Hello again, Laura! I’ve battled another Niffler for this review!
I think I asked this question in my review for L’optimisme (which I spelt wrong in the review, omg I am so embarrassed), but are Albus and Gellert writing letters to each other? Or are they just super dramatic and enjoy raging in soliloquy at one another? Or, the likeliest of options, in my opinion, is that they’re just very dramatic journal-writers :P
The grandness and eloquence of your writing raises the stakes of their story to such heights, that I can’t help but think of them as drama queens. Obviously, you write this way for literary effect, but when I try and imagine these two as actual people, and if I knew this was what their internal monologue sounded like, I’d just laugh, and laugh, and laugh. This is by no way to disparage your writing. I think it’s very beautiful and lovely, and your descriptions are always so on point! I guess I’m just imagining characters in an epic tale that spans decades as ordinary people, and that’s why I’m feeling this weird disconnect from them as people.
You write from Gellert’s point of view very sympathetically. I was wondering what your reasoning is for this? Perhaps it’s revealed in the other stories in this series, but I was curious (and impatient, lol). I imagine him as a bit of a sociopath who’s super manipulative, and therefore I always think that Gellert meant more to Albus, than Albus meant to Gellert. It’s clear that he views the end of their relationship as Albus abandoning him, in many senses, but he still spends so much time dwelling over their shared romantic past. I’d be interested to read your take on a more overtly manipulative Gellert. Perhaps, once again, you have written him as such, and I simply need to find that story :P If you have, please point me in its direction!
Hi there Aph!
I'm here from the Claw common room BvB to leave you a review. Although I'm not sure I can do your amazing writing justice. There are a handful of authors on the site that I think are far and above the rest of us stumbling, bumbling writers. You are at the top of that list. Where I struggle for words and phrases and every minute detail, you create entire canvases in one stroke. I am in awe. Everytime I read your work I truly feel that you are on another plane.
The conflict of good and evil is the crux of the Harry Potter series. J.K.R. laid us out a beautiful story that make us cheer for the honorable Harry and decry the atrocities of Voldemort. But this. This place where Albus and Gellert challenge the boudaries of magic and humanity, this is a tale. Their intelligence alone allows them to go beyond mere mortals and combined with their passion for each other, it's pure fire.
One of my absolute favorite things about fan fiction is getting to explore the nuances of characters and their motivations and pasts - either through writing or reading them. I will never be able to write Gellert and Albus, becuase you've done it in such a masterful way that it's beyond headcanon. Can I coin the term "soulcanon?" =) Gah! The lines are so blurred when you're in love and you feel the combined power of you and your lover and your magic - it's no wonder that Albus felt such deep regret and your telling of this only makes me love him so much more. Where Harry grudginingly had to lean on others to get through his monumental task, Albus had to bring himself back, and he had to protect the wizarding world and he had to not give in to the temptations of his heart.
This was so beautiful and moving. As always, you leave me in awe.
EEE I DID NOT REALISE THERE WAS A CHAPTER 3 ALREADY AND I AM THRILLED TO SEE IT
also happy holidays ♥
Okay. I have to say, though, before I begin - when I leave reviews for you, after reading this gorgeous work of art you've written, I feel like I'm about as eloquent as a troll. :P Be prepared for the word 'amazing' about 40x in a row because that's probably what my review will be.
This is a beautiful chapter. Once again there's a marked difference in tone between this and the previous chapter, and in a way the differences between tone in the chapters are the only way the story marks the passage of time. Otherwise, with the stream of consciousness and all the flashbacks and introspection, time is irrelevant to the story. And it's only the difference in narration between chapters one and three that indicates that a lot of time has passed,, and Gellert is still sitting there in prison, trapped with his thoughts. His earlier bitterness got him nowhere, and the lack of remorse he showed earlier didn't really get him anywhere either, as he's still there, alive but with no point to it anymore, and perhaps that's what gives him the feeling that he's still got unfinished business - like, what he's living now can't be all there is left, and I think that's what eventually drives him to feel remorse as he does at the end. In earlier chapters he kind of gave the impression that he wouldn't change a thing, but this chapter I think shows him at his most vulnerable, and I especially loved the part where he wonders how things would have been, how they could have been if only things were different. If they could have stayed together. How he would have changed and how Albus would have changed. This is such an interesting thing to think about, too, because it would have changed basically the whole course of wizarding history - Gellert and Albus' history together had a huge effect on what sort of people they turned out to be. (Like, would there even be a HP series? Probably, but Dumbledore wouldn't have been as invested in Harry's life and wouldn't be near as famous as he is. But I digress.)
I watched everything, drinking it all in: the way the candles played over the old, darkened stone, exposing the rivets carved in the columns, the cracks here and there where time had bitten down and tugged, the sunlight winking and dancing on edges and lines of gold. With every handful of halting, beating steps, stained glass windows would throw a new kaleidoscope across the stone flagons, across the benches and the statues of saints: jigsaws of blue and red, yellow and green and royal, plum purple. - this is probably the most beautiful description I have ever heard.
I don't really have anything else intelligent to say, only that I loved this so much and I'm so glad you were my gifter when we did the gift challenge - I'm very lucky. So glad I had a chance to read this. Thank you so much for this amazing (amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing) story. (I wasn't kidding about all the amazings :P )
*Transferred from HPFF*
Team Werewolf Review for HPFT
I'm so sorry it's taken me ages to read this chapter after all the hard work you're doing writing this story for me! But I'm here now and ready to love this chapter.
A question for the philosophers – though it will never reach them: the wind will have it first and it will vanish from me forever, lost somewhere amongst the peaks of the Alps, embedded into tiny, diamond snowflakes, coalescing around the spires of mountains ten thousand feet high and a hundred years away. -- there are about a hundred instances of your amazing imagery that I could point out but this one particularly stood out to me. If I quoted all the passages I liked it would be the entire chapter quoted back to you, but I just had to say (for like, the 1000th time I'm sure) how lyrical and beautiful and evocative your writing is. I never fail to get lost in it because it just draws me in so well.
Once again I really love the parallels of the tone of the chapter with the original work. Similarly to how the first chapter had a lot of fire imagery and felt a lot more bitter, this one is sort of... thoughtful, tired, unsure, a bit more vulnerable, and that fits so well with the idea of Purgatory (at least what I know of it.) Gellert is just stuck there, waiting, whether for death or rebirth he can't say. All he can do to pass the time is think, and naturally with not much of a future awaiting him aside from just wasting away in Nurmengard, he thinks a lot about the past. It's simultaneously nostalgic as he thinks about better days, and sad because those days are over, sort of tainted by their falling out, and the knowledge that both of them living the same life as youths went such different ways that Albus ended up respected and admired while Gellert rots in prison. Honestly, it's easy to understand Gellert's perspective here. His lack of remorse aside, he doesn't deny that they did things wrong but why is he the only one made to suffer like that for it? (Of course, he can only guess at how much Albus is tortured by what he did back then. Albus may not be in prison but he's certainly living with a weight on his shoulders.)
The stream of consciousness works SO well for this story, too. That sort of narration kind of takes the reader out of the passage of time and makes it feel unimportant, which is really appropriate for a narrator who's been imprisoned for so long he's probably lost track of time anyway.
So anyway, ah, I love this chapter. Thank you once again for dedicating such a wonderful story to me ♥
*Transferred from HPFF*
Where to start! Aah, this is just... amazing.
I love all the metaphors and imagery and the flame motif that occurs throughout. Your writing style, as always, is incredible - it's so rich and layered and so unique. There are about 50 lines in this chapter I'd love to quote back to you in my review, and most of them are long, and I think it'd probably end up being the whole chapter quoted back to you by the time I finished! But every line you write, every phrase, it's so well crafted and practically a work of art - a complex weaving of description and metaphor in every sentence. I don't know how you do it. You're such a talented writer.
The way this story draws inspiration from the Divine Comedy and mirrors Hell in Gellert's imprisonment in Nurmengard - this is so brilliant and I love the way you wove the themes of suffering and religion and atonement. I find it very believable that Gellert would not regret the actions of his past self nor have any want to atone for them. And in this he seems to have some sort of bitter enjoyment in the idea that Albus is probably trapped in suffering too, guilt about his past. While Gellert is trapped in the physical building of Nurmengard, which is Hell for him, Albus is no less trapped but it's in his own mind, as he can't forgive himself, and that's a brilliant juxtaposition, especially the way you enhanced it by interspersing the fire imagery. The style, and the way you worked those themes together so cohesively, are really admirable.
I also love that you had a few sentences in there about Gellert thinking about his parents and his sisters and brothers. I think, due to the fact that he arrived in Godric's Hollow alone when he met Albus, it's easy to forget that he had a family back home, and that he wasn't just a completely independent, solitary being. What I loved was how something as simple as him remembering his family puts him in such a different context than he is usually portrayed in.
Tell me, what makes something right? ... -- this whole paragraph is so, so good. What does make something right? A question even the philosophers have never figured out, and it's just so interesting here because probably some of those questions apply to Gellert, who, after all, probably thought he was doing the right thing. Its not like his Muggle domination thing was like "Imma just be really evil because I can"; he thought he was doing something for the 'greater good', however deluded he was in its correctness. But yeah, what is it that defines good? The intent? The ratio of beneficial/harmful outcomes? this is just such an interesting thing to think about and I love that you included that subject in here and in this context.
Ooh also I noticed that mention of Albus being half English and half Indian, which I'm sure is a reference to that one-shot you wrote about Kendra (which I loved, btw) and I loved that little connection there :)
Thank you for writing this beautiful story for me. ♥ Your dedication was so sweet, btw! I'm so lucky to have had you as my gifter :) And you're a wonderful friend too! *hugs*