his own defeat. It's really a wonderfully provoking transition.
No surprise coming from you, since everything you write is stupendous, but I really loved this. Really great job!
Renee! You really don't need to apologise - I'd kind of forgotten that I wrote this for a challenge anyway and I had a lot of fun writing it. Plus, I totally understand that life gets in the way and things that pile up can start to seem overwhelming, so you don't need to worry about it <3
Laura is... incredible. And writing something inspired by her work was kind of (very) intimidating, but equally, as soon as I saw that quote, Gellert was really the only character I could think of for it. And when I think of Gellert (and Albus), I think of Laura, and certain lines started coming to me as I thought about it, so it kind of spiralled from there. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it, despite me attempting (and probably slightly butchering - let's face it, nobody can do it as well as her) to emulate Laura's style.
It was so fascinating to explore the different facets of Gellert's character in this story, though - the aspects that you mentioned here, his love for Albus and his lust for power - were so interesting to play with. They really seem to contrast and war with each other, and I could easily imagine Gellert trying to find ways to believe that he could have married his two greatest desires and succeeded in every aspect. And then, of course, the irony is that he didn't succeed in either of them, in the end, and in a way Albus was the one to put a stop to both of those wishes.
I'm so happy that you enjoyed this story, Renee, and the way that I used the quote for it too - it means so much because you're such a wonderful writer and I loved the quotes and challenge! Thank you so much for my place in it and this wonderful review!
Hi, I’m here for QuodPot Match 1! :)
Alrighty so first off, I loved the writing style you used here! It almost reads like a letter to Dumbledore from Gellert, even a love letter, almost. The endearing “mein Liebling” term throughout made it feel as though it was Gellert speaking or thinking in one single moment in time, without time to edit. Even though there isn’t any direct dialogue, it’s not necessary for how you’ve stylized this piece. Gellert mentions something Dumbledore said, as an indirect quote, which is for the challenge you entered this into, but that flowed so well with the rest of the story I didn’t even realize it was entered for a challenge until I read your author’s note at the end. It felt so Dumbledore-like :P The biggest thing I love about this piece is Gellert’s consistent pausing to say the terms of endearment, as if he’s speaking directly to Dumbledore rather than it just being a letter or him talking to himself in his cell at Nurmegard. It all just flows so well together and feel so in-character (at least how I picture them) for him to reminisce back to that summer with Dumbledore, and how things changed drastically when Gellert rose to power and Dumbledore had to defeat him.
Overall, very well done and I look forward to reading more of your writing in the future! :)
I'm so pleased that you liked the style I used for this story! It was really inspired by Aph's writing and then grew up from the quote which I was given for the challenge. I wanted it to read almost like a letter, so I'm really happy you thought that! Given how much time Gellert has had to reflect on his past and his relationship with Albus, and all the what-could-have-beens, it made sense for me to use him as the narrator to explore their story together and the way that he felt about what had - or hadn't - happened for the two of them. It was so much fun to write, and so interesting - I love the idea that they have this love-hate relationship, that in a way they hate what the other has done or become, and yet they still love each other from afar, knowing that it can't ever be more than that now, almost loving in spite of who the person is. It's so fascinating to write and I'm so pleased you picked up on the way I was trying to frame their relationship here, and that you enjoyed this story!
Thank you so much for a wonderful review!
It's been a dreadfully long time since I've been to your AP, so I thought I'd stop by and leave you a review. When I saw that you'd written Gellert, I knew I had to read it.
OMG. THIS IS STUNNING! SERIOUSLY, HOW DO YOU WRITE LIKE THIS?!!
I'm glad you mentioned L'Optimisme in your author's note because I was going to comment on how well this goes with Aph's writing! I think you did a beautiful job with his character and keeping him consistent with your inspiration.
I also loved that Gellert is so nostalgic and sad about the loss of Albus' love. I like the idea of him sitting in a tower and learning to regret how things ended up. The parallel to the princess locked in a tower was nice as well.
The description in this was just stunning. I never can figure out how to write like that and I'm insanely jealous of this ability of yours. You just have this magical way with words. It's like they just flow so naturally and beautifully.
This was truly a treat to read as all of your writing is. Now, go write more!
Ah! *blushes* You're too nice to me, as always.
L'optimisme and all of Aph's writing were really strong inspirations for this story, and it's kind of hard not to be inspired to at least try and write something beautiful when that's what's inspiring you. The quote that I was given seemed to work so well with this pairing, and I really liked exploring the way that Gellert was nostalgic and introspective, thinking about his history with Albus and how things might have ended differently.
Thank you so much for this lovely review!
I have a soft spot for Dumbledore x Grindelwald pairings, so naturally, I wanted to stop here, but I haven't found anything told from Gridelwald's perspective yet. The sad tale about what could have been is perfect, Gellert believing that the two of them could rule together, unconquerable, and he's probably not too far off the mark, mastering death, as it's put. I can sense the resentment that Gellert is feeling, the loss and the sense of betrayal. Perhaps his downfall was ignoring Albus' doubts about everything, overlooking the prospect that he would be the one to end his reign. And, of course, the idea that Gellert could hate Albus after this, but still love him, works really well with the tone of this. I can definitely see how Gellert could feel as though Albus has wasted his talents by not using them to rule, but Gellert and Albus' minds are more different than I expect Gellert really know, despite how well he believes he knows him. And the ending, while comparing Albus to both the savior and the witch, while Grindelwald is the one being held captive by his love for Albus, and yet, Ablus never comes for him.
Yep, this was really awesome. The voice, the imagery, the ship, the sadness--it's going to my favorites!
I think Aphoride's page is the place to go if you want to read an Albus/Gellert story (but you probably already know that - everyone should know that), and this was really heavily inspired by her writing (and her gorgeous descriptions). For me, Gellert is easier to write purely because we know less about him and his character, and Dumbledore just scares me a bit :P If you hadn't guessed, I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to writing major canon characters.
It was so much fun to explore Gellert's thoughts in this story, and I thought it made sense for him to be so introspective since he's so isolated and has so much time to think about himself. It's almost terrifying to think about what Albus and Gellert would have achieved if they had been together and succeeded in their original plans, and I think that's what Gellert is most bitter about. For a few months, the two of them had everything, their future was so close - and then it never happened, and the resentment as a result is really strong. The idea that you can hate and love someone at the same time always fascinates me, and I think it's especially true for these two, so I'm glad that you liked that!
Thank you so much for this lovely review!
^ I was going to have that be my whole review but you do deserve more than that :P But honestly, I'm speechless! This is an incredible story - I'm in awe of your writing style here. It flows so perfectly. (And yes, I can see where you got your inspiration from Aph, but you've also put your own distinct style in here and it's just so easy to read and beautifully crafted. Teach me your ways! *insert heart eyes emoji*
I love the tone you used in this - at some times it's wishful, other times nostalgic, but mostly it reads as a lament. As Gellert is thinking over what used to be and what could have been, his thoughts are definitely coloured through the lens of time. Although he regrets what never happened, there's also somewhat of a peace to his thoughts because he's come to terms with where he is and how things will go. I also lovedthe comparison of Gellert's imprisonment in Nurmengard to Albus' self-imposed "imprisonment" among all these young people who will never understand him or truly see what he's capable of.
It really makes me think, because I imagine Dumbledore enjoyed his position as headmaster and that he was happy there, but reading this makes me wonder if Albus ever aspired to be anything greater. we know he turned down the role of Minister for Magic (I think? I'm pretty sure) but by Gellert's testimony here ad what we know of Albus from canon, Albus was always a brilliant person who made history in academia (with the dragon's blood uses) and in dueling (with Gellert himself) - I wonder if Gellert has a point that Albus was never challenged as headmaster and I wonder if he felt something was missing. It's clear that Gellert thinks this, anyway.
The introspectiveness of this piece is also very appropriate, given that Gellert has had so much time in prison when he can't really do anything else, so he looks back on his life, the best things that he's still proud of, and the things he dreamed but never achieved. It's interesting too how he clearly has no regret or changed mind about his purposes as a youth, he doesn't regret trying to rule the world. It seems he just reflects upon his relative naivety as a youth and regrets that Albus changed his ways and ruined the plans. It's a very arrogant thing for Gellert to think, but also very fitting and not unexpected. It's cool how you managed to weave in this arrogance while still keeping the tone of the story so light and reflective - it's such a great balance.
So yeah, this story is amazing. Well done ♥
Laura's writing is just incredible, so it's very easy to be inspired by her writing and style - the fact that you loved the inspiration and thought I'd still managed to maintain my own writing style in this story means a lot!
When I got the quote for this challenge, I think my first thought for someone speaking it was Dumbledore. The story grew from there, and it made a lot of sense to me to have Gellert working as the narrator in this story, especially with how reflective and introspective the piece is. Like you said, he's stuck in prison, and he's had a long time to think over his life, and slowly come to terms with his situation. I don't believe he really regretted what he'd done when he was younger, more that he hadn't achieved all he set out to, especially with Albus, so it was fascinating to explore that idea and see him tracing back over his steps and his life.
Dumbledore being a teacher, in my opinion, probably started as a self-imposed imprisonment, like Gellert says. I think he had genuinely acknowledged how close he'd come to joining Gellert, and what that had cost him, and he tried to not only keep himself safe, but others, too. I suspect he probably did have moments when he thought about what he might have achieved, away from Hogwarts, but equally, I think Gellert might be a little arrogant in assuming that he regrets that choice. Teaching is one of the most difficult and rewarding professions that there is (and I have so much admiration for anyone who can do it) and I think that Albus probably got a lot more from it than Gellert could probably understand.
Thank you so much for this amazing review! <3
This was about to turn into a review where I just quote pretty much the entire thing back to you, so I just need you to know that almost every sentence is perfect.
I know how much you love Laura's poetic writing (who doesn't, really?) and I can honestly say you have chanelled it so perfectly. I hope she's super happy with this. It reads as beautifully as hers does, but still has your wonderful style, and together they've created something drool-worthy.
I love how Gellert reflects on who Albus was and who he is now, and that age has changed them. I love the bits in German!
Argh and there's the quote you were given! I can definitely see how you thought of Grindelwald straight away, I think it couldn't be said by anyone else but Dumbledore.
This was so so amazing, Sian! You did such an amazing job, and good luck in the challenge!
Ah, that's so sweet, thank you! Channelling Laura's style was so much fun but also a bit nerve-wracking, because obviously she's amazing and trying to emulate anything like that is difficult. I'm really happy you thought I managed to capture the spirit of her descriptions but still write something in my own style.
Gellert's reflections were so interesting to write in this - it was almost meandering, and very introspective, but I thought it fit him so well in the position that he's in. When I got the quote I couldn't really think of any other characters who would fit it as well, and the story grew up from there. I'm so pleased you liked the way I used the quote and the story!
Thank you <3