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Plot bunny: Voldemort Peggy Sue

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Taure, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Separate thread in the spirit of reducing megathreads.

    For those who are unware, "peggy sue" refers to the trope of going back in time into your own, younger body. There are many Harry Potter peggy sue fics, and even some where Voldemort goes back in time in addition to Harry, but I've never seen a Voldemort-centric one where he is the only traveller.

    The premise here is that following his death at the end of DH, Voldemort's tattered soul ends up drifting through time and latches on to his younger self. Specifically, it latches on to the soul of Tom Riddle on his last day of Hogwarts. Peggy sue occurs, with the older Voldemort's personality and knowledge overriding the younger.

    The conceit of this plot bunny is that, upon realising what has happened, Voldemort takes a rare moment of reflection. The sharp shock of losing and actually dying, only to be saved by a fluke accident of magic, has acted as a psychological eye-opener. Voldemort's first instict is to do it all again, only better, armed with his knowledge of the future. But his recent utter failure gives him pause.

    For the first time in his life, he is uncertain. He still does not understand how Harry Potter beat him, not just once, but multiple times. He is forced to admit that he not only underestimated Harry, but also overestimated himself. He lacks understanding of aspects of magic which he previously dismissed as pure luck or one-in-a-million freak events. But they keep happening around him, and he is concerned that, even with the knowledge of the future, events would once again conspire against him, if he went ahead with similar actions as his first life.

    Moreover, he remembers distinctly that, at the final battle, a large part of the wizarding population rallied around Harry Potter and against him. He is forced to admit that it is not possible to take the Ministry by force and successfully hold it against the wishes of the populace for any extended period of time.

    So Voldemort takes stock.

    He is in a good position. He has two horcruxes (the Diary and the Ring) so his immortality is already secure. It occurs to Voldemort that the number 3 is also magically powerful, though not as powerful as 7. He notes that having 7 horcruxes did not end up giving him any greater security, and in fact having made so many of them may have been what alerted Dumbledore to their existence. Each additional horcrux is an additional clue on a trail that was clearly followed. He resolves to hide the Diary in the Chamber of Secrets. It will be safe there, he reasons: the location has not been found despite generations searching for it, he will avoid making another parselmouth by avoiding the Harry Potter situation, and in the unlikely event that anyone does gain entry, the basilisk is a real threat to even the most powerful of wizards.

    He resolves to keep the ring on his finger, at least for the time being. It's safest where he can protect it in person, as all protective enchantments have weaknesses, and even if he were to be killed, the enchantments on the ring would protect it from normal harm.

    Looking beyond the horcruxes, he has not only the skills that his 18-year-old self-possessed, but also all his future knowledge and skills. Magically speaking, he is in a much stronger position than in the first timeline. He does not need to conduct another decade-long world tour to gather knowledge he already possesses.

    So, Voldemort's final day at Hogwarts commences. His priority is to hide the Diary in the chamber, as this is his last opportunity to have access to Hogwarts, but he recalls that Dumbledore was keeping an extremely close eye on him at this time. Upon rising, he approaches Avery, one of his Knights of Walpurgis, and requires his presence in private. Avery obeys without hesitation. Even then, Voldemort commanded respect.

    Voldemort transfigures Avery to into the appearance of Tom Riddle and instructs him to attend breakfast. Meanwhile, Voldemort himself sneaks into the Chamber of Secrets and deposits his diary there.

    He attends a final meeting of the Slug Club that evening. It's a large gathering, second only to the Christmas party, and many people are in attendance from outside the school. As in the original timeline, Slughorn parades the celebrated Tom Riddle past a number of influential Ministry figures.

    An idea forms in Voldemrt's mind. The first time around, he shunned the Ministry in favour of expanding his personal power. But he has more than enough personal power already, and his failure has taught him the importance of that other type of power, more ephemeral but perhaps, to Voldemort's great irritation, the greater of the two: political power. Voldemort makes a split-second decision and, to Slughorn's delight, accepts an offer to take a position in the Department for International Magical Cooperation. At this time, in the 1940s and just after the conflict with Grindelwald, that department is the most prestiguous and is occupied with many important post-Grindelwald "clean up" tasks.

    The first chapter ends with Voldemort turning up for his first day at the Ministry. "Mr Riddle, isn't it?" says his new boss. And for the first time in his life, Voldemort replies "Please, call me Tom."

    And so the fic goes. The idea is something like House of Cards meets Harry Potter, with the fic following Tom Riddle's rise through the Ministry, with plenty of skullduggery and a lot of expanded Ministry worldbuilding. Expect lots of Dumbledore's agents trying to thwart Voldemort's rise.

    The fic would also track his own personal development: at first, his instinct whenever encountering trouble is to kill his way out of the problem and he has to constantly resist this temptation, especially when he experiences set backs. More than once he will be on the edge of giving up this whole "politics" thing and launching a reign of terror.

    But he perseveres, and over time new modes of thinking and new habits become instinctual. The first time he actually draws his wand to engage in violence is at the very end of the fic, and by this time he is fully in control: this violence has been carefully calculated and planned. No trace of the old Voldemort, who would react in anger without hesitation, remains.

    There's a limit to how much he changes, of course. While he learns control, he's still a psycopath deep down. I am imagining a scene mid-way through the fic, after he moves to the DMLE (the idea being that high flyers like Tom are put on the "fast track" and rotate through departments). He would attend a gruesome crime scene where many other characters are struggling to keep their stomachs. Tom, on the other hand, is struggling to contain his glee at all the mayhem. He barely manages to keep himself from laughing. The blood makes him nostalgic for the old times.

    On top of his habits, his politics change too. There's an irony intended here: politics is well known for destroying the ideals of those who go in with good intentions as they continually sacrifice their goals in favour of achieving power. But this will work in reverse too: someone like Voldemort, who goes in with bad intentions and an evil ideology, is also going to have to continually compromise that ideology in the pursuit of power. By the time he achieves the position of Minister at the end of the fic, his politics, while still essentially pro-pure-blood in nature, will be almost moderate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  2. Shodan

    Shodan Squib

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    It's a great plot bunny, and I'd love to read a story like this. Here are a few things that came to my mind:
    1. Is Post-DH Voldemort even capable of self-reflection? As far as I understand it, he became more and more maniacal as time went by. During the books, there is not much left of the charming boy he was during his time at Hogwarts. But, for the sake of the story, this shouldn't be a problem.
    2. Writing this would require a lot of skill. Because there would be no action, the reader would have to be captivated by the characters and dialogues- and it's hard to do those well enough to keep their interest.
    3. What role would Dumbledore play? We know that he is suspicious of Tom while he is at school, but how deep does that suspicion run? Would Tom taking a civilized path be enough to appease him, or does he know too much? Seeing their interactions play out would be exciting, I think.
    4. You would have to walk a fine line between showing the changes in Tom and staying true to his character. The DMLE scene is a brilliant idea. But from the scenes where Harry looks into Voldemort's head, we know how crazy he is, and how furious he gets when something doesn't go according to his plan. Writing a whole story from his perspective would be hard because the reader can't really relate to the protagonist. But on the other hand, it would be great to see how Tom evolves: From having trouble not to lose his temper at the smallest of setbacks at the beginning, to being level-headed in even the most complicated, frustrating situations.
    5. What about Voldemort's followers? Would they still support him if he takes the slow route? Would he be able to gain their loyalty without constantly demonstrating his abilities? Even though his schoolmates would probably know more about him, they wouldn't have any reason to fear him... It would be interesting to see how you'd handle that.
    But anyway, reading this would be awesome.
     
  3. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Groundskeeper

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    The biggest problem I see is that to make a "political Voldemort" story believable, you'd first have to come up with a believable political agenda for canon Voldemort, something that canon struggled greatly. How do you combine what's essentially a conservative authoritarian revolutionary movement (which in itself is an oxymoron: conservative revolutionist) with the fact that Voldemort's greatest supporters were the established elite of the wizarding community, without making everyone in canon look like total idiots?

    Voldemort is one of the weaker characters in canon, in my opinion. He is just a stereotypical evil dude with stereotypical evil henchmen, without any real agenda or goal, compounded with the fact that they are revolutionaries staging a revolution basically against themselves...
     
  4. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    It's true that, canonically, a cost of damaging your soul as Voldemort did is that you reduce your ability to change and grow as a person. However, to allow this fic to happen, I would rely on three premises:

    1. The shock of actually losing and dying properly, with no horcruxes to anchor him, is such a significant blow that it is able to pierce through even Voldemort's stunted ability for change.

    2. The Voldemort who is doing the contemplation is a Voldemort with two horcruxes, which is significantly more stable than 6. One idea the fic would utilise is that, while 3 is a less powerful number than 7, it is more stable.

    3. JKR has stated, on her old website, that Voldemort taking Lily's protective magic into his blood gave him a kind of magical reprieve - that, had he chosen to do so, he would have been capable of greater change than his tattered soul would normally be capable of.

    True, though I don't think it's so hard to maintain interest without action as you describe. There's still plenty of conflict, just not resolved via violence. And there's lots of worldbuilding to keep interest too.

    Dumbledore is fresh off his defeat of Grindelwald and is at the height of his political influence. He would very much be the "antagonist" of the fic, but largely felt through his influence and followers rather than in person, as he is at Hogwarts.

    The route to take with his followers is that over time, Voldemort's Knights of Walpurgis would transition into a circle of equals in which Voldemort was primus inter pares rather than the canonical master-servant relationship. In many ways this would be a much more powerful group, because each of his followers has the chance to shine as an individual with their own talents and ambitions, but it does mean that Voldemort has to compromise with their interests more. And of course, Voldemort would use his future knowledge to recruit further individuals who he knows will be of particular use. I am imagining, for example, a Voldemort who targets the disillusioned Sirius Black, winning him over to a more modern type of purebloodism before the Potters can impart their more liberal ideas.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
  5. TheWiseTomato

    TheWiseTomato Tactical Tomato DLP Supporter

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    Would that not be part of it though? Voldemort's more modern type of purebloodism being pretty much in line with the Potters' 'liberal' ideas? Especially since this more reflective Voldemort could admit to himself that he is the result of an almost squib mother and a muggle father after generations of inbreeding. Focus less on the breeding, more on the traditions and familial knowledge.
     
  6. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros.

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    So would the Knights of Walpurgis then be more akin to a political coalition or a voting bloc? With Voldemort as the Chief Whip, prior to becoming Minister?

    Dumbledore as an indirect antagonist is an interesting idea, and this kind of political fic is something I haven't seen done before, not to this extent at least.
     
  7. Shodan

    Shodan Squib

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    Do we know anything about the Potter's liberal views, aside from them not having a problem with James marrying a muggleborn? I think there's a lot of space between wanting to reign over the muggles, kill all muggleborns and being okay with your son marrying one. I don't think gaining Sirius' support would be easy, because being faced with his families beliefs every day would cause him to be strongly biased against it. He wants to break free from them- I feel like by supporting Tom, the break wouldn't be clear enough.
     
  8. anvyl

    anvyl Third Year

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    The biggest problem I see with this, is that you would need to invent an internally consistent Political system. Second biggest problem will probably the large number of OC you need to flesh out.
     
  9. Horton

    Horton First Year

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    One thing that would seem off is the idea that Voldemort wouldn't be drawing his wand and killing people. Now obviously he's not going to be doing that willy nilly, but like Urquhart in HoC, I can potentially see him possibly bumping off people if he can get away with it himself or perhaps getting his followers to.

    Heck, what's stopping him kidnapping some Muggle and then using some polyjuice potion to pull some of his more old style stuff here, with a very low risk of detection? (As you'd then have to beat him to found out who he is and it's not like he was beaten before unless it was Dumbledore or a fluke involving a backfiring killing curse). As then it'll look like it's another wizard entirely. Which means he can then control both sides Palpatine style, as he's slowly taking over the Ministry from the inside out...

    Though I'm fine with it however how you do it, as the fandom is seriously lacking in good Voldemort-Centric fics.
     
  10. Donimo

    Donimo Seventh Year

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    I like the idea of Voldemort controlling both sides of a political fight. Maybe that could be how he accidentally becomes even more moderate.
     
  11. Download

    Download Supreme Mugwump DLP Supporter

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    Perhaps instead of timetravel Voldemort having some self reflection, his younger self is able to sift through older Voldemort's memories and decides old him had become a lunatic. Thus he tries to avoid that outcome.
     
  12. Sorrows

    Sorrows Auror Prestige DLP Gold Supporter

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    Perhaps older Voldemort attempts to take over young Tom. Tom fights off the tatted remains of his older self's soul but in doing so gains some fragments of his memories and the shocking realisation of the state of his soul and mind should he complete his goals in the ways he had originally planned.

    Of course that would change the feel of the journey Tom goes on. Perhaps instead of entially moving within the status quo he begins a populist instead of a revolutionary movement. Essentially the wizard equivalent of the BNP. There is obviously sympathy for a conservative pureblood agenda amoungst the elite. Creating a 'Blood first' or Tradition focused' movement that packages old ideals into more palatable forms would be a far more dangerous and effective way of perpetuating his ideas and much harder for Dumbledore to fight.

    Though if you want to essentially redeem most of Voldemorts ideology by the end its harder along thoose lines.
     
  13. guestreader

    guestreader First Year

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    Something that I think is lacking here that we're told about in canon but perhaps do not see for ourselves is Voldemort's attachment to Hogwarts. If he thinks its his true home and that he, as the heir of Slytherin should own it then perhaps, rather than joining the Department for International Magical Cooperation, he goes to magical Education. He is Umbridge before Umbridge, working to marginalize Dumbledore. Torn between wanting to destroy him but also praise him if it means moving him out of Hogwarts. It would allow for more interactions between Riddle and Dumbledore while keeping Riddle's attachment to Hogwarts. Riddle doesn't have to teach there, doesn't have to live there but I'd like to see him try and worm away at prying Dumbledore out of Hogwarts all while Dumbledore is at his peak.
     
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