I appreciated this closer look at the relationship between Gellert and Albus. At first, I was having trouble buying Gellert's dialogue. To me, his speeches about Wizard supremacy were a little too blunt--he was almost pedantic rather than persuasive, and I would think given what we know of Albus' beliefs during canon, that Dumbledore would have needed a lot of gentle, subtle persuasion. I can't imagine that someone as intelligent as Albus would fall for pure rhetoric, even with the help of a healthy dose of passion. I think the beginning parts of this story when Gellert and Albus are first getting to know each other could be fleshed out with some more dialogue (i.e. strenuous debates where Albus has a strong opinion too rather than just passively listening to Gellert), as well as the insertion of more distracting lustful thoughts about Gellert. The combination of strengthening Gellert's persuasive skills as well as showing how Albus is partly buying the persuasion but also partly charmed by his newest friend would make Albus' acceptance of Gellert's radical views more believeable.
For me, this story's strongest point is the ending. In the fight scene between Albus and Gellert where Ariana dies, Albus' emotions are so vividly portrayed. As a reader, I'm right there with him as he's torn between his best friend and his family, his dreams of glory and his responsibilities. The last lines where Gellert is nowhere to be found and Albus finally realizes the truth--that literally sent a chill down my spine. In the epilogue, it's great to finally see the Albus we know and love from canon--strong enough to break free of Grindelwald's influence, and wise enough to realize the mistakes he made (as well as to do his best to move on).
All in all, good job, author! This story has a particularly strong finish and I enjoyed reading it. Without further ado, write on!
I really liked how throughout this piece you portrayed the atmosphere through descriptions. Sections of this story created a vivid picture in my mind. I really liked the beginning section; you depicted the uncontrolled chaos during the fight between Dumbledore, Grindelwald, and Aberforth. The helplessness of each of the participants was heavily suggested by the fact that the pleas of “Don’t hurt them, please! Hurt me instead!” go completely unnoticed in “the cloud”. I liked the relatively detached and visual narration of the first section. You avoided more emotional words, generally in this section, but you still clearly showed the emotions each character was feeling very concisely. You showed determination and anger of Grindelwald just through his “eyes with a steely glint”. Ariana’s fear and desperation was shown through her tentative movements.
The final sentence of the story also jumped out as me because of the vivid picture it painted. Dumbledore walking “through the chilly morning air with a longer stride, and [disappearing] into the foggy mist” away from his mother and sister’s grave, besides giving me a detailed mental image, wrapped up the story while being somewhat open. Leaving the grave, to me symbolized, Dumbledore stopping dwelling on his sister’s death and coming to terms with his relationship with Grindelwald. I liked how you didn’t directly tell the reader what was going on, but rather you left the reader to interpret it through descriptions.
Occasionally, I thought that Dumbledore’s thoughts broke the flow of the story. For example, in the middle of a description of the fight breaking out between Aberforth and Grindelwald, Dumbledore’s thoughts are described: “He decided to fight back, to fight the man he thought was his best friend”. Other descriptions in this story, such as the first section and paragraphs surrounding this quotation, made it feel like the fight broke out quickly, and all the action was happening rapidly. I imagine Dumbledore’s decision to side with his family against Grindelwald was either instantaneous and/or took place after quick, but laborious deliberation and conflict. I think you tried to portray Dumbledore’s mental conflict, but I felt like the description was too brief to really capture that conflict. I think not showing Dumbledore’s actual thoughts, and showing his actions in a more detached sense, like in the first section, could have shown that too. However, I felt like you sort of compromised between the two, and as a result I don’t think his decision was as powerful as I think it could have been.
I liked in several descriptions of Grindelwald you showed his almost uncontrolled determination to shape the world the way he thought it should be. During his fight with Aberforth, Grindelwald yelling comments about Aberforth and Ariana not being needed in the world, while throwing curses at them, really impressed upon me the degree Grindelwald was willing to go to in order to reach is goals and his willingness to use as much force as necessary to achieve them.
When Grindelwald first converses with Dumbledore, Dumbledore describes him: “Every decision he ever made was calculated, precise, and meticulous in every way”. I thought that this provided a slight contrast to the way Dumbledore writes about Grindelwald in “The Deathly Hallows”: “And from this it follows that where we meet resistance, we must use only the force that is necessary and no more. (This was your mistake at Durmstrang.)” (American Hardcover Edition. 357). I don’t get the impression that Grindelwald’s use of more force than necessary, which got him expelled from Durmstrang was terribly calculated, precise, or meticulous. I feel like if it had been, Grindelwald would have managed to escape detection, or at least he would have managed to twist it in a way such that he wasn’t expelled from Durmstrang. Apart from this minor detail, I liked how you showed the force Grindelwald had of his convictions excellently through his use of absolute and exact phrases about his beliefs when trying to persuade Dumbledore. I also thought your use of the question “Don’t you understand?” suggested Grindelwald’s conviction that he was right, and that if his beliefs were explained they would certainly make sense and convince anyone.
I also liked how you portrayed Aberforth’s anger toward Dumbledore for his care of Ariana: “You can’t stand bearing the responsibility of taking care of your worthless brother and damaged sister when you could be out earning another trophy for the mantle!” The opinion of Dumbledore Aberforth expresses meshes perfectly with the way Aberforth talks about Dumbledore to Harry, Ron, and Hermione during “The Deathly Hallows”.
In the brief conversation Aberforth, Harry, Ron, and Hermione have, Aberforth spoke very directly and concisely. Right before their fight, Aberforth yells at Grindelwald, “From your twisted, unspeakable experiments at Durmstrang to this new world order you want to enact, everything you do is unforgivable and wrong.” I felt like this was a bit wordier than Aberforth’s speech in the books was. I wonder if there would be a way to express the sentiment, which I think is definitely in character for Aberforth to be saying, more succinctly.
On the whole, though, I really enjoyed the way you used vivid descriptions to depict the events and characters in this story.
well written. I enjoyed.
I think your characterization was perfect.