Gellert Grindelwald
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Name: Gellert Grindelwald

Gender: Male

Age: 18

Fandom: Harry Potter Series

Journal: ggrindelwald

Typist:

Biography

Gellert Grindelwald is first mentioned in the first novel in the series: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on the chocolate frog (a kind of magical candy) card (featuring famous wizards and witches) for Albus Dumbledore. It states that: "… Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945 …"

He is not mentioned again until the seventh (and final) book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) in which his role is mostly regulated to flashbacks in the form of a biography on Dumbledore and some memories. He is, however, crucial to the trail of one of the titular Deathly Hallows, arguably the most important: The Elder Wand (so named as it is made from the wood of an elder tree) and his history can be pieced together like a puzzle.

He is next seen only in a photograph - the lead character (Harry Potter) thinks Gellert - with his shoulder-length, golden curls of hair - has a "gleeful, wild look" to him and later even compares him to his jokester friends Fred and George Weasley - clearly by appearances alone Gellert seems to be fun and a little cheeky - not visibly a 'dark' wizard. Harry is even concerned that Voldemort will be after this charming, handsome young wizard. Gellert is also described as "merry-faced", often seen in these pictures to be smiling "lazily" or laughing.

Before we discover his identity, Harry has another vision whilst Voldemort is after the Elder Wand - Gellert has stolen it from the wand maker Gregorovitch and is discovered on a windowsill "perched like a giant bird" and with a look of delight on his "handsome" face. Gellert lets out a "crow of laughter" as he jumps deftly out of the window (backwards) after stunning Gregorovitch with a spell. A very important thing to note is that Gellert did only stun and not torture or kill in order to escape with the wand - he is no madman. It is not defined how old he is when he stole the Elder wand from Gregorovitch but as he's described as young (by a teenager), it's likely he was only in his early twenties.

Previous to this, however, a young Gellert Grindelwald was sent to live with his great-aunt, Bathilda Bagshot (later to write a History of Magic) in Godric's Hollow where he met Albus Dumbledore, future teacher and Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He must be about sixteen since he'd just been expelled from his own school of Durmstrang for "twisted experiments" and is described as a couple of years younger than Dumbledore, who it seems turned eighteen around this time. In photographs taken around this time Dumbledore and Grindelwald are seen laughing together and either arm in arm or having their arms around each others shoulders, indicating a closeness. Revealed by the author that Dumbledore was gay and in love with Grindelwald, it can be assumed that they were lovers - but this had neither been confirmed or denied. Being from another time (Victorian/Edwardian when such things were not spoken of) he may be evasive about this relationship in RP, at least at first. At the very least they were very good friends for the few months that Gellert was there.

Rumoured that Gellert wanted to go to Godric's Hollow to find out more about the Deathly Hallows - three magical items said in a fable to have been made by Death himself - the Elder wand, an 'unbeatable' wand; a cloak of invisibility to match no other and a stone that allegedly can raise the dead - but only perhaps through a ghostly or zombie-like form. The Deathly Hallows fascinated both Albus and Gellert and brought them together resulting in many midnight messages to each other's houses and conversations filled with a passionate fervour. Dumbledore later said that Gellert's ideas "inflamed" him - these ideas including a kind of rebellion against Muggles - getting wizards out of hiding and forcing the Muggles (non magical people) into subservience. Gellert originally had the idea it would be for the Muggle's own good but Dumbledore manages to turn this into For The Greater Good. Gellert obviously does listen to his friend in these matters as he adopts this slogan wholeheartedly. Dumbledore calls them "two clever, arrogant boys with a shared obsession".

Unfortunately their times of planning were short-lived. Albus had an unstable sister, Ariana, and a brother, Aberforth, that hated the attention that his older brother was giving his handsome companion. (He later years he bitterly calls them both “bright and talented” - I’d claim Aberforth as someone who would not in any way try to make Grindelwald look good, since it’s clear that he dislikes him immensely, so any such compliments can be believed.) An argument started resulting in Gellert torturing Aberforth with the Crucio (a curse that causes great pain) and Ariana gets somehow caught between Albus, Aberforth and Gellert’s fighting - one of their spells hitting and killing her. It is never established who's spell did it and none of them seem to want to know the truth - but Gellert leaves in a hurry, back to his homeland. Soon after this he starts on his quest to find and unite the Deathly Hallows, in order to begin his plans for bringing wizards out of hiding and get them into a better position of power - now without Dumbledore.

Sometime within the next ten years Gellert finds the Elder wand and (as mentioned above) steals it from Gregorovitch, which results in the wand's "loyalty" reverting to him, surprisingly without any bloodshed considering many people were murdered to get a claim on this particular wand. He never finds the other Deathly Hallows but within the next forty years he gradually gets himself into a dominant enough position that he is considered a threat, at least in Europe. It is said he avoids Britain due to Dumbledore, reasons unclear. Common thought is that he is scared of the also powerful Dumbledore but knowing his real history with him it's more likely he doesn't want to face him for more personal reasons.

I want to note that even though he does appear youthfully impulsive he must be patient enough not to just jump in and try some sort of instant takeover, even once he has the special wand. He isn’t at full power/any real known threat until he is in his sixties.

Many stories circulate about Grindelwald during the 1940's - horrible stories of torture and murder and "atrocities". Much of this could be propaganda but it's likely that he also did much of what he did in order to bring about his ideal world - for rhe greater good. This banner was also emblazoned across a prison he built for his enemies (mostly political prisoners and leaders of rebellions against him, I would surmise) - Nurmengard. It's unknown whether this prison saw any actual prisoners at this time.

There were pleas to Dumbledore to try to stop Grindelwald's "reign of terror" - but most people did not know that these two knew each other as teenagers, it was only because Dumbledore was considered a powerful wizard, so considered strong enough to stop the "most dangerous dark wizard" at that time. It took Dumbledore five years to finally, reluctantly, face Grindelwald in a duel. The duel is mentioned a few times though no specifics are given - it was supposed to be legendary and spectacular but, again, knowing their history, it could well be that they merely had a conversation and, with reasoning, Dumbledore had Grindelwald hand over his wand to him - perhaps mind-modifying any witnesses otherwise to make it all more plausible - since it‘s kept a public secret that they used to be friends. The duel itself is all speculation but the result was that Grindelwald ends up in his own prison of Nurmengard - locked in the topmost tower and apparently left there for over fifty years.

Again it's unknown how he was treated day to day but his appearance at age 115 is frail and skeletal. He is then confronted by Voldemort, looking for the Elder wand. Gellert laughs at him and says that there is much he doesn't understand. He is defiant and strangely still vibrant to the last, when he is struck dead with Voldemort's Killing Curse. A welcome relief in some ways. Dumbledore probably would have been kinder to kill Gellert in their own duel, instead of imprisoning such a free spirit for so long. Even so, Gellert appears to have coped remarkably well mentally and emotionally, even if his body has been ravaged by obvious neglect.

(Another note: that while Gellert has been physically neglected he must know something of what’s been going on. In his final scene he is expecting Voldemort and even knows and says his name. Either he has some way of getting the news - like Sirius got a newspaper in the other wizarding prison of Azkaban - or he has been personally informed, perhaps by Dumbledore, of what may come.)

Later, when Harry mentions this scene between Voldemort and Grindelwald to Dumbledore, he claims that Grindelwald tried to stop Voldemort by a lie about never having the wand and Dumbledore adds that it was said Gellert showed remorse in later years and that this may have been an attempt to make amends.

Appearance

As a young man, Grindelwald had golden blond hair and a "merry, wild" face. Harry Potter thought he had "a Fred and George-ish air of triumphant trickery about him". He was considered to be handsome. (More details are in the bio & personality sections.)

Personality

Earlier years: Grindelwald is an eternal optimist, even an idealist. When faced with his own death at the hands of a wizard alleged to be even more powerful than himself - and after over fifty years of his own imprisonment where by all physical appearances he was severely neglected and starved - he reacts by laughing mockingly and taunting Voldemort to kill him. He's not afraid of death. He's not really afraid of anything - except to face his old friend Dumbledore. But even for that it wasn't fear of the man himself, only of possibly the disappointment or accusations he thought may come his way.

He can rarely be brought down to any negatively emotional places (besides his temper, which may flare but disappear again with laugh soon afterwards). He has an assured cockiness and a vibrant personality that is infectious, making him very adept at charming people with his manner, looks and words. In general, he will be polite, often in an old fashioned way, with much sweeping bows and kissing of ladies' hands. He does have good manners though sometimes he will forget to use them.

He's not inclined to murder or torture unless he's provoked - but he can be provoked easily if certain things are said (condemning his actions or ideas without logical reasons given) and if he doesn't get his own way - example: if his natural charms are doing little to get him the desired results. He will be volatile in those cases and sometimes even a little childishly vindictive. When roused his temper is terrible. Most of the time, however, he is seemingly light and easygoing, often laughing and having a mischievous streak.

Latter years: Considering how he acts when faced with his death by Voldemort I would say his basic personality has gone through very little change over the years. In regard to his attitude of the years leading up to his build up of power and beyond: because he believes he is doing things for 'the greater good', Gellert does not think he is doing anything wrong or evil. His mindset during his rise to power is that if some people - the rebellious ones, as he would think of them - have to die, be hurt or imprisoned for the ultimate goal of harmony between wizards and Muggles then that's just something that has to be.

He does nothing to be intentionally mean or nasty, he only does what can be regarded as such with some purpose in mind. He will torture for information and has no qualms about this. He'll even do this (as with Aberforth) if he's provoked and wants things simply to go his way. He doesn't see such spells as 'Unforgivable' only as other tools at his disposal as a wizard. This is partly to do with his upbringing at home and at Durmstrang where Dark Magic was more acceptable and the Dark Arts actually taught. In canon a Dark Wizard is defined by the fact he uses Dark Magic. Dark does not equal evil. (And so Grindelwald is referred to as the most Dangerous Dark Wizard - not the most evil….) He doesn't torture or kill for fun. It may give him a sense of accomplishment if it produces the desired result but he won't enjoy it, as such. It’s a means to an end.

He's not a bully but he can be seen as arrogant. He'd call this confidence. He believes that taking such titles as Dark Lord are egotistical and ridiculous and he considers himself above that kind of pettiness - he does want to change the world but he doesn't want to be some puppet figurehead. He'd keep people in line and be in control and won't remain hidden but day to day running of things he'd prefer to leave to trusted others (if he'd still been with Dumbledore he would have let him be that kind of 'star' while he worked on other things). He does like to flaunt his power and show it off but he does like to think he's one of the people - if more superior in intellect and more magically skilled.

However, at the point of the infamous duel, he has become disillusioned and disheartened by all the resistance he has been getting and by what he sees as a lack of progress. So he's about ready to surrender to Dumbledore - but more in the way of he needs to take the time out to think everything through and perhaps reconsider his actions. His willingness in his youth to change his plans from 'for the Muggle's own good' to 'for the greater good' on Dumbledore's word, shows, I think, that he can logically adapt and see things from another perspective - if he's shown clearly enough - and if he respects the person saying it. So I'd say he gave little resistance to Dumbledore when confronted but he didn't expect to be abandoned and locked away for so long. In time, though I think he learned to accept this fate. In prison for over fifty years with basically only himself for company, he had a lot of time to think about what led him to this point. Being intelligent he would have only ranted and been angry about this for a short time, or when he was most frustrated. By the time Voldemort comes he knows that he was wrong in the manner of which he approached his idealistic plans but he has had no chance before to openly express this or redeem himself.

There are also no indications that he wishes to kill Muggles - only put them in their ‘proper’ place, with wizards in a more obvious place power, out of hiding. (More in the bio section of how he isn’t as likely to randomly kill as some may assume.)

Special Notes

Much of Grindelwald's history is hearsay and (as evidenced by real-life online sites which have speculated things which are not actual canon) much of it is likely embellished and exaggerated. Because a lot about him is only told in snippets (even though I would say his personality is firmly established) I have fleshed out his background and motivations (below). Some of which may come into play if ever he is asked about his past, especially his childhood. I believe it is very canon-compliant, though not technically canon.

Briefly (optional notes - headcanon):

He was born in Bavaria, Germany in a small community just out of Oberammergau. His parents went missing when he was about one year old, leaving him to be raised by a family friend - a middle-aged witch who clothed and housed him but couldn't cope with his tendency to wander off exploring and kind of gave up on watching him many times. During this time he often happily went wandering in the nearby forest, even though he'd been warned of the dangers within - it's where his parents had also disappeared under unknown circumstances, but presumed dead. His guardian was glad to be able to send him to school at age eleven and basically washed her hands of him once he was gone - especially after he was expelled for his behaviour, causing him to be sent instead to his great aunt in Godric's Hollow, where he met Dumbledore.

Other random notes: he can speak fluent German and English (with a slight accent). He can also speak a little French, Russian and Mermish. Canon supports that he is very intelligent, "brilliant" and likes very much to experiment, of which we can assume he was sometimes very successful, given his talents.

Also please note that, despite some fandom speculation, my Grindelwald has NOTHING to do with World War II. It is purely coincidental that he was also defeated around the time of the end of that war. He may have used the chaos in the Muggle world at that time to his advantage but he personally had nothing to do with it. Gellert’s philosophy and ideals are not the same as Voldemort’s and he considers Voldemort something of an egotistical fool. If he is compared to Voldemort he will scoff and be quite offended.

Relationships

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RP Canon

In a private thread (apart from any comm), Grindelwald was pulled out of his own time by Draco Malfoy via Time Turner. He had previously been at the Mansion but did not recall any of that upon his arrival at Carpe. Note that the above history is here for reference purposes mostly since currently in the RP he is 18 years of age and so has not gone through anything after the age of 17 from his own time and world - although he has been informed about some of it from Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.

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