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WIP When Harry Met Tom by The Carnivorous Muffin - T

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by throwaawy, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. throwaawy

    throwaawy Third Year

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2014
    Messages:
    97
    Title: When Harry Met Tom
    Author: The Carnivorous Muffin
    Rating: T
    Genre: Humor/Romance
    Status: In-Progress
    Pairings: Harry P./Tom R. Jr.
    Summary: When the battle in the department of mysteries heads south, Harry finds herself flung backwards in time to 1942, where Tom Riddle is a prefect in his fifth year. Armed with this knowledge, but little else, Harry desperately tries to find a way home and for once in her life not screw it up. Tom, for his own part, wonders when Harry Evans will head back to the mothership. fem!Harry
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12793151/1/When-Harry-Met-Tom

    This just recently updated which made me take another look at it which made me re-read it which made me re-think abo—well you get the gist.

    Firstly, I should point out that this is a fem!Harry story, but while this story does have romantic qualities it's nothing like your dime-a-dozen-let's-genderbend-to-avoid-teh-gays. This is a story by The Carnivorous Muffin , who has absolutely zero problems with writing this particular pairing as slash, but is also one of the more commonly recommended fem!Harry authors with Lily and the Art of Being Sisyphus. I suppose I should also point out that this Harry is not Lily.

    For me, this is a fairly enjoyable take on a common premise: Harry accidentally herselfs back in time and fixes the past. The main reason I like this is because the method of time travel and immediate aftermath is glossed over. There's no ancient scrolls she accidentally unlocked, no unfortunate combination of time-turners, Veil of Death, and errant curses. In fact, the whole background event is summarised in two short paragraphs and barely touched on after the fact.

    Harry isn't back for any noble reason. In fact she'd like to get back to her time with as little fuss as possible, but events do not transpire according to plan and even then a half-baked notion to remove herself from the spotlight sends ripples she didn't even consider before (and no it's not, 'Holy shit this Tom fellow is hot!').

    The narration for each POV makes it quite clear who the focus is. Harry's is a rambling, meandering, almost train-of-thought mess, whereas Tom's is clinical, almost-but-not-quite detached with an undercurrent of seething-when I evolve I'm going to murder all of you -rage.

    Good:
    By now I think I've gotten the point across that as a reader I tend towards character-driven pieces, so nobody should be surprised that I'm making a rec for this very reason.

    This author writes some of my favourite Tom Riddle characterisations. The only other Tom i'd put on par with this one would be Zalgo Jenkin's. This is not a nascent Lord Voldemort browbeating his lessers at the head of a gang. This is a Tom Riddle manipulating his peers and straddling the fine line of being a mudblooded Slytherin just interesting enough that a noble pureblooded witch or wizard could interact with without losing any face, but also without being too smugly superior that they'd feel threatened. He's not a sneering caricature with a hidden heart of gold just waiting for someone to show him the error of his ways through true love and this story doesn't even. You can read about this Tom and feel that he is intelligent, cunning, and fiercely protective of his worldview... which also means there's great things in store when that view is called into question.

    And it's not even on purpose.

    Many people have stated, and in fact the author themself has said, that "if you're going to change the gender/race/whatever of a character you better have a very good reason to do it." This is not book!Harry with boobs; this Harry is very emotional, very obviously stressed out, and she acts in a manner that I would definitely categorise as high-strung. But she's not completely unknown to us either. This Harry has assumptions about her own worldview, she has goals, she has a guilt-streak a mile wide, and perhaps she sometimes has a bit too much faith in her professors. She doesn't think too far ahead (obviously having ready access to Hermione will atrophy that particular quality in anyone)... and somehow it works. She acts nothing like Harry in the books or the movies and yet somehow it still strikes me as Harry.

    I also like the segment where Harry explains her Patronus. It goes into more depth than most stories do, defining almost the theme of the memory that is required to cast the charm. How it's not just the magnitude of happiness or joy involved, but something a bit more involved.

    Bad:
    Mm, I suppose this qualifies, but Harry is rather dumb. Well, that's probably a bad word for it. Scatterbrained? Flighty? Short-sighted? While I still maintain that it works for this characterisation (and she's not nearly as... off... as Lily is in Sisyphus), at least half of the "plot" is driven by some really stupid decisions. In moderation it really adds to her charm, as it were, but then she has some moments where you either want to smack her because it's very obvious to a reader or something no-one with an ounce of self-preservation would ever consider doing.

    That is not to say she's unintelligent, but she does come across as extremely, socially oblivious. Again I will say as a characterisation I love it, but as a plot device some of it is a tad ham-fisted.

    4.5/5 — Read it, liked it, wouldn't mind immediately re-reading it over and linking it to everyone I know.
    ...have I ever rated anything 5? I don't think I have...
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  2. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,644
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    13,152
    I dislike this fic for the very same reasons you like it.

    I dislike the characterisation of fem!Harry (and also the fact that she's still called "Harry") -- she's just far too weak and annoying. Strong Harry (whether male or female) is a prerequisite for my enjoying a fic, and that means both emotional and magical strength.

    I also dislike the characterisation of Tom. There's a common theme in fanon that Voldemort "lost" something when he stopped being Tom Riddle and became Lord Voldemort. Usually this is done to enable a Harry/Voldemort pairing, by making "Tom" more reasonable than Voldemort was. But this is just not how Tom Riddle was. Tom Riddle did not "become" Lord Voldemort. He was always Lord Voldemort, always cruel and sadistic and inhuman. He's a psychopath, simple as. "Tom Riddle" was the mask, not some kind of more rational, calmer person who developed into Voldemort. When I read about Tom Riddle at Hogwarts, I want to be reading about someone who is having to constantly hide and restrain their true nature in order to present a front to the world. If Tom is to develop into a person who is capable of living peacefully within wizarding society rather than practising murder as a hobby, then this is a development which has to be shown, not a characteristic which is within him from the start.

    From an objective standpoint this is probably a 3.5/5. But from my personal enjoyment perspective, it's a 2/5.
     
  3. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    6,601
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I love this story and have been following it for a while. It's one of those that I'll drop things to stop and read when it updates. So, 4.5/5 for me, though rounded down, and it's my favorite version of Fem!Harry to boot.

    This is a female character that I can get into. She's not very feminine at all. There are hints - despite what Taure says - that she's actually quite powerful. She just doesn't give two shits about school and doesn't flaunt it. But her confidence that she can indeed best this version of Tom Riddle in a fight if one was to happen makes me confident that she could.

    Maybe this not-very-feminine version of Harry reminds me of me in some way and that's why I like her so damned much. But almost never do we get characters like this in fiction - fanfiction, original fiction, anything.

    I agree somewhat with Taure regarding Voldemort though. Not a huge fan of this characterization as this is a much softer take on him than I'd like. But I'm willing to accept that something about him was redeemable before the first horcrux even if it's not how I personally read canon. It's not something that I object stringently to like, say, magical cores.

    Alphard is reasonably interesting as a character. There might be some sort of triangle between him, Riddle, and Harry that Harry is oblivious to.

    In short it's a fun story with a characterization I love and reasonably interesting/amusing scenes to read.
     
  4. Xion

    Xion Robot Overlord Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    323
    When Harry Met Tom has been updated with a new chapter.

    Story Stats
    Chapters: 15
    Words: 76,597
    Updated: 2019-04-25 01:41:30 UTC
    Published: 2018-01-09 01:06:17 UTC
    Previously updated: about 1 month ago

    Brought to you by Scryer story thread updates.
     
  5. Xion

    Xion Robot Overlord Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    323
    When Harry Met Tom has been updated with a new chapter.

    Story Stats
    Chapters: 16
    Words: 81,710
    Updated: 2019-05-10 01:42:44 UTC
    Published: 2018-01-09 01:06:17 UTC
    Previously updated: 15 days ago

    Brought to you by Scryer story thread updates.
     
  6. Nazgus

    Nazgus Chief Warlock

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,494
    Location:
    USA
    Hmmm... I'm not sure how I feel about the newest revelations. Was enjoying this a lot with Harry being Just Harry.

    Still enjoyable to read though, so I'll be sticking with it.
     
  7. Xion

    Xion Robot Overlord Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    323
    When Harry Met Tom has been updated with a new chapter.

    Story Stats
    Chapters: 17
    Words: 86,949
    Updated: 2019-06-22 23:17:29 UTC
    Published: 2018-01-09 01:06:17 UTC
    Previously updated: about 1 month ago

    Brought to you by Scryer story thread updates.
     
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