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In The Bleak Midwinter - TheLoud

Discussion in 'Review Board' started by Sorrows, May 31, 2021.

  1. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator DLP Gold Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Edinburgh
    Title: In The Bleak Midwinter
    Author: TheLoud
    Rating: Teen
    Genre: Drama
    DLP Category: Time Travel
    Pairing: Hermione/Tom Snr
    Status: Work in Progress (about 150,000 words)
    Summary: After escaping from Merope in London and fleeing back to Little Hangleton, Tom Riddle had thought he was free of witches. He wasn’t expecting yet another witch to turn up on his doorstep. This one seems different, but she too smells of Amortentia. Can he trust her when she tells him that she has brought him his baby from a London orphanage?

    AO3 Link
    Fanfiction Link
    ......

    So I seem to be on a bit of a Hermione kick lately.

    This is a time travel fic where the POV is not the time traveler. Essentially, Hermione comes back from a nightmare future and brings Tom Riddle to his father to raise, intending to give him a decent upbringing. POV being Tom Snr.

    Tom Snr, having been validated that he is not crazy and Merope is dead decides to raise his kid with Hermione as essentially the governess. What's more, having been informed of the wizarding world, decides that no son of his is going to enter the world without the privileged position he is owed as the son of the upper classes, blood status be damned.

    To this end he basically decides to con the wizarding world into believing he and his family are reclusive purebloods and leans into the whole heir of Slytherin thing. Mainly relying on the fact haughty upperclass mannerisms are largely the same magic or no. Which is definitely not a storyline I've seen before.

    The Pros

    The whole, Muggle family conning their way into the wizarding world is fun and fresh. The way the author describes the Muggle gentry and their mannerisms doesn't quite ring true but is pretty damn close. Looking at the wizarding world through the lense of the UKs class structure is not well often, this has more nuance than most

    Tom Snr is a strong character. The author really let's you see where Tom Jnr gets some of his personality characteristics from. His way of thinking is fun and feels in keeping with his station and the time. The way he adapts to blood as a class indicator is a good take on the human condition. His parents are memorable too, especially the dad.

    Hermione is fairly well done, she's a hardened mysterious BAMF, but she has an interesting personality. Their relationship is obviously going to be a thing but it's not really even sparked as of yet. At the moment Tom basically sees her as the help.


    The Cons

    The cover story that the Riddles have going on rather stretches credulity in a community as small as the British wizarding world. Especially since the pureblood circles are presumably very close knit.

    Tom Jr is basically a prop at the moment, but he is still a baby at this stage.

    This seems to be going in a bit tech uplift direction. I'm not opposed but most everything has been going well for the Riddles so far. I'd like to see some consequences to their actions or some of their choices coming home to roost or things could get boring.

    The writing is decent and I got though it faster than I thought I would. It's not often you come across something new in the HP fandom. It's not been updated in a year so could be dead, but worth reading for what's there.

    Edit: Updated several times since, last in about 10/2021 so not dead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
  2. Drachna

    Drachna Sixth Year

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
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    Location:
    Ireland
    High Score:
    0
    So, I read this while I should really have been studying, which probably made me enjoy it more than I normally would have, forbidden fruit and all of that. I think that character wise, everyone is pretty much an OC, as good as for the amount of attention payed to them in canon, except for Hermione who acts extremely OOC. That's fine, it's fan fiction after all, but I think that the story would have come across a bit better if TheLoud had been more on point with Hermione's characterisation (she was the story's main draw after all.). I like Tom Riddle senior as a character, and none of the other OCs are caricatures, which is more than I can say for some stories.

    In The Bleak Midwinter doesn't have a very focused plot, it reads more as a series of happenstances and oddly successful attempts on the part of the Riddle family to integrate and thrive in magical high society. The quality of the writing allowed me to push my suspension of disbelief further than I usually might, but a lot of the story is unrealistic and contrived.

    The fic seems to be going down the well traveled 'fix magical society' route, albeit slowly, so I don't know how long I'll be following it for. Either way, I'm not entirely sure if it's library worthy, although it was a good read.

    3/5
     
  3. Shinysavage

    Shinysavage Madman With A Box ~ Prestige ~

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,902
    Location:
    UK
    High Score:
    2,296
    It's certainly an interesting idea, and the writing is pretty decent. I read the whole thing in about a day, and if it updated next week, I'd cheerfully read more, although if it didn't update for another six months, say, I feel like the novelty may have worn off, which is most of the appeal for me.

    The characters are fun, as are the events, but given what's going on, there's a lack of...maybe not peril, but weight, maybe? The closest anything has come to going wrong is Tom's attempt to reconnect with his ex, and even that goes much better than could reasonably be expected, under the circumstances. Mind you, the characters barely seem to care about that, so who knows whether anything will come of it.
    I get that, initially at least, Hermione doesn't really give a shit about anything other than making sure Tommy has a nurturing upbringing, but even contextually, she really ought to be panicking more about the whole 'conning the Wizarding world' bit - one of the first points she makes is that she wouldn't want him to be brought up by an unsuitable family, but she barely raises an eyebrow at them publicly declaring him the Heir of Slytherin, which will make him a prime target for 'adoption' if the Riddles get found out and...punished.

    All in all, great idea, decent execution, could maybe do with a touch more ambition (ironically, given some of Tom's comments to Hermione later on). I'd probably say 3/5 for now, but could be a 4/5.
     
  4. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Order Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Messages:
    862
    Location:
    California
    I've enjoyed it a good deal.
    The characters are refreshing, and have good chemistry between them. The historical details are plentiful, and add a lot of atmosphere, though they come of a little heavy handed.
    The uplift stuff is...meh and puts hard brakes on the pacing.
    3.5/5
     
  5. deathinapinkboa

    deathinapinkboa Minister of Magic

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,283
    Location:
    Democratic Republic of The Congo
    It's flawed, but it's novel enough to keep my attention. The author is clearly a huge P.G. Wodehouse fan; that manifests as much to his detriment as his benifit.

    I'm enjoying it, but in a similar vein to New Blood.

    4/5
     
  6. Hakairyu

    Hakairyu Seventh Year

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2015
    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Istanbul
    Based on the rating here and the plot, I went in with very low expectations and was heavily surprised. It's novel, entertaining, technically decent, and doesn't seem to fall into the pitfalls that make me avoid this genre like setting up an eventual confrontation that promises to be somewhat interesting and making me trudge in shit for tens of chapters because I want to read that part before binning it. Don't get me wrong, it's a very typical 3.5/5, it stretches credulity at times and flirts dangerously close to crack in others, but I feel like the characterization of the Riddles helps justify both and keep it together. On that point, Tom Riddle Sr was definitely the best character but I feel like the author either doesn't know what next to do with him or doesn't feel confident in writing him, reducing him to more of a set piece than a character while Tom takes center stage. Pacing-wise I'm split, on the one hand things are definitely happening and it doesn't wallow in any of them, on the other hand it's getting to that point where it needs to start picking up a bit more speed. The last chapter did set up a couple bombshells, and they need to drop pretty soon. I think it'd still be almost recommended if it didn't and devolved into the mediocrity typical of its genre, but deserves a 4/5 as it is right now, simply because the novelty and execution of the ideas and characters bring it up a notch either way.