Wow, very impressive! Almost like he smothered the ability to love early on because of his need for control & fear of weakness. Quite eerie, but wonderful writing. I really like it!
Author's Response: Hi, thanks for this lovely review and sorry I'm only replying to it now. You've summed it up quite well - I think what Tom Riddle needs more than anything is control, and when you actually care about someone you're always out of control. It's funny how I came across this pairing... I initially wanted to write a story with Myrtle in it, and then realised that I could make her work with Tom - the first story I wrote about this is called "The Wrong Secret" - the writing's quite similar so you might enjoy it - and then the more I thought about it, the more I realised it worked. Anyway, I'm really glad you like it!! And thanks for reviewing, it really means a lot. ~Katrina
Katrina, this is great! I was just browsing and I clicked on your profile, only to find that my username was on there, along with so many other better authors!! That means a lot, believe me. So I just had to review another one of your fics. I intended to do so anyway, but lately I've been quite busy with revision (*glares at Physics textbook*) so I haven't had the time.
So...on to the story! Firstly, I have a tiny, tiny nitpick.
"The girl who slides into books to hide from being bullied, who won’t let the tears who until she is alone."
I think you meant this:
"The girl who slides into books to hide from being bullied, who won’t let the tears show until she is alone."
But anyway, I really liked your use of second person. In Checkmate (I don't know if you're reading it, but it's my James/Lily WIP and my baby) the entire thing is written in third person except the epilogue. I wrote that in second person, and I have to say it sounded far better than in third person. And it was fics like yours which gave me the encouragement I needed to try something a little out of my comfort zone.
But I digress. Back to YOUR story. I really liked Tom's characterisation. The stages in his and Myrtle's relationship, from him simply being curious with her to begin with, to them being library buddies, to Tom being her confidante and finally, them being romantically linked a bit. The connection, the chemistry between Tom and Myrtle was so wonderfully executed. The dismissive way Tom referred to the other Slytherin girls was interesting and well done. That's actually quite an interesting observation to make -- Voldemort, weirdly, seemed to have less respect for the few female Death Eaters than he did for the males. Bellatrix, of course, is an exception. Having said that, I can't actually remember any other female Death Eaters, although I'm sure that my memory's just a bit blurred, since the last time I read DH was a while ago.
And while through the entire story, it seems like Tom, not Myrtle, wears the trousers in their relationship -- "With a single word, you could crush her" -- at the end of it, us readers get the shock of our lives, as we realise that Myrtle stole his heart. And it's so clear that Tom is resentful towards her, for all the wrong reasons, and I think it fits perfectly with canon, despite JKR saying that Voldemort couldn't have loved. Because the first Muggleborn murder was not necessarily an act of hatred -- if you ask me, it was a crime of passion. And that makes Voldemort's actions...not justifiable, but understandable.
What I liked the best about your story is the fact that it's so short and yet it conveys such an interesting insight in Tom's mind, one that seems to make him a little more humane than I initially thought. So thank you for writing this, thank you for saying that I'm an awesome author and above all, thank you for all of your lovely reviews on my oneshots.
Author's Response: Hi Soraya, Thanks for such a lovely review! I'm glad you appreciate me listing you on my page - I do think you're a great author, you definitely deserve your place there. Thanks for the nitpick... I'll fix that up now. I'm glad you liked the second person - I was a little nervous about how that would work, because while I love writing it, I don't think that many other people do. (I will get around to reading Checkmate, haven't quite got there yet.) I'm glad you liked my characterisation of Tom - I do find him a bit hard to write because I can't empathise with him. I think he would see the other Slytherin girls disparagingly because not believing in love doesn't necessarily make him unaware... plus it would prove to him how stupid love is. As their relationship develops, Tom realises how much power he has over her in this intimate relationship... and I think it's interesting you mention Bellatrix, because I see it that he pretends to be a bit like this with her (after all, she's always on about how she's the only one he confides in) and she believes him. So I think he learns here more how to control other people. I started thinking about this idea in "The Wrong Secret" (I can't remember if you've read that), because Voldemort didn't seem to make Horcruxes from random murders, they usually meant something to him (like killing the Riddles), so in this sotry, he had to kill her because she threatened everything he wanted and believd in. Thanks again for leaving such a detailed review! ~Katrina
Loved it! Please continue!
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, I'm glad you loved it. If you mean you would like me to continue this fic, I have to say that I won't be, as it's a one-shot (though I had previously written another one-shot called "The Wrong Secret" which is a similar story from Myrtle's perspective), but if you mean that you would like me to keep writing fanfiction, I'm happy to oblige, though I am quite busy at the moment, so I'm not sure how long it will be until my next fic is up. Thanks again for reviewing, ~Katrina
Hello Katrina! Tom Riddle 'romance' is something that draws me in - especially the type in which the characterisation is done as well as you've done here. Because I'm a closeted McGonagall/Riddle shipper, my first instinct was that it was Minerva. But as we moved along, the character didn't sound like Minerva and my interest heightened. I must be very slow today because I didn't guess Myrtle until the Chamber was mentioned. Intriguing choice there! It puts a rather nice twist to the whole history behind Moaning Myrtle. The only thing I kept asking myself was...Why didn't Myrtle haunt Riddle? If she had had a 'boyfriend', I imagine her coming to talk to him. So, I'd have liked to see a little bit of that. Perhaps Riddle did something to stop her haunting him? That is the canon-stickler in me speaking. I think the story as a whole was brilliant, and I loved you went against the grain and chose Myrtle. That Riddle wanted to explore his sexual side is a very interesting topic to examine, and you have explored that here so well! Keep writing! ~Natalie
Author's Response: Hi Natalie,
Thanks for the lovely review. Thanks for saying you liked my characterisation of Tom Riddle - in general, I found it a bit difficult to write him because as a character I don't really feel any empathy for him. So I'm glad a "canon-stickler" like you thought he was in character!
I guess I've always wondered why Myrtle was the one who died - after all, Tom made a Horcrux from that murder, and generally he seemed to like making Horcruxes out of significant deaths - and also why she chose to become a ghost. I actually started exploring these ideas in a fic I wrote about 6 months ago, called "The Wrong Secret"... and as to your question about Myrtle haunting Riddle, the answer to why she didn't is basically in that fic. So I won't elaborate here because I'd be giving away the story lol.
Anyway, thanks very much for all the compliments and praise and taking the time to review!!
Very cool! Loved it!
Author's Response: Thanks for the compliment, I'm glad you enjoyed it. ~Katrina
I saw your story description and I expected it to be something more cliché, more fluffy, more... not this. Your writing is so artistic. I could never have foreseen Tom lusting after Myrtle, and I wouldn't even have considered her being able to steal his heart!
But the way you wrote this story was so amazing that I truly believed this happened. I am impressed, amazed, and also quite pleased that you were able to pull off the second person!
Poor Myrtle. Poor, poor Myrtle.
Author's Response: Hi Maddy, What a lovely review! I intended this not to be fluffy and cliche - I think those two words really don't fit in the same sentence as Tom! Thanks so much for all your praise of my writing, especially about the second person - as I've said below in other responses, I was a bit nervous about that one. Yes, I agree, poor Myrtle. I've always thought that in canon anyway - I mean, she is awfully annoying there, but it makes you wonder, what happened? I always thought there was something more to this story... I just sort of had to write it. Thanks for saying that you believed this happened! That's the highest praise a writer can receive! You may also enjoy my fic "The Wrong Secret" - it's basically the same story, but from Myrtle's point of view (still in second person though) and it ties in to how she is in canon. Thanks very much, ~Katrina
When I first clicked on this story, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I have never read an official Tom Riddle pairing before for the sole reason that Rowling said he could never love (and I know you mentioned that in your end notes). But I’m happy to say that I was very pleasantly surprised when reading your story. You did a wonderful job pulling this off while still keeping Tom Riddle in character — and it’s difficult enough to write him in character when he’s not in love. I was really impressed by that, as well as the way you unfolded the story behind the girl’s smile in the beginning. Very well done!
As I mentioned above, I think my favorite aspect of this story is your characterization of Tom Riddle. I like how in the beginning, catching Myrtle’s attention and spending time with her was just to satisfy his curiosity and nothing more. I don’t know if I read into this too much, but I got the feeling that he was going to hurt her emotionally at some point in their strange relationship as a way to end it. From the beginning, I don’t think he planned to kill her — just fulfill his interest while it lasted. I thought this was very Riddle-like; he felt separated from the outside world, almost superior to it, and he would most definitely see the Ravenclaw girl as just one of his experiments. I thought this line really emphasized his feeling of separate-ness from the rest of the world: How silly humans can be, you thought. I liked how you have him think of others as ‘humans’, as though he is somehow above them. It really stayed true to Riddle’s character and the person he inevitably becomes in the end.
Their relationship was unique and not over-done. I’m glad you didn’t make this into a fluffy, soppy mess and have Tom fall in love with her in the usual way. I thought it was very realistic and in character for him to notice her because of their similarities. It is this, after all, that draws him to Harry instead of Neville when he sought out to stop the prophecy from happening. I think Tom Riddle is a person who was so alienated from the rest of the world that any similarities he had to other people were comforting, in a way. I like how the Ravenclaw girl (who we later find out is Myrtle) isn’t very attractive or special in any way. She has her brains, but then Tom Riddle seems much smarter than her. I like how their relationship begins slowly, with Tom Riddle coaxing her to confide in him and trust him, all the while planning to leave her in the end. I thought it was interesting how you showed the subtle change in their relationship, how it went from him wanting information from her to him giving her information about him and his childhood. And still you kept him in character, putting his business first and not letting her get in the way of what he was doing. Brilliant job.
Maybe the one thing I had qualms about was the fact that the Ravenclaw girl was a Muggleborn. I know that was the dichotomy in the story, between what his head told him to follow and what his heart felt, but I can’t see him ever putting himself in that position with a Muggleborn. This was a race that he wanted to murder, a race he hated so much that he wanted to make them suffer. He didn’t even like half-bloods that much, so Tom falling in love with a Muggleborn seemed a bit off. But later in the story, it’s revealed that the girl is Moaning Myrtle, and I think that is what really sealed the believability for me. Knowing that she gets murdered at the end anyway, knowing that Tom Riddle didn’t sacrifice his ideals for love, was what made the Muggleborn dilemma waver.
Speaking of which, I loved how it was Moaning Myrtle that Tom Riddle fell in love with. I didn’t realize this or guess this until the mention of Olive Hornby, and I thought it was wonderfully underplayed. It was a great twist in the story, and something completely unique and well thought out on your part. I think the introduction of her, how you kept her nameless, was very smart and let us as readers see the reasoning behind Tom Riddle’s attraction to her rather than prejudging their relationship with our canon knowledge of her. And, sad as it may be, I am glad that the girl Tom loved was killed by him in the end. I think it showed a lot about Tom and how much he valued being above such humanly feelings — and how in order to secure his position as becoming one of the most powerful wizards in the world, he rationally thought he had to kill the one girl who could change him. In a way, also, I think him killing her was almost more compassionate than him breaking it off with her and traumatizing her emotionally. He could have done that, and it might have stopped the feelings on her part, but it wouldn’t ensure that he didn’t succumb to his desires. It was tragic, but rather inevitable in a Riddle pairing.
Lastly, your use of second person was great. I wasn’t sure how this would work, seeing as I don’t read much second person and ‘you’ referring to Tom Riddle seemed strange to me. However, I thought this was extremely well executed and now that I have finished reading, I can’t think of a better way for the story to have been told.
Great job with this story!
Author's Response: Hi Ariana, WOW what a review! This is at least 10 times longer than any other review I've ever received... thank you so much. I'm really happy that you liked my characterisation of Tom - I find him quite difficult to write, because with most characters I write, I feel at least a bit of empathy or understanding for why they do things, but I do struggle to with him. As I was writing this, I was sort of thinking about how he possessed Ginny in CoS - I think he's the sort of person who was initially curious, and then loved the thrill of being able to control someone's emotions with his actions. In a way in this story, he's not just satisfying his curiosity, but also testing his ability to control other people. It also affirms his belief that love is weakness. Yes I agree, he certainly believes that he's better than other people - I think this is one of the defining differences between him and Harry. I think Tom Riddle is a person who was so alienated from the rest of the world that any similarities he had to other people were comforting, in a way. I think you're right here, and as you pointed out, that is why he picked Harry over Neville. I don't think he was curious about girls in a physical way - after all, he was handsome and popular, that curiosity wouldn't have been hard to satisfy. I think Tom's interesting in the way that he knows other peoples' weakness is to get them to trust him, yet he has never trusted anyone in his life. Yes, he initially coaxes Myrtle to talk, and then adds something of his own as he realises that that will increase her trust of him, but he always tempers it and doesn't necessarily tell whole truths. I completely understand that you think it unrealistic that he fell for a muggleborn, you could be right there. The way I thought of it, he felt a connection to her from the first time he met her eyes, but he pretended to himself that he just picked her by random to satisfy his curiosity. So that's how I explain that. I'm glad you like that I picked Myrtle - quite a while ago, before I wrote "The Wrong Secret" (which you might be interested in, by the way, it's this story but from Myrtle's point of view and ties in how she becomes in canon), I was planning a story about a girl who fell for Tom, and I just sort of came across Myrtle. I think there may have been an untold story there, after all he did kill her, and he made his first Horcrux from that death - and as we know, he liked to make his Horcruxes from significant deaths. I see him killing her almost as killing his heart. Yes, I personally kept her nameless for the reason you said - to show their interaction without the reader judging her by her appearance in canon. how in order to secure his position as becoming one of the most powerful wizards in the world, he rationally thought he had to kill the one girl who could change him. That's exactly what I think, you really do understand my writing!! Second person. Yes, it is a bit weird reading it at times. I'm not quite sure why, but I quite like writing in it. I think it makes the character seem like they're taking away their responsibility by trying to push what they went through on to the reader. I'm glad you found it worked in the end, though. So thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on my fic. I think I'm a little like you... usually I'm not so keen on Tom Riddle pairings (and here I am, writing one...) but this came to me and I really had to write it, so I'm glad you still enjoyed it. ~Katrina
O.o woah. I've always wanted to write something in second person, and you pulled it off nicely! Good job!
Author's Response: Thanks for reviewing. I'm glad the second person worked for you... I was a little bit nervous about it. I think it's an interesting way to create empathy with a character and a way for them to almost not want to take responsibility for their actions, as they push them on to the reader, if that makes sense. Anyway, thanks for letting me know you liked it!