Reading Reviews for The Writing Desk
15 Reviews Found

Review #1, by maskedmuggle Alohomora

11th June 2015:

I feel like I haven't read much of your writing at all, which is a shame because you write so beautifully! I really enjoyed this quick snapshot into Sirius' life at the time he was about to actually leave his 'home'. I thought the plot of the story was very intriguing - I liked how you used a writing desk to symbolise another difference between Sirius and his mother/family, and I also liked how the boggart showed Sirius' true fears to have nothing to do with his family. It was a really good portrayal of showing just how distanced he was from his 'family', and how much the Marauders and Lily meant to him.

I thought you also characterised Sirius really well. In particularly, I thought it was really realistic how you mentioned there was no real catalyst and this had been something he'd been planning all along. What I also thought was good was Sirius leaving in the middle of the night, without saying goodbye to anyone - because they didn't really deserve a farewell in his mind. All in all, I found the whole thing really realistic, and you got a lot across in 500 words. I really enjoyed this!

- Charlotte
Ravenclaw House Cup 2015

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Review #2, by Beeezie Alohomora

11th July 2014:

There is so much caught up in these 500 words that I don't even know where to begin.

First: I loved the boggart. I loved it because we saw it torturing Molly Weasley in a very similar way in OotP as it did Sirius here. I'm not sure whether that's a coincidence or whether this boggart revels particularly in portraying horrible deaths, but either way, it's a really interesting parallel.

But more than that - wow, did I feel bad for this boggart. I'm pretty sure that we're not generally supposed to feel bad for dark creatures, particularly not dark creatures who torture our favorite characters, but I really, really did. It had been locked up in that desk for who knows how long when Sirius let it out, and presumably it was locked there for decades more until Molly tried to tackle it. I don't know how self-aware boggarts are, but that just seems like such a terrible, lonely existence.

Second: I thought that your take on Sirius's mother was very, very creepy. From what we heard about her in the books, I can absolutely see her keeping the desk (and the boggart) around out of family pride, and to me, that's just the sign of such a deranged psyche it's difficult to fathom it.

Third: This illustrated perfectly how boggarts, which can be pretty straightforward to deal with in a classroom, are much harder to take in the real world. When one jumps out at you and startles you as this one does to Sirius, it's hard to deal with it. (Not that I'm really sure how one could make the sight of your loved ones laying there dead funny in the first place.)

Great job!

House Cup 2014 Review - Ravenclaw

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Review #3, by LadyL8 Alohomora

7th July 2014:
Hi There.

This was such a well-written and intense story. I can't believe it's only 500 words.

I really like stories about Sirius Black, because he's my favourite character in HP. But that also makes me extremely critical when I read stories that features him in a main role. In this story, however, I thought the portrayal was spot on. You've managed to keep some of the Sirius we know from the books, but then you've also added some traits, and that's good because I think being imprisoned changed him. So he wasn't the same in Hogwarts as he was as an adult. I love how he - even though he doesn't want to be there anymore and can be caught - still looks around in the house. You really see the Gryffindor bravery there, as well as his curiosity - and that's just how imagine him being.

What I loved the most about the story, however, was actually the fact that it could've fitted into the book. We know Sirius cared for his friends, so I don't think it strange that their deaths would be his boggart. It's also believable that he would encounter a boggart in his family home, because - as we know from the books - Molly finds one in Number 12 Grimmauld Place (or at least believes it can be boggart). So the story is actually very true to the books.

I also love the story influences my view on Sirius as a character and the books in general. Because if this had happened, it could explain a lot. We know Molly had a similar boggart, so I'd imagine him understanding her fears. And although they have their disagreements, especially over Harry, I don't really think them that different. They both want to protect those around, and I guess reading your story made me realize just how similar they are.

Wow, I've rambled on for quite some time, haven't I? I'm not even sure if any of it made sense, but as I'm sure you've gathered, I really liked the story. It was brilliant and very well-written. And a really good idea. I loved it!

- Lotte

House Cup 2014 Review

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Review #4, by nott theodore Alohomora

6th July 2014:
Hi again Amanda! Wow, this was such a different story to read for the every word counts challenge and I'm so impressed with your writing and the way you manage to write such different pieces.

This was really scary and creepy and I felt so bad for Sirius as I was reading this. I thought that you explored the reasons behind this and the connections that the fear of this writing desk created for Sirius. I liked the fact that it reminded me of the Boggart that was in the writing desk in the Order of the Phoenix because it makes sense then for him to fear it, but he doesn't know that at this point and there's all sorts of connections to his family there which he can't sever. It's no wonder when he grew up with things like this constantly around him and affecting him that he had such a tough time at home, and it's hardly a good environment to grow up in. But I thought you wrote his fear incredibly well; it seemed tangible to me, and I could understand it and feel sorry for Sirius as I read about the terror it caused him.

Sian :)
Gryffindor House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hey Sian, thanks for coming by!

I'm glad that you enjoyed this one-shot. I was directly inspired by the Order's experience with the writing desk in OOTP, and I thought it would be a cool moment to explore for a short piece. I agree that it explains a lot for him to have grown up in an environment full of fear and tension.

Thanks for your lovely review!


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Review #5, by Violet Gryfindor Alohomora

6th January 2014:
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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Review #6, by patronus_charm Alohomora

2nd January 2014:
Hi Amanda here for the 12 days of reviewing on the forums!

I thought this was a really great one-shot because not only did it feel so full and detailed for 500 words, but it was a really interesting part of Siriusí life with the way heís trying to rebel against his parents and break free but in a way heís still not ready to leave. Even though that wasnít the main focus of the story you wrote his emotions in such a way I could place him immediately.

I also liked the nod to the Order of the Phoenix with the way there was a boggart in the writing desk and you built the suspense up to that really well and it definitely fitted in with the challenge. The horror of seeing those bodies of his friends was so gruesome in a way and terrifying too and the fear of Sirius was really palpable. Then the way he couldnít defeat the boggart fitted in well with the idea that he never could really escape his family or escape the deaths of his friends, and that was some really great foreshadowing there.

The bit at the end with Walburga had me laughing just because we could really see where her priorities lay with valuing heirlooms over the life of her son, and it just shows what a nice mother she was :P Then the closing line just showed how bad these pureblood families are because objects are more priceless than lives.

Great one-shot Amanda!


Author's Response: Hey Kiana :)

It's great that the emotion worked well here, because that's definitely what I was going for. I didn't even really think about how his inability to overcome the Boggart symbolized his eternal tie to his family, but that's a great observation and I think it's a really cool way of looking at this.

Yeah, Walburga isn't winning "Mother of the Year" anytime soon. I think part of that last bit was her being superficial, and part of it was meant to reflect that she knows what's in the desk and fears it too. I wonder what form the Boggart would take for her?

Thanks for your sweet review!


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Review #7, by LilyLou Alohomora

1st January 2014:
Hi Amanda, here for the Review Battle!

This little one shot was very different. I've never read anything quite like it. I don't know where you got the inspiration and idea, but I have to say that I like it. It's unique. It left me with questions about the writing desk, and wondering about everything. I have to say, I was a little confused at first, but I understood it. This was a bit creepy though, so well done for writing this for the QTR Halloween Story Competition. I wrote a one shot for that as well!

Great job!


Author's Response: Hi there, Janelle!

Honestly, I don't quite know where the inspiration came from, but I'm glad it worked well! Unfortunately, I had limited word constraints for this story, so I didn't get to go into as much detail and explain as much as I usually do in my stories. Still, it was a fun challenge, and if it was creepy then I accomplished my purpose with it :)

Thanks for your kind review!


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Review #8, by lia_2390 Alohomora

2nd December 2013:
This is a fascinating line to take in this particular story. Before you, many writers ventured to include Sirius's flight from his childhood home, but I've never come across one like yours.

At first glance, I wondered what you could have written about this theme in 500 words. However, I found it was so packed with things, I felt I needed to read it twice.

The biggest question I had about it was 'why now?'. He'd lived in the house for seventeen years. Why, on the eve of his departure, he'd stop and look at an old writing desk. Was he looking for a reason to stay? Would that writing desk give him a lasting semblance of hope for his family? Himself, maybe? On the flip side, the desk could have given him what he needed, and placed the final nail in his proverbial coffin. He'd already packed up his things, but something about this movements that night felt hesitant to me.

Fantastic example of showing without telling, by the way. The description was beautifully written and quite a shock. I never expected to see a boggart pop out of the drawer, and obviously, neither did Sirius. It was a chilling reminder of the times. In spite of Sirius's portrayal, there is always something he feared.

I'm glad I sorted us for the exchange. I enjoyed reading this one-shot.



Author's Response: Hi Lia! Sorry this response took ages!

When I saw the announcement for the competition, this idea sprang to mind basically immediately. It just begged to be written, and I'm glad it turned out as creepy as I'd envisioned in my head.

I do think there are plenty of unanswered questions that just couldn't be explored in 500 words. I think my interpretation of why Sirius stopped to look at the desk was similar to yours; he realized that he'd never be back to this house (or so he thought) and couldn't resist taking it all in during that moment. As soon as he got too close, though, he remembered why he needed to run, to get closer to his friends and further away from the thing that threatened them. He realized what really mattered.

Thanks for your lovely review :)


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Review #9, by Misty_Rey Alohomora

8th November 2013:
It's been awhile since I reviewed something so apologies in advance if my reviewing skills are rusty.

I really enjoy stories that fill in the gaps from JKR's books. Sirius' departure from his family and home was a premise I was especially intrigued by. I thought you set up a strong opening, with him preparing to leave. It was a different route than I expected, him leaving without any real catalyst or huge blow-out but it does fit in with his slightly gypsy personality to sneak out and disappear.

When you got to the writing desk, the suspense picked up and when out sprung that gut-wrenching bloody scene, I was mouthing OMG to myself because it honestly caught me off guard and I like being surprised.

The glimpse of his mother at the end was a unique touch and seemed to hint that she was afraid of the writing desk herself. You gave her some humanity, which was rare and refreshing to read.

If I had one nitpick and this is probably only a personal preference, I would have liked maybe more elaboration, particularly on his feelings of leaving behind his parents and Regulus forever. It came across as detached which certainly is the impression Sirius gave in the books. Also on the nightmare scene, it was a shock to the heart and I'm probably being greedy in wanting more.

Overall though, this was a true one-shot, wonderfully capturing one moment in the HP-universe that was defining for Sirius Black.


Author's Response: Hello, thanks for stopping by :)

I've written Sirius's departure in several stories and it's intriguing to me how different it can feel with each attempt. In this story, I wanted to give the sense that this decision was a long time coming, so much so that it felt as natural to Sirius as breathing. Maybe it was a defense mechanism for helping him deal with how monumental his actions really were.

I'm glad the fear for both Sirius and Walburga was palpable and the gore was a bit of a surprise. That's what I was going for! As for your nitpick, I could definitely expand it in certain places--were it not for the word limit imposed by the challenge :) But I appreciate the tip, definitely!

Thanks for your kind review!


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Review #10, by MissesWeasley123 Alohomora

7th November 2013:

Like I said, back in your Molly Weasley story, I'd definitely come back! It's taken me a while, but I'm here (and will probably camp out for a while, if I don't drown in school work)

So, um, wow.

Seriously. So many feels.

They way you took a canon moment and just showed the light of fear on it. Brilliant. I still can't believe this was only 500 words.

The imagery and scene you painted of the Black house was so stunning, especially since you didn't use a lot of words. The description was perfect, and even though there was only one word of dialogue, it was enough. It was chilling and gave me goosebumps.

Your little bits on Walburga really made me despise her, and her twisted and cruel nature really came through.

A really good piece!

Author's Response: Hi again, thanks for coming back!

It's great to hear that you liked this and felt like it was effectively creepy despite the brevity. The word limit was tough to stick to, I'll admit. I did work a lot into the imagery and I'm pleased that it and the characterization came through well.

Thanks for another lovely review!


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Review #11, by 800 words of heaven Alohomora

6th November 2013:


This piece has freaked me out so much! I am literally sitting here with actual goose bumps on my actual skin. This was so fantastically spooky! I loved it!

The short length was simply perfect for the story. There is something seriously creepy that a "priceless" Black family heirloom can evoke such nasty feelings in a person. I think you've spoken volumes about what the House of Black really is - and only in like, the last three lines. Fantastic!

I said this in the review I left on the last chapter of Post Scriptum, but I simply adore the way you show Sirius leaving his family home. It's so different to every other aspect of him and his life - he's such a drama queen - but it makes a sort of poetic sense that one of the biggest decisions of his life was taken with careful planning and cold and quiet precision. It adds to the spooky nature of the piece overall, I think, because it's kind of creepy seeing Sirius act in this way.

Lovely piece! I adore everything that you write, but so far, I think this is one of my all-time favourites! I always say something like "awesome stuff" but it feels really weird because you write so well, and I just... ugh. My feels are all over the place! Still - awesome stuff!

Author's Response: Hey there :)

I'm so glad this was spooky! I had a tight word limit and was worried that maybe I wasn't able to convey the creepy factor all that well, but I had hoped the imagery would do the trick. I also love that you tied the desk back to the generally unsettling feel of the Black household and family.

Interesting perspective on Sirius. I agree that you know he's up to something when he suddenly falls quiet. I felt like he would be tired of bearing the brunt of so much negative energy from his parents and would want to escape quickly in the night so as to just be free from all of it, his old life.

Thanks so much for your kind review!


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Review #12, by HollyStone73 Alohomora

4th November 2013:
Here for review tag!!

I LOVED this!! I love Sirius anyway and this just was so well written with such vivid descriptions! I could almost see the horrible scene of all of the ones he loved dead on the the floor before him.

And such a perfect little ending. Pointing out how his mother would notice the drawer opened before noticing that he was gone seemed so very typical of what I would expect from what I know of his mother. And her refusal to give it away simply because it was an heirloom...awesome!

All in all a perfectly (cute?) but creepy little story! I loved it!!

Author's Response: I'm happy to hear you liked the descriptions and felt like the death scene was effective.

I actually think the ending is one of the creepiest parts, because his mother is so nonchalant about the whole thing and yet you have this sense that she knows the desk is not something to be messed with. I'm glad you liked the "heirloom" line, too--I wanted to show that she truly values her inheritance more than her oldest son.

Thanks for your very kind review!


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Review #13, by toomanycurls Alohomora

27th October 2013:
Hi! Doing a review tag. I picked this one because I wrote for the QTR challenge too. It's nice to see other people's entries.

I'm quite amazed at how much plot you got through in 500 words. You've elegantly weaved together so many interesting canon touch points with a quite scary interaction with the boggart in the desk. The tension Sirius felt at leaving home with his final curiosity about the desk made the boggart's image all the more dramatic.

I really love Walburga's perspective when she finds the desk drawer open. The fact that she noticed the priceless family heirloom was ajar before seeing that her eldest son had gone says so much about why the family element there was rotton.

I am impressed with how you managed to speak volumes in the smallest of sentences. I especially loved 'carefully planning his exit for most of his life, even before his Sorting cleanly split his branch away from the family tree.' That shows that Sirius didn't just get in some teenager spat with his parents and decide to haul out of there. It was a long and slow departure.

Really incredible job here!

Author's Response: Thanks! I'm glad you liked how I hearkened back to canon events and felt I did a good job showing that curiosity can be dangerous. I like your point about the clearly enduring notion of the Black family's dispute with Sirius, too, how his decision to leave wasn't quick and how things had clearly deteriorated between him and his mother.

Thanks so much for your kind review!


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Review #14, by maraudertimes Alohomora

26th October 2013:

This was really cool! Characterization, flow, everything was really well written.

One CC:

Was it a boggart? That wasn't explicitly stated. I don't think you meant for it to be (did you?), but that's what it sounded like. I'm just a little confused.

Other than that, this was really cool! Kudos!

Lo :)

Author's Response: Hi there, thanks for stopping by!

I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Well, in canon, a Boggart attacks Molly Weasley when she opens the writing desk in Grimmauld Place while cleaning. So I think you could think of it as a Boggart, but you could also imagine it to be something a little more sinister if you wanted. I was limited by the word count for the challenge, so I decided to go with a more ambiguous description to increase the creepy factor.

Thanks again!


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Review #15, by Cannons Alohomora

23rd October 2013:
Hey, here with your requested review!

Can I just say that you used so little words but made each word mean so much, it was really powerful.

I liked the idea of Sirius running away and have never actually read something that shows how he ran away so this was cool.

I think it would be just like Sirius to be interested and be intrigued as to what was in there. 'curiosity kills the cat' though and that was scary, and it turned out to be true as well in the end! It was a boggart right?

you included a lot of description in this and it makes it seem so much more real.

what's QTR btw? I'm a noob :(

my only CC is that it was to short :o


Author's Response: Hello, thanks for coming by!

I'm glad you liked my word choice and felt like the scene with the writing desk was effective. According to canon it is a Boggart (the same one Molly Weasley ran into during an Order meeting at Grimmauld Place), but I like to think that maybe something even more sinister lurks in that locked drawer...

Hah, QTR is something exclusive to the Ravenclaw Common Room. You wouldn't be familiar with it unless you were a 'Claw.

Well, the piece could only be 500 words according to the competition rules :)

Thanks for your kind review!


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