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Review:Violet Gryfindor says:
Wow! This is an intense story - amazingly written. There's a lot going on here, and it's brilliant to see how many layers you've built into it. So here goes:

Your characterization of Sirius has turned out very well, but my favourite part is the desk. It has a life of its own, pretty much seducing Sirius, enticing him like a spider does a fly. The desk alone carries a great deal of meaning - it's a Pandora's Box, releasing all but hope, but it also reveals a lot about Walburga. She fears it too (what would her boggart be, I wonder? The destruction of the family, I assume.), but the fact that she can't part with it is everything. The Black family always comes first - every treasure, every ounce of pride must be maintained for the glory of the family, no matter the cost to its actual members. And in the end, all she has are the treasures and her pride - the name is dead. The last line of the story raises a number of questions about Walburga, gesturing toward an internal struggle, much repressed by the extent to which she values the Black name. She doesn't want the desk - she fears it, possibly even hates it, but she sacrifices her own desires because it's an heirloom. It introduces a different reading of Sirius's behaviour - he refused to sacrifice his desires and repress his feelings for the sake of the family. (He was right to do so on a moral level, but from Walburga's perspective, only those morals related to the family have meaning.) Sirius instead creates a family that requires a very different set of sacrifices, but that too is destroyed, his greatest fear becoming reality.

(And all of this comes out of 500 words?! But there's more.)

This story is also fascinating because you've taken a single moment in time and shown how its influence spreads outward. It particularly affects Sirius, and it demonstrates another reason why returning to Grimmauld Place and technically being imprisoned there was so difficult for him. If this is his last memory of the place, then returning there, knowing that desk is there, knowing what it showed him and the painful foreshadowing of his friends' deaths... wow. It also explains why he so easily sympathizes with Molly's boggart - her vision may have been less gruesome, but it was no less traumatic. They both love deeply, and losing the objects of that love terrifies them (when you think of it, how many characters in canon have such boggarts? More seemed to fear objects, so it says a lot about Sirius and Molly that they instead fear the deaths of others.)

Sirius's boggart also incorporates guilt into its projection of Sirius's fears. It's not merely their deaths that terrify him, it's that they will come as a result of his actions. The foreshadowing here has given me the chills. That guilt tears him apart, so that he becomes as insane as his mother - he feels that he has destroyed what he valued most, and she has destroyed what she (should have) valued most. Sirius feels guilt for something that wasn't his fault, and Walburga refuses to take the blame for something that was. And both characters are connected by this desk, by the blood and family that possesses them.

This has probably gone too far outside of your story. The short of it is that this story has made me think a lot about these two characters, and I'm amazed by what you've written and the implications it has on how one can interpret Sirius and Walbugra. Once again, you've created a brilliant work of art!

Author's Response: Hey Susan! Sorry for my delayed reply :)

I really like the contrast you've drawn between Sirius's idea of family and his mother's notion of family. It speaks of differing priorities. Walburga is hung up on her family's wealth and status and seems to be compelled, by a combination of fear and selfishness, to hold onto the writing desk. Sirius, on the other hand, is really focused on his "new family" and the happiness of pleasant company and acceptance that awaits him.

Yeah, my thinking was that Sirius would really, really identify with Molly in that canon moment where she saw her dead family members after interacting with the boggart, if something like this had happened to him. I like your comment on Sirius returning to the house and immediately recalling his last, most traumatic memory there. I'm sure it added a new level to his frustration and dissatisfaction with being stuck in the house and unable to get out and fight the war. I really like how you've made me think through the deeper meaning of this story.

Thanks so much for your awesome review!


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