Reviews For Commencement
Reviewer: Nagini Riddle
Date: 05/27/12 22:55
Chapter: Chapter 1

How was this morbid? Man, Riddle is my favorite character (if you couldn't already deduce that from my user name) and you captured his character exquisitely. I sometimes wish I knew Tom, and these little stories about him just make me happy. Of course, if Tom hadn't been evil, I don't know what I would have thought of him... I don't necessarily see him as evil, though. More like neglected and really needing some affection from others who understand him (but don't try to force their views on him). If he had someone like that in his life, he might have turned out better...

Author's Response: Was this NOT? :D I'm surprised you like Riddle so much; I wouldn't have expected it since you don't seem to like my darker fics :) But yeah, I find him a fascinating subject of study. I'm not too sure how well he'd have turned out if he had been given another upbringing, though I'd like to believe he'd have grown up differently. Thank you for reading and leaving such a lovely trail of reviews.

Reviewer: Equinox Chick
Date: 08/10/11 5:27
Chapter: Chapter 1

Creepy .... the story, I mean, not you. *snort*

This is a great story. So dark.

Then, he looked down at the victim and felt the hum of its body warming his arms.

That line made me shudder. It's almost as if that's his last chance to behave like a decent person, and yet he doesn't take that chance. *shudder*

Well Done ~Carole~ (3)

Author's Response: I am creepy, too. :o And yes, that is the exact moment where Tom begins to descend into dehumanity. Urgh. Thanks for reading this, Croll. I didn't think you will. :)

Reviewer: OtterMoone
Date: 07/08/11 14:07
Chapter: Chapter 1

Scary even as a little boy D: Good job!

Author's Response: Thanks! I imagine him to be a creepy kid. o.O

Reviewer: grangergirl35
Date: 04/28/11 6:24
Chapter: Chapter 1

it was too morbid. and to capture tom riddle so perfectly in the mind of a child is downright disturbing! but good job. :D

Author's Response: Thanks! It was a real task writing it.

~Natalie

Reviewer: MagicMandy
Date: 04/17/11 14:28
Chapter: Chapter 1

This story was so very dark and angsty. I liked how well Tom Riddle was characterized. The part about how he hated apples, but was mad at Billy for trying to take it anyway seems so much like the adult Voldemort. Another thing that really kept Tom in character was the way he avoids the other children because he wants to, rather than because he is rejected by them. All in all, Tom comes off as sadistic, cruel for no apparent reason, and disturbing, just like his older self

Author's Response: I hope MNFF didn't cut you off. D: Thank you for the rather handsome review. It's wonderful to know that you found Riddle in character. He definitely was a selfish and self-centered creature, and to hear that I managed to portray him in that manner is a great feeling. ;)

~Natalie

Reviewer: lucca4
Date: 03/31/11 21:11
Chapter: Chapter 1

Hey there,

I really enjoyed reading your snippet into the life of Tom Riddle. It was a bit morbid, but then again, it was in the Dark/Angsty category and written about a future psycho-killer, so I didn’t expect it to be any less so. Morbid for this story was, I think, one of its numerous strong points.

What really stood out for me was your raw portrayal of Tom Riddle. It was so incredibly in-character for the boy we only see glimpses of in the books. I liked how you made sure to point out that solitude was a choice for him, based on his inability to understand the minds of other children, not because he himself felt alienated. There is an air to him, present especially in the opening paragraphs, which belies that he feels a certain amount of superiority over the other children. He does not see them as his equals, but as inferiors, and he doesn’t even attempt to understand them or conjure any amount of empathy for them. Tom’s thinking is so logical yet so unnatural because he is supposed to be a child and not think so rationally. I think this part of the story illustrated that especially well: He hated apples, and the fight could have been avoided if he had just given his share to Billy, but the latter was a glutton, and the apple – his. He was cool and calculated when he took revenge; it wasn’t something done in a fit of rage and passion. I think this in particular really hinted at the individual he was to become: someone who was methodical and carefully planned everything out, someone who felt a constant hatred towards the Muggles that never ceased.

Your writing style was outstanding — it captured the feel and mindset of a merciless-killer-in-the-making perfectly. I liked how you used more sophisticated words to describe, with disdain, the things that Tom considered ‘mundane’ or ‘childish.’ It really emphasized the fact that he viewed himself as so much better than everyone else, so above the rest of the children, that he made degrading comments about the things they enjoyed or the way they acted. But what I enjoyed most about your writing is that it wasn’t completely made up of technical, detached words that fit Tom’s way of thinking; you managed to conjure wonderful pictures and imagery through your words that were just so beautiful. Perhaps my favorite line in the story is: Insomnia cradled him at times, trapping him in endless nights that he spent resenting every nook and corner of his cold and cheerless room. Your personification was so subtly and smoothly done, and it didn’t feel over-dramatized at all. It was really quite lovely to read.

The main scene in this story — the hanging of the rabbit — was morbid and dark. But as I said earlier, I don’t think this is a problem at all. In fact, I might have been disappointed if it was any less so, because through this scene you were able to show absolutely flawless characterization of Tom Riddle. He is a morbid person, and I’m glad you didn’t downplay that scene because it wouldn’t have illustrated the core of the person that he was so clearly. He hung the rabbit for one sole reason: revenge. His mind never once faltered in its conviction, or felt a twinge of regret afterwards. He had a purpose, he had an idea, and he carried it out. In fact, at the end, he seems almost proud of what he’s done — as though it’s some sort of show for him and he’s just displayed the finale. It was perfect. And in a way, this was the same thing he had done to all of his victims (though on a much larger scale). He took what he wanted from them, or took away what they most wanted, to gain personal satisfaction.

It also seemed as though he was gaining the energy or ‘power,’ for lack of a better word, to do magic through anger and hatred, such as when he is trying to summon up the feelings of pain that Billy inflicted on him before the hanging. This was in such a sharp contrast to Harry’s first experiences with magic. It had come by accident, he hadn’t wanted these terrible things to happen to Dudley or the others that bullied him. It had been uncontrolled magic, in other words. Tom’s was perfectly tuned, and he was able to summon it at such a young age. It really highlights the amount of power he must have possessed, even then.

Great writing here, Natalie! It was a really intriguing read.

xx Ariana

Author's Response: Five reviews, and this is the fourth time the word "morbid" has been used. Mission accomplished! ;)

Ariana, you have captured in your review all those things I was trying to convey while writing the story. Yes, Tom is rational, but he is also unnatural. Yes, he is as much an orphan as the others, but he also has an immense superiority complex. Yes, he is focused, but merciless as well.

As you must have noticed, I did not use the word "magic" once in the entire story, because he seemed genuinely surprised when Dumbledore told him he was a wizard. But I think he identified his magical ability as a "power", and a "beautiful thing" at that. It's also my belief that he had gained control over it, that while Harry;s magic burst automatically to protect him (or retaliate), Tom summoned and used it deliberately. That is apparent from canon examples - the hanging of the rabbit, what he did to the kids in the cave, etc. He must have been powerful, even as a ten year old, and that is what I wanted to show in my fic.

I knew there was no way I would succeed if I didn't get the right mood and tone, so I purposely used sophisticated words. That part you quoted was my favourite, too. (Yes, I have no shame.)

Thank you for the fantastic review, Ariana. I squeed when I read it.

~Natalie

Reviewer: Gmariam
Date: 03/31/11 17:59
Chapter: Chapter 1

Well-written, Natalie! It was indeed quite morbid, but a very vivid and plausible look at Riddle's character. It's scary, too, to think he was so depraved even as a child. I almost shudder to think of the other atrocities he may have committed, especially at Hogwarts. Good job - and a happy, cheerful birthday to Rachel! ~Gina :)

Author's Response: There's something about me and morbid birthday presents. Yours, I am afraid, will be the wildest, most macabre one. But I am going to promise you something: NO SNAMES. :)

Thank you for reading and reviewing, Gina! He really was depraved,and I don't want to think of what else he got up too. I also tried to image what he did to the other two kids in the cave, but gave up.

~Natalie

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione
Date: 03/29/11 23:20
Chapter: Chapter 1

Hi Natalie,

Well I was expecting something morbid/mildly disturbing (after all, what about Tom Riddle isn't disturbing?) but this was a whole new level of disturbing... in a good way (haha, is that even possible?) Your characterisation of Tom is just perfect. The idea that he tried to be friends with some of the children is fascinating, and you showed those instances really well. It shows that at some point, there was at least a little bit of humanity in Tom Riddle.

They couldn’t, for instance, raise their fingers, touch the cold, merciless mirror in their room, and make it melt. But he could – and he was doing the exact thing. The fingers of his left hand were pressed upon the screen, creating a small ripple that disturbed the smooth glass so that his own reflection blurred. It lasted only for a few seconds, but that wasn’t important. What mattered was the fact that he could do something, which no one else would ever imagine of trying.

He smiled – and somewhere in the disturbed outline of flesh and clothes, he could detect the same smile forming.
(Sorry for quoting all that back at you...) I think this part is fabulous. The idea of using a mirror works really well, and I loved the bit about him looking in the "disturbed" mirror and seeing his smile - it was a beautiful metaphor for the madness in his own mind.

Your writing is perfect here - very chilling. Tom's voice (as in the tone you used when writing) was perfectly detached and unemotional when he killed the rabbit.

One little nitpick - which no one else would ever imagine of trying. - the "of" is unnecessary here.

Anyway, as usual, beautiful writing, though this one was definitely on the chilling/creepy/disturbing side of things.

~Katrina

Author's Response: First of all, thank you for pointing out that error. I have edited the story accordingly. Secondly, thank you for reading and reviewing! It's nice to know that you found the tone of the writing suitable for Tom Riddle. The mirror also seemed a good choice because he is already changing, yet his true nature is coming out. The blurring reflection was a vivid image in my mind, and I actually pictured the whole thing happening as I wrote it.

~Natalie

Reviewer: szrene99
Date: 03/29/11 18:51
Chapter: Chapter 1

hmm, adventures into the mind of Voldemort. Tom's a difficult character to write, and i say yo0u've done a pretty bang up job at it :)

Author's Response: Thanks! :D I must confess that I find Tom easier than writing a lot of other characters. D: Don't know what that says about me as a person.

~Natalie

Reviewer: armagod679
Date: 03/29/11 16:20
Chapter: Chapter 1

Well, Miss Natalie, you have written an excellent story. Tom Riddle is very real to me-- not too unemotional. The path he is going to take is made very clear in this story. Good idea for a story... though it is very morbid.

Author's Response: This response is coming too late, but seriously, thanks for the review. :D I'm glad you finished reading it and left a few words behind even though you found it morbid.

~Natalie

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