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Reading Reviews for Behind His Desk
10 Reviews Found

Review #1, by alicia and anne Behind His Desk

30th August 2015:
Okay I had to read this twice, because that ending shocked me. I was trying to work out why he had all of those names in front of him, and what purpose they were serving. And then I realised he was in the portrait and I am literally sitting here with my mouth hanging open in shock!

I was not expecting that at all!

That was brilliant! and now that I'm rereading it I'm noticing those small moments that you wrote that hint at him being in his portrait!

That was very sneaky :P That was utterly genius!

Ahhh I loved this!

Author's Response: Hehe, thanks!

I definitely did leave hints throughout the story, and it's been really interesting for me to read peoples' reviews and see at what point they figure it out. No matter how long it takes them, it is always best when they re-read it so that they see how everything comes together. I'm glad I made it so short so that that's easy!

Thank you so much!


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Review #2, by Mrs. Claus Behind His Desk

30th July 2015:
Hello dear, Mrs. Claus here to spread some Christmas in July cheer!

This was very unique, I can't say I've seen anything like it in my travels here. I, like the others, was also confused at first. In fact, I think I got it later than the others, thinking more metaphorically than physically. Rereading it the second time, it all clicked into place, and I must say it's very thought provoking.

It struck me how strange it must be to live as a painting, not the person they made you to look like, but not completely your own being. Flatter, less alive, as if something is constantly missing. Can Severus be himself as well as professor Snape, or Dumbledore be Deceased Headmaster as well as Albus? I don't think so, you can't replace memories and experience with the wave of a wand. To be there day after day, yet not there at all, really would be disorienting, and it makes sense he'd be so confused.

It's touching that while he's not the same Albus, he still has enough to be a comfort to others, to give wisdom and advice. Even as a painting, that part hasn't seemed to have changed.

Amazing job, my dear. I'll reveal myself in two days, until then!

Author's Response: Hello, thank you so much for your review!

There is nothing like a bit of Christmas spirit, and it is an extra pleasure when it comes as a surprise in the form of an unexpected review during an unexpected time of year.

I think you've struck the nail on the head about how difficult it much be to be a painting, as you'd be a bit of an imitation of yourself, but never fully alive or even fully yourself. It is a simple life, but that can also be a cursed life, especially to somebody with as great a mind and conscience as Dumbledore.

Thank you so much for spreading your joy!


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Review #3, by merlins beard Behind His Desk

30th July 2015:
Hey Sam,
I'm here for our swap.

I didn't even notice that Albus was in his portrait and not really the headmaster anymore until I reached the end. This was very well done and interesting to read. At first I thought Albus might be going blind - no idea where that thought came from. And of course it's always snape who comes in because he is a portrait too. (But I only realized that later as well).

I'm really interested in how you picked the students you named here. Was there any sort of special criteria? How does Cedric fit in?

I feel really sorry for Albus. He obviously feels a little lost there, like something should be different. I'm sure Minerva is a great Headmistress though, and I'm sure she'll find a way to handle Fred Weasley and James Potter. They'd probably be able to drive any other witch into retirement but Minerva can certainly handle them. I hope they get up to some funny stuff so Minerva can tell Albus about it and make his life as a Portrait more enjoyable.

I think this was really sweet and really different - I certainly didn't expect it to be like that.

Thanks for the swap


Author's Response: Hello Anja

Now that I've finally returned your swap, I'm finally answering your review. Slow progress.

I'm really glad to hear that even though you didn't realize what was going on until the end, it made things make sense in retrospect.

My intention with the students listed were that they are the students who Dumbledore feels the most guilty for how they turned out. Cedric was the first student casualty of the Second War, and dies as a result of Dumbledore not being aware of what was happening right under his nose. His errors in judgement with Tom, Wormtail, and Moody/Crouch Jr all led to his death. He also allowed the Tri-Wizaard Tournament to happen, knowing there were serious risks, and it did in fact lead to the death of one of his students, due to a security breach caused by one of his staff members. And then Dumbledore stood in front of the school and gave a eulogy. I don't believe that is something he easily forgot.


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Review #4, by pointless_proclamations Behind His Desk

20th July 2015:
HC 2015 - Slytheirn

There are so many things that are just right about this story. Firstly, the way you've characterised both Dumbledore and Snape, I thought was spot-on. I am truly impressed by your style of narration. It's, in a sense, quiet and elegant. It adds to keep the story flowing so naturally and smoothly. Plus, it does well to affect readers even more. The clues you've got here are brilliant--especially the one about the 'office before him' and the 'office around him.' That particular one struck me most. Minerva not knowing quite how to handle a second Fred Weasley really tore at me, Sam. SO MUCH BEAUTY IN SO FEW WORDS.

Author's Response: Ack, thank you so much for this flattering review! I've read it many times and the first sentence makes me dance every time.

I actually avoid writing Dumbledore and Snape... I think they are two of the hardest characters to properly characterize, and so it was a little intimidating to write them both in the same story.

Ackackack, hank you so much!


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Review #5, by darkkid Behind His Desk

20th July 2015:
Slytherin House Cup 2015

The summary on this pulled me in.

I was actually confused at first and it took a while for it to click that this was a portrait.

I like that he had these particular transcripts with him. I'd say these students affected him the most. Cedric because he died while, essentially, in his care, really struck me. I wonder if that was the first student he lost while he was headmaster. Of course the others died as well but not WHILE at school.

It makes me both happy and sad that portrait Dumbledore and real Dumbledore are so alike. It's nice that he can be there without actually being there, but then it's not really him, is it.

A very enjoyable read, I'm glad I stopped in!


Author's Response: Hey raisha,

I'm glad that the summary, while simple, enticed you to read this story.

I deliberately did not make it clear right away that Albus was a portrait, as he himself is not fully aware of it at the beginning of the story, and I was hoping to recreate that sense of disorientation in my readers.

The death of Cedric was an extremely poignant moment in recent Hogwarts history, and I imagine it must have set very heavy with Dumbledore, especially when he holds himself responsible for the well beings of his students.

I'm glad that you found this perspective of Dumbledore believable and engaging!



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Review #6, by rosiful Behind His Desk

20th July 2015:
Wow, this was quite intense and not at all what I was expecting when I opened up this story! I though the 'First Day of School' challenge is a great prompt to mess around with, but reading this entry just shocked me! -In a good way of course!

I'll admit that at first I was really, really confused as to what was going on, but mainly as to when the story was set! When Snape appeared I then assumed it was set the year before he was cursed by the ring, hense why he was so confused. But when Professor McGonagall came in and it was stated that he was looking through his frame, all the pieces came together and it made perfect sense!

It's quite interesting that he keeps this list of students with him though, but I guess they are the lives/deaths that effected him the most in his life.

This was a really good story, and beautifully written!

Slytherin House Cup 2015

Author's Response: Hey Rosiful,

I'm glad this story surprised you! It was really fun to take this story prompt and find something kind of dark and fascinating to do with it.

You were confused by design, because I am an evil, evil writer. Mwahaha. But you figured it out cause you're smart. As I intended - mwahaha.

To me Dumbledore is a man who can never fully find peace due to the guilt he carries, and this would be particularly true for his portrait self, who was forced to live a half existence in the office where he made so many of the decisions that influenced these people in such harmful ways.

Thanks for the review!


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Review #7, by TearsIMustConceal Behind His Desk

20th July 2015:
Hey Sam, i'm back again!

This story has completely wowed me. I was so confused at first but then I realised that this was the right way to feel because Dumbledore was feeling the same confusion. I couldn't understand at first and I thought that maybe he was sick, that these were the last days before he finally lost his life but then as I read on, it all became clear and made sense.

I love how depsite the fact he's a portrait, he and Minerva still have that same relationship - that she can still talk to him and he is still giving out words of wisdom to help her - he's just the same old Dumbledore, just in a portrait. I loved Snape's little cameo, it was there that I think I realised that Dumbledore was the portrait and Snape was too.

I think it's poignant that he has a list of fallen students with him, even in his portrait - their deaths obviously something that haunt him. I could imagine him sitting their when his mind is clearer, thinking about the things he could have done/things he should have done to save them/help them.

And once again, your writing has flawed me - you have such a way with words that I can't help but be captivated by them!

Amazing story Sam!


Author's Response: Hello Vicki,

Ack, thank you so much! Your words are the best.

I think that Minerva would always trust and value the opinion of Dumbledore's portrait the most, even if it is only a pale imitation of him. I think it would have been a great comfort to her to feel that she always had him as a resource.

Yes, I think you're spot on. Dumbledore is always haunted, both when his mind is and is not clear, and it manifests in different ways, and it was really fun to explore the slightly less coherent version of such a sophisticated mind here.

Thank you so much for your lovely words,


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Review #8, by Felpata Lupin Behind His Desk

20th July 2015:
Hey, Sam!
Here for TAR week 6 (HC 2015 - Hufflepuff)

Well, this surely was strange, but not in a bad way. It has this surreal and undefined tone about it... but it completely makes sense, once you realize it is in the point of view of a portrait. It is such a unique, original perspective, and I really loved it!

I think you really did a great job in creating this atmosphere of sadness and distance. Albus is there, he observes, he thinks, he feels. But he isn't really there, he doesn't belong, he's a mere shadow.

I loved your introduction of Snape. His... boredom? Is it the right word?

And I loved Minerva. The contrast with her liveliness, and the fact that she still looks at Dumbledore for guidance, in a way?

Also, it was very interesting the list of students. I loved the choice, and I loved the circularity of the story.

A very interesting story, with a beautiful writing style! Brilliant work!

Author's Response: Hey Chiara,

My thought after writing this was that it was strange, and I'm definitely glad that the verdict is in that it's not in a bad way!

Surreal and undefined are both great words for what I was going for, and I'm glad you think I accomplished that.

You are really spot on with your assessment that Albus is a mere shadow. I think it's easy for people to be sentimental about the idea of portraits, but I think that giving that kind of existent to a consciousness a fraction a sophisticated and guilt-ridden as Dumbledore's is a real curse.

I generally try to avoid writing Snape, but in this scenario it just made sense, and I was glad to be able to get his character across so concisely.

Thank you so much for your review!


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Review #9, by TreacleTart Behind His Desk

20th July 2015:
Hey Sam,

Since you've left me so many amazing surprise reviews as of late, I thought I'd drop by and do the same after seeing you post about this on the forums.

I'll admit that I found this story to be very confusing and disorienting, but in a way that really made sense because that's how Dumbledore is feeling too. At first, I wondered if maybe he was suffering from Alzheimers or some other nuerological disease, but as I read on it became more apparent what had actually happened.

I never gave too much thought to what life as a portrait would be like, but you've written it in a way that makes a lot of sense. I also loved that Minerva and Severus come to visit him.

One thing that did confuse me was Snape still being alive and Fred having a son. I wish I knew that backstory to how these things happened, but obviously you can't just go off in random tangents in the middle of your story. (I would however encourage you to write separate stories about it later, but that's me being greedy because I want to read more of your writing.)

All in all, I liked this. It had that beautiful lyrical quality mixed with description that I love so much about your writing. And you covered a subject that I might not have otherwise given thought to.

Good work Sam!


Author's Response: So, my plan was to wait for all the TAR reviews to be finished before starting my responses, but you've exposed such an egregious typo, that I have to clear it up:

"Fred Weasley's son" should read "George Weasley's son, Fred"

Ah, the world makes sense again.

This is not supposed to be AU at all. Snape is in fact dead - he is also a portrait, which is why there is that weird moment of him appearing /behind/ Dumbledore at his desk and then disappearing without any visible entrance or exit. He comes in before it becomes totally clear that Dumbledore is a portrait, so I wanted to maintain some ambiguity there. I'm sorry that wasn't more clear. Once the Fred/George update is incorporated, maybe it will be more clear to other readers.

I know this story is kind of confusing, but it was also meant to be, so I'm not totally sure where to draw the line there. Your feedback is very helpful though!

I really like that you describe my writing as lyrical. I've never thought of it that way, so it's interesting and flattering feedback. Though, both this story and When I Go Out With You were written while listening to certain songs on a loop, so I think I steal some of my tone and rhythm fro the songs I listen to while I write ;) For this one the song was "Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall" by Paul Simon. It came on my pandora partway through writing this and was just PERFECT.

Thank you so much for your helpful and thoughtful review!


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Review #10, by RavenclawFTW Behind His Desk

20th July 2015:
Hi Sam! I'm here from Ravenclaw for the House Cup 2015.

Oh man...I got me some chills from this story! Seriously, at the end I said "ooph" out loud to my dog. I saw this challenge go by on the forums and this is a really interesting perspective to have taken. I've really never considered what it's like to be a portrait, never mind a portrait who bears as much guilt as Dumbledore...

Your writing style was really wonderful and fit really well with your characterization of Dumbledore to me. It's jumpy, questioning, going in circles, but trying to make sense of things nonetheless, which is what I feel like Dumbledore is doing. I love the group of students you've chosen for him to be obsessing over-- I always thought it weighed very heavily on Dumbledore how wrong Tom went, and obviously he couldn't feel good about essentially raising Harry to be killed by Voldemort eventually (even if that didn't end up playing out how he expected).

Also, this is a bit random, but his thoughts about blood felt really poignant in light not only of how many people(/students) died for his cause, but also from the cave in HBP, and Voldemort coming back with Harry's blood in GOF...there's power to blood in the HP verse, and his thoughts about it reflect his knowledge of that but also inability to act on them.

Anyway, from the forums you said you thought it was "weird," but I was really touched by it! So keep doing you haha. :) Sorry this review was all over the place, but I really enjoyed this story!


Author's Response: Thanks fr this gracious review!

I am really glad to hear this story had an "ooph" impact on you. I wasn't sure if it was accomplishing what I wanted it to, but by the sounds of your response the answer is yes.

I am so glad to hear that you like my characterization of Dumbledore. He can be a really difficult character, and I have avoided writing hi up until now, so am glad that it went well.

Also, our thoughts about blood are wonderful and poignant. I hadn't really been deliberately making a connection to the blood theme in the books, but it does connect really well now that you point it out.

Thank you so much!


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