You had me from the opening with these lines that convinced me Riddle was going to be in character:
Of course they were going to accept it. He was their leader. No matter what they thought of it now, they would come to respect this symbol. To revere it. To fear it, even.
I liked how you showed Riddle having that complete control over his followers we see Voldemort exhibit in the series. Even though he is still in school, Riddle already has the ability to bully others and bend them to his will. It’s really refreshing to see a Tom Riddle school days story that shows him to already be someone who can very ably command a large group of people. Even in the way you have him talk to his followers, Riddle is very in character. Many fics have him shouting at his followers, but that’s not the impression we get from most of canon. I like how you say he ‘spoke softly,’ but that’s all he needed to do because everyone already respected and feared him so much. Thinking of the way Riddle speaks, I really loved this line:
“Hold out your left arm, Christopher,” Tom pronounced in a slow, patronizing voice.
To me, this line really summarized Riddle’s relationship to his followers. In many ways, Riddle is the ultimate patriarchical figure because he is the head of his ‘house,’ literally and figuratively, and everyone is weaker in his mind. Therefore, he always underestimates people and treats them like children, and I feel you captured this perfectly.
In addition, the idea of the Dark Mark as a Christmas present was a really brilliant plot idea. Christmas is viewed as this very pure and happy holiday, but Riddle deciding that the Dark Mark would be an appropriate Christmas present gave me chills. Your choice to have him present the mark as a present says a lot about what Riddle thinks of himself, too. Clearly, he is not above perverting good occasions in addition to his ability to see the design of the Dark Mark as a real gift to his followers.
Author's Response: Wow, what a detailed review! Thank you so much. I'm going to do my best to give an equally thorough reply, although to be honest, I wrote this fic so long ago that my memory of it is hazy at best . . .
I really was worried about getting Riddle's character right. I can't write Voldemort to save my life, but Riddle is a little different. He's the same cold, calculating, and controlling (lots of c's there!) guy, but it's a bit more . . . mmm, toned down, I suppose. But yes, he can still command others with a mere flick of his hand.
I love your analogy of Riddle being the 'head of house' in so many senses. It's completely true. Can't say anything more than that. =)
I see Riddle as having a very twisted sense of humor (if you can call it humor, that is). Voldemort has this way of making cavalier jokes, or drawing dark irony out of situations, and I imagined that Riddle too would be like this. So, yes, he would definitely think that the Dark Mark was a true gift.
Thank you again!
Darkly amusing (or amusingly dark :). I like this explanation for the Dark Mark and Tom's (I mean *my lord*) character was captured very well. :D
Author's Response: Pleased that you liked it. :) Thanks for reviewing!
This is really nice!
Author's Response: Glad you thought so! :D
This fic was very good. You explored Tom's character under a whole different light. Normally, he seems to not care about any holidays, much less ones that the Headmaster shares, but this actually showed him making fun of it, hehe.
I don't know if you meant to do this, but here:
Silly antics, and he usually dismissed such foolish thoughts, whether they were his own or someone else’s. But he could not help feeling so, as he looked at his followers gathered around him and Christopher. He could not stop the rising excitement, the rising feeling that this was his fate.
A holiday miracle, he thought dryly, and a wry smile curved his lips.
Does that remind you of the Grinch at all? That might have just given me a plot bunny! I think that you also took the challenge differently than the rest of the entries. This one was more dark, and I loved it!
How creative, and keep on writing Riddle! *Claire*
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the nice review, Claire! And, HAHA, I guess he does sort of sound like the Grinch. I'd never really thought about it in that way. Now I'm going to picture him with green skin forevermore . . . ;) Anyway, thanks again!
Oooh - evil. I especially like the little bit of humanity at the end - he's not yet the monster he will be. Nice.
Author's Response: Heh, no, he's not completely inhuman yet, although he's well on his way. Thanks for the review. :D
I love this fic, it really enasculapates the mood of the entire dark lord without being gaudy and flamboyant with scenes of torture.
Author's Response: Thank you for the lovely review! :D
Very nice Riddle characterization :). I love your idea of a miracle; very original, and very interesting.
Author's Response: Thank you! :) I was a bit worried about how Tom Riddle should sound in this, having never written him before, and was surprised when his character actually came pretty easily.
I really enjoyed this. I agree that it was very different, but still worked well with the theme and was well-written.
Author's Response: Thanks very much! :)
Wow! This is certainly different, and I guess that it does fulfil the criteria as in a way, this is Voldy's twisted miracle, isn't it? ;p
Even though this does have a sort of dry humour to it in parts, I really like the serious side to it, in the parts where Voldemort expresses his hunger for power.
And in that moment, Tom felt this feeling arise in him: this feeling that suddenly he had found his destiny and it had just been sealed. Silly antics, and he usually dismissed such foolish thoughts, whether they were his own or someone else’s.
This part in particular is very well done. As I read it, I saw a sort of ‘transition’ or changing moment where Tom realises and confirms what he wants, and truly becomes more ‘Voldemort’ than ‘Tom’.
My favourite part of this was the ending. Really clever!
“My apologies,” said Abraxas quickly, bowing his silky blonde head. “What is it, my lord?”
Tom gave them a twisted smile. “Merry Christmas.”
Hahaha…it shows that they’re learning! Great job, good luck in the challenge. :)~Suzie
Author's Response: I'm glad you liked, thanks for the nice review! :)
That was definitely a very dark "miricle, but very different from most of the other stories for this prompt. That is what makes these prompts fun, to see how many different ideas people get! I did enjoy reading this, and it was interesting to see Tom Riddle's idea of a Christmas gift.
Author's Response: Yes, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the prompts *soon*. :) Thanks!
Author's Response: **the rest of the entries I mean, oops ;)
Well, I'll have to say this isn't what I thought of when I read about the challenge. It's really original and I really enjoyed it. I liked how you had students calling Voldy "lord" before he even left school.
This was really good. An interesting take on the challenge.
Author's Response: It wasn't what I thought of originally when I read the challenge either. :) First I was planning to do a lighter piece that was more in the 'spirit of the holidays' about Severus. But then I had the inspiration to do something totally different and, well, you can see the result. Glad you enjoyed, thanks for reviewing!
Oh my, that is so original! I really liked it - you took a very dark moment and fit it to the prompt really well! I am impressed with this scene from Tom Riddle's past, and more so that you managed to set it at Christmas. It was very well-written, particularly the end. Great job, and good luck on the challenge!! ~Gina :)
Author's Response: Thank you for the review! I figure even the 'darker' chracters in HP have miracles in their life as well. :)