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Thread: Gellert Grindelwald -- Warning: Some Slash Discussion

  1. #1

    Gellert Grindelwald -- Warning: Some Slash Discussion

    I couldn't find a thread for him, so I made one.

    So, Grindelwald. Before DH, we knew next to nothing about him, except that Dumbledore defeated him and he may have contributed to WWII. However, in DH we learned about his whole background and history with Dumbledore, his belief in Wizard dominance, and his quest for the Deathly Hallows.

    There's obviously a lot to explore here. His personality seems very vibrant--he's described as having a "wild and gleeful look about him", and the Lexicon describes him as "wildly brilliant". He was obviously a very intelligent and skilled wizard, nearly on par with Dumbledore. He was probably very outgoing and loud and mischevious as a teen, but obviously had a bit of a darker side. That dark side got him kicked out of Durmstrang, resurfaced during the duel with the Dumbledores, and took over after he fled.

    Do you think he was just like Voldemort? Cruel and heartless and pure evil? I'm inclined to say not: he had a true friendship when he was young, and they say he showed remorse in his later years. His obsession with the Hallows seems to have dominated his life, and I think he had potential all along to do some bad things, but I don't think he was inherently evil. He probably truly believed what he was doing was "for the greater good".

    What about his relationship with Dumbledore? Whatever your thoughts on the Dumbledore being gay "issue", did Grindelwald truly care for Albus or his family? One interesting thing that most people don't notice is that Grindelwald is actually two years younger than Albus. Albus was seventeen at the beginning of the summer and turned eighteen sometime in July or August; Grindelwald was sixteen when he was kicked out of Durmstrang and "traveled about for some months", there is a possibility that he turned seventeen during this time, so they could be anywhere from about two years to a little less than a year apart (if I have done my calcualtions correctly; but I am horrible with that sort of thing).

    Anyway, I'd love to see some discussion on what y'all think of Gellert Grindelwald as a character. I don't exactly have specific discussion questions, but feel free to make some up.


  2. #2
    Hey Analisical, what an awesome idea. I too was looking around for some sort of an Albus/Gellert discussion and imagine my joy at finding this thread.

    First off, when I found out about Albus, I got kind of obsessed with finding out what happened between the two (possibly) greatest wizards of their time. I even have a fic up about them.

    Do you think he was like Voldemort?

    I really don't think so. Voldemort was evil through and through because of a) how he was concieved not out of love but a potion, b) nobody ever loved him so he had no idea of it's power and c) he only wanted to reign supreme.

    True, we don't know much about Gellert but the little that we do know leads me to think that he was a bit (maybe a bit more) power hungry and wanted to take over but, like you said, he thought he was doing it for the good of the world. And all the killings and such he saw as necassary to bring about the new wold order. Quite different from Voldemort because he never cared about the world as long as it did what he commanded.

    Do you think Gellert had actual feelings for Albus?

    Yes, hence the whole combine and conquer scheme. Gellert liked power and wouldn't just share it with anyone. It would take somneone who a) understood him, b) understood his cause and c) someone Gellert thought worthy of the honour.

    And needless to say, Albus fit that description perfectly. It is very likely that Gellert actually really liked (if not loved) Albus but it just didn't turn into anything more because of the lack of time these two had together, and the whole Arianna business of course.

    I think at some point, Gelleret misjudged Albus and thought that if given the choice, Albus would side with hism instead of his family (no doubt brought about by the fact that Albus complained about his family to Gellert) and therefore had to flee when Arianna died because he knew that Albus wanted nothing more to do with him.



  3. #3
    I agree with you on the "not really evil" part.

    I, myself, believe he brainwashed himself into believing that everything would be wonderful and delightful if Wizards dominated the world - "The Greater Good" as you have said. So my question is,

    Why do you think he believed in Wizard dominance so strongly? Why did he want the Wizards to be the rulers of muggles everywhere? Why not they live in peace?

    As for his relationship for Dumbledore, I believe he was attracted to having friendships with people as smart as he was, since he and Dumbledore were very evenly matched in wits and intelligence, not to mention when they dueled.

    Although I believe he cared for Dumbledore, I don't think he was ever truly caring for Albus' younger sister, Ariana. She was a Squib, after all, and it is mentioned that Squibs were not really accepted in the Wizarding World back then. I think that Gellert seemed to be nice to Ariana to gain Albus' support in dictatorship and their plot for Wizard dominance.

    I think he had some similarities to Voldemort, but not enough to classify him as evil - yes, he was power-hungry, yes, he wanted dominance over Non-magical peoples, but he didn't want to reign supreme over the entire world! He was obsessed with the Hallows, which is sort of why he was so power-hungry, but it wasn't of his own free will.

    Love to see where this thread goes!


  4. #4
    Why do you think he believed in Wizard dominance so strongly? Why did he want the Wizards to be the rulers of muggles everywhere? Why not they live in peace?

    This is a very good question, and it's very interesting to get into just why, if he was not inherently so like Voldemort, did he turn "evil"?

    We don't know where he originally got the idea about Wizarding dominance; however Durmstrang has an unfortunate reputation for tolerating the Dark Arts and it wouldn't be unfeasible that he picked it up there, though at what time in his life is anyone's guess. We don't know the background story, if he thought it up on his own, somebody mentioned the idea in passing, or he was sort of tutored exstensively, but he seems to me like the sort of person who would latch onto such a thing quite easily. It may have taken some convincing, but once he was convinced, I'm sure he was all for it.

    Some of it just comes down to personality: some people are born with a darker/meaner side than others. Some of it comes down to his upbringing; I think from the fact that he left Germany or wherever after being expelled from Durmstrang may tell us that his home life was probably far from perfect. I think a large part was the way he obsessed over the Hallows.

    Where and how he learned about them is unknown, but the way he and Albus seemed to obsess over them was probably something he had been doing for some time, and even more so after he met Albus who already knew and cared about them or picked up on the idea quite quickly after Gellert taught him. The idea of the Hallows is a dangerous one in the first place--through Dumbledore we've seen how it can make you lose your head, in a manner of speaking. An invincible wand, a stone that could bring people back from the dead...the idea is so tantalizing it could probably drive people mad; and it certainly caused Grindelwald to do things he shouldn't have, like things so bad he got kicked out of Durmstrang.

    After the Dumbledore fiasco I think he pretty much gave himself entirely over to the Hallows, to his plans for Wizarding dominance, and these sort of things, when combined with his natural intelligence and agression, are an easy path to the "Dark Side".

    Sorry if that made no sense; blame it all on my lack of sleep.

    His relationship with Dumbledore is an interesting one, whether you look at it as romantic or not. On the plain friendship side, I'm sure Gellert was thrilled to finally find someone his age who actually got him, who was his equal intelligence-wise and able to keep up and think of new ideas right alongside him. Unlike Voldemort, I doubt Gellert would really have minded sharing power with Albus. I'm sure it would have been a lot less lonely to him than what actually ended up happening. He probably didn't much care for Aberforth, who he'd see simply not as his equal, barely above the status of Muggle. As for Ariana, he most likely pitied her, and acted politely to her. But overall Albus was the only one "worthy" of him.

    If you do look at it romantically, I'm inclined to say that Gellert was probably aware of Albus's feeling for him, whether or not Albus himself was at first. I think these feelings may have even been returned. I don't remember all of what Jo said in interviews, but fan fic authors would probably (my, I'm using that word a lot) find it well within canon for the two of them to actually build some sort of relationship during this time. Jo herself knew it was coming, you know.

    I think Grindelwald is a fascinating character to explore, and I'd love to hear more of what everyone thinks.


  5. #5
    Yay! A Grindelwald thread! Anyways, here are my two cents:

    I personally think that the major difference between Grindelwald and Voldemort revolves around the motto: “for the Greater Good”.

    Voldemort was never for a greater good at all, all he sought was personal vengeance over the Muggles that had abandoned his mother and stuck him to suffer in an orphanage. He wanted power for the sake of power, because it brought him a sense of purpose and, possibly, a final sense of peace he could never seem to find.

    Grindelwald, on the other hand, seemed to have thoughts that were merely on the wrong track. As someone that was both intelligent and a Wizard, he automatically assumed that Wizards were more intelligent than Muggles, which is almost understandable, seeing as Muggle technology can’t do half of what magic can.

    So young Grindelwald looks at the world around him and decides: this place would be a whole lot better if Muggles could just look up at Wizards, who are obviously supreme, and if the Wizards would in turn look after the Muggles. But how do you make one group of people submit to another when they obviously wouldn’t want to, even if it is for their own good? And then Grindelwald has a revelation. If he were in charge of everything, he would do much better than the current government. He would make them all obey, but he would be fair. He would be uncorrupted.

    He starts a sort of “propaganda” at school, and is expelled. This matters little to him, because he considers the people who run Durmstrang to be close-minded, with little stomache for a social revolution.

    Parallel to this, he is also enchanted by the idea of the Hallows. It is “only a legend”, but he grabs onto every clue that indicates that they might exist. There is a noble side to this search, the idea of a quest. With the Hallows, he would be able to govern his dream government properly…

    And thus begins the search for power, even though Grindelwald hardly even realises it. He meets Albus Dumbledore and relishes the fact that someone with almost equal intelligence seems to accept his ideas so readily. Dumbledore is proof that others, the high-thinkers of society, will support him…

    What the ultimate problem was with Grindelwald was the fact that his ideas needed all the power to be in the hands of one man, and were therefore the bases for a dictatorship. He simply got overwhelmed by it all until he didn’t even know what he was fighting for anymore: silencing all opposition became a reflex.

    So I think that Grindelwald really was “for the greater good” all along. It was both the methods he used to arrive to his ideal, and the social hierarchy it was based on, that were flawed.


  6. #6

    My two knuts worth

    When it comes to Gellert Grindelwald the fact that the name seems to indicate that he has an Austrian/German background is significant. Dumbledore defeated him in 1945 which was around the time the second world war was ending. The two dates coincide, so one would postulate that Grindelwald may have had a hand in the sudden rise of the Nazi party. Given the fact that for all intents and purposes Hitler was a no talent bigoted idiot! There has often been speculation that there was a hand behind the scenes. So the climatic battle between Dumbledore and Grindlewald would have been something that was inevitable for the good of the world. I am willing to bet, that for his day, Grindelwald was VERY scary indeed. I am willing to further bet, that his reign of terror was devastatingly nasty and made Voldemort's look small scale. I find the fact that Krum flipped out over Grindelwald's symbol, almost forty-eight years after his defeat to the point of a fistfight with Xenophilius Lovegood shows that Gellert Grindelwald maybe have been the Hitler of the Wizarding World. My belief is, when Voldemort showed up to threaten Gellert, and Grindelwald got a look at the new "Dark Lord" he laughed because he thought this snake/man/thing was an amateur! To do damage to yourself in such a way. When you could be damaging the world? What a moron. Being killed by such a pitiful creature, what an end! To a man, who still haunted the nightmares of the wizards in that part of the world over fifty years later, that would have been a colossal joke!

    This is my thumbnail sketch of who I think Gellert Grindelwald was.

    A Zealot
    Loose Cannon

    There was some deep wound in his past put there by muggles. My guess is, it had something to do with a tragedy involving his or his families magic being misunderstood. In that part of the world they would burn anyone at the stake for witchcraft at the drop of a hat in the early part of the twentieth century! Especially in the countryside where the combination of superstition and religion was very potent! I am thinking he didn't come from a background of privilege, so a rural, agrarian, village childhood would be my guess. The psychological implications of a boy this brilliant growing up around simple superstitious folk, who in an act of ignorance destroyed his family, would produce the needed skill set to be a very scary, very bigoted, very motivated Dark Lord!

    And would also explain his "sympathy" for Ariana's condition and how she got there.

    In short, Grindelwald was the flip side of Dumbledore, every bit the great wizard, but he had the whole bad boy thing going, which is why Dumbledore lost his head over him for a while. But in the end this was a tragic pairing on an epic scale, and when they met the entire world was at stake! Especially since Gellert had the Elder Wand! The only person in the world who could stop Gellert was Albus in his prime. Seeing that an elderly Dumbledore could fight Voldemort to a stand-off, tells me that Lord Voldemort would not have stood a chance against Grindelwald. Gellert Grindelwald was The Dark Lord of the twentieth century.

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Vindictus Viridian

    Somewhat adult material here...

    Not too long ago I came across an article on coded homosexuality in Dracula -- the gist was, when looking at anything taking place after 1895 or so, "wild" is a code word. It was used to refer to the passions of Wilde, those for which Oscar Wilde had been arrested. With that in mind -- it may be that Albus's love for Gellert wasn't altogether unrequited. I, for one, plan to ignore that part of the interviews! Anyway, Bathilda may have known more about her nephew than it was altogether polite for someone of her generation to recount. For that matter, she might not have had a better way to say it all, even under Veritaserum. She called Gellert wild at least once, possibly several times, and may not have just meant "a little mad."

    Though I'd say there's a distinct possibility he was, either naturally or environmentally.

    How do you suppose he came to yield the Elder Wand to his (former?) friend? Rita Skeeter called the story a Dungbomb, and I'm working on an idea for that, but I'm curious what everyone else imagined at that point.

    (Yes, I'm the one who added the warning to the thread header. It seemed a good idea.)

  8. #8
    How do you suppose he came to yield the Elder Wand to his (former?) friend? Rita Skeeter called the story a Dungbomb, and I'm working on an idea for that, but I'm curious what everyone else imagined at that point.
    What my sleep-deprived mind remembers about the wand in question.

    -- The wand is the most powerful one in history and is almost guaranteed to win any duel (with the exception of the one mentioned on the chocolate frog card which makes me wonder if the duel in question did involve wands as that would rather defeat the purpose of having and unbeatable wand).

    -- It passes through bloodshed (though this can easily be because of it's powers that make it so highly prized).

    -- It choses the wizard (in the way that all wands chose the wizards as explained in wand lore).

    -- It doesn't serve as well to other as it does it's true master (possibly, as all wands).

    We know that Albus and Gellert were obsessed with the Hallows. They spent the majority of their time searching and (evidently) continued their search after they had parted ways. So I think Albus would have not anly had an inkling of where the wand was but also knew very well how to recognise it. So Gellert may not have had to 'yield' it. It may be that Gellert didn't know that Albus had realisd the origins of the wand.

    Also, it seemed common knowledge (at least among wandmakers) that Gregorovitch was in posession of the wand or suspected to be. If this knowledge reached Gellert who stole the wand, then it's pretty safe to assume it would reach Albus too.

    /My two knuts.=Sammy

  9. #9
    I'm reviving this thread due to a fic regarding Grindewald's attempted takeover of the wizarding world.

    It's kind of background noise for my fic, but what I'm really interested in what the details of Grindewald's reign would have been. Was his takeover as complete as that of Voldemort's many years later? Did he ever take the Ministry? What was it like for the people who lived at that time? Magical? Muggle? How long was his reign of terror?

    I was also wondering if anyone knew how old Dumbledore was at the time of his final battle with Grindewald?

    Thanks for your help!

  10. #10
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
    Setting Off Fireworks in Potions Class
    Tim the Enchanter's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    ¡El planeta de los simios!

    Grindelwald is a Git

    Well, I happen to be writing a Grindelwald-era fic (Für Das Größere Wohl), and I have given this subject quite a bit of thought. This is what I think about Grindelwald.

    Let's start with the easy part first. To answer your last question, ashestoashes, Rowling said that Dumbledore was born in about 1881, making him around 64 years old when he fought Grindelwald in 1945.

    Now that that's done with, let's go back to this mad German. Though he is undoubtedly an evil wizard like Voldemort, I believe that Grindelwald had a very different ideology. He saw the world as very black-and-white; on one side, you have the *WIZARDS!*, but opposing them are the Muggles. He saw all witches and wizards, regardless of blood status, as being infinitely better than Muggles, who he saw as being responsible for the wizarding world's problems.

    I don't see Grindelwald as one who forcibly took power, like Voldemort. Instead, he came to power in Germany legitimately, armed with an ideology that appealed to the masses, but was very vague and sometimes contradicted itself. For instance, he attracted the support of Muggle-borns by promising them new rights and freedoms, including opening up Durmstrang to Muggle-born students for the first time. For the traditional, Pure-blood wizards, he preached a return to wizarding greatness, in which Muggles would be ruled by wizards. Obviously, many Pure-bloods opposed Grindelwald's extension of freedoms to Muggle-borns, but he in essence distracted them by emphasizing the power of magic, which is what sets the greater beings of wizards apart from Muggles.

    With the support of a good enough majority of the German people, Gellert Grindelwald became the Chancellor for Magic in 1933 (yes, I know that's the same year Hitler came to power. Sorry, I have no imagination when it comes to dates), and founded The Second Wizarding Reich, or Das Zweite Zauberereich. It is the "Second" one because the First Zauberereich ended with the implementation of the Statute of Secrecy, forcing wizards into hiding. Supposedly, during the First Wizarding Reich, wizards had dominance over Muggles, and since Grindelwald wants to restore the old order, his Germany is the Second Wizarding Reich.

    Grindelwald fancied himself to be a philanthropist - that's how he became Chancellor for Magic, after all. However, once in power, he quickly gets to work eliminating all opposition, so this is when things get scary if you aren't on good terms with the new regime. Grindelwald disbands the old Auror department (The Deutsche Zauberaufgabe-Gruppe - "German Wizard Task Group") and creates a new organization that is unwaveringly loyal to him, the Zauberische Verteidigungsmannschaft des Kanzlers - "Wizarding Defence Crew of the Chancellor." Their long and unwieldy name is shortened to ZVK, or they are commonly called the Mitternachtsmannschaft ("Midnight Crew"), referring to how they barge into people's homes in the dead of night to drag them off to Nurmengard.

    Anyway, Muggle-borns who reject Grindelwald's pan-wizard movement and like Muggles too much are sent to Nurmengard. Same thing happens to those traditional/fanatical Pure-bloods who can't stand the sight of Muggle-borns. In other words, Grindelwald forces his more extreme portions of his population to get along whether they like it or not, all in an effort to unite wizardkind for the ultimate struggle with the Muggles in the near future. Anyway, all signs of dissent are quickly quashed and kept quiet, but people eventually come to notice that some Zauberereich-discontents have mysteriously disappeared for no reason...

    But for the most part, life is going swimmingly for the majority of people who are loyal to Grindelwald. His talks of magical unity come to be quite popular for many people (who don't seem to realise the problems that causes, like the whole Muggle-born versus Pure-Blood thing), not only in Germany, but also in other countries. Since Durmstrang is an international school (in my mind) and not exclusively German, lots of foreign youth are taught to conform to the Zauberereich's ideology. Eventually, by 1938, some neighbouring countries become part of the Zauberereich voluntarily, since their governments agree with Grindelwald and like the idea of a pan-wizarding movement.

    However, that all changes on 1 September 1939. Prior, Grindelwald had urged other nations to join his movement, but Poland remained stubbornly independent. Once the German Muggles invade Poland however, Grindelwald takes advantage of the chaos to absorb Poland into the Zauberereich. Grindelwald then becomes more openly radical - he sees the Muggle war as an opportunity for wizards to retake their rightful place, and sets a deadline for the inevitable "Reclamation."

    Now a lot of people start to think that Grindelwald is crazy, and this is when things get really scary. When neighbouring countries refuse to join Grindelwald's crusade against the Muggles, he goes to war with them. Thus starts a wizarding war, in which Grindelwald attempts to unite as much of wizardkind as he can before implementing the "Reclamation," and having all wizards rise up and take over the Muggle world. While fighting other wizards, Grindelwald starts killing off Muggles, which obviously alarms the Zauberereich's Muggle-borns, keeping the Mitternachtsmannschaft very busy with arrests.

    As the war drags on, more and more Muggle-borns are alienated by Grindelwald's regime, so much so that his focus slowly goes from pan-wizarding unity regardless of blood status to Pure-blood favouritism, since only the fanatical Pure-bloods are still on good terms with with Grindelwald.

    We know how this ends - Grindelwald is defeated by Dumbledore in 1945. With the Zauberereich's defeat, things go back to the way things were (more or less) before Grindelwald came to power. The "Muggle-born Experiment" was considered a failure, and since nobody liked anything associated with Grindelwald after the war, Muggle-borns were back to being second-class citizens. Also, the school of Durmstrang becomes more Eastern European rather than German, courtesy of the victorious Russian wizards in the eastern front.

    All in all, Grindelwald was a complicated figure. He had altruistic aspirations (from a wizarding point of view, since Muggles would argue otherwise), but he was ruthless in its implementation.

    That's just how I see Grindelwald and his 12 year reign of terror. I think that he was a much more evil wizard than Voldemort, because he was a full-fledged dictator as opposed to something of a terrorist.

    Tim the Enchanter

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