I don't think I've ever read a story like this--and that in and of itself is a compliment, dear author. You've managed to take on a rare character with a completely unique approach; I was particularly enchanted by your repetition of the German motto Grindewald used and the "ugh" sound. I feel you used the motto just enough to be powerful, and it was particularly evocative that during this story (where Grindelwald uses the phrase himself several times), he also cites the time where Dumbledore used it. It highlights the way in which, though Dumbledore holds this man in such contempt now, they were once similar enough to be friends (...and lovers). And in regards to the coughing, I was surprised by how much character those small monosyllables added to this piece--it made this evil man seem just a tiny bit frail and it proved how much this monologue, while brave and blustery, would ring perhaps a bit inauthentic if one were permitted a visual of the speaker himself.
I really cannot get over the degree to which you have mastered indirect characterization as a tool in this story. I feel as though I have learned so much about Grindewald through his speech, almost entirely through the things he says about himself rather than narrative descriptions of his character. I see his pride in lines like "I still have a few tricks up my sleeve to play," and "The second most dangerous!" I see ambition ("It is the ambitious man, the man without fear, who takes the plunge into greatness.") and I even, surprisingly, see hurt ("And when he sought power greater than yours, you turned against him, denied him. He was another me in your mind."). I see regret--as well as a stubborn refusal to really allow himself to feel that regret, i.e. pride--in lines like "I couldnâ€™t put the stupid rabbit back in the hat."
Sorry for spitting so many of your own words back at you, but I wanted to demonstrate my point, since I think that's the greatest strength of this piece. Anyway, speaking of rabbits in hats, that brings up another point of commendation I have for you. This Grindelwald of yours, well, he's kind of goofy. He uses pretty silly turns of phrases that I don't associate at all with the grand rhetoric of villains, and that is perfect for this piece. After all, he is not a grand villain, he is a defeated one, and a very ancient man at that... he's bound to be a little bit cracked and more humble than Lord Voldemort at his prime. You've struck the ideal balance between making him a little less self-involved, considering his circumstances, and still imparting that this man was one of the most dangerous wizards who ever lived.
The only nitpick that I have for you is your word choice on some specific lines that made me pause. I'll give you two examples. First, You tried your best to put me in chains and lock me away, but from your heart, I could not escape. "Escape" probably isn't the right word--Grindelwald wasn't trying to run from Dumbledore, the opposite was true. Rephrasing it to something like, "But from your heart, you could not banish my presence," or something similar would be more appropriate. And second, You had learnt from your past mistakes: by getting too close you had offered them your power, your love â€“ your fidelity. I'm pretty sure "them" should be "me" since Dumbledore only fell in love with one evil Dark Lord (...I hope! Heehee.). Plus it'd be a more direct reference earlier on to the fact that the two had been in love, which plays a critical role in the regret and hurt Grindelwald expresses later on.
But really, these are small criticisms for a one-of-a-kind story. I hope I get bunnies like these in the future myself! For now, good work, and write on! :)
Author's Response: What a well-thought, well-constructed review. I thank you very kindly for this. I agree with your criticisms (critiques, rather, since criticisms sounds harsh). As an answer (not an excuse), I believe I used "escape" because of the song ("you can put me in chains, and I will escape"), and I think I just wanted to use it n the piece (my memory fails me at this point, lol). The "them" vs "me" part, I believe, was me referencing the two boys Dumbledore took under his charge, Tom and Harry. It was more of a jealousy thing. Grindelwald knew Albus only loved him. Hehe. But enough of that. I thank you very much for all the effort you put into this review. Well done, and well appreciated. ^_^
This brought to mind the voice of someone who has lost the love of his life and the intense pain they are feeling over that loss. That's not what he's actually saying but it's how he's feeling. He's trying to make it sound like it was no big deal; that he was the one using the other one; that it all meant nothing; that it was all one big magic trick--a joke. Very intense, as are the speeches one makes near the end--close to the last big speech. This story reminded me of a story written by DaniDM entitled Once Upon a Time. If you have time, you should check it out. It refers to the love between Albus and Gellert. Great story.
Author's Response: I've never written anything remotely slash, nor ever wrote about Grindelwald. The song that I was given for the challenge, though, just screamed Gellert Grindelwald, and I'm glad I wrote it. I'm glad you saw how Grindelwald masks his fears and his loneliness. He is a proud, stubborn man - and what an ego. You can't help but hate /and/ love him. He's fascination.
I shall have to check out Once Upon a Time.
Thanks so much for the review, love. ^^